His Name is Ben

"Pray without ceasing."
1 Thessalonians 5:17

We started homeschooling when our three children were ages five, three, and one. I enjoyed having the children home with me, but I was a busy stay-at-home mother, and three children was enough. Besides, every pregnancy had brought more sickness than the last one, and I did not want any more of that. So Michael and I decided we weren’t going to have any more children.

Every day we started school by reading the Bible and praying together and I always asked the children if they had any prayer requests. When they were ages nine, seven, and five somehow it became a contest to see who could raise their hand first to request a baby brother. Inwardly I chuckled and shook my head. During prayer time they each asked God for a baby brother. They were young, what did they know?  

This routine continued for a year or more until Sarah (our oldest) decided that a baby brother would not be much fun, so she didn’t want one. Mike Jr. (our youngest) realized that a baby brother would have to sleep in his bedroom and he did not want that, so he also quit asking.


Stephanie however, never stopped asking. Over the next year she always put in the ‘baby brother’ prayer request, and sometimes her siblings would verbally chastise her:

“Stephanie, would you stop asking? It’s not going to happen!”


At times Steph would try to nail me down, asking why we could not have another baby. I was vague, and non-committal about the whole subject. When she approached her father about it he was as evasive as I was.


The Announcement


One summer while shopping, we happened to see a home-schooling friend of ours. She glowingly reported that she was pregnant with her fifth child, and that was all Stephanie needed.

“Mom, you could get pregnant too, and then you and Mrs. Foster could be pregnant together!”


She couldn’t figure out why I didn’t share her enthusiasm for the idea. Stephanie was only nine years old, what did she know? “Stephanie, you grow up and get married, then God will give you a baby boy.”


“No, Mom, I want a baby boy NOW! YOU give me a baby brother!”


We saw Mrs. Foster a few times during her pregnancy, and Stephanie whined often that she couldn’t believe they were getting a baby, but we weren’t. Her daily prayer requests for a baby brother and complaints about the Foster family’s soon-coming baby vexed my soul, but nothing I said could make her stop.


On January 21 Mrs. Foster delivered a healthy baby boy and named him Eli. We went to visit them and Stephanie got to hold the newest Foster boy. It was love at first sight and her eyes shone with wonder as she stared at the precious new baby.


Sure enough, we were hardly in the car and hadn’t pulled out of the Foster driveway when Steph started in:


“Oh Mom, I have just GOT to have a baby!”

Her voice escalated to a desperate, tearful wail:

“Please, Mom, can’t you get pregnant, PLEEEASE!?”


By now Sarah and Mike were tired of the whole process and impatiently snapped at her:

“Steph, would you stop? Mom is NOT going to have a baby!”


At home Steph became more relentless than ever. She continued to pray every day in school for a baby, and then added the same request to her bedtime prayers. I was just plain annoyed. One day while I was working in the kitchen, she was begging for a baby again and I could not stand it anymore:

“Stephanie!” I snapped, “God is NOT going to give us ANY MORE CHILDREN!”


By the tone of my voice, she knew the matter was not up for discussion any more. She burst into tears and ran out of the room, completely broken hearted. I was relieved that she stopped asking for a baby.


The Discovery


A couple of months later we left the children with their grandparents in Syracuse and went to Michael’s work-related convention in Tennessee. While we were there I noticed I was unusually tired and emotional, but chalked it up to the extra work that vacations require.


A few days later we flew back to Syracuse to pick up our children and start the drive home.


The day before we were to leave for home I was in the bedroom, feeling inexplicably sick to my stomach. Michael walked in and noticed that I looked pale.


“Are you sick?” He whispered.


“I’m trying hard not to be.”


His face took on a look of total shock and disbelief: “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”


I gulped: “I’m trying hard not to be!”


It was my unusual amount of emotional outbursts that tipped him off.


The day after we got home I bought a pregnancy test, sure that the results would be negative, but the colored strip gave mixed reviews. I had never used a pregnancy test before and stared at the mysterious strip with trepidation. Since the color looked like ‘maybe’, I was sure it actually meant ‘no’. I called the help-line listed in the packaging and the nice lady on the other end said: “Oh, Ma’am, if you have even a hint of that color, you’re pregnant.” I was sure she was wrong.


A few days later I called my physician’s office. By then I had a lot of pregnancy symptoms, which I listed to the nurse. Her response was: “Well, with all those symptoms, we will just make an appointment for a check-up when you’re three months along.”

“Oh NO!” I retorted, “I want a pregnancy test!” (I was sure I was not pregnant.)


A week later when I arrived at the doctor’s office the symptoms had not gone away, but instead had increased in intensity. In utter disbelief I realized that I might be pregnant. The doctor was chuckling when she walked into the examination room with the test results in her hand:

“So, what happened?”


I stared at her, hoping that I did not understand correctly:

“You mean, it’s positive?”


I was sick for the next eight months. My nauseous stomach often revolted over a simple sip of water. Our children ages eight, ten and twelve had to be quiet for hours at a time while I slept. When I took a nap during the day they would cover me up and sing:


“Go to sleep, go to sleep, close your big blood-shot eyes….”


Later I would hear Sarah and Mike in the other room making noise, then Stephanie would shush them:

“Shhhh, you have to be quiet! Mommy’s baby is growing, and she needs her rest!”

(Soon after we had told the children I was pregnant, Stephanie confessed that she had been praying harder than ever that I would have a baby.)



Stephanie talked about the baby incessantly. We grew weary of her constant, excited chatter. She found a book about pre-natal development and devoured every word. Reports from Stephanie about ‘our’ baby’s growth stages were a common occurrence at the family supper table.


She wanted to see my ‘belly’ all the time. She wasn’t content to see the outline through my shirt because she wanted to see ‘the baby’. I could not stand this 24/7 discussion of my rounding belly, and the baby’s growth. I was sick night and day and had very little patience for her constant banter.


As the baby grew he pushed against nerves in my back, causing stabbing pains to shoot through my hips. The sudden stabs came and went without warning causing me to double over, groaning in pain. That pain combined with my overwhelming exhaustion and constant nausea left me with no patience for Steph’s constant chatter about the baby, so I told her she could only discuss the baby with me once a week.


It was a Herculean effort for her to suppress her enthusiasm and she only lasted a couple of weeks. One day I was sitting beside her on the couch going over her school work and she was unusually frustrated with the lesson. When I questioned why she was so upset she blurted out through hot, frustrated tears:

“Mom, I just want to see what your belly looks like!”


I realized that I had not begun to understand her complete love for ‘our’ baby. With this new insight, I worked harder to be patient with her.


Stephanie repeatedly promised that she would help when the baby came and started a running count to my due date, which was January 28th.


At the seven-month mark, I had a sonogram and wasn’t surprised to see that the baby’s face looked just like my other three babies. I told the technician I didn’t want to know the gender, but somehow I knew: If God would give Stephanie the baby she so desperately desired, He would surely give her a boy.



Waking up on January 21st, I knew: This is the day. Michael woke the children, and a friend came to stay with them while we went to the hospital.


After a long, difficult morning the baby was born ‘naturally’ in the early afternoon. I fought to get the head out, but then the shoulders were too broad to come together. The doctor struggled to get one shoulder, then the other out. She knew that Stephanie wanted a boy and said:

“This had better be a boy with a head and shoulders this big!”


Sure enough, when he was finally delivered it was the boy Stephanie had prayed for. Baby Benjamin was born on the same day as baby Eli Foster had been born one year earlier.


“If you believe in a God wo controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.” Elisabeth Elliot


Up until a few years ago I told this story to illustrate that God hears even the youngest of prayers, and He has a wonderful sense of humor.


But this story has taken on a different light since my husband Michael was killed instantly in an accident in May ‘07.


You see, at first I thought Ben was Stephanie’s baby. She did help tremendously with him, often sacrificing her own time to aid in his care.


Then I decided Ben had been given for my husband. They absolutely adored each other, spending every available moment together.


Benjamin called his father at work every day asking:

“Who’s playing football on TV tonight, Dad?” or ‘Want to go golfing tonight, Dad?” or “Can you come home early?”


But now I see that Ben was given for me. When Michael was killed our other three children were eighteen, twenty and twenty-two years old, and I could have fooled myself into believing that they could make it without me. But Ben was only ten years old, and his little heart was crushed into a thousand pieces. I had to hold it together while he fell apart.


Countless times that first summer I woke up dreading the day ahead, never wanting to get out of bed again. Then I remembered that a brokenhearted little boy would wake up in a few minutes knowing that Daddy wasn’t there to give him a morning hug. Every day I forced myself to get out of bed so I could help that little boy find his way through dark halls of crushing grief. God gave Benjamin to me so I would have a reason to live.


God has a perfect plan every day, all the time. We don’t understand it, but that doesn’t diminish its perfection. God was going ahead of me by inspiring Stephanie to pray without wavering. Because of her prayers Benjamin has his father’s thick Polish bone build, wavy brown hair and dancing brown eyes. In fact, Ben doesn’t look anything like me. I’m so thankful to God that I have a son who reminds me of his father, a son who was given for me.

Return to Blog Home Page



What a great gift - even though not recognized for what it was at the time. God's knowledge of what we need is so above our understanding, and always comes when we need it. "


All comments are reviewed and approved before being posted.


Invite Linda to Your Next Event...

Linda always delivers a relevant message from the Word of God.