In October, Andy and I found out that we are going to have a baby. You know how these things go... first you see a plus sign. Then, a heartbeat flickering rapidly somewhere in the midst of a black and white blob on a screen. Then, it's tiny nubs that are becoming ears and balled up fists that are millimeters big. For me, a woman who never did get the "baby bug"- grasping the significance of this has all been very gradual. Had I not felt like a small boulder of molten lava was lodged underneath my rib cage during the month of November, I would have completely forgotten about the whole thing- and, to be honest, even with the molten lava, sometimes I still did.
But today, I think, was a turning point. Yesterday was a big day. Not only did Andy and I see, for the first time, the millimeter fists and the two tiny lobes where thoughts will form and memories will be stored, but I also told my children- the ones who have their own mothers, but who are, in a sense, just a tiny bit mine, too. It was significant to tell them- those children of mine, the ones who changed my life before this new life was started.
Because I'm a Biology teacher, and a sucker for a good test question, I decided to break the news by asking a bonus question on an AP Biology test about cell division. The timing could not have been more perfect because I'd just taught my Juniors and Seniors about meiosis, the cell division process by which eggs and sperm are made. I realize that this is not cutesy and probably is a little gross to some people, but for we science geeks, this played out beautifully. So the question read- "Speaking of meiosis, Mrs. Wermel is expecting a baby in June 2015. In your opinion, is the baby- a. XY or b. XX." Before I gave the test to my AP Biology class, I took a photo of the question and texted it to my class of 2014 kiddos, many of whom are finishing up exams from their first college semester. The response, as this news trickled through the veins of the Hill Country Christian School community, was one of the more precious things I've ever experienced. As students would get to the bonus question, they would look up at me and mouth "congratulations!" or squeal silently at each other. One student, who is on crutches because of a recent surgery, hobbled his way up to my desk just to say, "Is this question real? Congratulations!!" This student's been through a rough patch lately- his happy face was like the poverty-stricken woman who offered her last coin at the temple. To share joy with others while experiencing your own pain is a tremendous gift. Another student received the news while on the fourth floor and ran- fast as he could- down three flights of stairs, down the sidewalk to my portable so that he could wish me a huffing and puffing congratulations and then hug me repeatedly. And finally, another student, who is truly a precious friend, instinctively reached out his hand to my belly- patting ever so lightly. Gentle. Happy. Wonder.
Watching my students process helped me process. Watching them get excited made me excited, too. Joy is contagious. So today, when I got a phone call from my doctor's office with the results of the chromosome blood test that I had done two weeks ago, a new reality was birthed. We have a daughter.
This new reality brought with it a beautiful gravity that made me crave worship. Those first, fleeting glimpses- of heartbeats and baby websites and joy-tears shed by a new grand mom- were getting me ready for this. I'd been praying- who can not about something like this?- but today, the need to worship fell over me like a winter frost. Solemn, pure and beautiful. Why? Because of the truth that this tiny life is a daughter- not my daughter- His daughter. And the weight of that makes me shudder with holy fear- the good kind. The kind that leads to wisdom.
I am blessed to know so many daughters. Every day, I not only watch, but also get to take part of the process that changes them from girls into young women, springing both out and away from their homes and childhoods in messy beauty- rooted, yet free, daring, but timid. They are beautiful, wild things. And so different. These daughters have names- given to them by their mothers who were once like me- and those names are the ones that run across my mind while I think of this tiny daughter who is yet to be. They assure me of one thing- these daughters are treasured, not only by their parents, but by the King himself. I know so many who know Him, who are blossoming underneath His light, becoming like Him- precious in His sight. And I know one thing- she is not mine. She is, but she isn't. And this makes me worship. Not only that- this makes me need to speak truth- to proclaim it over her- I don't even think she has ears to hear it yet- but, still, if I don't say it, won't the rocks cry out? I need her to know that there is Someone she needs to know. Someone who is the Way. The Way back. Because she'll come out precious, but she'll come out broken. Heart in shreds, not because of what she's done or what I'll do, but because of who we are and what we are a part of- a brokenness that was before us that we can't help but contribute to, even from our earliest days, and even with our best intentions. I have to start telling her the truth now. You're broken, little girl, but- and this is the important part- there is a Healer. As I speak these words over her, I call out to Him, too- joining the host of other praying mothers- I know so many- who cry out for their children to know Him. God on high, hear our prayer.
So worship, I must. Because I am a daughter too. Healed. Free. Precious in His sight. And committed to telling this truth to all of the daughters I know- from this tiny one whose ears might not yet hear it, to the hurting ones whose hearts so desperately need to know it, to the blossoming ones whose sweetness and cleverness and giftedness leave me awe-struck at what He is capable of. There is a Way back from the broken. How I pray that all of these daughters-and now one more- will learn to follow Him there.