Baby Number 3
We aren’t for sure how many kids we want. We knew we weren’t done at 2, but weren’t really ready or ready to plan number 3. 2017 was a tough year for us. We experienced our first losses as a married couple. In April 2017, we lost my husbands sister. It was a loss that brought a lot of guilt, conviction, and hurt to our family. It was an unexpected car accident. An unexpected nephew needing a good home. An unexpected battle of police and investigator phone calls. And unexpected renewing of our relationships with God to learn how to overcome again.
Later that same month, my grandpa passed away. I was very young when previous great-grandparents and my grandma passed away, so it was my first experience of death in my family. My grandpa was a minister and witnessed to people everywhere he went. Whether it be a MLB or the Old Spaghetti Factory, he wanted those around him to have the opportunity to learn about Christ. Even with that assurance of his eternity, it was still a loss that brought a sting to my heart.
We leaned on God. We played worship music at all times at home. But we still struggled. We had some great encounters with God while we prayed and looked to Him. I am so grateful for our personal growth the year and months before these events or I fear out outcome and reactions would not have been the same. We still struggled and felt distant from God at times. Easter weekend is full of great worship music and lyrics like “Oh death where is your sting”. But I would get angry at those songs because death does sting. I see it every day in my husband as he goes through the waves of grief that hit unexpectedly.
But joy comes in the morning.
Even if we can’t see it at the time, God is planting His joy in our hearts again.
In November 2017 I spent my first weekend away from my family, my first anything away from Ember! She was 19 months old at the time and still nursing. It was a family reunion girls weekend with my mom, sisters, aunts, and cousins. We went to Dallas to the Propel Women’s Conference with Christine Caine, Beth Moore, Lisa Harper, Passion Worship, and many other great speakers! It was so refreshing and such a great experience with my awesome family. Some things that stood out to me that weekend was a reoccurring theme God was showing me… He is ABLE to do all that He has promised (Romans 4:21). And alsothat deliverance is not always comfortable, for example Moses parting and crossing the Red Sea. Do you think all of those Israelites were fearless with those walls of water high above them? That weekend I searched for promises in the Bible of joy, deliverance, restoration and was excited to bring that home to my family. Another Holy Spirt moment from the weekend was a teaching of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. Elisha prophesied over her that “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” That in fact happened, but years later he got sick and died. The mother had faith that God did not give her a son just to take him away from her. Despite her distress, she continued to have her soul be well and go to Elisha to have the Lord restore her son. Her faith and strength is so encouraging in this story. But during this particular timeframe at the conference, Christine Caine said “this is a word for someone in this room, you will hold your son at this season next year.” In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit move and I was so certain someone around me was pregnant! I was excited and hopeful for that person, but never suspected the reason I had felt the Holy Spirit move.
A few short weeks later we found out we were expecting another child. We were in shock. I was still nursing our now 20 month old and we were taking birth control to prevent a pregnancy at the time. We didn’t know how to process this pregnancy. The concept of bringing another person into the world, especially after losing Ethan’s sister in this world, it just was a tough concept to wrap our minds around this time. We didn’t have the excitement of sharing the news. We didn’t have the strong desire to run to the doctor and learn everything we could about our future child. The devil came to steal, kill, and destroy and he robbed us of the joy in the first months of the pregnancy. I struggled with extreme guilt. I was pregnant for a third time when there are people begging and pleading for a first, successful pregnancy. I didn’t even want to share our news. We decided to wait until after Christmas to share with our families. It helped the excitement a little bit, but only grew my guilt. It’s hard to explain, but the pregnancy just took a long time to process.
Before finding out we were pregnant, Ethan & I talked about pursuing adoption of his nephew. He was born exactly a year between Cove and Ember. After visiting them at Christmas, I did not feel at peace with it. I did not feel I could give the proper attention and affection to a 4 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old, and newborn, while having a full time job and an evening/weekend home business. I was very torn about this, and again struggling with guilt. But my understanding husband did not push the issue, even though we both are very open to a future adoption and feel God could grow our family that way some day.
I didn’t have the desire to find out the gender. Part of the stolen excitement I’m sure. But deep down I kept going back to Christine’s message, “you will hold your baby boy.” I started to feel moved and convicted by the Holy Spirit. Do I believe the Bible is true? Of course. Do I believe that Jesus spoke to Mary, Elizabeth, Rebekah and many others about their pregnancies? Yes I do. So why am I struggling to believe that the Holy Spirit can communicate about a pregnancy in modern times?
We bounced around some names, but it’s pretty hard when you don’t know the gender! One thing we knew was that we wanted it to be meaningful. I was wondering if we put enough thought into our names for Cove and Ember and would often pray for a God given name for this baby. As I read my Bible I searched for all names and words that could be a name for this baby. During my search, God revealed to me a story line of our current children. Cove was our covenant with God. Him joining our family was our first desire and commitment to God that we wanted a Godly home and to raise our children up the right way. Entering parenthood lead us into a church search and put us on our adult covenant with God. Then when Ember was born, it lit a fire in our souls to want more and more of God. To seek out and move with the Holy Spirit. So both of our children had meaningful names after all!
In April 2018, I went to the Outcry Tour in Wichita with some of close girlfriends. These girls are ones I have prayed with, cried with, shared joy with, and really have been a blessing from God to me. This was also almost exactly a year after my sister in laws passing. So it was a tough week for us at home. This tour consisted of 4 worship groups and again Christine Caine. I have to admit I was hoping for some sort of confirmation that this baby was in fact a boy. I didn’t want to “feel” the Holy Spirit wrong. A few days before the event I heard on the radio, “Do you believe in God or do you believe God?” That really rocked me. If I believed God, I wouldn’t need a human confirmation. I felt the Holy Spirit and I needed to believe God. The worship at Outcry was so amazing and refreshing. I wish everyone could have experienced it. During one of the songs, the worship leader said “declare this over yourself, prophecy this over yourself”. And I felt God tell me that if I believed I could speak truth over myself and declare God’s promises over myself, why wouldn’t I believe and declare God’s own words over myself. I instantly knew it was about was I believed/wasn’t sure to believe what was spoken in Dallas. At that moment I started to see flashes of digital mountains. Each flash was a different image of digital mountains changing each time, but always some sort of mountain. I say digital because I’m often working at a computer and do design work so God sometimes shows me digital visions as opposed to real life images. I was feeling these images may be a name confirmation. Probably 30 minutes later, Elevation Worship sang the song “Do it again”. This is such a powerful song! Some of the lyrics include…
Walking around these walls
I thought by now they'd fall
But You have never failed me yet…
I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
During this song God really spoke to my spirit. He said “Have I not moved so many mountains in your life, in your marriage, in your personal relationships with me, in this last year in general? I am not done moving mountains. This baby is the top of a mountain and will move mountains, this baby is a blessing.” We know all babies are a gift from God, but my soul needed that confirmation that this baby is God given and part of His plan. He knows what’s on our plate, what we have going on in life, how overwhelmed we feel sometimes. And this baby is still the perfect piece. But more so this baby is a mountain mover. And that spoke to me so strongly. I got home at 2 in the morning and told Ethan everything. And we both knew… this baby was Zion.
But God continues to amaze. He didn’t stop there with the confirmation. The next night I received a text from a friend who was also at the Outcry Tour. She told me she had such a great experience at the event but had a weird dream that night. We were at her grandma’s old house in Texas and we were talking about Mount Zion. Ethan and I were shocked that God would reveal this to us AGAIN and through someone who had no relation or idea of the name only him and I had discussed.
As I write this we are 5 days away from the arrival of Zion, with still no medical confirmation of the gender. But we know God has a perfect plan for this baby and we are so excited to see what the future holds. I pray this testimony can impact someone. Even though the devil can rob us of joy in the most God given moments, the Holy Spirit is still present with us daily. The Holy Spirit is not a one-time experience but is an active part of our daily lives. Our helper, our communicator. I pray you don’t miss out on that awesome daily resource! And remember that deliverance may look different for everyone. It can take time, it can be challenging. But God never leaves us, we are never alone. I encourage you to learn about the ways God can speak to you through His Holy Spirit. So you don’t miss out on hearing what He wants to share with you. And find fellowship with believers that you can share things with and pray together and heal together.
Another thing to add, probably 3 or 4 months into the pregnancy our then three year old son told us Jesus told him the baby was a boy and as parents we have to trust the same Holy Spirit that speaks to us speaks to our children. And that’s pretty cool.
Also, the middle name significance Lindsay Nicole is the name of Ethan’s sister who passed away. So we chose Cole for a boy to represent her ❤️