and then there was one more…

Today Ava has been singing about mommy “having another baby in in her tummy and we will name him Obed.”  Dear Lord please don’t let my daughter be prophetic today.         -Facebook, February 16, 2012

*****

Ultrasound Tech: “So you want to find out the sex?

Me: “Yes!!”  (I’ve been waiting in great anticipation for this day for 20 weeks now!)

Ultrasound Tech: “You’re having a boy… Congratulations!”

-Conversation at Essentia Health, October 21, 2013

*****

There are days I feel like shouting to the world “GOD’S NOT DEAD!!!! Surely He’s alive…”  This is my only way to do that.

I have been waiting to hear the words “It’s a BOY!” for almost two years now.  It started out as just a silly thing Ava kept talking about.  Oakley had just been born and she was saying there was another baby in my tummy.  Ummm, nope, sorry… it may look like it, but he’s out and his name is Oakley.  But the talk of another baby named Obed continued on… and on and on and on.

That day in February was the first mention of Obed by Ava.  In the 20 months that have pasted since then, Obed has become a regular part of our family conversation.  Ava began talking about him so often that Jeff and I just started referring to him like he was already a part of our family… and it started to feel like he was, he just hadn’t shown up yet.  Ava put it best as we were all lazing around one Saturday morning last year… “One, two, three, four… that’s how many there are of us.  But one is missing.  Obed.  He’ll be here soon.”  She was so certain he was coming.

I was less certain at first.  When I was 17 or 18 I remember having a dream about my children.  There were two of them, a girl and a boy.  The girl was 3 years old and the boy was about 6 months old.  I specifically remember the ages and what they looked like.  When we first found out we were pregnant with Ava, I think both Jeff and I thought it would be a boy.  When we were told it was a girl, we were both a bit surprised, but then I remembered the dream.  Of course it would be a girl if that dream had been from God.  Then we decided we were ready for another baby.  But it took almost a year of trying.  After several months of coming up not pregnant again, I cried out to God asking why this was so hard when we weren’t even trying for the first one!  His answer: “You just have to wait.”  And then I again remembered the dream.  The age difference was so specific.  And then it happened just as I had been shown all those years ago.  The age difference between Ava and Oaks is 2.5 years.  And Oakley was a boy.  I cried in the waiting area after being told his sex.  “God really does talk to me!” I remember telling Jeff that day.  How amazing that felt.

But I had always been sad that in that dream there were only two children.  I had seen only two.  Until Ava’s announcement I didn’t really think there would be any more.  Then I began to wonder, could there be?  Could my dream have been just for a season and there was more to come?

Ava was so insistent that his name would be Obed.  Why Obed?!?!  What a strange name for a (at that time) 2 1/2 year old to pick up on.  Her Bible story book mentioned Obed in the story from the book of Ruth.  That story ended with Ruth and Boaz getting married and having a baby boy named Obed.  That’s it.  The only time she would have ever heard that name.  Since she seemed pretty attached to that name, I decided to look up it’s meaning.  Technically, Obed means “workman” or “servant”.  That didn’t really strike me much as being significant so I decided to re-read the book of Ruth in my Bible.

The story of Ruth is as much about Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi as it is about Ruth.  It starts out with Naomi losing both her husband and two sons, a tragedy of epic proportions in that culture.  Naomi decides to return to Judah and when she arrives with her foreigner daughter-in-law, she is greeted by her old friends.  Here is her response to them:

“Don’t call me Naomi, [which means ‘pleasant’]” she told them. “Call me Mara, [which means ‘bitter’] because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”  Ruth 1:20, 21 (NIV)

Well, hello, that got my attention.  When I read this, I was in the midst of the most painful, bitter, tragedy filled time of my life.  I certainly could relate a bit to how Naomi was feeling.  You should read the story for yourself, but as it goes on, Ruth is a faithful and kind daughter-in-law.  She works hard for herself and Naomi, catches the eye of wealthy land owner Boaz, who also just happens to be in a position to save their family.  Ruth and Boaz get married and have a baby boy.  At the end of the book of Ruth, it is recorded:

The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!”  Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.  The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.  Ruth 4:14-17 (The Message)

As I read that, it seemed to me to be saying that Obed was Naomi’s joy bringer, the restorer of joy to her life.  No longer was she called “Mara” for her joy had been restored.  That really settled in my heart.  Our Obed would be our joy bringer.  After so much hurt and heartache, joy would be restored.

As the last year and a half has played out for our family, I have clung more and more to the promise of our Obed.  Partly because I want joy restored to my heart… it was stolen away an April ago and I’ve not gotten it completely back.  Mostly because I want to know God still talks to us today.  He still reveals His truth and secrets to us today.  And it would be one more confirmation that I can trust His word when he says Ava will be alright.  Because my heart wavers on all these things and I need to be reassured over and over.  And God is good to me, because he keeps sending me reassurances.  Big ones.

And so my heart leapt when I saw a positive pregnancy test in July.  Tears streamed down my face when I heard the words “It’s a BOY!”

God’s not dead… He’s surely alive.