November 12, 2011

Holding a Princess

We sit patiently in the hospital’s surgical waiting room, anticipating your turn in the operating room.   While an early morning talk-show host drones on the television overhead, I quietly look around at the other pediatric patients whose experiences briefly intercept yours.  The littlest ones are blissfully unaware of what awaits them in the next few hours, while the older ones bravely clutch a stuffed animal or toy, some of them whimpering and squirming in their parents’ laps.  The adults in the room all look bleary-eyed, worried, and even slightly impatient.  There are hundreds of places we would rather be at 6:00 on a holiday morning.
There is a large group of people in the corner of the room that is conspicuously different than the others.  Instead of one or two parents trying valiantly not to worry about their child’s imminent surgery, about a dozen adults surround a beautiful baby girl who is obviously the center of their universe.  Parents soothe her and try to juggle the blanket, diaper bag, pacifier, and other paraphernalia that always accompanies a small child.  The grandmother hovers nearby, trying to offer assistance, but mostly gets in the way.  The grandfather is chatting with another older man who is there.  And several other ladies sit quietly in a circle of chairs while knitting a baby blanket, concentrating on a crossword puzzle, or sharing a whispered conversation.

The inner door opens, and everyone looks up expectantly, wondering if their child’s name will be called.  “Emily Smith”, the nurse calls, and scans the room for a response.  Immediately, the group of people stands, but instead of heading immediately towards the waiting nurse, they take a moment to huddle around the baby girl, and hold hands in a protective circle around her.  The older gentleman, whom someone referred to as “Pastor”, offers a beautiful prayer for this precious girl and her surgeon, confidently entrusting her to the hands of the Great Physician.  The grandmother is weeping.

As I observe this wonderful scene from the other side of the room, I can’t help but think of the baby I am holding in my own arms, and the contrast of people and circumstances in her life.    On the day you were born, where were the proud mother and father, beaming over this life that they created and sending out formal announcements to all of their friends?  Where were the proud grandparents snapping pictures and obsessively bragging to anyone who would listen?  Where were the baby showers, welcome-home banners, pink balloons, or other signs to celebrate your arrival?

The doctors who were the first human eyes to see you enter the world did not offer hearty congratulations.  Instead, they offered educated diagnoses based on their medical knowledge;  they ordered tests and scans and lab work;  they began making plans to “fix” you and help you become “normal”.  Meanwhile, the young mother, whose womb had so intimately cocooned you all those months, lay quietly on her hospital bed, alone and afraid, with private tears falling silently to her pillow. 

Unbeknownst to the finite people who witnessed your birth, the God and creator of the universe was looking with tender pleasure at His darling child and admiring His masterpiece.  He knew that every part of you had been carefully knit together while you were still in your mother’s womb, and had been delicately formed with precision and forethought.  He knew that He could use your life in a very special way to bring glory to Himself.  He loved you with every bit as much compassion and tenderness as He loved the much-photographed baby with the hand-stitched blanket who slept in the bassinette next to yours.

Because you were formed in such a unique way, God knew that you would need a specially selected mother.  A mother who would faithfully pray for you, provide for you, and see your beauty.  A mother who would sit with you for hours at the hospital, making sure you receive the very best treatment that medical science has to offer.  A  mother who would diligently anticipate every new developmental milestone you reach.   A mother who would be thrilled beyond measure to see your first smile and to hear your very first laugh.  A mother who would resolutely trust the Lord when there are more questions than answers.

What an honor that He chose me to be your foster mother!  During my previous years of parenting, nurturing, learning, and maturing, God knew that He was preparing me for the moment of your birth.  Every day I look at you with awe, knowing that God formed you with His specific purposes in mind.   You are a Princess, the daughter of the King of the universe!  How amazing to know that He would bless my arms with the privilege of holding you.  That He would give me a front-row seat to watching His handwork on display.

Your surgery today will be your third one since you were born three months ago.  There are no crowds of people surrounding you, no pastors faithfully praying for you, no grandmothers weeping for you.  But the God who is here in this very room cherishes you with an indescribable, unending, perfect love.   He already knows the outcome of your surgery.  He knows the plans He has for your future.  And the arms that hold you at this very moment are so humbled and grateful to be cradling His treasured child.


  1. What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it with us in this blog. Can't wait to see what amazing things God does in and through this new little princess!

  2. God's perfect choice of a family goes with his pefect work of creation. My prayer is strength and wisdom for you and all that play a part in Princess' life. God Bless.

  3. I have read this blog post multiple times and every time it makes me cry.