I love this little boy so much already. I think its partly because I know my time with him is short so I spend time thinking about him, praying for him and loving him even more so than I usually do during pregnancy. Another woman who carried a Potter’s Syndrome baby called it “Packing a lifetime of love into a small amount of time.” I think that is a perfect way to articulate it. This is what I was afraid of. Ever since finding out about his diagnosis this fear welled up in me, “What if I love him too much to lose him?” I have since realized there is no way getting around the fact that losing him will be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But gradually (very gradually) my fear of loving him has shifted into an appreciation for him. Everything about him.
His name, in particular, is so special to me. Even the utterance of it sends chills down my spine and I know that God was an integral part of us choosing his name (which we did long before we even found out it was a boy). Rewinding back to our happy months of whimsically talking baby names, Dave one day brought up the name “Gideon.” I have always had a thing for Gideon’s story in the Bible. I always understood him and would often use his “fleece throwing” method for my own. In the book of Judges it goes something like this (my own rendition of course):
God: “Gideon! Its me God. Come on, I need you to do something for me! Don’t worry. You will have nothing to fear because I will be with you.”
Gideon: “Um okkkayyy. Well you say its you God, but how can I REALLY be sure. I mean what you are asking me to do is is pretty risky.”
God: “Gideon. Its me. Did you see that angel I sent? Who else sends angels??”
Gideon: “Okay okay. If it is REALLY you then I am going to throw a fleece out into my backyard and go to bed. If its you then make all the ground around the fleece wet, but the fleece totally dry. Then I’ll know its you.”
God: “Oh my goodness Gideon, fine. Here you go. Now see? I told you its me!”
Gideon: “Wow it worked! Fleece = dry and Ground = sopping wet. Sweet. BUT just to make sure, this time make the fleece totally sopping wet and the ground bone dry. Please? I promise I won’t ask you again.”
God: “Because I am a loving, compassionate and patient God. Here my dear Gideon. Here.”
Gideon: “Wow, okay. I think I have it now. I believe you. Sorry it took me so long. I am here for you, to do whatever you call me to.”
If you only knew how many fleeces I’ve thrown in my life. I am not saying its the best thing to do, but I always felt like it was a special thing between God and I. You know, the same way he understood Gideon. God never chastened Gideon or made him feel bad, but knew it is what was needed in order to help Gideon through his fear. God knew that He was about to call Gideon to trust Him in the impossible: to fight an army of tens of thousands with only a small army of 300 men. Off Gideon went, now fearless, with a small army and a huge God to fight a battle that would save his country.
In so many ways I feel like my little Gideon has cured me of my own fears. All the things that used to consume my mind and keep me up at night, no longer seem to bother me. I feel like, if I can live through this what can’t I face? But even more than that, I realize how small so many of my fears were. I praise God for my Gideon. I am so thankful for his ministry to me, its like he is soothing me and making me new again every day. Yes, the thought of having him and losing him is the worst thing I have ever had to think about. It brings me to my knees in tears. But I would pick having this Gideon Matthew over no Gideon Matthew at all. His influence on me, in God’s name with God’s strength, is the most powerful thing I have ever experienced.
His middle name? Right from the beginning of choosing boy and girl names we knew his middle name was to be Matthew. You see when I was around 3 years old my parents were pregnant with their second child. At around 20 weeks gestation their son, Matthew, went to be with Lord. Our child was to be named in his honor and remembrance. How tears rolled at the realization that they would meet long before we ever dreamed they would.
To be honest, at first it was hard for me to celebrate the coming of 2014. In my weak moments I find myself feeling like I don’t have much to look forward to. But in the pain and in the hardship God has still created in me this little life and he is real and powerful. It is an experience I would not wish on anyone, but what Gideon has given us in the midst of his diagnosis, is one that could never be replaced. Thank you Gideon Matthew, for being a son and a name to the change history of this family.
In all of that, I guess 2014 really is a very special year indeed. May yours be too, in new ways, better ways that far transcend New Year’s resolutions and goals. May you too glimpse into a deep level of thankfulness for all that is truly important in each day we have been given.
My gift of thankfulness is the blue fleece blanket that lays next to my bed each night. I have named it “Gideon’s Fleece” and I will treasure it and snuggle it from now until forever. One day I will even wrap him in it.