Twenty-nine years ago today, I laid in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of sleep, between visits from loved ones who came to congratulate me on the birth of my newborn daughter, Cristie, who was born at 9:07a.m. I was elated. You see, though I hadn’t told anyone, I was secretly praying for a little girl. I was already blessed with a son, and now, my heart’s desire was to have a little girl.
If my newborn infant had been a boy, I’m sure I would have rejoiced, but though I wasn’t even walking with Him at the time, God answered my prayers, and I was ecstatic. I remember being strapped to the table in the operating room, after being given a spinal injection, battling fear and nausea, as the medicine worked its magic, numbing me below my shoulders. “So this is what it’s like to be paralyzed,” I remember thinking, as wave after wave of nausea assaulted my senses. I felt as though I needed to vomit, but my muscles were incapacitated by the medication, leaving me unable to even retch.
As the doctor cut through the various layers to get to the baby within me, I was fighting to stay awake through the nausea and the anxiety medication they had given me to help me relax. I remember feeling some tugging in my abdominal area, and then I saw the doctor lift my baby over the barrier that blocked my view of the surgical procedure. “Oh look,” I thought to myself, “another little boy,” and you know what? I wasn’t even disappointed, as much as I had wanted this child to be a girl.
My husband squeezed my shoulder and leaned down to kiss me, just as the doctor said, “Congratulations, Cheryl. You have a beautiful baby girl!”
Tears of joy flooded my eyes as I weakly asked, “It’s a girl?”
A nurse laughed and said, “It sure is a girl and she’s beautiful.”
My tears continued to flow, and just when I would regain control of my emotions, someone would say something about my beautiful baby girl, I’d I would begin weeping all over again. Just the night before her birth, my husband, Stacy and I had both agreed that if our baby was a girl, we would name her Cristie. Everyone else in our family thought we were going to name her Stephanie, because that was the name we had agreed on right up until the night before her birth.
I didn’t even know the meaning of her name then, but God did, and He was the One who had chosen Cristie before the foundations of the earth were laid, so it was appropriate that her name would mean “follower of Christ”, for that was exactly what she was destined to become. I’ll never forget the evening, when Cristie was around eight years old, that she told me she wanted to ask Jesus to live in her heart. Right then and there, both she and I knelt at the white flower printed sofa in front of the staircase and prayed, as she asked Jesus to forgive her sins and save her. I was so blessed. How many women are blessed to give birth to a child, and to also help their child be reborn? I am so blessed among women, because not only did I have the honor and privilege of leading this child to Christ, but I was also blessed to do the same with her brother.
Cristie was a blessing from the moment we first laid eyes on her, even though she cried non-stop for the first three months of her life, when we discovered that she had an inguinal hernia that had to be repaired at only three months. I was so frightened, because she was so young and so little. However, God was with her even then, and she came through the surgery with no problem, and we were able to bring her home the following day. When we brought Cristie home from the hospital, she was like a new child. She would coo and laugh like other babies her age, and now, she was able to sleep through the night.
My beautiful baby girl grew into a pretty little redhead. It would be hard to describe just how precious she was to me. There’s never been a more thoughtful child. I remember how she would go outside and pick pretty little weeds that looked like beautiful flowers to her and me. Then, she would come and present them to me as though they were priceless roses or orchids, and to me, they were.
When she learned how to write, my precious Cristie started leaving me love letters on my pillow. I would often find a letter with a picture she had drawn for me, or with a flower, or some other gift that she had for me. I was so blessed by this beautiful, loving child.
When she reached her teenage years, Cristie wanted to shed her “goody-goody” image, and so she launched herself into a period of rebellion against me and against God. I had dedicated my life to the Lord while Cristie and her brother were very young, and the Lord had given me discernment to know when my children were serving Him, and when they weren’t. It was always obvious to me whenever my son or my daughter turned from the Lord, because they also turned away from me as well. In their rebellion against God, they also rebelled against me, which wounded me deeply, but because I understood that their rebellion was against God, He showed me how to pray for both Cristie and Steven, and I did — fervently.
Cristie eventually outgrew her rebellion, and now, today, she is twenty-nine years old and the mother of three adorable children, who love her deeply. My prayer for Cristie is that she would be as blessed by her children as I have been by her. I pray that she too, has the honor of leading her children to Christ, and that she too will one day know the joy of becoming a grandmother as well. My prayer for Cristie is that she and her family will continue to prosper and grow, and that they would honor God with their whole hearts.
Happy Birthday, Cristie! You will always be my baby, no matter how old you get. And in the words of my favorite story, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” (Love You Forever by: Robert Munsch)
Cheryl A. Showers