Six weeks ago, we welcomed our fourth child into our family. It’s been a whirlwind month and a half as we’ve adjusted to having a baby in the house once again. I forgot how much work small babies are. Mother’s amnesia is a real thing, and it is the only reason that the human race is still alive, because bringing a baby into this world is insanely difficult.
I was actually surprised how fully and completely I had forgotten that.
Annika has brought a lot of joy to our home. She has filled a void in our family, and given us a sense of being whole. Perhaps not complete, as I will never completely close the door on adoption as an option for expanding our family. I just can’t say we would never do it, but for now I can say that I feel whole, whereas a year ago at this time I did not.
When we found out we were pregnant, I began to pray that the Lord would reveal his mercy and grace to us through this child. My heart was still in a place of tenderness after the terminated adoption, and I laid a fervent prayer before Him each morning as I fought through morning sickness, through discomfort, and through the insane heat of the summer months.
“Reveal your mercy through this baby.”
As Lee and I batted around name ideas, I continually returned to “Annika.” Every time I said it out loud, I felt a swell of joy move through me, and when we found out we were having a girl, I just knew that was supposed to be her name. Once we’d settled on the first name, we moved to the middle name and I suggested such options as “Hope,” “Grace,” and “Joy.”
None of those felt right, though, and we ultimately decided we wanted to honor Lee’s grandmother by giving Annika her name. Annika Rachel immediately felt right, and we were able to pray for her by name.
And still I prayed for mercy and grace as the Lord continued to heal my heart.
Shortly before Annika’s birth, I decided to look up her name to see what it means. I probably should have done that first, but I didn’t. I just loved the sound of the name. I didn’t even think to look up the meaning in the early months.
It didn’t matter, because the Lord in His goodness gave us the name we needed most for this daughter of ours. The name Annika means “Gracious, Full of Grace, Mercy.”
There is not doubt in my mind that this child was meant to join our family for such a time as this. Her arrival has brought the sweetness of God’s grace and mercy into our lives, and each night as I feed her in the quiet dark, I pray that the Lord will reveal His grace and mercy to others through her.
We are tired these days. Life is crazy, and somedays (most days?) I am entirely overwhelmed with it all.
But I’m covered under the banner of mercy and grace, and each time I pick her up, I’m reminded that God is so very good.
He is Gracious.
Full of Grace.
And I am thankful.