It started when I had my first child. I became pregnant totally unexpectedly. I had been training for a marathon, running anywhere between five to twenty miles a day. That kind of training usually diminishes the chances of conceiving. I beat the odds I guess and when my son was born I fell head over heels in love with my little boy. Now, four years later, I was loosing faith. I desperately wanted another child. But no matter what we did, how hard we tried, how much I prayed, I couldn’t get pregnant.
I was fine in the office but when I hit the car, I lost it. As I always do in times of turmoil, when I need to hear God the most, I go to the woods. I drove to my favorite park, pulled into the parking lot and just sat. I was a mess from the emotion and tears. It was almost noon and incredibly hot. I kept the windows rolled up anyway and watched some people walk by. I was exhausted so I just started to pray.
My prayer was different that afternoon. I had been praying for another child for so long, I think it had become rote. Now I felt totally empty. I no longer wanted to pray for another child. What I needed most was to simply know what to do. If this wasn’t going to happen, fine. If it was, fine. All I knew as I sat there was that I couldn’t keep doing this if it wasn’t going to happen. The hollowness inside was so deep that for once even my ego was silent. Please, just let me know if this is meant to be. If You want me to keep trying, then tell me. If not, that is ok but I just need to know. Please, just let me know.
I was done then. No prayers left, just exhaustion and silence. I opened the car door and let the humidity sweep over me. There were woods all around me but the parking lot backed up to a mowed grass area with a few picnic benches. I sat down on the closest on with my back to the car and waited. I sat and started baking in the hot direct sunlight. A little voice in my head whispered “if you go into the woods you might have better luck….” I don’t know where that voice came from but I laughed at it. If God had something to say to me he could say it to me where ever I was. He didn’t need me to try to manipulate or influence the outcome. He is God. If he wants to speak to me he can do it with no help on my part. The voice left me and didn’t come back.
After ten minutes of sitting on the picnic table area, I saw movement. Something was in the high grass and weeds. I watched intently as it moved towards a fallen log. Then it was up on the log and walking on it. I could see it. It was a raccoon!
She was a big raccoon. In the middle of the day during the hottest part of the year. A nocturnal animal up at noon. But what did it mean? And then out of nowhere another one popped up! It was a baby raccoon, following mom on the log. And then there was another. And then another…
The tears were rolling down my face again but this time it was of relief. Not because the answer was yes but because there was an answer. The message was incredibly clear. The love I felt in that moment was overwhelming.
One month later I conceived again. My daughter was born the next summer. During my pregnancy raccoons moved into the chimney of the house we lived in. Sometimes, late at night when I couldn’t sleep, I could hear them running across the roof. In my heart there is deep gratitude for the many ways God speaks to us through nature.