Naomi

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. . . I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:15 NAS

Huston County Hospital, fourth floor.  Lindy Mitchell, hands to the thick glass, peered in.

Three rows of bassinets occupied the nursery, each with a pink or blue bundle inside.  Most bundles were content at the moment, their eyes and mouths but little horizontal slits above their blankets.  The few that weren’t, however, had faces scrunched like prunes and open mouths a-quivering.  Thank God for the barrier that blocked out most of the sound.

Her eyes roamed the names till she found the right one.  Little Elijah David Mitchell, there he was, happy in his own space.  She cocked her head.  The baby didn’t look much like John or Chloe at this point.  Maybe a bit like Sommer, but it was hard to tell.

She noted the twenty-pound weight in her chest was back.  She clutched the bouquet in her hand until the stems dug in and the plastic wrap collapsed around it.

It was now or never.  She might as well get it over with.

Again, she wished that Mace could have made the trip too, instead of being called away on a church emergency.  It would’ve been so much easier to bear.

Oh, well—it is what it is, Lindy.  Go congratulate your sister-in-law on delivering a healthy new nephew.  She took a deep breath and walked down a tiled hallway to Room 4512 where Chloe was supposed to be.

She peeked in.  Chloe Mitchell, Lindy’s sister-in-law, sat propped up in bed,  channel-surfing, looking no worse for wear.  In fact, she looked refreshed and rejuvenated, her cheeks pink with health.  Her hair was combed, her make-up freshly applied.  Yep, hand it to Chloe, who tended to make everything—including having a baby—look easy.

Lindy knocked.  “Hey, I hear someone’s had a baby in here.”

“Hey, you.  Get in here, right now.”

Lindy hugged her.  “Mace sends his apologies for not being here today, but you know how the life of a minister goes.  How’re you doing?”

“I’m great.  Don’t know if Mace told you or not, but the delivery was a real blessing, only three hours long.  We barely got to the hospital before Eli was born.”

“Where’s John?”

Chloe patted the bed for her to sit.  “He went home to take a shower and go to work.  Even though he was up most of the night, he insisted that he get in some hours today.”  She shrugged.  “Comes with being the daddy, I guess.”

“Has Sommer seen her little brother yet?”

Chloe threw her head back and laughed.  “No, but she’s chomping at the bit to.  She’s been practicing with diapers on her dolls for weeks.  John said he was going to pick her up after school today to come see the baby.”

Chloe clasped her hands.  “Oh, what beautiful flowers.  Are those for me?”

“I knew you liked lilies.”  Lindy handed her the bouquet.

“You know, I think I saw a vase under the sink.  Would you mind. . . ?”

After she filled the vase with water, Lindy set the flowers within Chloe’s view and sat back down on the bed.

“Have you seen him yet, Lindy?”

“He’s beautiful.  Or should I say handsome?  Wow, I’m gonna have to change my vernacular now;  I’m so used to thinking in terms of a niece, and not a nephew.”

“No, I think you’re exactly right.  He is beautiful. My bouncing baby boy.  I think our little family is complete now—one girl, one boy.  It’s perfect.”

Lindy tried to stifle her thoughts, but they came anyway.  The perfect family of four.   All tied up in a shiny bow and laid right on their doorstep.

A knock came.  “Excuse me, Mrs. Mitchell?  It’s feeding time.”

An African-American nurse, her salt-and-pepper hair smoothed back from her cheery face, pushed a bassinette in.  She picked up the tiny blue bundle and reached past Lindy to hand him over to Chloe.  “He’s a good sleeper and eater, this one.  You got yourself a winner, Mrs. Mitchell.”

Chloe held baby Eli close and kissed his nose.  She unwrapped his blanket and brought him to her breast.  “I hope he continues to do this well at home, Naomi.  How I remember those first sleepless nights with his sister!  Oh, excuse my manners.  Naomi, this is Lindy Mitchell, my sister-in-law.  Lindy, Naomi Kinghorn.”

The powdery baby smell cloyed Lindy’s nose, and she couldn’t swallow past the giant lump that had collected in her throat.  Before she spoke, she had to clear it a couple of times.

“Nice to meet you, Naomi.  Uh, Chlo, I hate to do this—but I’m going to leave, okay?”  She hitched her thumb toward the door.  “I’ve really got to get back.”

“Lindy, you just got here.”  A tiny pink hand shot out from the blanket.  “Can’t you stay longer?  You can hold him a while after I feed him—and I know Sommer would love to see her favorite aunt.”

She shook her head. “I’ve got a deadline hanging over my head, sorry.  Mace and I promise to make it to the house real soon, okay?  Hopefully there won’t be a church emergency to tie him up next time.  I love you, Chlo—bye.”  Lindy touched two fingers to her lips, turned and walked out.

The nurse followed Lindy down the hall, caught up to her.  “Nice, healthy baby boy.  The Mitchells are very blessed,” she said.

“Yes, they are.”

“Did I hear you say your husband’s a minister?”

Lindy turned to the woman and saw a kindly face above the blue scrubs.  What was her name, again?  Her nametag read Naomi Kinghorn, R.N.

“He’s a minister, yes.  At Beal Street Church over in Hope Springs.”

“I know exactly where your church is.  I’ve driven past it several times to teach some of my parenting classes.  It must be nice—” she paused and motioned back—“that you get to live this close to your family.  A baby’s birth is always an extra-special time.”

Lindy stared at the black and white floor tiles.  And a constant reminder of what we don’t have.

“It’s nice when kids in extended family can grow up together, don’t you think?  Cousins get to know their cousins and their aunts and uncles, instead of being spread out over the countryside.”

Lindy stretched her collar, biding her time.  “I suppose so.”

They reached the nursery, and Naomi extended a hand. “It was very nice to meet you, Lindy.  Maybe I’ll drop in, attend a service at Beal Street Church sometime.”

Lindy’s answer popped out like a goody from a vending machine.  “Hope you do, Naomi.  Please come, anytime.  We’d love to have you at Beal Street.”

The woman then did something surprising—she laid her other hand on top of Lindy’s and held it there.  Lindy looked down at the dark-light-dark sandwich, then met Naomi’s gaze.

“Just remember, Lindy Mitchell, Who our God is,” she said softly.  “We know He delights to give His children His very best gifts.  And remember, what the Father ultimately gives us is always better than anything we would’ve picked out on our own.  You’ve got to trust Him.”

Naomi pulled her to the side.  “You don’t have any children, do you?”

Lindy shook her head.

“I watched you earlier, you know, through the glass.  Anyone with eyes in their head can tell you are aching for a child.  Am I right?”

Lindy slumped against the wall.  She squeezed her burning eyes shut.  “Oh, God help me,” she managed to say.  “Am I really that obvious?  I would never in a million years hurt Chloe or John.  I am a horrible, terrible person to feel this way!”

Naomi’s chest rumbled with a chuckle.  “No, you’re just a sinner, saved by grace like the rest of us.  And Mrs. Mitchell didn’t notice it, I can guarantee you.  She’s got too many stars in her eyes right now because of that young ‘un—he’s the only thing she’s seeing.”

“You think so?”  Lindy cracked one eye.

“I know it, trust me.  Haven’t worked this floor for thirty-one years and not learned a thing or two about human nature.”  Naomi held out a finger, swirled it around.  “But you need to talk to the Lord about this, young lady, and I know you know what I mean.”

She was right.  Lindy took a deep breath, released it.  Lord, I am sorry.  I want to wait on You to give us our child, in Your time.  I give it to You.

The weight in her chest left, replaced by a lightness. Thank You, Jesus, she breathed.

Lindy opened her eyes.  She found herself engulfed in a giant bear hug by Naomi who was praising the Lord aloud.  “Thank you, Lord!  You are a great God!  Bless this young couple, Lord.  Give them out of Your incredible bounty and let them know the joy of Your salvation!”

Naomi released her and wiped away a tear.  “I need to get back.  You and the Lord gotta have a serious talk soon, young lady, or this thing is gonna keep eating you alive, dragging you down.  Remember, Lindy Mitchell, to trust God and His promises—you’ll do all right!”

Lindy’s knees were still wobbly when she reached her car in the garage.  She stopped to marvel how quickly she had responded to the woman’s huge faith and good advice.  Whatever had just happened, it was big.

She found she couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mace.

           

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Comments

  1. Kim Stewart says:

    That is so beautiful. You get to such the heart and longing of so many women. I spent many years after losing Matthew (and before having Sophie and the rest of our brood) longing for a child. I have several friends now who are experiencing this very longing. WOW! You are so talented and gifted. Thank you!

    • In the book I’m writing about the Titus 2 ladies, Lindy will get to live out this longing as one of the main plot lines. She and her husband Mace have to learn to trust in the Lord, one day at a time. . .you and Randy are such great flesh-and-blood examples of this kind of trust–

  2. Ann Dobies says:

    Jean, this is a heart-tugging chapter. I didn’t have to wait for my children, and I got what I asked for a boy, then a girl, and I feel blessed. But, waiting on the Lord and accepting his timeline is so important in our lives. I have found that out in other areas of life.

    It will be interesting to see how all the characters play out. Thank you for the good reads.

  3. You are right–He is wonderful and gracious in all He does, as He does it in His time, right on time.

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