There is a question that is invariably presented in every Bible study and small group I am part of. You may have been asked to consider this question too, if not in a group setting then in casual conversation among believers, or even in a personal study prompt. The question is this: when have you seen God “show up” in your life? The question may be posed differently—when has God answered a big prayer? or when have you been able to look back and see that God was at work?—but ultimately these are all ways of encouraging respondents to reflect on specific instances of God’s faithfulness.
Though I have many possible responses to choose from, one stands out: it’s the story of my twins. If you know me in real life, or if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, that answer probably doesn’t surprise you. And yet it STILL surprises me EVERY SINGLE TIME that I stop to reflect on the miraculous and windy road to their birth.
Unlike some women who dream of birthing multiples, a younger me never imagined I would be a twin mom. I ALWAYS yearned for motherhood, but I assumed my children would come the normal way—one at a time. That was true with Charleston, our first child who was conceived easily and birthed naturally and left us with little reason to doubt that my next pregnancy would proceed in kind. But that second pregnancy never materialized. More than three years later, there was still no pregnancy, and doctors offered slim hope for our future prospects.
This outcome—the one in which we were a one-child family—was not one I expected or desired. It seemed God was answering “no” to our prayers for a second baby, yet I refused to accept His response. We eventually met with a doctor who assured me I would be pregnant in no time, and he was right. Medications were prescribed, self-injections were given, incessant monitoring through endless ultrasounds was endured, bedroom “homework” was faithfully completed at precisely timed intervals. And after months of heartbreak and disappointment, those two blue lines appeared on a stick and my life was forever changed. Little did I know in that exuberant bathroom moment that TWO would be a theme with this pregnancy.
Just days after that first positive test, I began to have an inkling that this was not a typical pregnancy. I was extremely sick and astronomically fatigued, and the hCG levels detected in my initial bloodwork were sky high. Still, nothing could have prepared me for that moment with our nurse practitioner when she moved the ultrasound wand through my uterus and THREE heartbeats appeared on the screen. The possibility of triplets had NEVER occurred to me, and Luke and I left the doctor’s office that day in a haze of utter terror.
After sitting for a while with the idea that we would soon be a family of SIX, we were at peace with what would soon be happening inside my body and our home. But for the second week in a row, an ultrasound presented us with significant news and the accompanying hodgepodge of emotions: the minuscule heart of one of our three babies had stopped beating. We would be bringing just two babies home from the hospital, not three.
This news, though sad, was a blessing. Having adjusted to the idea of having triplets, twins seemed like they would be a walk in the park. And compared with my grueling thirty-six weeks of pregnancy and nightmarish birth experience, raising twins was and has continued to be an absolute dream. That is not to say it has been easy, far from it. Twin newborns (who were exclusively breastfed and didn’t take pacifiers or sleep) were HARD. Twin toddlers (with a homeschooled older brother) were harder. And twin three-year-olds, with all their attitudes and preferences and LOUDNESS, have been hardest of all.
Yet I would not trade life as their mom for anything in the world. It’s a cliché because it’s true: we have double the challenges, but MORE than double the laughter and joy. And in this week leading up to the twins’ fourth birthday, the miracle of Kalinda and Sullivan has been at the forefront of my thoughts.
God did hear my prayers for another child—so loudly that He blessed me with TWO. His blueprint for our family was not anything I would have imagined, yet I can honestly say that His family plan is exceedingly better than what we could have planned for ourselves.
I can see God’s fingerprints over every square inch of our family’s journey. BUT the fact of His faithfulness is not dependent on our happy ending, or anyone else’s. Our story could have been entirely different: we may never have had another child, or we could have had a child with severe special needs, or we could have given birth to twins who did not survive infancy. In all of these possible (tragic) outcomes, I could still have lived in full confidence and assurance that GOD IS FAITHFUL.
It’s easy to celebrate God’s faithfulness when things turn out according to our plans. It’s harder to recognize His faithfulness when life is not going as we wish it would. But God IS faithful, not just because of what He has done for each of us, but because of who He is. I have come to the same understanding as Kelly Winter (a single woman with unfulfilled dreams) who writes, “His character remains true in good times and challenging ones. I cannot make full sense of the suffering and tragedy that happens in life, but I know we have a Kinsman-Redeemer who shares in our suffering and will one day return to make all things new.” It is this—God’s steadfast love and enduring presence and promised redemption—that proves He is good and He is faithful, in every way and at every moment.
Next time I am asked to share a time when I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness, I will likely recount my usual “miracle twin” story. But I could also share the sunrise I observed this morning, that golden orb rising above the horizon like it has every morning since the dawn of time. Or I could cite the thousands of breaths I have inhaled and exhaled today, without having to give thought to a single one. Maybe I could recall the billions of people on this planet who are all seen and cherished by a God who knows the exact number of hairs on every one of their heads. Each of these unacknowledged or under-appreciated miracles is proof of God’s faithfulness.
The Heavens proclaim His glory. His Word proclaims His righteousness. His nail-pierced hands proclaim His mercy and grace. And His authorship of my story—however bumpy or broken or windy it may be—proclaims His faithfulness.