~by Julie P.

I was putting dishes away today listening to the lyrics of a song that say “He knows your name, He knows who you are, each son and daughter, and every last star” and I was reminded of an experience that let me know that God knows exactly who I am, what I am doing, and what I need.

In August 2006, my husband and I were introduced to a woman who asked us to adopt and parent the twins she was carrying. We had been praying for a short wait in our adoption journey, and this was it! We knew who our babies were going to be, and they were due in just a month. We were ecstatic, excited and eager to meet the babies. We already felt connected to them – the birthmom didn’t know the sex of either baby, but we had a strong feeling that they were both boys, and that they were meant to be in our family.

We flew across the country in September to meet the birthmom, and help her in the last weeks of her pregnancy. Our first meeting was at a restaurant, and we got along with her, her daughter and her grandparents right away. Everything felt so comfortable and so right. When we took her to her doctors appointment on September 30th, we had no idea that the end of the day would end with the babies being born. The doctor had us take her straight from his office to the hospital. I sat with her for most of her labor, and we got to know each other very well. When it was time for our birthmom to be wheeled into the operating room for her C-section, I paced the halls nervously, waiting for word that everything was ok with all three of them.

Shortly, I found out that everything wasn’t just ok, it was perfect. I was called into the nursery to hold the sweet babies, both boys, just minutes after their birth. They were beautiful. The phrase “my heart was full” seems trite, but there is no other way to describe it. Late that night, my husband and I drove back to our hotel room, full of joy and thinking about names.

We visited the babies in the hospital over the next few days. On our last visit, the birthmom made sure we were coming back the next day with car seats – “you can’t make me take these babies home! They are your babies!” she reminded us.

So when we returned to the hospital that one last time, where the babies mother told us that she had changed her mind and no longer wanted to place them for adoption, we were heartbroken. Lost. Devestated. We fed them and loved them and held them and named them. And now they were gone. Not ours.

We returned to the hotel. I was a sick, sobbing mess. I was angry and hurt and sad and scared and upset. Finally I fell to my knees, next to my husband, and we prayed; begged the Lord for comfort. A few minutes after we closed our prayer I was lying alone on the hotel bed, trying to compose myself. I heard words in my head, and it took me a little while to figure out that they were the words of a hymn that the Lord was putting in my mind to comfort me.

The hymn is How Firm a Foundation (page 85) and the words were these, from verses 3 and 4:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am they God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand

When through the deep waters I call thee to go.
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee they deepest distress

With those words I was able to pull myself together, feel some comfort and do what needed to be done.

Fast foward two years. The birthday of our not-sons fell on a Sunday that year. I had been thinking about them for the month leading up to the day, even more than I did normally. That morning, I woke up, almost hesitant to go to church because I was worried that I would fall apart crying with sadness and embarass myself. I prayed that I would have the strength to get through the day. I got myself and my children dressed, in the car, and we left for church.

I sat down just in time for church to start, and when the organ started playing the opening hymn, I lost it. It was How Firm a Foundation, the same hymn that was an answer to my prayers two years ago that day, the hymn that gave me more comfort and peace than anything as I walked through the hardest trial in my life.

Coincidence? Not a chance. God knows me. He knew what I needed when the words to that hymn were put into my mind the first time on that September day. He knew what I needed two years later – not just continued peace, but the knowledge that God knows me and what I need.

He knows you, too.

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