At 5 a.m. on 7/30/20, I sat with my laptop at my hospital bed and wrote this letter to my unborn son. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that Daniel would be coming into the world that day, 11 weeks early, in the midst of the chaotic year of 2020. I am so thankful for the light of Daniel in an otherwise dark year.
Letter To My Unborn Son, Daniel Christopher
I feel a little weird writing a letter to my unborn son, but life has been a little weird lately. Actually, life has been really weird lately to the point that most of us don’t know what is weird and what is normal anymore.
January 1, 2020, I prayed a bold and dangerous prayer. Many of us pick one word for the year– a guiding word that helps us focus on God and do what He wants us to do in life. However, I didn’t pick just one word. I picked a phrase: God’s Will.
I prayed again and again (and again) for 2020 to be about me carrying out God’s will instead of my own. For five long years nothing seemed to worked out the way I planned, and it was time to finally put the ball in God’s court. It was time for me to let go of my pride and my perfectionism, and let God take the reins.
To pray for God’s will is one of the most dangerous prayers you can pray.
The moment I prayed that, my world seemed to flip upside down within the first few months. Following that, it seemed like the rest of the world did too.
When You Pray God’s Will
When you pray God’s will, you are asking God to show up in ways that may only make sense to God. The moment you pray God’s will, you are stepping out in faith. And when you step out in faith, you can almost never turn backwards.
The fact is, when we read the Bible, all the stories that we heard about growing up in Sunday School would have been boring if the characters had stuck to their own plan instead of God’s. Imagine a world where David didn’t fight Goliath (or if David had listened to the world and put on armor that wasn’t his.)
Or what about a world where Joshua didn’t march around the walls of Jericho. Imagine a world where Joseph dismissed Mary like the world expected him to do.
Or, imagine a world where Daniel wasn’t a gentle fighter for the faith.When you pray God's will, you are asking God to show up in ways that may only make sense to God. The moment you pray God's will, you are stepping out in faith. And you can't go back.
When I Prayed God’s Will
It was January 1 that I prayed for God’s will to be done.
It was January 2 that God started pushing me on this idea for a website, Pray With Confidence, that I wanted to wait a year on.
God doesn’t wait when you ask for His will. It happens, and it happens fast.
It happened so fast, that I thought it was affecting my whole body. I kept getting so sick. After tons of bloodwork, doctors kept assuring me that I was sick from the stress.
One test they forgot? A pregnancy test.
I went almost my whole first trimester not knowing you were coming into the world Daniel! God wanted you here so badly that it didn’t matter that I was on birth control for a medical condition. It didn’t matter that it was that medical condition that made it very unlikely for me to have kids in the first place.
God wanted you here, and we wanted His will.
And the moment we found out we were pregnant, for the first time in our lives everything fell into place. Your dad immediately found a job as a youth coordinator for the perfect church for our family, and it just so happened to still be in driving distance to Nana and Pop and down the road from Grandma and Grandpa.
We found the perfect house to rent that just so happened to be across the street from lifelong friends (scratch that, they’re too close for friends, they are family too).
It was all too good to be true.
We would find out quickly though that living a life of God’s will doesn’t always mean comfort.
Four days after our first Sunday at our new church (and your dad’s new job), and two days after I found out I was pregnant, the world shut down. We thought it would be for a couple of weeks (even though your Uncle Matt warned us to stock up on everything, including paper towels and toilet paper, and we thought he was nuts).
None of us (except Matt, I guess) could have ever guessed that we would still be full-force into the pandemic when you were coming into the world. I feel a bit bad knowing that for the rest of your life, when you give your date of birth, people will sigh and say things like “Oh, that year…”. I wonder what stories we will tell you about 2020 when you’re older. I wonder what we will remember and what we won’t.
I wish I could say you being born in a pandemic was the hardest part of this year, but our life is so chaotic sometimes I forget there is a pandemic. And I have a weird feeling that harder times are still to come. I know that sounds pessimistic, but I can’t shake away the feeling that this year is going to get harder instead of easier. Maybe it’s just my anxiety and nerves about the idea of you possibly coming early.
But life is starting to spiral out of control. And God’s will isn’t easy, or looking like anything I imagined.
Explaining God’s Will to My Unborn Son
And now it is July 30, 2020 at 5 am in the morning. And I know that you are coming today. The doctors haven’t made it clear, but God has. I’m even skipping out on breakfast because I am so certain that you are coming today. I think you know it too, the way you are kicking and moving all around.
And although that seems terrifying, you coming 3 months earlier than planned, I know that God will find a way to wave His will all throughout it. And all I can pray now (besides being brave enough to get through this day) is you being healthy.
But I also pray that we can find a way to use your story to share the real Jesus with others. A Jesus that I felt so strongly in my lowest and weakest moments here in the hospital. A God that showed up when I was scared out of my mind, and all I could feel was an overwhelming and indescribable peace, knowing it was going to be okay.
A God that showed me that even though he doesn’t want me hurt or harmed, that in these lowest moments I’m the closest to Him. I pray I can take these feelings now and one day find the words to share them to the world.
God doesn’t want bad things to happen to us, just like I hope that no bad things ever happen to you. But I also know God loves us enough to give us free will and to make our own decisions, just like you’ll do one day. And he gave that same free will to the whole world, which means bad things will happen to us that are out of our control. The only thing in this life we can be certain of is the fact that God will never leave us, and in our darkest times, if we reach out persistently, He will be there.
Daniel was nowhere close to our first choice for naming you. But I kept getting the feeling that we were supposed to name you Daniel. I couldn’t shake it off. And now, I’m just starting to get it, even though nothing has happened yet.
God has big plans for you, Daniel Christopher. Plans that only a fighter could accomplish. If you are born today, we have a lot of fighting ahead of us, but I am confident that God will take any situation and use it for His good.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)
Jessie Synan is a Master’s student in Theological Studies who helps other women find their prayer focus in a distracting world. She went from her ADHD interfering with her prayer life to finding her own unique rhythms for prayer and encouraging other women to do the same. She is the founder of Pray With Confidence, which has helped over 5000 women focus on prayer through the real and vulnerable advice she gives to those on her email list when they sign up for the free guide “How to pray [when you can’t focus.]”