Your dad nicknamed you Spark. Months ago, before our scary ultrasound, he decided it was a fitting name. I never figured out how he came up with it, but it didn’t matter. It just seemed right.
And now more ever, the name suits you perfectly.
The doctor said some scary words in that office after your ultrasound . . . words like genetic abnormality and restricted fetal growth and stillbirth and preterm. Baby Spark, we don’t know exactly what’s happening, and as much as the doctors try to pin it all down, they really don’t know the whole story either.
Your dad and I have so many dreams and hopes for you. We wonder what your personality will be like, what you’ll be passionate about, what you’ll like and dislike, what you’ll be gifted at, if you’ll have your dad’s blue eyes or your mom’s single dimple. We’ve imagined so many possibilities for your future.
Spark, we wouldn’t have chosen any of those scary doctor-words for you. We would choose words like healthy and whole and perfect for you if we could. But don’t forget this for a moment: Although we wouldn’t choose this road for you, we choose YOU. No matter what.
And this is likely the first lesson of many to come for us: that as much as we love you, as much as we’re honored that you’ve been temporarily entrusted to us, you are not ultimately ours. You are God’s child, on loan to us. And so we don’t get to map out your life or control what happens to you—we just get to love you and raise you with the wisdom God grants us.
That day of the ultrasound, right after we got this news we weren’t expecting, your dad and I were sitting in the lobby of the hospital. Instead of going to a celebratory lunch before we headed back to work, we found ourselves perched on blue plastic chairs, trying to process what we’d heard. I was ugly-crying, not even caring about the stream of people staring at us as they made their way through the lobby.
Your dad was holding my hand, plying me with tissues. After a while he said something I’ll never forget: “I feel like our baby is saying to us, ‘I am a child of God.’”
That moment marked a pivot for me. It was at once obvious and revolutionary. If we truly believe you are a child of God—and we do—then our dreams and hopes and plans for you come second. We choose to surrender all our ideas in favor of what God has in mind for you.
That Sunday, just two days later, your dad played this song with the worship band in church:
From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
Spark, we believe that no matter what happens, God is going to use you to shine for him. Maybe that will be because he surprises everyone and you enter this world miraculously healthy. Or maybe you will shine for him precisely because there’s something unique about you that this world would deem less than perfect.
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
And so, Spark, we are trying to choose love instead of fear. We believe you are God’s beloved child. And we believe he is going to use you to ignite hearts for him. You are only the size of a cantaloupe, but already you are shining. Already we love you like crazy.
Mom and Dad
If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.
Julian of Norwich