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Delivered from Heaven Above

The voice came out of nowhere, promising the impossible…

Gifts from Heaven

I looked over my holiday shopping list. New gym clothes for my husband, books for my oldest daughter and video games for my three grandsons. Two weeks until Christmas and I had everyone in the family covered.

Only one person was missing. My daughter Christel. I was a little stuck on her present. The one thing she wanted, I had no power to give.

Christel and her husband, Mike, had been trying to have a baby ever since they got married, 10 years earlier. Now, at age 33, after countless treatments, sonograms and consultations, she didn’t know if she could take one more failed pregnancy test.

I looked back at my Christmas list and Christel’s name with nothing beside it. God, won’t you just go ahead and give her a baby? I wondered. And then I heard it, quiet and gentle: Buy Christel a baby dress. She’ll have a girl by next Christmas.

A baby by Christmas? Not this Christmas, surely. But even next Christmas was pushing it. Christel would think I was crazy if I gave her that kind of gift. She might even be hurt. Who gave a baby dress to someone struggling like she was?

But the voice was insistent. A dress for a baby girl.

I was convinced the instruction came from above. Despite everything I knew to be true, I had to listen. I went to the mall, where I picked out a yellow dress with ruffles for a newborn.

When I got home, I wrapped it in metallic wrapping paper and attached a short note: You don’t need this gift today, but next year you will, for your baby girl. Love, Mom.

I was a bundle of nerves on Christmas Day, worrying what Christel would think of my gift. But when she opened the box, she held the dress up for everyone to see. “Looks like we’re going to have a baby girl by next Christmas!” she said.

The family gasped. Tears streamed down Christel’s face. Were they tears of joy—or had I made the biggest blunder of my life?

A few weeks after Christmas, I called Christel. The suspense was killing me. Had my wish—our wish— come true?

“Any news?” I blurted out when Christel picked up the phone.

“No, Mom. Relax,” she laughed. “I promise if I get pregnant you’ll be the second person to know after Mike.” I hung up, disheartened. I wished I’d kept my big mouth shut.

I’d been so sure the voice I heard had come from God. Was I mistaken? Had I wanted Christel to be happy so badly that I imagined the whole thing?

January passed, then February and March. Every time I saw Christel, she looked more and more withdrawn. She always put on a brave face, but I knew her hopes were crumbling once again. I tried to encourage her, told her that God performed miracles in his own time. But even I wasn’t so sure anymore.

All out of options, I changed my strategy. I went back to begging and pleading with God.

God, we went through this last year. It’s too late once again for a Christmas baby, but could you let Christel get pregnant by then?

By summer, I stopped asking God for favors and stopped asking Christel for “baby updates.” It was too painful for her and too embarrassing for me. No more making promises I couldn’t keep.

Then one afternoon in October, Christel called to chat. Maybe I was hearing things again, but she actually sounded cheerful. Excited even.

“Mom, how do you feel about adoption?” she asked.

“It’s great,” I sighed, “but it’s a long and difficult process….”

“Well, here’s the thing. A friend of a friend wants to give her baby to a couple that can’t have children. She’s ready to sign the papers. And…her due date is December.”

I just about dropped the phone. Could this be God’s way of answering my desperate plea? For the first time in nearly a year, I felt hopeful again.

Everything happened so quickly after that. A lawyer was hired, the papers were signed, and on the morning of December 16, the call came. The baby girl we’d all been dreaming of and praying for since last Christmas was finally here.

At the hospital, Christel had to tear baby Carlee away from me! We couldn’t wait for her to model her yellow Christmas dress I’d bought at God’s prompting. It could only have been God. “Life is good,” I told my husband on our drive back home.

But the next morning, Christel called panicked. She needed me to come over right away. I raced out the door, not bothering to change out of my pajamas. When I got there, I found Christel and Mike grinning like teenagers. Carlee was sound asleep in her white-laced bassinet.

“What’s going on?” I said.

“Why don’t you sit down,” Mike said, gesturing toward an overstuffed rocker in the family room.

I took a seat, right on top of something hard and plastic. I pulled the object out from under me and set it on the coffee table. Mike and Christel watched me stare at it. They waited until it hit me what it was—a pregnancy test.

“I’ve taken a million of those,” Christel said. “That’s the first one that’s been pink. I’m pregnant!”

I’d wished for a baby girl and prayed for a pregnancy by Christmas. Well, God delivered on his promise…and then some. By the following December, our family celebrated not one, but two little miracles—my healthy, happy grandkids, Carlee and Carson.

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