My mother miscarried a baby before she got pregnant with me.
When she and I talk about it, which we do from time to time - usually on my birthday or when I've had a baby, a certain sadness comes over her followed by a thankful smile, "But, if God had given me that baby, I wouldn't have you."
It always makes me cry.
When I was born, she named me Sarah Grace.
When I first asked her, "Why the name Sarah?", she responded, "That was your father's choice. He was very adamant about it." A biblical name that he loved. So very Dad to choose Sarah.
But, why "Grace"?
Grace was born from uncertainty. Grace came after loss. Grace was God's gift after sorrow. God loving through and after pain. Grace was God's triumph over hurt.
You see, when my mother lost the baby she was carrying before I came to be, her doctor looked at her and said, "Sharon, you can't have more children."
"Can't?", she asked. "Or shouldn't?"
After all, she only had six children. Only. Her heart wanted more.
Her doctor looked at her with stern concern: "Shouldn't."
Here I am. On my thirty-seventh birthday.
The "Shouldn't" that was. The "Shouldn't" that is.
(I'm actually the first of three "Shouldn'ts". My brother and baby sister were born within three years after I was born.)
My father's girl. Sarah. And, God's gift to my mother. Grace. A "Shouldn't" baby who helped heal and stitch new love where loss had left empty arms and hearts.
Today, my heart's song is grace. As one of my dear friends once said to me, "Sar, you crave grace like chocolate chip cookies."
I crave it. I want to bathe in it. And, I want more than anything to be grace to others. Extending it - even when it isn't deserved because it's been given to me ten-thousand fold - and I don't deserve it.
God saved me. He saved a "Shouldn't" baby and knit me together in my mother's womb and gave me a perfectly imperfect body. My body bears scars - the outside and the inside. Outside scars that tell even strangers that suffering is part of life. And, heart wounds that tell those closest to me that God never promised easy. To any of us.
But, God has never been short on grace in my life. He has always showered me with it - over and over in every season. Through every trial.
And, here I am. Thirty-seven years...young?
Here to tell whoever will listen that while my body and my heart bear the wounds of suffering, Jesus died for me in the biggest grace-display in history. He died to give me life - precious, tiny newborn life, and a life of eternity spent with Him.
He gave this to you, too.
You may know me as Sarah - the cook, the mother of four, the writer of stories, the taker of pictures, lover of laughter.
But, if you know me as no one else, I want you to know me as Sarah Grace - the "Shouldn't" God brought to be, the daughter of Larry and Sharon - God's tiny gift of grace after loss.
Sarah. Who craves grace like chocolate chip cookies and whose great privilege is to live out loud a life of thankfulness, obedience, and joy to the One who brought me to life, saved me, and loves me as His own.
A simple girl that God loves and Jesus saved and whose name is written in the great book of Life.
A "Shouldn't" who, by God's grace, is - and who delights in dishing up platters of grace to others.
Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory.
Take my life and let it be Yours.