Nine years later...

I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge, when telling the story of how Thomas and I met and married, that God’s grace through the life of Elias, growing and kicking and hiccupping in my womb, is to thank for keeping us together that first year of marriage.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was working the 5:00 a.m. shift at a maternity home in Bloomington, Indiana. It was three weeks after our spontaneous marriage ceremony, performed by a big black judge in downtown Indianapolis, 15 minutes before the courthouse closed on New Year’s Eve.

I walked out of the maternity home into the cold January air and threw the hood of my sweatshirt over my head of curly hair. Fumbling for the keys to the Crisis Pregnancy Center next door, I turned the handle and made my way to the little room where many a woman found herself in the same circumstance I would soon find myself in.

I opened the cabinet and grabbed a pregnancy test, assuming that the random thought of being pregnant was just my imagination. The test would prove that for sure.

I walked back over to the old Victorian home with its brass handles and paisley wallpaper and cold floors. Making my way into the office bathroom, where I would have many a meltdown over my marriage that year, I unwrapped the test and peed on the stick and waited all of ten seconds before a little blue line appeared. Surely the line meant negative. I re-read the instructions.

A collision of excitement and complete fear filled my gut.

And months passed. And I fell in love with the baby growing inside of me.

And on the night he was born, October 8, 2002 at 10:10 p.m., I couldn’t believe that he was so perfect. His eyes were big and round, the way that are now, and he made his way to my breast.

And I would never be the same.

The next day, Thomas crowded in bed with me as we lay on our sides watching Elias James Shophet sleep next to us on the crisp white hospital sheets. We began to cry simultaneously, as if on cue. I think we cried for what this moment represented: Hope. For our marriage. Our future. Our love.

Or maybe we just cried because he was so perfect. So beautiful. Because we were so evidently a family.

Elias James: I love you sweet boy. Nine years ago, you changed my world. I love what you teach me everyday. You have grown me up and made me understand God’s grace in tangible ways, ways that leave me humbled daily. Happy Birthday!