Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Lesson in Control

  • Your body is made to have a baby, so you'll be fine.
  • Women have been having babies for thousands fo years, so you'll be fine.
  • The doctors know what they are doing, so you'll be fine.
  • You've had all the birthing classes, so you'll be fine.
  • Nature knows what it is doing, so you'll be fine.
Why don't I feel fine? All of my plans, my preparations, my ideas for childbirth are slipping out of my grasp and I am left with no sense of control. However, as I was reading one of my devotional books, I came across this verse:

"There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." Proverbs 21:30

A perfect verse describing the complete control that belongs only to the Creator. Not that our plans were contrary to what is good but He has plans to show us an even bigger picture of who He is and how good He is, even through our experiences in pregnancy and childbirth. The more we try to do on our own, the less we see of Him.

I have fooled myself into believing that I could control everything. If I eat right, my family's history of diabetes will not cause me to have gestational diabetes. If I excercise regularally, I will be healthy and my heart rate will be perfect. If I do what all the prenatal books tell me to do, I will have the perfect pregnancy. If I take the birthing classes that reflect my ideas, I will have a natural birth. If I do my research, I can find the right doctor who will allow me have the birth I want. I have been hyper-focused on trying to control every minute detail. Eating healthy, exercising and doing my research on vaccines and doctors are all good things soon-to-be parents NEED do, but essentially I have been saying "God, let your will be done" and then leaning on my own understanding to make the decisions.

All along (especially these past 10 months of support raising), God has been molding me, teaching me, shaping me, and forming me...but when it came to pregnancy I have been fighting HIM for control. You would think I would have learned my lesson long ago! My focus has strayed from God and my need for Him in my life. I have been focusing on my wants, my desires, and my ideas and I have allowed my frustrations to take over my heart. My prayers were no longer prayers of thanksgiving for the miracle of our daughter, but were lists of demands to God!

Psalms 62:1 says, "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him." God is my rock, my sword, my shield; God is my strength when I am weak; God is my all in all. He will not leave me, He will not foresake me. I must trust that He is in control and fill my heart with gladness that He loves me (even if my heart has gone temporarily astray)! How blessed am I to have such a forgiving savior!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Man of Faith

A woman comes into the clinic with a pain in her pelvis. The doctor finds a mass on her ovary and the prognosis is cancer. The woman and her husband beg the doctor for a miracle. He tells the husband that he will pray for the Holy Spirit to heal his wife. After much prayer the family goes home. They return four weeks later and the cancerous mass is gone, not through any great working of the doctor, but by the power and grace of the Great Physician. This is one of the real life stories of an African doctor we recently met.

Miracles in the Unites States are brushed off as the inner workings of our bodies, coincidences, and even modern medicine. Where is our faith?

The doctor explained to us miracles happen when we know how to pray and quoted John 14:13; which tells us that God will do whatever we ask in His name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. Having the faith in your heart during your prayer is what is important.

How is it I have gone my whole Christian life and in a matter of minutes feel like I have no true faith compared to this man? He is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and he has more faith in the power of God than anything I have ever experienced.

In the dimly lit room of his apartment at college, he taught Tasha and me how to pray: how to humble ourselves by prostration when coming to the Lord, but yet pray with power and boldness; how to speak with your heart when speaking to God; how to ask the Lord to provide for your needs. He was excited, ecstatic even, about the privilege to approach the Creator of the Universe just like we would a parent or best friend. Oh “me” of little faith.

How have we become so dulled and lethargic about our prayer life, our personal relationship with the One True God, the same God who inspired the Old and New Testament; the same God who with His great wrath could destroy the world in a single breath, but more importantly loves us so much that He sent a piece of Himself to take that cup that we deserve? It Stands Finished once and for all! What a merciful, graceful and wonderful God we serve! How blessed are we who get to share in His work making His great love known to the ends of the earth!  Praise His Name!! I felt honored to learn such a valuable lesson by a Congolese man who is my brother in Christ.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go...2

All along God has been building our hearts:

When we were in the womb, God was building our hearts for Him.
When we were children, God was building our hearts for friendship.
When we were saved by His sacrifice, God was building our hearts for grace.
When we were in college, God was building our hearts for opportunities.
When we were working, God was building our hearts for servitude.
When we were married, God was building our hearts for earthly love.
When we were on a mission trip, God was building our hearts for the unreached in the world.
When we were accepted into Mission Aviation Fellowship, God began building our hearts for Africa.

In our previous post “Oh the Places You'll Go...,” we talked about all the people we have met from Africa during our ministry partnership journey. God has not stopped! We have 5 or 6 churches we have been trying to connect with, but have had no success. This past Sunday, we selected (randomly) a church in Knoxville to visit. We showed up and were thrilled to learn the speaker was from Rwanda, Africa! Only by God’s providence will did we make that connection! Not only that, but the minister is here in Knoxville attending classes at a local Christian College and his roommate is from…wait for it…Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa!!! 

God is truly building our hearts for our service in Africa by placing native African’s all along our path to help grow our hearts. The speaker was thrilled to hear about our calling and wanted us to visit with he and his roommate next week! We are so excited to learn more about what we are getting ourselves into!

I can’t wait to share with you what we discuss!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Updates, Changes, and Other Superfluous Information

April was a llllllllooooooonnnnnnngggggg month for us!  We had so much on our plate with medical visits, home improvements/repairs, doctor’s visits, ministry partnership meetings, and doctor’s appointments. And now that we nearing the end of the pregnancy, our time is very precious. But as precious as time has become, it also feels like time is dragging on…maybe it has something to do with the excitement of the soon-to-be-arrival of our baby girl! With that being said, I would like to sum up a few things that have happened or are happening as we speak:

1. Time line/fundraising efforts. Our application for French language school in Canada has been completed and is in the mail. The school year begins September and goes through June. Once accepted, we will move to Canada a month early so that we can acclimate to our new environment (with a baby). Our scheduled departure time is the last weekend in July (THIS JULY!!!) But, we can only accomplish this if our fundraising reaches a successful conclusion. Praise to God that we presently are funded at a level of 93% for our monthly and 103% for our one-time! Please be in prayer that we will successfully complete our fundraising before leaving for school.

2. Home improvement/home sale. Our home improvement is roughly 90% completed with a few more things needed for completion (painting, baseboard placement, plumbing in the bathtub, etc.) We met with a realtor and longtime friend and had encouraging news! Our home is in a great neighborhood and the improvements will be effective in the selling/renting process.  We are still uncertain as to whether to sell or rent but the realtor assured us either avenue would have great results. On another positive note, we have had both baby showers and finished a temporary baby room.

3. Packing/moving process. We have purchased 7 BIG trunks to ship our life to Africa and have begun to sort through our seasonal and extra stuff (if anyone wants any stuff, we have plenty). Unfortunately this process is not easy, since we now have a Canada pile, an Africa pile, a baby pile, a storage pile, and a trash/donate pile! I never realized how hard this would be! But it is best to begin early and attempt to pack things up now instead of leaving everything to the last minute!

4. Mommy/baby health. I have been pretty private with several medical problems because I felt like the problems were somehow my fault. I have since learned there was nothing I did or did not do that could cause these issues. Our original intentions were to pursue a birth center or home birth option. Because I have developed both SVT (something ventricular tachycardia) and gestational diabetes, we have risked out of both options. But praise to God, we have found a Christian, natural birth supporting Doctor at the University of Tennessee Medical Center (A true sacrifice for Kevin, seeing as how his blood runs MTSU Blue). Right now, our OB-GYN is working diligently with the cardiologist so we can have the birth we pictured. A lot is still up in the air as far as a final decision on how the issues will be handled, but we will give a detailed update on that at a later time. We are so grateful that baby girl’s health was never in question. For the moment, we ask for prayers towards mommy’s health, so that the baby will remain healthy!