The journey to gratitude often starts with a single step or a leap of faith. It generally isn’t hard for me to deal with change, since adaptability is one of my strengths. However, there are still hard things in life, which are put there for a reason. Perhaps they are put there so that we can one day look back in gratitude. On Sunday we had Toby’s baby dedication. The preparation leading up to it was a time to both look back at the journey and look forward to things yet to come. I am so grateful for God’s love and mercy and grace through it all. His plan is greater.
Just over a year before Toby’s birth, I wrote these words:
I think people wonder where is the fairness and why do we have to suffer through such sad, hard things? The true desire of her heart is to have children to love. How many parents don’t even plan for or appreciate their children?
Universally people seem to have the hardest time with the issue of suffering and fairness. People wonder if God truly is all-powerful, then why would he allow his creations to go through pain and suffering? The problem is that we have a hard time understanding the big picture. We see things with a limited view and not with an eternal (forever) view.
People especially wonder why seemingly good people must suffer? And why seemingly bad people do not suffer. The answer is that even if this is true in the short term, it is not true in the long term (think eternally). God’s people will live forever with him in Heaven. The others will suffer forever in Hell.
God allowed Jesus, his son, to suffer for a greater purpose. Even Jesus questioned God. On the cross, Jesus asked God why he abandoned him. Jesus had to suffer in order to save all those that believe in him. When we suffer it is also for a greater purpose. In our suffering, we are a witness to others. To be a witness, we must see the bigger picture, the eternal. We can point others to God’s love by realizing that our suffering is temporary, but God’s love is forever.
God, thank you for loving me, thank you for my two babies in Heaven who you will forever love and take care of.
“Our suffering is temporary, but God’s love is forever.”
The story didn’t end there. God fulfilled the desire of her heart and brought Toby into our lives. We were able to share the following at his dedication.
Our son Toby is very special and is the child that we have all been praying and hoping for. A few years ago, we were diagnosed with infertility, so we did not know if we would ever be able to have children of our own. That year, I traveled to New York City to get special, Catholic-based fertility medical care and was finally able to conceive, but then had consecutive pregnancy losses. We then continued my Catholic-based fertility treatments in the Albany area and also significantly improved our diet and exercise with the Daniel Plan, becoming pregnant with Toby last February. During this time, we used our church’s theme verse for the year from Luke 9:22-23, to “deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him.” Throughout this time, we needed to continue on unselfishly following God’s plan for us, even though it was still very hard going to so many doctors’ appointments, taking many different medications daily, and having constant monitoring of the pregnancy. We ended up having a healthy pregnancy and healthy birth, with Toby arriving last October. Toby has truly been a blessing to us and is a gift from God. He is our “rainbow baby,” who is our firstborn after years of infertility and miscarriages.
As Patty mentioned, we suffered from infertility and miscarriages. From our human perspective, we felt that we were being denied what we wanted. However, isn’t that the very definition of grace? You see, God had a bigger plan and we were able to touch infinitely more lives God’s way.
Toby brings so much joy to all those he comes in contact with. Even in the womb, he was bringing joy to the people of Honduras. We got a sense of his playful personality in the womb, but have since experienced his wonderful, loving, and joyful personality in an indescribable way as we have seen him grow from a little fragile newborn into a maturing little baby boy over these last couple of months.
There are several baby dedications in the Bible. For example, Mary and Joseph dedicated their son Jesus in Luke Chapter 2. Also, Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord. Hannah’s dedication is special to me because my Mom told me that she, as a young mother, dedicated me to God in the same way that Hannah dedicated Samuel. Hannah used these words: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” This is the prayer that we have for Toby here today.
The name Samuel means “God has heard.” God heard Hannah’s prayer and dedication and He hears us. When God revealed the name Toby to Patty, we found out that Toby means “God is good.” We knew that Toby would forever be a reminder of how good God really is.
When God created humans, He created us in His own image as God, our Father. It is inspiring to realize that Toby (our son) was also created in the image of his parents (Patty and me). When people compliment us about how beautiful and cute Toby is, I can only smile and remember that it is not from our doing, but to God be all the glory. With the addition of Toby to our family, we have experienced a unique kind of love that only a parent can have for a child. God, our Father, loves us so much as His children and has given us Toby as a precious gift, which in turn we freely give back to Him for His eternal purposes. We look forward to raising Toby such that he may someday proudly proclaim, “I am a child of the one true King.”
Praise God for Toby and the lives he has touch and will touch in his life.