Oh boy, did we have plans!
When my husband and I got married, we spent the better part of a year planning our future. We were gonna be missionaries. We were gonna travel the world. We were gonna go on grand adventures and might possibly never live in America ever, ever, ever again. And kids? Well, IF we ever had them (which we probably wouldn’t) they would grow up hiking the mountains of Mongolia in a basket strapped to a donkey… or something like that. But that wasn’t really something we talked about much… because it wasn’t even in the plan until five years later. If ever. Probably not, though. Not ever.
Looking back now, I have to laugh.
We always pretended we trusted God with this aspect of our family. We always said that if God wanted us to have children, then nothing this side of heaven could stop Him.
We never thought He would actually hold us to that trust!
So halfway through our time in Thailand (prior to moving to China) when several of our friends back home were getting pregnant and having children, it was a surprise to us that our hearts began feeling tugged. Well, mine. Not my husband’s. He was solid. He did NOT want kids.
But then one day we watched the season finale of LOST.
Yes… I confess. Our child’s name comes from a TV show. My husband was joking around and said, “Hey! If we ever have a little girl we should name her Penelope!” after the character Penelope Widmore in the show. We rolled the name off our tongues a little. Put it together with our last name. Had a good chuckle.
And I walked into the other room… changed forever.
I could NOT shake that name.
I got online to look up the meaning of it and was completely intrigued. (I’ll save that for another post) And for the next few days I could not get the thought out of my head. It was as though God was opening up a part of my heart that I didn’t even know existed. I felt an urgency that I cannot describe. As though I was on the edge of a steep trail leading down into a fog-covered valley. Being asked to move ahead, even though I could not see the bottom… let alone the other side. But I knew in my heart that it was time to follow that path. There was no other way. And to turn around now would be complete disobedience. But more than that, to turn around now would be to miss an enormous blessing. A great adventure.
I shared these thoughts with my husband. That I believed God was telling us it was time to truly let go and trust Him with the start of our family.
But my husband wouldn’t hear it. He mourned the loss of our freedom. The loss of his wife to the seemingly overwhelming role of ‘mother.’ He didn’t feel ready. He didn’t feel our life was stable enough. He didn’t know if he ever really wanted children. Plus we were right in the middle of preparing for the rest of our lives… how could God be telling us to have a child now?!
But the thought stuck. And not only that, it got more and more clear as the hours and days went on. It consumed my thoughts. And all I could hear in my head was, “I have a little girl that I am ready to bring to this earth and her name is Penelope. I need you to trust Me.”
A few nights after this encounter, my husband went to bed. Still convinced that he didn’t want to have children.
And like so many great stories of God’s amazing ways, my husband had a dream.
In that incredibly vivid dream, he saw a little blond girl. And she called him Daddy. And his heart burst. When he woke up, he wanted her… and he wanted her right now.
That weekend, we stopped all forms of birth control. We asked our family and close friends for prayer. And we went about our life trusting that if what God had told us was true, that His timing would be perfect.
Two weeks later she was conceived.
Six weeks later we had a positive test.
From that moment on, we knew our little Penelope had arrived… just as God had promised! There were many who didn’t believe us. There were many who were concerned that we would be disappointed if it was a boy. But no matter what anyone said, we knew what God had revealed. We knew the One in whom we trusted. And so at twenty weeks when we went in for our gender reveal ultrasound, it was little surprise to learn that she was indeed a girl…
It was indeed Penelope.
Our greatest adventure yet.