There were times when I felt completely alone.
Yet, it was in the midst of those trials that I had a great spiritual awakening. It was then I received a powerful testimony that God loved me and was aware of me. It was also the first time I felt the presence of three spirits; spirits that I recognized as my unborn children. In my mind I called these three spirits, "Asher, Luke and Rose." Always in that order.
I can't tell you how many times over the next decade of my life those little spirits would give me strength and help keep my mind focused on what was important. They were my spiritual cheerleaders and with them I never felt alone.
When I was pregnant for the first time the thought of those three little spirits weighed heavily on my mind. I was excited to meet one of them, but I didn't really think that I would name my children "Asher, Luke, and Rose." I mean ALL little girls pick out names for their future children but how many of them actually end up becoming the real deal? Not very many.
So as Jon and I talked about names for our little boy "Asher" was on our list, but not our first pick. I actually really wanted to name him Jonathan Luke (and call him John Luke) and begged Jon my whole pregnancy until he finally consented. Yet as I held that tiny infant boy in my arms for the first time my initial thought (besides relief) was, "Oh, no! You are not Luke! Who are you?"
It was obvious to both Jon and I that his name was not Luke. It took us almost a day to decide on his name, but the more we basked in his spirit the stronger came the impression that his name was Asher.
When I was pregnant the second time I was certain that I was going to have a boy. I figured that since my "Asher" had come to me, my "Luke" must be on his way next. So, I was surprised when the ultrasound told us we were having a girl. I made the doctor double check, and even after that I still had my doubts. I was thrilled about the idea of having a girl, but I don't think I ever really believed she would be one until she was finally in my arms. In fact, the very first thing I did when she was born was hold her up and check.
Yep, a girl.
And from that moment on I called her Rose. I didn't even ask Jon. I knew exactly who she was.
My third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks. As I was miscarrying Jon gave me a blessing that my son would be fine and that everything would work out as it should. We were both surprised that he used the word "son" to describe the baby, but he told me it had just felt like the right thing to say. I struggled afterward with the miscarriage but I never felt a sense of loss. Deep in my heart I knew that my son would be back.
When I was pregnant with Abraham we didn't find out the gender, but Jon never seemed to doubt that we were having a boy. I felt conflicted. Part of me wanted to believe that what I had felt, that my little boy would come back to me, was true. Yet, the other part of me doubted that it was possible for me to receive revelation like that. So, just in case, I spent the last months of my pregnancy convinced that I was having a girl.
But it was a boy.
As I was holding Abraham for the first time I just assumed that he was Luke. I figured I now had my Asher, my Rose, and my Luke.
Then Jon asked me, "What do you think about the name Abraham?"
"Huh?" That was never a name we had even considered.
Then Jon told me that when he held Abe, just after he was born, he heard/felt a voice say "Abraham." He had the distinct impression that was this little boy's name.
And you know what, it fit.
It was old fashioned, long, and unusual, but he was definitely Abraham.
I don't know why that is his name but I believe that names are important and that certain ones can carry with them spiritual power. I don't doubt that Abraham has his name for a reason. I also think that this was God's way of letting me know that he wasn't Luke.
That my Luke was still waiting to come.
As I get nearer to bringing this next little spirit into the world I have been thinking alot about my relationship with my children in the pre-existence. President Joseph F. Smith taught that we made covenants with the spirits who are to be a part of our posterity. He said:
How will a young married couple feel when they come to the judgment and discover that there were certain spirits assigned to them and they refused to have them? Moreover, what will be their punishment when they discover that they have failed to keep a solemn covenant and spirits awaiting this mortal life were forced to come elsewhere when they were assigned to this particular couple?"
Those are pretty strong words.
They make me wonder about my own children. Were they all "assigned" to me? Did I covenant with each of them, or are some of them gifts?
I guess I won't know for sure, but I feel like Asher, Rose, and my future Luke are the spirits that I personally covenanted with. They are the spirits that have been with me from the very start. Getting pregnant with Rose was a definite prompting, we knew that there was another spirit ready and anxious to come to us. After she was born I even remember having a feeling of contentment, like our family was complete. I think I even joked to Jon that we didn't need to have any more because we-- the four of us-- felt whole.
Abe on the other hand feels like a gift. A beautiful, precious, amazing gift. We never got a "prompting" to have him. We simply opened our hearts and let him come.
And that was the best decision we ever made.
Often when I look into this sweet face I am filled with so much gratitude for him; like I can't believe he is mine. Perhaps it is because I know he could have gone somewhere else, but that he didn't. He came to us; a deep and wise spirit who has an important mission on this earth.
Life without him would be lacking in so much.
I can't help but wonder if this next baby is going to be my Luke. Or will it be another gift, another spirit who is coming to us simply because our hearts and our home are open to life?
....which I am getting excited for.