A new baby.
On the night before I went into labor we'd gone to Curt’s parent’s house. It was an emotional evening. We’d recently learned that Carol’s cancer was back – and had spread to her liver. We knew it was serious. There were tears, prayers, and much discussion about options.
We returned home late that night. At 2 AM I woke up from labor pains. I'll spare you the details, but finally at 1:30 that afternoon we welcomed our first daughter, Emily, into the world.
We felt like we'd been on an emotional roller coaster. The night before had been so full of sadness, yet the following day we felt such joy. I remember when Curt’s parents came to visit. It was nice to see them smile.
In the weeks following Thanksgiving, Carol’s health declined quickly. Friends and family stopped by to visit or drop off a meal. Most visitors had one thing in common. After the initial, “How are you feeling” and “I’ll be praying for you,” there usually was an awkward silence. No one knew what to say. But our tiny baby provided the perfect distraction. Carol loved showing off her granddaughter, and Emily brought a bit of happiness during that difficult time. Especially one day, about two weeks before Christmas.
During that time, Carol had been too weak and nauseous to get out of bed. That’s why, when I stopped by on my way to the mall, I was surprised to see her resting in a chair.
“I'm actually having a pretty good day,” she said, gazing at the little pink bundle in my arms. “How about you leave the baby with us while you go shopping?”
Carol reached out toward Emily. I placed the baby in her arms.
“Are you sure you're okay?” I glanced at my father-in-law, across the room. He gave me a nod.
“We'll be just fine,” she said, stroking Emily’s hair.
I was only gone an hour or two, but when I returned I found Emily and Carol exactly as I'd left them. Emily was fast asleep, still snuggled into Grandma’s arms.
At that moment I knew one thing for sure. I couldn't have given my mother-in-law a better Christmas gift.
This time of year always reminds me of Carol, but I'm also reminded of God’s perfect timing. After all, He gave us a wonderful gift – right in the middle of that difficult season.
Maybe you’re going through a tough time right now. It may not be as serious as losing a loved one. Or maybe it is. Either way, take comfort. And I hope you'll look for a delightful distraction in the midst of the mess.