His Mercies are New Every Morning
Twenty-four hours earlier, at the crack of dawn and at 39 and 3 days pregnant, I got the call that I was dreading, yet knew was coming. It was a call from my dad, saying we had to leave right away and get to the hospital as fast as possible—my mom was taking her last breaths, and we had to go say goodbye. Five days earlier, I had given her one last hug and kiss as I watched her being wheeled away for open heart surgery to fix her mitral valve. It was a risky surgery for her as she had a lot of health complications, but the doctors thought this was the best option to increase her quality of life. She went willingly into surgery trusting God with the outcome, noting many times beforehand that “it was well with her soul”. Even though she made it through the surgery, the next few days were full of drastic setbacks until there was nothing left for the doctors to do but to see if her body could pull through. We prayed for a miracle, we prayed for wisdom for the doctors, we prayed for extra time, but that bright, beautiful, sunny Sunday morning at 8:52, my mom left this earth and saw Jesus face to face.
That evening, I went to bed physically exhausted, emotionally drained and so, so sad. Shortly before midnight, I woke up to go to the bathroom (39 weeks pregnant will do that to you!) and couldn’t fall back asleep. Then, at exactly midnight on the dot, the start of a new day, I had a very strong contraction. It caught me by surprise how strong it was, and when the next one followed only two minutes later, I still thought it was a fluke. By the third strong contraction, I knew that things were picking up and that I better finish packing my bags, since we weren’t prepared. As the contractions continued every three to four minutes I knew we had no time to waste. We got to the hospital with no time to spare. Adalyn Marie was born 17 minutes after we walked through the hospital doors, and only an hour and 52 minutes after that first initial contraction!
Sitting there in that hospital bed, contemplating the whirlwind of the past twenty-four hours, I was filled with such bittersweet emotions. We went from one extreme to the other—death to life, sorrow to joy, endings to beginnings. It was too much for my heart to handle, but the Lord was demonstrating his sweet mercy with the timing of it all. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:19-26). When my first contraction happened at midnight on the dot, it was as if God whispered in my heart that this was the start of a new day, a new beginning. Joy can come out of sorrow, and His mercy and grace would carry me through. In the days that followed, I remember nursing my baby girl and crying out to God, asking why everything had to happen this way. I felt this tender realization that it was exactly how the Lord had planned it out. He knew what I needed. None of this came as a surprise to God, and there is nothing that can happen to take away or change the number of days the Lord has given to us (Psalm 139:16). He knew that my mom’s passing and Adalyn’s birth would be mere hours apart, and in His great mercy, He knew that new life in the midst of great grief would bring great joy. By stripping everything away, the only thing I could do was cling to Him, and He knew that this situation could be used to draw me close and strengthen my dependence on Him.
This twenty-four hour period was life-changing in more ways than one. But, the biggest change that started that day was the one inside my heart. In the months that followed, the Lord became my rock, my protector, my comforter. He started teaching me (sometimes I was kicking and screaming) how to rest in Him (Psalms 62:6-8). He continues to teach me now, four years later, that His ways are holy (Psalm 77:13). He is in control, and my salvation has nothing to do with my abilities, or my works, but everything to do with His great love and mercy (Romans 9:16).