Life consists of many beginnings and endings. And Josiah’s beginning was in 2012 when I felt God’s call to trust Him. Trust Him with our family size. Again. After 4 kids, I was feeling like our family was possibly full. Two boys, two girls, almost perfect. But, I was not content. God was calling me beyond this picture to something….I didn’t know what at the time. My Bible study notebook from that year, in which we studied Genesis (which means beginning) is full of quotes that was preparing me for the hard years ahead: “Yielding your rights to God will result in loss and gain,” God’s will is not a guarantee of no problems. Following God’s will is going to be tough for a while.” I thought the “problems” would involve space and monetary issues. Not a transformation of my heart.
A few months after surrendering control, God blessed us with a pregnancy. But this baby’s life ended a few weeks after it began. And so in 2013 I began another year of Bible study, a bit bruised. But, I learned to give my expectations to God. And again, He was trying to prepare me for what lay ahead: “Despair often leads to grace” is one of the things I wrote in my notebook.
The despair came in 2014 with the loss of Cora. And that fall, I started Bible study broken. What I thought was the beginning of new life kept ending. God answered all my hard questions and reassured me that I hadn’t misunderstood His directions. And He kept asking me, Do I trust Him? After all the losses, do I still believe in following His will? God gave me so many points to ponder! “Being at the center of God’s will can cause problems,” “Faith will open my hand to receive God’s promises,” “A believing heart magnifies God; an unbelieving heart magnifies problems,” “I will not fear because God will not fail,” “Am I ready to move forward with God’s plan?”
I healed, with a holy scar on my heart. And, again, God blessed us with another pregnancy at the start of my Bible study. Appropriately in 2015, our study was on Revelation, the last book, the end, of the Bible. And the year started with this promise: “I have confided in you a word of hope.” And I clung to that hope for 9 long months. And I rested in the thought that “My job is not to win the battle, but to follow the battle plan.”
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13.
I mulled over that verse as I waited for the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of Josiah’s life on earth to come. God knew I would need those words during my hospital stay. For when we checked into the Labor and Delivery room, I was assigned the same room where I had given birth to Cora. Fears crept in during the long night of labor, especially when Josiah’s heart rate dropped and the nurses had to abruptly stop labor until he stabilized.
But God had carried us through 4 years of trials and He wasn’t stepping away from us now. God turned an ending, Cora’s life, into a beginning, Josiah’s life. He’s constantly weaving pain and joy together, to create a new harmony. “To all who mourn…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)
We chose Josiah Samuel’s name to express what we’ve learned through it all. Josiah means “God supports” and Samuel means “I hear God.” God has provided for all our needs through these ordeals; we have seen His hand, heard His word, clearly. When I look at my baby boy, I see so much more than tiny features and innocent eyes. I see God and the promise of many beginnings for him and us, yet to come.