It's hard to express how phenomenal it is to celebrate my little girl's second birthday. It seems so cliched, so hackneyed to call her a miracle. But she is. She is the most recent example of God's undying love for me and my wife. I see in her face, the love of my God who looked down and found us in a desperate hour. Alone. Scared. Hurting. And He breathed life into her embryonic form. He gave us this valentine. This daily reminder that He knows our name.
Which isn't to say that Jesus doesn't already prove that God loves us. He does.
But my little girl, now two years on, is another reminder. And a most tangible one we can see and we can hug. And we can rock to sleep while singing her a song I wrote for her as I drove to the hospital one February day.
Little ZZUB is funny and smart, creative and witty. Her sense of humor is astounding. You don't often think of a two year old being witty. But she is. She cracks us up so often. And yet, her most over-arching quality, the thing which we are so thankful for, is her strong will. Sometimes, we're vexed by it, and certainly we discipline her when she flexes it in the wrong direction. And still, when my wife and I are alone, out of ear shot of the girls, we reflect on how great it is that her will is so strong. Because she wouldn't let her life be snuffed out.
I will never be able to explain what happened in that hospital on September 5, 2006. To be so sure the baby was gone. There was an unbelievable amount of blood. My wife's pains were great. We were certain another baby had left us too soon. The idea of an ultrasound seemed almost an insult. Why did we need to see what was so obviously true? I didn't want another imagine like that in my head. I already had the horrifying imagine of Samuel laying motionless inside my wife's womb. Lifeless. His precious little head slumped over. I thank God my wife could not see what only the technician and I saw. What is still burned into my mind.
I didn't want that again.
And of course, that isn't what we saw. Instead, the images on the screen that September night were our little ZZUB, a bouncing little bean. It was as if she was dancing. Shouting. I'M ALIVE!
Whatever force of darkness tried to snuff out her life that day failed in its mission. Because God gave our little girl, our little Bean, the strength. To resist. To bounce.
You'd think after that night in the ER that the rest of my wife's pregnancy was easy. It wasn't. There were further complications. Additional concerns. Still, at each turn, we were comforted by the images we'd seen in September. Our little Bean. Bouncing and shouting. Not giving up.
So it was hardly a surprise then when she decided to come a month early. In a certain display of her very strong will, she'd decided she'd had enough of the womb and she was ready to break forth and tackle the world outside. She was born to us on February 27, 2007. And what was another in a growing line of miracles in her life, she didn't require any extraordinary measures. No incubator. No neonatal intensive care. No extended stays in the hospital.
I remember holding her that night. Holding my little baby Bean. Kissing her head and telling her who I was and who she was. Promising her a roof over her head, a good education, a family of faith and regular trips to Disney World.
I love both my daughters equally and this isn't intended to elevate the younger one over the older. They're both miracles to us. And fortunately, God has given both my girls wit and humor and a strong will. Strong willed children may be more challenging, but my girls will grow up to be leaders.
I've been reading in the Old Testament lately. I'm enamored of Moses' persistence and the dramatic story that unfolds in Deuteronomy. In Chapter 9, he exhorts the Israelites not to think too highly of themselves. Their victories over enemy forces are not because of their righteousness. They are not righteous at all. And they are not to think God chose them because they are righteous. They are not. And he reminds them of their many sins and rebellions. No, they will have victory over their enemies because of God and God alone.
So we don't take any credit for the good things we receive. We don't deserve them. We deserve Hell, damnation, judgment and pain. That we get to go to Heaven is God's grace. That we get to enjoy any good things in this life is just further evidence He loves us.
So as I watch my little girl turn two, bouncing and hopping, singing and laughing, I am reminded of God's massive love for us. Little ZZUB, our little Bean, continues to bounce. To dance. To sing. To let us know she's here.
Which is fine by me.