Sunday, December 13, 2009


Have you read the Bible story of Hannah and Samuel? It's beautiful and sorrowful. Cliff notes: Hannah is barren. She is greatly saddened by this. She goes to the temple and prays to God to give her a son. She promises to dedicate her son back to God for life. A priest of the temple, Eli, hears her prayer and tells her God is listening. She goes home and concieves a beautiful son, Samuel. And when he is weaned, she takes him back to the temple to live. She sees him only once a year, but she kept her promise. She gives him wholly to God and to Eli to raise.

I've always known of this story, but when we were trying to concieve Lily, I read it often. After I miscarried last January, it was an almost constant source of comfort to me.

When I decided to try for another baby it was with hesitation. I was scared of my own pain. I didn't want another loss.

On Mother's day, we went to church. As the music played, I laid my hand over my womb, and was brutally honest with God. "I want this. I want my boy. I want to be pregnant. I am scared to trust. I am scared to walk out on your promises. But God, if you help me to concieve again, I will face all of it, knowing you are with me. And if I never, ever carry to term again, I will still love you. Any child I have will be yours, forever."

That was the day my Samuel began his life.

I think about Hannah. I think about her going about her day, her hand over her stomach. I think of her smile and her joy. I think abut how she must have held Samuel to her breast as she nursed him. How she must have brushed his hair away from his face and watched him sleep. How she must have praised God for his life.

And I also think of her walking the slow hill up to the temple, holding her precious boy. I see her, in my mind's eye, turning to kiss his cheek one last time. I think of her watching her boy walk up the steps of the temple holding Eli's hand. She must have known what she was doing was right, but I can't imagine how her mother's tender heart was screaming out for her baby.

She dedicated his life to God, and God blessed her with many more children. Samuel went on to become a prophet and to teach many other people about God. Destiny.

The day I got a positive pregnancy test I had my own temple moment. I went to my knees and promised God that whatever came, I knew this baby was His. If he lived one day, or a hundred years, he would always belong to God first, me second. I drew on God's peace, knowing my child's days were already determined by a wisdom higher than mine.

And I can tell you honestly, there have been a few moments when I had to fall back on this knowledge. Spotting, sickness. A horrific bleed at 20 weeks. I was terrified and shaking each time, but I knew anything that came was not up to me. I dedicated Samuel to God, and I am determined to keep my promise.

So here we are, 33 weeks. He rolls and kicks inside me. When I think of him, he moves. When I lay my hand on him and pray, he grows still. I have prepared my home for him. I have allowed him deep into my heart. I love him fiercely.

I am accountable for much more than ever now that I am a mother. I have a responsibility to show my children who God is, through my actions and words. I have to look at my sweet Lily and realize that she is only mine for a moment, but God's forever. I will look at Samuel's face and see my promise. Not mine, His.

Samuel Given to the LORD
21The man Elkanah and all his house(W) went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD(X) and dwell there forever." 23(Y) Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him;(Z) only, may the LORD establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24And when she had weaned him,(AA) she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,[c] an ephah[d] of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to(AB) the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26And she said, "Oh, my lord!(AC) As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. 27For this child I prayed,(AD) and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD."