The boy who made me a mom—the story of my answered prayer
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life … Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’” (1 Samuel 1:10-11, 20).
By Jessica Brodie
I love my son, and I love being a mom. Cameron turned 12 years old today, and he just amazes me in every way. Like any proud mama, I’m astounded at the person he has become—his faith and his intelligence and his unique and wonderful gifts and graces.
But today, his 12th birthday, it is hitting me again how grateful I am for him and for the way God has worked in my life. Cameron is my answered prayer.
See, I waited until my late twenties to try to get pregnant. I had my own idea of when I wanted this to happen and when I was ready, and all of a sudden I was in for a rude awakening: my plans were not necessarily God‘s plans. This was a shock and a blow all at once.
I struggled for a couple of years with infertility. It was an issue with my body, and the first line of treatment, medication in the form of pills, didn’t work. I sank into a depression: Why wasn’t this happening? Was there a reason God didn’t want me to have a child? Was I not good “mother material”? Did he want me to adopt instead?
I desperately wanted to experience what it felt like to carry a child in my womb. I wanted it so badly I could taste it. Some days I would come home from work, and the frustration and despair would force me to my knees, hit me in the gut like a sucker punch. Out of nowhere, with no warning whatsoever, the anguish would flatten me. I’d find myself facedown on my bed where, heart pounding and hair wild I would cry my eyes out. I just didn’t understand.
I started reading the Bible right around that time and began a season of self-reflection. I just felt so empty. If pregnancy wasn’t going to happen, I needed something else… though I didn’t know what. At the time I ran a newspaper in a small mountain community, so after work or on weekends I’d take long walks on my own, quiet in the mystery of the forest around me. At night, I’d enjoy lazy bubble baths and read through Scripture. I took a break from fertility treatments and tried to be at peace with whatever God had in store for me. Eventually, I decided I wanted a child more than I wanted the experience of having one grow in my body. I knew that when the time was right, if I didn’t get pregnant, then I would definitely pursue adoption.
One night I was reading 1 Samuel. It had been a long day, and I was exhausted and kind of half-asleep as I flipped through the pages. And then it happened—I saw myself! In the Book of Samuel! In Hannah, the barren woman who desperately craved a son.
I sat up in the bath, water dripping on the pages, and read this story I had not known before: how this woman wanted to have a child so badly that she chose to commit her child to being a Nazirite, which meant he’d leave her home and go live in the temple in a life consecrated to the service of God. She made a commitment to turn her child over to God, to pledge her child to Him. When she did that, God answered her prayer and gave her the son she sought. In return, she fulfilled her promise to Him. After he was weaned, she gave her child, Samuel, to the Lord.
That’s when it hit me: maybe that’s what I needed to do… not necessarily pledge that my child would be a Nazirite, but pledge that my child would be a child of God. I knew it in my soul then: that was why God hadn’t let me get pregnant yet. God wanted to make sure that I would produce a child who belonged to Him, a child who knew Him, a child of faith. A child of God.
In a daze, I got out of the bathtub and sank to my knees. My heart was pounding, but I felt this amazing peace settle over me. I didn’t think. It all just came from the heart. With my eyes squeezed shut, I told God that if He chose to allow me to get pregnant, then I would commit my child to Him. Just like Hannah, I would make sure my child knew Him and was raised in authentic faith. I would do everything I possibly could to make sure of it.
I went to sleep that night wrapped in a blanket of complete and utter contentment. I wasn’t worried about this anymore. It no longer mattered whether I got pregnant or not. What mattered was that as a mother, however that occurred, I would raise my child for the Lord.
A week or so later I discovered I was pregnant. And now, on my son‘s 12th birthday, I look back at that time in gratitude and wonder at the miracle and transformation that occurred. Cameron was that baby. Cameron was my answered prayer.
I have never let myself forget the promise I made to the Lord all those years ago on my knees in a small bathroom in the mountains of Cashiers, North Carolina: I would raise my child to be a child of God at all costs. I would make sure he went to church and walked in faith and understood what it meant to have authentic relationship with his Creator. I would model that for him and raise him in a Christian home.
I didn’t know it then, but that moment—that choice, that pledge—was as much about me as it was about Cameron, as much about me as it was about God. It was a turning point in my life, a time I can pinpoint specifically when I made a clear and conscious decision that God was really, truly, completely the most important thing of all.
This beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy today has the power to melt my heart with his sweet little shy smile or his tender and meaningful hugs. But more precious to me is the joy I feel as a Christian and a mother when we read a devotional together or pore through the Book of Matthew together or say a prayer as we drive by a car accident, sirens blaring around us.
He is my faith legacy, a part of the Christian family tree we continue together—and one more powerful example of God‘s awesome hand and will at work in the world and in my life.
Thank you, God. May I always remember that promise… not only as I parent Cameron but also his younger sister and step-siblings, and in all the ways I live my life.
It all belongs to God.
“Then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high’” (1 Samuel 2:1).
Jessica Brodie is a Christian author, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach.