It was summer and I was hoping. The night before I took a pregnancy test, I had a dream where I was standing in a bright nursery, sun streaming in, holding my swollen belly. I was beginning to have my suspicions based on some of my symptoms, like the constant peeing, the immensely sore breasts, and a kind of physical tiredness that is incomparable to any other kind of tired. But, I was hesitant. I was so hoping for another child to add to our family, but I could also remember the feelings that came with taking pregnancy tests and having them show up negative. Could it happen again? Could my body conceive and carry life a second time? Something about the dream felt like it was a vision of things to come and so I held my breath and waited. And moments later, there they were. Two clear lines.
I was pregnant.
Only six months before, our marriage was hanging on by a thread. Over the five plus years Todd and I had been married, I had changed and healed. I remember sharing with a close friend that I felt as though I had evolved and wasn’t the same person I was when I got married. The me that I had become was different and I didn’t know if I could be married to the same man anymore. Healing in one place seemed to reveal brokenness in another, and I wanted to hang onto my wholeness somehow and I thought ending my marriage would do that. I can’t explain what happened other than to say, “But, God.”
“But, God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4a), stepped in and saved our marriage.
He changed my heart and showed me more of grace and brought about restoration.
My husband and I enjoyed a renewed season of joy and passion and all of the sex and intimacy that came with it.
Finding out I was pregnant that summer morning, felt like the finale to this grand chapter God had been writing in our marriage story. I remember saying throughout my pregnancy that I loved that I was going to have this physical, tangible reminder in the life of our child that pointed to a season that began with death and ended in birth. Where our marriage almost died and God brought it to life again. Our baby was, and always will be, conceived and born out of redemption. It is one of my favorite ‘But, God’ stories to share.
Fast forward a few years, and the life growing in my womb is now a boy. Jacob is a wild mess of sweaty blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes full of mischief and a wonder, and has a smile that can light up a whole room all on its own. He is adorable and he knows it. Most days, he is running from one end of our house to the other dressed as Captain America or Batman off to save the day and take down the bad guy. I’ve lost count of the walls and surfaces he has managed to color on, the remnants of his scribbles still found in my kitchen and our dining room table. Dark, black permanent marker and bright red crayon, sharp jagged marks and hard lines that reflect his aggression and intensity. He is vibrant and loud, passionate and tender. And he is perhaps the cutest boy I have ever seen in my life, though I’m sure I’m a tad biased.
Jacob turned four at the end of February. He was celebrated big with family and friends and his most favorite superhero, Batman, who was able to get away from Gotham City for an hour to be with us for his party. He tore through his presents and gave his loud, guttural exclamations of approval on his gifts. “Oooooh Yeaaa!!” he exclaimed over and again.
There are times where I feel as though I step outside of a moment and peer into it, taking everything in around me and feeling all there is to feel. That day, it was the noise and excitement of the children watching on, blue tissue paper flying out of super-hero gift bags, and the uneaten chocolate cake with bright yellow frosting sitting next to me. The knowing glance I shared with my husband as it all unfolded around us, as if we say to one another, “It’s never perfect, but it is beautiful and glorious and he’s ours and we’ve made this together and isn’t it great?”
In that moment, much like many others before, I felt profoundly aware of the goodness of what it means to know Jesus. Our marriage, our children, our family – we are all held and pieced together by all of the ‘But, God’ moments in our lives. Going through conflicts within marriage, parenting a strong-willed and emotional child, navigating job changes and financial issues – all of those things have started to feel less overwhelming the older I get and the longer I walk with Jesus. We have a history now, and God is always faithful. My story, my marriage, my personal walk with Jesus are full of these beautiful Ebenezers that tell of the times when God showed up, when He rescued, when He Provided.
Looking into the face of my blonde-headed boy on his birthday reminded me of one of the many places I’ve experienced God’s wild, extravagant and lavish love. One of my favorite ‘But, God’ stories looks back at me with a boyish grin, and it is so good.
Deeply rooted in South Texas, Jennifer Stamness is a sunshine-lover, wife and mother to two young boys. She enjoys creating beauty in places like writing, music, decorating and throwing parties. She desires to follow Jesus into the unknown places He invites her to and is thankful for His abundant and amazing grace. Jennifer writes, dreams and shares pieces of her story here.