Helen faced several difficulties which in rapid succession were thrown in her lap, and if it was not for the support she received of her father, she would have been overwhelmed.
Number one was the question of the name of the baby. As soon as the baby was born she was asked what name she wanted to give to her.
She had wanted to name him Lolke after the father, but he was a she, what now? Lolkje was acceptable as it was the feminine form of Lolke, but she didn't like that name, neither Tytsje, her mother's.
Helen's father read, as was his custom, a chapter out of the New Testament after supper, which handles about Jesus with the twelve disciples going from town to town to preach, there are also some women mentioned who served Him with their goods. The three women named are Maria, Magdalena, and Johanna. Before starting a thanks-giving prayer Helen's father opened the bible again to read these names aloud.
“I like Johanna,” he said to his wife, “It's probably the same name as your Beppe Janneke.”
“I wonder about its meaning,” said Helen, who also liked the sound of Johanna. She was going a little early to ask the dominee about it in the afternoon at catechism.
“Johanna? My mother's was called by that name,” dominee Voerman said, “Johanna is a wonderful, biblical name. It means – gift of god, did you know that,Helen?
“I know now,” Helen laughed. She could've kissed the old man – she had been right all the time, how was it possible to feel what she felt that Sunday evening in the hay field with Lolke if God had meant to give her this wonderful gift of a baby-girl?
Dominee Voerman liked this happy go lucky young mother, who he still saw hopscotching by his study as a child only a few years ago. She had not lost her cheerful character and her childlike faith, the old man mused, but hard test were just around the corner.
“Helen, when your baby is born it should be baptized, but how do you know that it is a girl?”
“I always wanted a little girl, I don't know, I never even taught it could be a boy,” she laughed.
“You know Helen, when your baby is born she, if indeed she is a little girl, should be baptized, but before we are allowed to proceed with that holy sacrament you, Helen, will have to do confession of faith, and – and you also have to do do confession of guilt.”
“But dominee, could we not wait with all that till Lolke comes to get get me?”
“When will that be my dear young woman, if ever? Would you take the chance of loosing your baby forever by not having her baptized? You have long enough been instructed by me to know that only baptized believers are going to be saved?”
A terrible feeling of fear and helplessness crept into her heart.
“You are lucky that you do not to live twenty years ago when you would have to confess your sin before the entire congregation.”
“But what about Lolke' s church, do they believe the same thing, dominee?” Helen cried.
“They do, and so do practically all churches.”
“Dominee, what can I do?”
“All I can advise you Helen, is to follow the rules of our doctrines – go before the church counsel to confess your sin against the seventh commandment.”
“And if I refuse?” Her voice was barely audible.
“Firstly your baby will not be baptized, then you will be barred from the holy sacrament, the Lord's Supper, you might be shunned, or ultimately banned from the church. My dear child, maybe one time the church will change, but these are the rules now, I can and will help you as much as I can, but for now, these are the rules, Helen.”
If it had not been for dominee to temper the consistory members to christian mercy, and ruling out of order the rude interrogation of some the consistory members, Helen's self worth might have been destroyed. Thinking of her father she confessed to the sin of adultery, but at the question if she was sorry of her sin she shook her head violently asking -
“How can I be sorry for a gift of God?”
That answer did not satisfy the council at all, even the chairman, dominee Voerman looked stern, but tried to save the situation by saying -
“Of course you are not sorry to have the baby grow in you, Helen, but your copulation with Lolke was sinful.” He knew that he and the counsel were loosing ground and knew for sure when Helen blurted out -
“But that was the most beautiful part, and if you mean that we had sex together, we had. But tel me - how could I have a baby without sex.” She shook with emotion. She stood up to flee.
“I am sick of all this. You make God's gift look dirty.”
Dominee hastily adjourned the meeting without a closing prayer and took Helen out of the consistory room, trying to calm her down.
However, the verdict of the church counsel was that her baby when it was born would not be permitted to be baptized, unless Helen would change her obstinate attitude, confess her sins, and humbly submit herself to the discipline of the church.
”Lolke o Lolke” she cried, “I need you so, where are you?”