Our heads were fuzzy from last night’s party. Today. Sunday. Gotta get to Mass. But………….we missed all the Masses here in town. I stumbled to get my clothes on as I called each and every Church in the vicinity. Got one. Next town over.
“Ok. Ready or not, we’re leaving in five!”
Mass had already started, so we hurried into a pew all the way in the rear. Didn’t notice anyone around, overwhelmed with the stink lingering on my coat and hair. Nothing about the Mass stood out to me. Probably because of the stupor I was still trapped in.
At the Sign of Peace, the woman directly in front of me turned around. She clasped my right hand with both of her hands. As she did this, she pressed a bumpy object into my palm. I wish—with ALL my being—I could remember what her face looked like. Even just her eyes. My shame anchored my own eyes to the ground. What I do remember, and never will forget, are the words she spoke straight to my soul:
I give people Rosaries, and I want you to have THIS one. It comes from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Now, remember: Jesus doesn’t want martyrs, so stay off the cross. Just CHOOSE to follow Him!
Instantly, I recognized this as a very Sacred moment. Only later would I come to understand that she was—beyond the shadow of a doubt—an Angel. Oh how I wish I could tell you what she looked like. But I can’t. I can only TRY to communicate how moved I really was. Most likely my sight was blurred beyond recognition with tears.
Let’s take a look at this Rosary. The “beads” are actually miniature conch shells. The same type Gramma Pfile used to make large wreaths from. The limey green spacers are the same color as both Gramma & Papa’s couch, and Jimmie & Doris’ couch (adopted grammas who lived across the street from us). Such fond memories of both…the latter, we got to occasionally watch the Cardinals’ game, eat gummy coke bottles and spray cheese, (mmm. cheese in a can…) and have sleepovers on that green couch. I love both my Springfield and Kirkwood grandparents. Oh so much!
Puerto Vallerta would come to hold incredible significance as well. We’ll go into that a bit later in this post.
Fast forward a bit of time (maybe six months. maybe a year…or two. just can’t remember)…
I tried to put a lid on my crying as I answered the phone “Hello?” “Hey Alicia! This is Lori! I’m down the street. Can I come by?” Lori Harris is a musician I met through a mutual friend. She was wanting to come see some Graphic Design I was working on. Pretty sure at that point we were designing a press kit for her. Minutes later, she knocked at the door. Instead of greeting her with a smile and some printouts, my copious tears stung my eyes. With a shaky arm extended, I explained my grief by holding up yet another negative pregnancy test.
We pulled away after a comforting embrace. My next words sounded so strange spilling forth. In all honesty, I was trying to convince myself of the truth as I perceived it to be. “I don’t think God wants us to be parents. My heart’s telling me I’m just supposed to be a designer. And Ryan’s just supposed to be a programmer.”
She rebuked that immediately, shaking her head emphatically as she assured me “Nope. No, I don’t think that’s it. Not for a second. We just haven’t prayed. Are you ready? Right here?” Ironically enough, the image below is from our entryway. Where we prayed that day…
We held hands, kneeled, and she held one hand over my womb. When Lori prayed, everything shifted. The hairs on the back of my neck stood erect and my belly got warm. How I WISH I could have remembered that fervent, life-changing prayer. Tidbits remain in my heart “wherever two or more are gathered…we are not letting our past define us…something is blocking Alicia’s womb…we rebuke it in Jesus’ name…we are made new…brides of Christ…we are calling everything into realignment…boldly…confidently…witness…move in a great and mighty way…”
When we shouted “Amen” and got to our feet, we literally cried tears of joy and whooped out loud. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. We WERE going to get pregnant. Not if, only when. And now it had been confirmed, called into being in Jesus’ precious name. Exactly one month later, we were expecting. Fist pumps all around!!!
But, oh, wait. You know how when you know, you know, you know? Well, right around the time we were discovering that we were pregnant, the Scripture Wheel had a very powerful reminder. It now is taped inside our daughter’s baby book. Not only were we expecting, but this child WOULD be healthy and happy. His child. Our child. So very, very loved.
On October 7, 2008, we finally met Anaya, whose name is Hebrew for “God Answered.” She was bald and smiley, and now has this gorgeous, thick, curly hair and beautiful grin. With her birth, we finally transitioned from “just a programmer and designer” to “daddy and mommy.” We’ll proudly wear these hats forever, as we watch her and her two sisters blossom. As of this writing, Anaya wants to be a Mama and a Designer. It will probably change next week.
So back to the Rosary which originated in Puerto Vallarta. My brother Jeremy and his bride Leah had a destination wedding. You’ll never guess where! Yup. And guess who turned one in Mexico, just one day before her uncle’s wedding? Sweet Anaya.
God is a phenomenal knitter. Never in my WILDEST dreams could I have fathomed..how He would gently turn us 90° from our college ways to a full 180° with blessing and praise!