AMAZING GRACE – THE FRANKLIN FAMILY
Huw and Pam were ten years into their marriage but five years into feeling like someone was missing from their family. It had been 60 months of waiting for a new life to take hold, wondering if this month will be the month of their miracle. Half of their marriage now a dance between hope rising up and discouragement crashing down, letting go and hanging on, invasive tests and no conclusive answers, questioning and resting, wrestling and surrendering.
But here, now, there is this: it is still love. They never question God’s love, they only look at each other know, God must love us, to give us each other. We are in this, together. They hang on and keep trying,.
In a way, sometimes it would be nice to give up hope, to just bury it all and move on with their life, together, just the two of them, into a new normal. But Hope won’t curl up quietly, Faith won’t surrender an inch, Love keeps believing that maybe, just maybe, God will do something amazing here.
Hope rose up again on the day when their pastor called Huw’s beloved parents to the front, he told them, “The Lord says not to worry; you will live to see Huw and Pam have a child. Your spiritual heritage will be passed down.” Pam was left wondering why God had spoken to Dad and Mom, why the “live to see” – every one was healthy – and why no prophecy for her? but no matter, it was a Word from God and it was hope, so she hung on.
But on the very heels of the day, there came disaster. When Huw’s Dad went in for a routine hernia operation, the doctors discovered his entire abdomen was filled with cancer. They closed him up, untouched, just sewed it all in there with him. Pam stood in the office at the junior high school where she was teaching, cradling the phone in her hand, listening to Huw weep at the hospital, and there was nothing anyone could do for any of them.
Dad had six months to live. And still no baby.
Apparently God – or the pastor – was wrong.
Huw’s dad decided against treatment, choosing quality of life for his end of days. He seemed to be his old self, just a big hernia still, and life became a swirl of not knowing what to believe, what to think, what to plan, or even what to pray for anymore. A year passed, Dad was still alive against the odds, shaking hands at the front door of church every Sunday.
The clock felt like it was ticking over their lives.
And there was still no longed-for, prayed-for, baby.
Then there was the day that Pam discovered a secret note in Huw’s Bible. Written in pink ink, on a ragged-edged memo page, it could have been a grocery list, but it was written from a woman in church. Pam read it quickly, “I felt God had this in May for you. The next Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be different for you. Loosen up your schedule and your clothing. This has come to my mind every time I see you – today is the first time I’ve been able to give it to you. We’ve attended for 8 months now.” It was signed Greta Hun.
When Pam confront Huw about it, he admitted that a woman at church had given him the note. He thought it best not share it because he knew the danger of false hope, he wanted to protect her from even more disappointment. Pam knew he was right because even then, sitting there with the torn piece of paper in her hand, her heart was racing: they had a date.
She was already hoping for a miracle, steeling herself against devastation, dancing between the two.
By now it had been a year and a half since the cancer diagnoses. Dad was starting to twist with pain and he was so tired. But he wouldn’t give in just yet.
She kept hearing about miracles. But where was their miracle?
Mother’s Day came and went.
Father’s Day was two days away. Pam was raw, flayed open with yearning. Huw was watching her, love and suffering in his eyes. Dad was growing weaker. They were all holding tight to Jesus, to each other.
Finally, one night, Pam sent Huw to Extra Foods for a pregnancy kit. But she wouldn’t take it, oh, no. She sneaked into the bathroom at 3:30 in the morning to take the test, wanting to spare Huw from yet another blow. But then….what was this? WHAT was this? Two red lines. Two. Red. Lines. There were two of them in that bathroom at 3:30 in the morning. Two.
Huw heard Pam and woke up, they crashed into each other for three hours of laughing and crying, waiting for the rest of the world to wake up, dancing in the coming dawn.
Pam went for an ultrasound. They told her they had conceived right before Mother’s Day, she was due in January.
Meghan Jean Franklin was born on January 30, 1997. A parade of visitors danced victory through the hospital, all of their friends, their church, their family, holding a small girl-miracle for a moment. Huw’s Mom and Dad were always there.
When they dedicated Meghan to the Lord, Huw’s Dad came up to the front. He prayed a special prayer of blessing over her. He shouldn’t be alive to see this moment, but here he was, and he blessed her, he covered her, he prayed that she would run after God and follow Him faithfully all the days of her life. His voice was in her baby ears, speaking life and love.
But then Dad’s health did start to decline after that. Nursing care in their home, a hospital bed. Every day, Meghan was their beauty, their laughter, their sunshine, in the dark days of a long good-bye. At 66, he went home to Jesus, surrounded by his family, in Pam and Huw’s home. Meghan was 11 months old.
There are still so many questions. Why cancer, why Dad, why suffering, why the wait, but even the “why” of it settle down, in the knowledge that Dad is now walking free, whole, healed, with his beloved Jesus, in the sight of Meghan, in the love that rose up strong.
The dust settled after it all and then there was beauty there, too, in the memories. Meghan is 15 now. Evan came along four years later. All of the years of waiting, they shaped Pam and Huw, drew out a patience, a faith, a hope, a love. It’s all been redeemed, bathed in God’s grace and mercy, and when Pam’s eyes rest on those beautiful babies, now tall, now running hard after God, there is this glow, right in the centre of it all, Dad knows, he must be so proud, so happy, and it’s all been good.