"I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to give you a hope and a future."

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tired Arms, Endless Thanks

Last night, around midnight, came a very upset cry from Emma's room. I'd gone to bed early hoping to catch up on some sleep but Emma it seems, had other plans for me. I went to her room and she was thrashing in her bed, very upset.

I offered her the pacifier and her Lovey but she refused them and cried even louder. She cried harder and harder. I tried to pick her up but she pulled back and continued to wail. I asked her if she just wanted mommy to leave and as I turned to go her crying lessened and she reached out to me.

Picking her up, she rested her head against my shoulder, wrapped her little arms tight as she could around me, and let out a heavy sigh. Her crying ceased and she held onto me for dear life. I began to quietly sing Jesus Loves Me to her as I swayed back and forth. She only weighs around twenty eight pounds but at mid-night, already tired, my arms felt heavy and tired. My first instinct was to grumble. I needed sleep. Tomorrow was church and I was on snack which means I needed to be there early and absolutely could not sleep in.

I realized Emma's breathing was slowing and her tight grip on me was relaxing; she was drifting back to sleep. I also realized a part of me wasn't quite ready to put her down. It felt good to hold her, to comfort her, to sing to her in the dark hours. Like a flood memories came back to me. I thanked God for my little girl, prayed for her, and held her longer than I really needed to.

I remembered a time when having a baby seemed impossible. I was young. So was Chris. Why weren't we able to get pregnant? I remember the tears, the prayers, the long talks, the what if's and the endless doctor appointments and tests. I know it only took us a year when for others it takes so much longer than that but even so that year was a tough one, emotionally.

I remembered pouring my heart out to God. I knew with Him all things were possible but even so He might have had other plans that what I had planned. I prayed and litterly begged God for a baby and I even went so far as to ask Him for a boy. He gave me the desires of my heart. That month I got pregnant. It was no surprise to me when the ultrasound tech told me I was having a boy. I wanted to tell her, "I know."

That first pregnancy I did EVERYTHING by the book and maybe even beyond. I didn't drink a single drop of coffee or tea fearing what it would do to the miracle I'd prayed so hard for. I made them switch one little communion cup at church to white grape juice fearing what even one drop of wine would do to my baby. I refused any medication, even Tylenol, and took my vitamins every single day. After all, I knew fine well that what God gives He can also take. I hate that that I ever thought like that but I did!

When I was six months pregnant, we had just moved into our first home. On maybe the second or third morning of being in our new home I woke up with horrible pains in my stomach. I was terrified. "I'm losing my baby," I thought. Chris rushed me to the ER barely able to stand. He checked me in and as he parked the car the woman at the front desk came over and talked to me. I was in tears and in tremendous pain. I prayed. I am not really sure of what all the woman was talking about but it did help to distract me. She was kind and understanding and stayed with me until Chris returned.

They wanted to give me medicine for the pain. I refused. They said the baby would certainly get some of the medicine through me but not enough to do real harm. It was too risky for me to even chance it. It felt like an eternity before they brought over the little Doppler and put it on my stomach. I prayed to hear a heartbeat. "Please, don't take my baby. It's more than I could bare," I remember praying. Then I heard the most comforting sound. My baby's heart beating strong and sure. The more calm I become the more the pain lessened. They did an ultra sound and then sent me to maternity ward for observation. I remember listening to the steady and sure beat of my baby's heart. I prayed. I thanked. I cried.

I was sent home with a diagnosis of muscle spasms. Little did I know the next 3 months I would suffer with these spasms so bad that I would cry in pain. I would have to stop mid-grocery shop and find a chair when they hit. I got the point where Chris had to come with me to shop. I couldn't do it by myself anymore. And all I ever thought was, "This is so hard but it will be so worth it."

Only a day or two after that ER visit Nathan would decide to scare the living daylights out of me. He was so active in the womb that one day, mid-morning, I realized I hadn't felt him move all day. Off to the ER again. Even the doctors sounded concerned on the phone. This time though, right as we were about to pull into the parking lot for the hospital I told Chris to pull over. I'd felt something. Sure enough, a kick, a movement, then another and another.

So needless to say, when the time came, and I got to hold my baby in my arms I was overjoyed. We named him Nathan, which means gift of God and gave him the middle name of Ross, which is my dad's middle name.

Then there is little miss Emma. The one who according to the medical world wouldn't happen. I had mentioned to my doctor that maybe one day we would like to have another baby. He told me flat out that he didn't think it would happen for us, not without some help of some sort. Four months later, I was pregnant. :o) Our big surprise. Another gift from a loving Savior who saw fit to give us more than we even asked for or hoped for.

So back to the present. As I laid Emma back in her crib and tucked her beneath her purple Tinkerbell blanket; I stayed a moment longer watching her. I fought the tears at all the memories that had come flooding back. I stroked her cheek, smoothed her hair back, and took one more moment to appreciate the little girl that God has blessed us with. Yes, even at mid-night.

I thought of others I know who have lost their children or who have been through illness with their children like cancer. I thanked God once more for two healthy children. I thanked God that yes, even at mid-night I had a little one I could hold and comfort.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Basic Human Needs

There is something altogether satisfying about meeting the most basic of human needs. One of those needs happens to be eating.

I find it strangely satisfying to feed my family. I like to watch my children take bites of something I have made, knowing that I am filling their tummies and helping them to grow. I find it exciting to make something I know my husband loves and then watch as he enjoys it. It is satisfying to me to watch their hunger be satiated.

Saturday we had a man from Direct T.V. here installing new wires and doing who knows what. He ran into endless problems and ended up being here from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.! It was so cold that day and I felt terrible for him as he shivered out in the cold. I did make him a cup of hot coffee and he was quite pleased with that.

As the night wore on I knew I needed to feed my family. At the same time I knew this man, his name was Tony, had been toiling away and he too must have been hungry. We offered him a seat at our table but he was too busy to stop but did mention he might want something later.

By nine he was tired and exhausted and probably partially frozen. He sat down at our dinner table and enjoyed a heaping plate of lamb stew, carrots, mashed potatoes, fresh green salad, and three hot biscuits.

As Tony ate I couldn't help but feel satisfied knowing we as a family were meeting a very basic need of another human being. A need to eat. I also realized as he sat at our table he must have seen the verses hanging on our wall. He might have wondered why we bothered to serve him a hot meal and not just assume he could get something from a fast food chain.

When he left Chris handed him a couple tracts and he was on his way. I thought about the fact that perhaps this might be a new beginning for him. Maybe in wondering why a family he was doing a job for would feed him, and give him cups of hot coffee, and exhibit patience in a frustrating process; he might then wonder what was the difference? What did we as a family have that other families did not?

Not to say that none of his other costumers have never fed him. Maybe they have and maybe they haven't. All I know is that I couldn't stop thinking of Matthew 25:33-45. Jesus told them when he was hungry they had fed him and thirsty they had given Him a drink. And they asked, "When did we do this?" The basic thought I was thinking rest mostly with verse 40. "When you did it to the least of were doing it to me."

I told Chris later that night my thoughts and we both came to same conclusion. In these verses rested the very truth that in meeting this man's basic needs for nourishment, if we did as unto the Lord, then it was just the same as if the Lord was seated at our table that night and enjoying a hot meal.

Imagine then the other side. If we had NOT offered this man a meal, if we had not offered him something to drink, if we had not met his very basic needs, in turn it would have been just as bad as if we had not met the needs of own Lord Jesus Christ. In God's eyes all people are special and precious and not one is above another. It also talks about entertaining angels unaware.

Though I am quite sure that Tony the Direct T.V. guy was not an angel, at least both Chris and I could go to bed that night knowing that in some small way we had met his needs and maybe with time and prayer he will come to know the reason why.