Monday, February 29, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 4

     I remember the first time we saw our wee gift, via the ultrasound.  Our son, as we would learn, was looking right at us on the screen!  Our hearts were overflowing with gratitude!

     Of course, it took some time for him to show us he was a "he:" he liked his privacy.  Oh, but just seeing him, and knowing God was allowing him to be healthy... What a gift!

     Even though he was healthy, we still had our challenges.  I had to make sure to drink lots of water, eat right, and exercise.  Of course, when you are tired by all the baby-growing that your body is doing, you do not always feel like taking a thirty-minute walk.  You feel like lounging on the couch with some ice cream... Or, steak. ;-)

     Dear was ever faithful to keep me motivated and encouraged.  Our relationship grew exponentially throughout this journey.  If it were even possible, I dare say he became an even better best friend to me.

     Any time I was scared, lonely, or worried, he was right there for my comfort.  He always pointed me back to my loving Saviour.  So many prayers, so many Bible studies...Keeping my focus on Christ.

     One time, at a prenatal visit, the midwives asked how I was doing.  I was trying to hold it together, and keep a cheerful countenance.  However, be it my hormones, reality, or both, I burst into tears.

     I had just watched Jill Dillard's baby shower episode, the night prior to my appointment.  I could not help but be a bit saddened.  I knew I would not have such a treat.  I hated that I was having a hard time about it, too; especially after God had answered a decades-long prayer request!

     I did not want to be like Israel, and bemoan my lot.  I did not want to complain.  I shared all these things with the midwives and Dear sitting there.  They did not berate me.

    Dear lovingly held my hand.  He knew how protective I had become of my heart.  He did not lecture me later about "losing it" at the appointment.  He just held me, and loved on me.

     I did not know how the ladies would be.  We had a good repertoire.  However, I stayed pretty private with certain matters.  Yet, asking me about my situation, with tenderness, undid me.  Instead of being uncomfortable, they handed me tissues, acknowledged my heart, and said they would be praying.  Oh, how they blessed my heart!

     This moment with them was right before Mother's Day.   When Mother's Day arrived, I unknowingly was blessed!  I sincerely was not expecting anything.  Money was tight, and there were priorities.  Yet, Dear had made a sweet gift for me, as well as breakfast, that stopped me in my tracks.  Again, I was undone.

     Also that day, a dear young lady, whom I "adopted" years ago (along with many other young'ns at our old church), surprised me with a sweet Mother's Day text message.  I must tell you, God ministered to my undeserving heart in a most magnificent way, that day!  I just knew that this gift of a day, was an answer to those midwives' prayers.

    Yet, He was not done.  From the moment we announced my pregnancy, all the way to today, God has blessed us with all our needs, and then some!  Time and space would fail me, to list everything everyone has given, in blessings and provisions for our Li'l Man.

     I remember one day, sitting in the middle of our living room, overwhelmed at all God had done.  I was humbled.  These people, used of God, had blessed us beyond measure.  I deserved none of these provisions or blessings.  Yet, here we were, surrounded with them. 

    I knew there were way more important things with which to concern ourselves; way more important matters in life about which to pray, and over which to seek God's care. However, I do know that God cared enough to send these things our way, to use these people in our lives: teaching me so much.  Oh, how humbling an experience! 

     I mention things, and although I greatly appreciate and need(ed) them, what moved me the most was the thought... Being thought of... Being loved...

     The part I most desired, was being surrounded by loved ones in a most pivotal part of our lives.  At the time, I could not quite grasp what I was to learn, by not being in close proximity with those I loved.  Now, I think I have learned something from it.

     My reliance upon the Lord grew and deepened far beyond anything it once was.  The same is true with my relationship with Dear.  Those loved ones in my life?  How much more I cherished them!

     My appreciation became even greater for each need met, each gift given.  I do believe this gift of being with child became an even more cherished, intimate time for Dear and I:  simply because we had only the Lord and each other on a daily basis.  Each kick, flutter, hiccup; each new transition and milestone, was a special gift, for just the two of us.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 3

     Oh, how I greatly anticipated those prenatal appointments!  My midwife, and her assistant, became an oasis for me, whilst in a desert of womanly companionships.  Most of our loved ones, were many miles from us.  We, thankfully, had various means of communication; but, saving one beloved lady coming to visit for a couple days, we had no face-to-face interaction.

     Being fellow Christians, it was so comforting to be able to share a bit of my heart with them, and know they would be praying for me/us, and that they genuinely cared.  That one part of my midwife's care:  that of the heart (which plays a pivotal part in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-partum), solidified in me the wisdom of choosing her for our care.  Consistently spending an hour or so with her, and/or her assistant, at each appointment, they were able to know all of us, and vice versa, pretty well.  Our trust continued to grow:  we could see that the Lord was leading us in the right direction.

     She educated us in the kind of diet I should be doing:  for me, high in good protein, lots of dark, leafy greens, good supplements, LOTS of water, and so forth; coupled with regular walking, stretching, squats, and the like, were my tasks at hand.  However, I knew one could do all the right things, and still have poor outcomes.  I did not want to trust in my own abilities, my husband's abilities, or that of my caregivers, but rather my Great Physician and His use of us all in my life, and that of our child.

     Since I had much weight to spare, and sought to live well through this pregnancy, God surprised me:  I ended up losing weight, while my baby gained it.  Also, my blood pressure became the best I had ever seen it.  In fact, it became better the closer I came to delivering my child!

     One week before the time of our child's birth, I had leveled out to the weight in which I started at this pregnancy. Both Dear and I were stunned, and grateful!  I can take no glory in this blessing, but give all of it to God!  He is the one who enabled me, and cared for us.  I am humbled by this amazing gift that I received during my pregnancy!

     Each and every decision, we purposed to seek the Lord in prayer:  that He would bless us with His wisdom, and guidance; that He would enable us to do, and/or face, whatever He put in our path.  Our prayer life soared far beyond what it ever had been in the past.  Not only were we seeking my welfare, but that also of this precious child.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 2

     ... Everything seemed as a whirlwind.  Here we are, in new territory for us, (in more ways than one!), trying to navigate our new journey ahead of us.  We were regularly seeking God's direction, lest we err.

     Years gone by were full of "negative" pregnancy tests.  Never once did we get a "positive." All those dashed hopes, were now becoming a fading memory; and, that right quick!  With just that one "positive," then the second... Then, a third... And, lastly, the fourth...All our hopes of becoming parents were now a reality.

     After contacting the midwife we would use, we set about processing what was now happening in our lives.  We were having a child!  My, what did God have in store for us?

     I did not know what to expect from my new midwife.  She seemed pleasant when talking on the phone with me, and her little note attached to the paperwork she mailed to us was encouraging.  I was concerned, though:  I was an overweight woman, pregnant for the first time. Would she treat me as other medical professionals had, based upon my size?  Would we get along well?  Was she a good midwife?  So many unanswered questions we had.  We kept looking to the Lord, to see us through each one.

     Immediately upon meeting with her, my fears were relieved.  She treated me like any other woman, (for fellow ladies who have issues with their weight, would definitely appreciate that care!).  We met for a couple of hours, filling out much paperwork, as well as getting better acquainted with each other.

     Before leaving, she asked if we would like to see if we could hear our baby's heartbeat.  Would we ever?!  Laying down on the sofa, she prepped me for the very first moment of hearing that precious life growing inside of me.  Once we heard our baby, we were completely overcome.  Tears escaped our eyes.

     After that initial meeting, we started the process of monthly, then bi-monthly, then weekly, appointments.  We had also scheduled appointments with a nearby obstetrician, for routine tests, and that highly-sought-after ultrasound (checking our child's well-being, and gender!). 

     Dear accompanied me to every appointment.  He was my ever-faithful note-taker, and asker-of-pertinent-questions.  He prayed over us, and for us, consistently.  He was ever so dependable and involved.

     We both poured ourselves into research.  We wanted to be as educated as we possibly could, every step of the way.  We wanted to make the wisest decisions for myself, and our child.  Even though I had spent years prior to this pregnancy, investing multitudes of hours into research regarding birth (in or out of hospital), as well as other matters relating to fertility, I had to play catch up in my research regarding pregnancy, and post-partum care.  I never pursued those matters in great length, as most of my attention had been in becoming pregnant.  Now, I was!

Did you miss the first post of this series?  Here's the link for the first installment:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 1

     I am grateful for our birth experience.  It truly was a gift from God--sought fervently.  I cannot tell you how often we were in prayer before the Lord.  Here is my story...

     Dear and I had been begging God for children for a decade, when, (surprise!), He amazingly answered!  I had to test four different times, just to verify the results.  Each time came back positive!

     To say we were flabbergasted would be an understatement.   Many would have expected me to be giddy; indeed, some were concerned when I did not "leap for joy."  I was just too stunned to be giddy.  In all honest transparency, I had resigned myself to the idea that it would never happen.

     I was also overwhelmed.  God now saw fit to entrust me, me, with a living soul...He answered my prayers...He gave me a blessing, far beyond any other earthly blessing one could receive (save my marriage).  Yes, I was undone.

     We had wanted to wait to share the news, around Thanksgiving-time.  We had just learned the news ourselves, a couple of weeks prior.  We knew I was not that far along; maybe a few weeks.  However, we were just itching to tell the whole world!

     So, yes, you guessed it:  we did not wait.  I think we lasted a few days, though!  Everyone was just as shocked as we were.  I think after a few years of asking us when we were going to have children, with the regular answer of "Whenever the Lord sees fit," most folks were just as resigned to our infertile state as we were.  Some were so shocked, that they questioned our certainty of the matter.  "Trust me," I replied.  "I could have bought stock in pregnancy tests, and we would have been wealthy, with all the tests I tried over the years."

     Alas, a child!  We did not care if we were twelve weeks along in the pregnancy, or five.  We wanted everyone to stand in awe of our Heavenly Father with us!

     Immediately, I began conferring with local folks for a midwife.  When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, I had already planned it all.  I knew where I would go, if I were ever blessed with a child out there.  However, having only moved to our new abode in the Southeast months earlier, (having a child really was the furthest thing on our mind), I was scrambling.  I had briefly researched the kind of maternity care available in our area, and it was not how I envisioned progressing through a pregnancy.

     My preferred choice was a home birth.  Having been blessed, for many years, at witnessing that kind of model, (as well as a more natural approach to healthcare in general), in the Pacific Northwest, I was determined to do the best I could given our circumstances.

     I acquiesced to my husband, who was not quite up to the idea of a home birth (especially for our first experience), and contacted the CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) in our area.  One of his coworkers recommended this lady, too, as his wife had used her.  However, when I contacted the office for which she was listed, I was informed of her recent retirement.  Not wanting to use the standard model of care, unless necessary, the only option left for us was the local CPM (Certified Professional Midwife).

     I must tell you, what may seem easy to others, is not so easy for someone else.  For us, (especially myself), looking for someone to assist you in one of the most intimate times of life, is no simple task.  You not only are seeking to entrust your welfare into this person's care, but that also of your unborn child.  Add to that burden the fact that we were outlanders, who were just starting to work on rebuilding their life, and this situation called for much faith in God.  With much prayer, and seeking to trust the Lord in all these matters, I contacted her...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Susanna Don't You Cry:" A Book Review And Giveaway!

Susanna Don't You Cry Cover

     From Elisha Press comes another novel entitled, "Susanna Don't You Cry." I was blessed with the opportunity to read it for review.  Once again, the McIntire family prove their literary skills.

    This time, Zachary McIntire writes a novel, that is geared towards the "12+" age group.  Themes such as divorce and substance abuse are central to the storyline.  Yet, as always, this family of authors are quick to point out the redemption only found through Jesus Christ; and, how He is more than able to bring beauty from ashes!

     "'I'll never forgive him - never!'

     Chuck Kincaid made a vow of hate the day his father walked out, and he still keeps it ten years later. His sister’s bad choices, his mother’s drug addiction - he knows who to blame for all of it.  But when Susanna and Kelly get their lives turned around by Jesus, Chuck doesn’t know what to think. And why is the rich stranger with the scarred face so interested in being his benefactor?

     Failure and restoration. Hate and forgiveness. What is broken can be put back together, one small piece at a time."

    Want to read more?  I will tell you, once I started reading, it was difficult to stop!  My heart was stirred to see the story unfold:   how would these broken people respond to Christ's offer of forgiveness; how would they respond to the light shining from those who did receive Christ; and, how would those folks, hardened by their own sins, respond to the love shown to them by those who should hate them?

     Well, once again, you have the opportunity to receive a free copy!  Through this month, Elisha Press is holding a giveaway for three softcover copies of this book!  Just enter it for your chance to win one, or go to the Amazon link provided, to purchase your own copy now!

Purchase Print Copy (Or Download Kindle Version) Here
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