It was 1976. Michael and Joanne Wagner boarded a bus heading for the March for Life in D.C. Everything about them proclaimed God's gift of life. Joanne was carrying baby number 13.
Somewhere around midnight, while on the bus... head resting on her husband's shoulder, at the very young age of 39 - God called her home. She died silently in her sleep. Many years later, some who were on the bus that night reported the little boy kicking in her womb.
Burdened with an anguish I could never imagine, Michael returned home without the love of his life, without his unborn child... to face the many demands of twelve children without a mom.
Michael made no more than $25,000 a year. He worked night shift. Yet, somehow, he found a way to accomplish the all-consuming, overwhelming "it," including putting each child through Catholic schools. Though not without the usual travails of life, perhaps because of them, their life radiated God's abundant grace and presence.
My wife, Stephanie, was number 11. She likes to joke that it took her parents 11 times to get it right, and then they had one for fun. In any event, she was only five years old at the time. She shares a touching story of her first day back at school. Not quite understanding everything, she knew her mom expected her to have her hair in piggy tails (or "honkers" because her brothers use to pull them!). Not having her there to do so, her dad rose to the occasion, using ordinary twisty ties.
While Michael has since been reunited with his wife, they both remain great examples to me and our children, of a life well lived. They gave witness to a providence beyond our poverty, a completion beyond our calculation. They gave us the great legacy of this simple but formidable truth: What God calls us to, He will provide for.
So may it be for all God's children, born and unborn. Beyond our means, whatever you're dealing with right now, know His great love for you. Trust in Him. You don't need to find a way. Just turn to Him who is the Way.