By Jill Tollison Kester
My mother, being the sage of our family that she is, once told me, “Taking the time to focus your attentions on raising honorable, trustworthy children will be more meaningful and remembered than striving to be the boss of a large corporation and the reward so much richer for the time spent.
In 2001, I got to experience that reward James Corbett Kester was born all 9 pounds of him, he was perfect and beautiful! I can still hear my husband’s laughter on New Year’s Eve as we climbed the stairs to the front door of our house with our new baby boy, he was ecstatic, I had never heard him laugh that way before nor had I ever seen him so happy.
In 2003, we began to try to have another child. I experienced several miscarriages which really broke our hearts and disheartened us in hopes of ever having another baby. Our pastor’s wife in South Carolina, herself a mother of four grown children, was very supportive, she shared with me that she too had experienced miscarriages and knew the deep sense of loss, sorrow and loneliness that comes with the loss of a baby.
The sense of loss I was suffering was so intense, like nothing I had ever experienced before. She gave me a verse, 2 Corinthians 1:4, He comforts us in our suffering, so that we too may comfort others as He has comforted us. She told me she understood my sadness, and often quoted another verse, Psalm 30:5, Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.
Those two verses offered a great amount of comfort to us. Steve and I continued to pray together as a couple and my son James and I, made it a point to ask Jesus every night as I tucked him in and said our prayers to ask God for a baby. He wanted a baby brother so bad and said “Let’s ask God for a baby boy.”
Our family continued to pray for us as well and I remember my mother’s encouragement when she told me to pray, crying out to the Lord as Hannah of the Bible in 1 Samuel did for a baby, and God blessed her with Samuel..
And so each night we said the same prayer earnestly asking the Lord for a precious baby, when in the fall of 2007 I
discovered I was pregnant again! I cried at the sight of her little heartbeat on the monitor during our first ultrasound, life is so precious I thought, I saw her heart beating inside of me with my own eyes, what a magnificent sight, I felt so blessed to be able to witness that, she was alive! I was monitored closely during my pregnancy and got many ultrasounds and I could see her so clearly, she was so real, her little toes and tiny fingers, so sweet! When the tech told me she was a girl, I could not believe it, my mind flooded with pink bows and flowers everywhere, shopping trips for the girls to the mall and the list went on of all the “girl things” we would be able to do together some day.
On June 1, 2009 at 3:55 IN THE MORNING our daughter Jessie Lyn Kester was born! My pastor’s wife’s words came tome, JOY COMES IN THE MORNING, the doctor handed her to me, I held my
“Sunshine”, for the first time and James my son came into the room, I had both of my children in my arms, I felt like I did when James was first placed in my arms, like I had been handed the most gracious and perfect gift anyone had ever given me. My husband held her next, I only have seen him cry once before when his dad died, he sat down with her, looked at her sweet little face and cried, but these were tears shed in joy. I will never forget that picture of him and our new daughter together.
Our experience came full circle for me as we dedicated Jessie Lyn. Our pastor had brought out the verse of how God will grant you the desires of your heart, and He did grant us the desire of our heart!
Jessie Lyn is now 17 months and as sweet as can be. Watching her as she grows is such a joy and blessing, our lives are so much richer because of her. Last week, her grandmother was babysitting her for only a couple of hours, when I got home and she saw me, she threw up her arms, called my name, and ran to me as if I had been gone for weeks, I will never forget that feeling. I was truly missed.
Author, Gail Buckley once said, “Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and the future.” We can see so many likenesses in her, her ears are the spitting image of Steve’s, right down to the nitch that they both have in their right ears and she has Steve’s eyes and her nose looks just like mine did when I was a baby! She is so uniquely her own but also so much a part of our family.
As I look at my children, I can only think of how excited God is about each child he creates with a distinct imprint of His image. Just as Steve, Jessie Lyn and James’ earthly father wants a full life of love and protection for them, their heavenly father wants for them the same. I am grateful for this gift that God has given me of being a mother and I am convinced that each child wanted or unwanted is a gift of unspeakable joy from God.
Jill Kester’s daughter Jessie Lynn was the 1st place winner of GRTL’s 2009 I AM a Person baby photo contest. Georgia Right to Life will be hosting the contest again in 2010, for more information about entering your child in the I AM a Person baby photo contest, call 770-339-6880.