I still remember – 23 years and 27 days ago when the sweetest little blue-eyed, blond fuzzed baby was handed to me. Minutes before, she had finally emerged after a ten month pregnancy and 16 hour labor, gray and still. The midwife quietly said, “Rick, pray for your baby.” He asked, “Why?” My mother told me later she nearly screamed at that point. My precious midwife simply stated that our little girl was not breathing. While Donna worked to clear her airways and administer oxygen, my young husband prayed for God to breathe life into our little girl. I watched, propped up on my elbows, curiously at peace. In just a few minutes, she took her first breath and began to turn from ashen to rosy. She didn’t cry, but I did. Much later, after we shared a bath of healing herbs and made it through the strenuous ordeal of my first attempt at dressing her, we were tucked into bed together and I looked down at my daughter. All those long months ago when I lay on this same bed terrified at the prospect of the labor I had just experienced, I had no idea how amazing it was going to be. I felt so proud of what I had done. I had never known grace like that – as strength to do something hard, something scary and do it well. To know that no matter what, I could get through it because I wasn’t doing it alone.
When Rick came to me later, a little worried that somehow our little daughter knew he thought she was a boy all this time and was somehow wounded by that, I was still marveling at the grace I had experienced. He was able to dip into it himself and let go of his fears. Together we decided to name our daughter Catherine Grace, which simply means pure grace. She was the living embodiment of the grace we had been learning to receive from our Heavenly Father while she was being formed and delivered.
Now, here I am 23 years and 27 days later, counting the few hours that remain until she leaves us. Of course, she will be back, but not to stay. This is her time to fly. The nest is too small. The community is too small. The entire state of Texas is too small! This woman has a heart for the nations and she won’t be held back! She is still the living embodiment of pure grace. She has an astonishing capacity for love and joy that I could never have given her. She is a priceless treasure, mine and yet not mine anymore.
And this mother is once again looking for the grace to do something hard, something scary and do it well.