He Came That They May Have Life
It is Easter of 2019, and as I sit here writing, I'm watching my little baby boy, Peter George roll around the carpet ( he's not crawling just yet, but I think he should be in a matter of days.) He brings me so much joy that sometimes both my cheeks and heart hurt. Over the last 8 months, there have been times when I have held back the urge to pinch myself that he is real, and that there is a real little baby in my arms smiling up at me. How different things were even this time last year....
As many of you know, my husband Chris and I lost our first-born daughter Mary Rose as a full-term stillborn in March of 2017 after an excruciatingly difficult pregnancy. The day after delivering our daughter, we found out that my father-in-law had Stage 3 Esophageal Cancer ( he is cancer-free now, praise God!) and then we suffered a devastating miscarriage 6 months later. All in all, 2017 was a very difficult year to say the least, and to say that we were ready for 2018 to usher in a new beginning was an understatement.
On January 4th, 2018, I went into my family doctor for feelings of light-headedness, and was asked, “There wouldn't be any chance that you could be pregnant, correct?” I told her that while my husband and I were very open to this happening, it would be HIGHLY unlikely that I would be experiencing symptoms this early after an even possible conception. Boy, was I wrong. She gave me a pregnancy test in her office, and came back with a huge grin on her face saying, “Well, I don't believe it, but this is literally the strongest and earliest positive that I've ever seen on a pregnancy test!” Enter little Peter George Naida....
While we were over-joyed with the news that we were expecting again, it became very clear that we were in for another very difficult pregnancy with my hyperemesis (severe nausea and vomiting for all 9 months of pregnancy) multiple hospital stays for dehydration/ fainting episodes and a diagnosis of a genetic predisposition to blood clotting in pregnancy, which in turn meant twice daily very painful heparin injections. My obstetrician told me towards the end of our pregnancy with Peter that he hadn't seen a pregnancy like mine in is his thirty years of practice, but even realities like this couldn't overshadow our joy that Peter was very healthy and without the extremely rare genetic disorder that had afflicted our little Mary Rose.
On August 30th, 2018 at approximately 2:00am, we welcomed Peter George Naida into the world, and our lives have been filled with unspeakable joy ever since.
What God is Teaching Me
After the last two and a half years of my life, I can truly say that in the times of suffering that inevitably come to all of us in this life, there is great grace for the unforseen lessons that God means to teach us. My hope and prayer is that He might speak to you through what I've experienced, because as I have found, everyone has “something.”
An Attitude of Gratitude
I must admit, there have been times the last 8 months, when new parenthood has all but knocked the wind out of me....the colicy first months, the midnight wakings, the sleep deprivation....the diaper blowouts. Even in these moments, I wouldn't trade having Peter for anything, for I have also tasted the bitter agony of holding a lifeless child in my arms. Although I have to constantly check myself, I am trying to stay thankful for every single moment with Peter, even the hard ones. Even in the difficult moments, God has truly been faithful in satisfying the deepest desires of my heart.
There is No Resurrection without the Cross
I wish that I knew why some have to suffer through unspeakable pain along the road of life, especially the road to things that are such goods like wanting to have children or even get married in the first place. The only thing that I've been able to really hold onto is the truth that the “resurrection” tastes all the sweeter once we've carried the cross on the way there. Whatever your cross is (and we all have them) it is so temporary in the light of eternity, and when the “resurrection” from your cross comes, there will be joy like you've never known. If you are “stuck” with the weight of your cross and things look bleak, it's because your resurrection hasn't come yet, and it will, I promise you that it will. God's truth for us is that if there is a cross, there must be a resurrection, even if that resurrection comes not in this life, but in the one to come.
He Came that they Might have Life!
Sometimes, when we are in periods of great darkness or suffering, we can forget the truth that God came to bring us not only everlasting life for all eternity, but life to the full here and now! In this season of my life, the fullness of life He has for me is the literal gift of our son Peter's life, but He means to give all of us good gifts here on earth because He is a good Father. Coming out from the other side of my own suffering has convicted me even more strongly that it is God's great pleasure to rescue His people from darkness. Although the journey can be long and arduous, He always, ALWAYS means to fulfill the desires of our heart at the end of the story, and when He comes again He will put all things in right order and make all things new.
The Fulfillment of All Our Desires
All this being said, what does “fulfilling the desires of our heart” really look like? Does it mean that just because I pray for what I want, God answers that prayer in the exact way that I expected? What about all the seemingly “good and honorable” prayers that go “unanswered” in this life? I believe that our heart's deepest desires are always fulfilled by the Lord, even if this fulfillment comes differently than expected.
As an example from my own life, for as long as I can remember I've loved children and wanted to have my own. According to my “own plans” I imagined God fulfilling this desire by giving me a large family at a very young age, but God's will for my life has looked radically different. Instead of having a large family at a young age, I was able to teach literally thousands of children in elementary music for almost 15 years and have the great blessing of ten beautiful Godchildren and two adorable nephews in my life. While these blessings were of course different than having my own biological children, God still satisfied the desires of my heart in His perfect way. While difficult, I believe such situations provide an opportunity for us to make a deep act of trust in a loving Father who knows our innermost beings and all of the desires of our heart, even more than we in fact know these things. Because He is love itself, He knows the very best way to meet all the aches of our heart, for at the end of the day, He is THE truest fulfillment of all of our desires. May our hope and delight be in the God who has come that we might have life!
“ Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart!” Psalm 37:4
By Elizabeth Naida
Elizabeth Naida is a current stay-at-home mom and an elementary music teacher by profession. When she's not taking care of her wonderful son Peter, she enjoys spending time with her husband Chris, reading, playing the piano, running and kayaking in her beloved Great Lakes.