Dear Asa

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Today, I find myself wondering about who you are and what you will become. There is so much to learn and know about you. While we wait and prepare for your arrival, we eagerly gobble up every bit of information about you that we can.  We cling to little tidbits, like how fast your heart beats… and how much you move in Mama’s belly. We were on pins and needles for weeks while we waited to learn you were a second little boy, and from there, all of our wonder turned to what your name would be.

Mama and Daddy decided to split the fun of choosing a name. We decided if you were a boy, Mama would choose the first name, and Daddy would choose the middle… so as soon as I saw blue smoke furling into the sky I knew you were my “Asa.” What a moment that was! To suddenly feel as though I knew you so much better! To put a name to the little 11oz life wiggling around inside of me! To be able to rest my hand on my belly and pray for you by name! For Zane to come and pat you and say “Baby Asa” while he leans in to give you a kiss.  There is tremendous joy in simply knowing your name!

What I didn’t know was what Daddy would choose for your middle name.  It took a few days, but he came to me the other night and said it would be “Jude.”  My heart smiles at this, and always will, because I know what that name means, and I know your Daddy and what it means for him. It means “praise.”  From a man who  almost lost his wife and baby son two years ago, it fills me with joy to know that apprehension and concern have fallen by the wayside, and today, “praise” is firmly established in their stead.

“Asa Jude”

It is a perfect name… one that seems to be tailored to you, better than we could have planned ourselves.

I believe one of the most powerful gifts we can bestow on you as parents, is to choose a meaningful name. In the Bible, a name was so significant that it directly influenced the personality, and even the lifetime of the recipient.  It usually contained a legitimate blessing that they would partake of through the years, and oftentimes, it framed the story surrounding their arrival into this world. Choosing a name, for us, is more than picking something fashionable or unique, or timeless… we want to choose names for our children that are deep with significance for each individual life… Something that tells their story and bestows a blessing upon their life…

That’s why, I have chosen “Asa.” It means “healer.”  We are filled with gratitude to the Lord for giving us Zane, but the complicated pregnancy I had with him could have permanently defined our home as a family of 3. After living through months of horrific pain and sickness, a premature delivery, a stroke, heart failure,  pre-eclampsia, there were many who believed that pregnancy was not something I should subject myself to again. Some doctors insisted it was unwise and should be completely avoided. And even though Daddy and I still wanted more children, the experience truly left us shaken and hesitant.

We knew what could happen if I got pregnant again… I was aware of all the suffering I may face… I was prepared for the months of violent sickness… I braced myself for the excruciating head pain… I knew there would be shots, every single day, to protect us both…. I understood that I was at risk for a second stroke… but as a Mama, I also knew that all of those things pale when you look into the eyes of the life you traded them for. When I look at Zane, I don’t care about what I had to go through to have him. I’d do it a million times over, and have it a thousand times worse just to have him in my life. So I knew that regardless of what lay ahead for me… you would be worth it. We wanted you in our lives… All the risks associated with that were present… but they could not deter us. We chose to step out in faith, and we placed it in God’s hands.

I marvel every day of this pregnancy, that contrary to all expectations, your presence has been so gentle…

I’ve had no sickness… no headaches… no complications…   Never, in a million years, did I believe it was possible for me to experience a pregnancy so flawless as this! If it wasn’t for the endless cartwheels you are doing inside of me, and the little knees and elbows that protrude with your hearty strength, or the rapidly growing belly, I would never believe I was pregnant.  I can’t explain the depth of awe and gratitude I have for how the Lord has worked so miraculously on our behalf!

When I first learned I was expecting you, the Lord gave me the scripture Isaiah 55:13, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” 

I see High-Risk Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors from Little Rock regularly, and they gather around at every appointment to get everyone on the same page, and at every visit, one of them points out that I have the most complicated case many of them have ever seen in their entire careers. Even though I have maintained generally good health in the last year and a half, they’ve been studying my health with a fine-tooth comb, laying out strategies, and preparing for the worst case scenarios…  but I have this tremendous assurance in my soul, from God Himself, that this time will be different.

Where everyone expects thorns and briers, God says there will be fir and myrtle trees! As this pregnancy has progressed, I’ve chosen not to make my decisions based on the history and expectations…. But on the promise that it will go well. Son, when I think of you, I think about how remarkable it is that fear can jeopardize the most beautiful things in our life from coming to pass. If we had allowed the harrowing experiences of yesterday to determine our lives going forward… we would not have you in our lives today.  

You have taught me, sweet boy, that decisions cannot be based in fear. They must be grounded in faith. You may be less than 12″ long, but already, your little life bears a message. It says “Things do not have to be the same.” Running parallel to all of this physical healing has been a spiritual healing… You entered my life during a time of healing… of restoration… a time of setting fear aside and choosing courage and faith… I have seen newness all around me. Newness in my body, newness in my soul… and now there is you! A new life to crown the hour!

Life is a long journey full of all kinds of experiences… We are all destined to live through good and bad experiences… But when the memories of the bad times threaten to compromise the brightness of the future…  I will think of you.  Your presence in our lives will always remind me of the myrtle trees that sprung up instead of the briers!

I treasure the lessons bound up in my little boy, Asa Jude. God uses you to increase my faith every single day. I pray they will be the lessons, and the blessings that stick by you all the days of your life. I pray that as you walk through life and experience the highs and lows of this world… that “healing” and “praise” will be the chorus that rings from the depth of your soul… That broken and shattered situations will never intimidate you… because you know the Healer. When the hour comes in your life, that all you see ahead is thorns and briers… I want you to remember the myrtle trees.

Love always and forever,