The sun slanted through the palm trees, hitting my eyes like a strobe-light, and to my left, far down the cliffs, gold sparkled and danced on the ocean that got smaller and smaller as we made our way up. I cranked the radio and together we sang, we worshiped, me with my loud mouth, and Avea with her sweet sweet howling. Suddenly, a wave of something I could not describe came over me, a deep stillness, a powerful and overwhelming gratitude, mixed with all sorts of something shaking me to my emotional core. I asked God what was happening.
We had passed a wide open rice field, with the morning mist rising to meet the sun, and I was transported back to another day, when I had passed this very same field. A day when I rode in the back of a van with my feet propped up and a river of red growing, staining the towel I sat on. A day exactly one year ago.
On that day, I looked out the window and stared at this passing field, and my whispered prayer fogged up the glass as I asked God to somehow come and bring life back to this baby that I had almost surely already lost. The green stalks of rice poking up through the water had looked like life, but I felt numb as death came close. I looked down at Frances' fingers woven together tightly with mine. Braided tan and white fingers resting on my little swollen stomach.
That snapshot of life had been stored in my soul, a moment frozen in time to bring me back to the alter of gratitude.
As I drove, I cried. I raised one hand (the one not on the wheel) and worshiped from a place in my spirit so deep that new sounds came out that I did not know were there before. And Avea continued to sing.
This past year held moments of fear, snapshots of life, and much hand-holding with Jesus.
We believe that we lost Avea's twin that day, and nearly lost her. Every doctor who saw the two hematomas crowding my uterus believed that the chances of our baby surviving were not very great.
And so we rested... only literally at first, but then I learned, and let myself sink back into those arms that have been holding me all along. I learned that He wants, He deserves, my worship, my heart, even when I do not see the outcome yet.... even if the outcome is not what I had in mind. He wants me to want Him, and not just what He can give.
So on my back, I learned to worship again, learned to stare into my Savior's face, not to see what He could give me, but just because I wanted to be there. He healed deep places. He sang songs of peace over us.
And God breathed life and gave us this sweet, incredible, breath-taking miracle who likes to sing at the top of her lungs, who makes the world stop for a moment when she smiles.
The alter of gratitude is piled high with stones today... in that field, the one where I once felt desperation and hopelessness. The new rice stalks wave in the wind, bright green with new life, and I pass by slowly, hearing worship mixed with spit noises coming from the backseat.
To all of you who prayed with us one year ago: Thank you. With eyes filled with tears, and hearts overwhelmed with gratitude, we say thank you.