First published in Dutch on June 12, 2018
Consider the lilies of the field, I read. These well-known words keep coming back to me. I think of my own small lily and instead of ‘consider the lilies’ I think: ‘consider Amanda’. Though it doesn’t really speak about her, but about flowers, I think it is a striking comparison.
These are words of Jesus. He said you should not worry, because God takes care of you. Don’t worry about food, about what you need to wear, He says. And then: Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. And again, while typing this, I think of Amanda right away.
Amanda’s full name is Susan Amanda. Susan means ‘lily’, Amanda means ‘wanted’. Susan was the name both my husband and I thought of while we were praying about what name would suit this child. It was very special to find out that separately, we both came up with the same name. But when we found out the meaning is lily, we actually didn’t think much about it anymore. We had time, the baby would not be born soon.
That is, until we found out that our daughter wasn’t growing well in my belly and might have to come into the world much sooner. The pregnancy became worrisome and we shared that news with our family and friends. After that, one of my best friend told me she had given our child a name, to make praying for her easier. She said: ‘as long as she is in your belly, I will call her Lily. It means ‘little one’ in my mother tongue and it is also a very beautiful flower.’ I was deeply moved.
Little Lily, Susan Amanda, indeed came too soon. Not because she was in danger in my belly, but because she already died before she could be born. She is called Lily and Wanted. And now I hear Jesus saying here: Look at the lilies. Look how beautiful they are. They only bloom a short time, but God gave attention to them and even if no one is looking, these flowers are blooming gloriously in pure and simple beauty.
My own tiny Lily was also here for just a short time. When we met her, we were surprised by what she did to us. Our hearts were filled with love, joy and wonder. There she was, our daughter, and just as you accept a child just as he or she is, when it comes, so we embraced this little baby full of love and tenderness. It was as if my heart was enlarged in one second. There suddenly was room for mother’s love for five children. When looked into the eyes of my husband, I saw the same had happened to him. We became daddy and mommy again, and met our daughter.
How beautiful she was. So amazingly perfectly made. As tiny as she was – not a full term baby – she showed that a Master had been at work. For hours, I sat next to her crib. I held her in my hands and looked at her, His work, with admiration and gratitude. Despite the deep pain about her death, I felt grateful that clearly He had made effort in creating her. He had really fearfully and wonderfully knitted her, as the Psalm says that I read so many times while I was pregnant.
Consider the lilies in the field. It is as if God Himself is saying: look at Amanda, how I made her. So small, too small to live here on earth, but still made with so much care. Little hands, little feet, little nose, little eyes and even some hairs and nails on her fingers and toes.
My tiny lily, when I think of you, look at you, I see how great God is. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Ever since her birth, I had a song in my head about exactly this. In January 2020 I was finally able to finish writing it and on Amanda’s third birthday, I released it. You can find it here.