About four years ago, I was working on a book for new moms, and I needed some help. So I asked my friends and blog readers to fill out a survey about motherhood. I remember a gal named Nichole asking me, “Could I fill out the survey, even if I’m a single mom?” Heavens, yes, I told her.
I didn’t know her from Adam, yet somehow I knew immediately that there was something special about this Nichole person.
When I read her completed survey, I just shook my head in amazement. God is good, I said to myself. He’s got something up his sleeve for this girl and her 9-month-old daughter, Kylie.
I have her survey right here in front of me, so I can share some of her exact words.
Question #1–How did you make the decision about when to start a family? I didn’t, Nichole said. She explained that she had been in a relationship, fell into some pretty serious sin and found herself single and pregnant. “All my dreams of being married and sharing children with my husband were squashed by that one act of sin, and I felt helpless and alone. Now I can see that it was a time that God literally carried me through. His mercy alone brought me to the place I am now–a mommy, rejoicing in the joy that my daughter is.”
When I asked about the most difficult aspects of pregnancy, Nichole wrote, “Emotionally, it was all the disappointment and judgment I was receiving from everyone around me. I realize now that they were entitled to their grieving, but I hope that if they had known what it was doing to me, they would have been more subtle about it. I don’t think I have ever cried about something so much in my life.”
She told me about surrendering her dreams of being a stay-at-home mom. “Because we’re doing this all alone, I don’t feel like I have any other choice right now but to work. There are times that I feel stuck. God has been using this to teach me some big lessons about relying on him and delighting myself in him.”
Question #19 on the survey was What is your ideal family size? Nichole wrote, “It is truly the desire of my heart to be a wife and to extend our family beyond Kylie. I have always thought five is a good number of children, but my husband would have to share in that desire.” In the margin, I wrote, “God, I pray this for Nichole.”
Question #28–Do you find yourself comparing your child to other children? Explain. Nichole shared a few common comparison traps she’d fallen into, then wrote, “Another thing I have struggled with as a single mom is comparing the relationships that the other babies have with their daddies to the complete lack of one that my daughter has. This can really make me sad sometimes, but my friends have been incredible in opening up their homes and their hearts to us.”
Question #33–What dreams do you have for your child? Nichole wrote, “The only real dream I have for her is to love and serve the Lord. Becoming a parent has brought me so much closer in my relationship with him, and I pray that she will share the same love for him that I have.”
Well, I finished the book (and we won’t talk about it going out of print, but hey, cheap copies for you!). I dedicated it to my three little girlies–Livi, Ava, and Nina–and that was that.
Except it wasn’t.
Something was nagging at me. Or someone rather. As in the Holy Spirit. I told my editor I had a last-minute change to the book. I added two more girlies to the dedication page. Now it read:
To Livi, Ava, and Nina: You girlies started rocking my world more than seven years ago and haven’t stopped. I love you to bits and pieces!
And to Kylie Joy and her mommy, Nichole. God has big plans for you two. I just know it!
There. That’s better. You might be tempted to think, whoa, hold on there a second. Who are you to tell this Nichole girl (that you’ve never even met) that God has big plans for her and her daughter? Aren’t you being a little presumptuous?
Call it what you will, but I knew. Not what or when or how. I just knew that God had plans. And that they were big.
Not too many months later, Nichole and Kylie and I met in person (at a big blogging get-together). I loved her immediately. A few months after that, I got some hare-brained idea to go to 52 Zoos in 52 Weeks, and Nichole and two-year-old Kylie met us at Zoo #3 in Cleveland. Kylie and Nina became fast friends.
Fast forward just a little bit more to when God started blowing everybody’s socks off with his plans for Nichole and Kylie. Big? Is an understatement. God was in the mood for HUGE.
Part 2 tomorrow. See you then.