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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

There are few things more miserable than going to help a friend and then making things worse. And if there’s anyone who’s going to make that mistake, it’s going to be me. {Sigh.}

My misfortune happened at a work bee. I love work bees. The social gathering that’s more than just a gathering; we get to accomplish something together. I was there to help my friend move out of her trailer and get the trailer ready for her in-laws. We were cleaning and organizing and visiting and drinking tea. Is there a better way to spend a day?

“I’ve got a job for you, Rachel,” said Barb. “You can transfer my kids’ measurements from the wall to this height board. You like a challenge.” It’s true—I love a challenge, but my penmanship is sloppy and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be neat enough.

I used a ruler to keep my lines straight, and carefully transferred each mark. It didn’t take long to finish, and it didn’t look too bad.

Barb’s mom cocked her head to the side and examined the board. “I didn’t know the kids were that tall.”

A tingle climbed the back of my neck. Something was definitely wrong. The heights were all a foot out!

The ladies assured me that the foot-markings could be changed, but they were big and written in permanent ink. No matter what, it was going to be a mess. I didn’t want them to groan every time they looked at the board for the next several decades and think of me.

I wracked my brain for a solution, but it was Barb’s mom that came up with the idea of flipping the board and redoing it on the back. I was just grateful for a solution.

I snuck the board home and spent that evening redrawing the lines and numbers and then measuring and copying the heights from the other side. I prayed for Barb while I traced the numbers and marked off each line. I prayed for her pregnancy and the house they are building, and then I prayed for each child as I copied their names onto the wood.

God knows that I needed that lovely, relaxing evening of prayer and meditation. I needed to slow down and be thankful for good friends and to remember that sometimes even mistakes pave the way to peace and prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you ever feel like your life is an incredible journey, an adventure laid out for you alone? I do. Danger abounds and courage is needed, for life lessons are to be learned along the winding path. (Maybe I’ve read Pilgrim’s Progress one too many times!)

I can remember one of the first lessons I learned on my journey as a new christian. It’s kind of a silly story, nothing exciting or dangerous (sorry, no dragons), but the lesson stays with me all these years later.

We were very, very short on money and there were many things that I was learning to do without. But, there was one thing that I really wanted, sandals with velcro (I told you this was silly!) These sandals had just come out and everyone had them; a perfect fit, snug, comfortable, just right for crossing a rocky beach or even climbing a small mountain. 😉 “Lord,” I prayed wistfully, “if it’s Your will, could I please have a pair of sandals with velcro.”

Only a couple of days later I was visiting a friend. “Can you use these?” she asked me while holding a pair of the coveted sandals. “My mother’s always leaving stuff for us that we have no use of.” Her tone was exasperated, but I barely heard her words. I felt so humbled and blessed by God’s love that He would care about a pair of sandals for silly little me.

Did they fit? You already know the answer, don’t you? They were a perfect fit. Did they turn me into a beautiful princess? Not quite, but every time I think about my sandals I am reminded that I am a princess, a daughter of the King of kings.

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Life was very, very busy for a time. When Ethan and Owen were born, I had 4 children under 5 years old. When they were 6 months old, we moved into a tiny cabin while my husband built us a house. It didn’t take long for my baby addiction to rise to the surface though. By the time the boys were 3, I was longing for another baby in the house. I was praying for a baby and so were Myra and Melanie.

Within a few months I was expecting our fifth child. We had moved and were now over an hour from the hospital that Ethan and Owen were born in. I didn’t have good memories of that hospital and we were hearing a lot of positive feedback, about the hospital in our small town.

We decided to have our baby here in Vanderhoof, but that meant we wouldn’t have a midwife. I was alright with that decision, but it was very important for me to have a female doctor. As far as I knew there was only one woman doctor in our town. I went to the clinic and asked for that doctor, but I was informed that she wasn’t taking prenatal patients. So…. back to square one.

At this time we were really seeking God, asking Him for the right doctor. I was visiting with a friend that I don’t get to see very often. She was pregnant as well, and I was able to see her ultra-sound pictures. It was so much fun to share our excitement. I asked her if she had found a doctor, and she said that God had provided her with a wonderful and caring doctor. This doctor had been highly recommended by a friend of hers. I felt sure that this was the doctor for us and eagerly made my first prenatal appointment. The appointment was made for 10 weeks gestation.

At about 8 weeks I had some spotting. This didn’t concern me too much, as I had had this in all my pregnancies. One day though, there was a blood clot and this was very upsetting to me. I pleaded with God, “Please God, please God, protect my baby. Please don’t let me have a miscarriage.” A miscarriage was one thing that I just didn’t know if I could deal with.

I stayed in bed that day, but I was still bleeding the following day. We decided to go to the hospital. It was Sunday, so we asked some friends to take our children to church with them while my husband and I went to the hospital. The doctor performed an ultra-sound, but he wasn’t able to find a heart-beat. He told us that this didn’t prove anything, as it was still early and the equipment he was using wasn’t very accurate during early pregnancy. I still clung to hope and prayed fervently. This went on for several days, and I stayed in bed during this time.

One evening, I started to have terrible cramping. I knew that I was losing our baby. I had been in labour 3 times before and this seemed much more painful, maybe because it accompanied such grief. The cramps were like contractions and each one felt like it was tearing at my very soul. I have never before or since, experienced such acute agony and anguish. And then it was over, my little one was gone from my womb, into God’s hands.

Our children’s grief was very intense. They loved this baby, they had written him notes and drawn him pictures. It was very difficult, to see the depth of their sorrow.

I knew that I should see a doctor about the miscarriage. I decided to keep the pre-natal appointment that I had made weeks before. It was for the day following the miscarriage. I felt very anxious as I sat in the clinic waiting room. My emotions were very raw. I had just miscarried my precious baby only 12 hours before. Here I was, supposedly for my first pre-natal appointment. I was trembling, afraid I would start wailing in front of all these strangers.

I was called into the office and a nurse soon came in. She started asking me questions about my pregnancy. I began to sob. I managed to say between the sobs that I had had a miscarriage. She looked very uncomfortable. “Um, I can see your very upset,” she said, before running out the door. I was left there alone again. Her reaction made me feel that my grief was inappropriate. I just wanted to leave and curl up in my bed.

In a little while the doctor walked in. I had never met her before, but her eyes, when they met mine were very kind. “I’m so sorry that you lost your baby,” she said, her voice gentle and sorrowful. She asked if she could hug me and then she wept with me. I was so astonished that this woman, who was a stranger to me, and as a doctor had to deal with painful situations every day, would weep with me.

She told me that if she could, she would bear my pain for me. For over an hour she sat with me, rocking me and stroking my arm. She shared with me her own story of loss. She shared about her struggle with infertility and the in vitro fertilization she went through. Of the ups and downs of hope and disappointment. She told me of her own miscarriages, three of them. One of the miscarriages was a little girl, still born at 27 weeks. She told me that God, had used those terribly painful trials, to make her a more compassionate doctor.

After we had talked, she prayed for me. She prayed that God’s peace would rest on me. And it did. At that very moment, God’s peace wrapped around me like a blanket. The pain didn’t go away, but the turmoil was replaced with rest.

One of the most important things that she told me that day, was to grieve. She told me that it was good and right to grieve and that not everyone would be comfortable with my grief, but she encouraged me not to rush it.

I told her that we were going to have a ceremony and bury our baby. She told me that that is something that she really wished that she had been able to do. The hospital policy, where her little girl was born, was to allow parents to bury their babies if they were after 28 weeks gestation and not before. She vividly recalls leaving the hospital empty-handed.

At home we talked about naming our baby. We had chosen the name Jonathan for a boy and Ruth for a girl. Both of these names are in the Bible, and both Jonathan and Ruth had been faithful and self-sacrificing friends; Jonathan to David and Ruth to Naomi. I felt that our baby was a boy, but Kevin felt unsure. After praying though, Kevin also felt that our baby was a boy.

We talked about where to bury Jonathan. The first thought was to bury him on our property. This really began to bother me though. What if we ever moved? I would hate it if I wouldn’t be able to return to his grave. We decided on a place, that is very beautiful and special to our family. It is a place that we can go to at any time.

I wrote Jonathan’s name on a piece of paper to put in his grave. It is something that we gave him. Kevin read some passages from the Bible and we prayed together. Kevin had brought some flat pieces of stone that we put on Jonathan’s grave and then everyone chose a small stone to place there as well. I stayed alone at the grave after everyone had left. I knew that it was time to leave, but it was very difficult to walk away. In a sense, that first step was about moving on and I didn’t feel ready to move on yet.

In the following weeks, we quietly mourned as a family. There were many tears. We wanted our children to be able to talk freely about Jonathan. We wanted them to feel they could come to us at any time for a hug or a cuddle. Slowly, we began to heal. My laughter came back and at first it seemed very strange and out of place. But I knew it was time.

One thing was still very hard for me to deal with though; I would cringe inside when I saw a pregnant woman. It was strange actually. It seemed like there were pregnant women everywhere. I believe that God was opening my eyes up to what was happening within me, the bitter root that was growing in my soul. He wanted to do a complete healing, but I needed to know that I had a need first.

I had always loved seeing a pregnant woman, or a baby and I realized that I didn’t want to lose that. I didn’t want to feel hurt and sadness where I had felt joy before. I asked God to heal that hurt. I asked him to forgive me for letting bitterness creep in, and I made a decision to respond with joy when I saw a pregnant woman or new baby.

I am thankful for God’s healing. A couple months later, the friend who had recommended our doctor to us gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was able to hold that sweet baby, talk to her and delight in this precious gift from God. I am so thankful that that moment was not marred by envy.

A few months after my miscarriage, I had a very clear image in my mind, (I hesitate to use the word vision, but it was different than anything else I have experienced.) I saw a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. He called out to me, “Mama!” and ran to me with his arms stretched open. I wept with joy and I would every time I thought about what I saw. A long time passed before I would share that memory with anyone. It was just too precious to me.

It may seem very strange to those who read this, but looking back over my pregnancy, miscarriage and the time following, I am filled with joy. I never thought that this could be possible, but truly it wasn’t all loss. I am thankful for the time that we had with Jonathan. Though it was brief, that pregnancy is very special to me. And when he left us, he went to be with God, and one day we will be united again.

It was also a time when I powerfully experienced God. He carried me. Isaiah 63:9 says, “In all their affliction He was afflicted , and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and he bore them and carried them all the days of old.” He provided a doctor who would weep with me. He gave me peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:6-7) and He gave me joy where I never thought it could be found.

I am a mother of five children here on earth and one in heaven; truly I am blessed.

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After my miscarriage, my arms felt so empty. It took six months to get pregnant again. It seemed like a very long time. I was filled with joy when I found that I was expecting, but we decided against telling others. We chose to wait until after I had an ultra-sound at 8 weeks. We just didn’t want our children to have to go through that excitement and then grief if I were to miscarry again.

There was a strong mix of feelings tumbling within me as I went for the ultra-sound. Kevin and the children waited in the vehicle while I went in. “Is everything all right,” I asked the technician nervously. “Everything looks beautiful,” she answered with a smile. She turned the screen towards me and I could see my tiny little baby, so small that I hadn’t felt any movements yet, but perfect and beautiful. I could see my little one’s head in perfect profile and I could see the heart beating strongly.

When I got back into the vehicle, I nodded to Kevin that everything was fine and we told our children right then. They were so happy and joyous! We then went and visited some close friends and they rejoiced with us too. That day was a celebration. I tried to really enjoy that pregnancy. I never wanted to take that time for granted. It can be a difficult time in many ways. There are many discomforts and sleepless nights, but it is a season, a glorious season and I wanted to treasure it.

My doctor had prayed for this baby and she rejoiced with us. Each appointment was like a visit with a dear friend. As my pregnancy progressed though, I began to feel a lot of apprehension and anxiety about the birth. As dear as this doctor was to me, I came to realize that we felt very differently about the process of birth.

My doctor was quite concerned about, attempting a natural birth because of the c-section that I had had 4 1/2 years earlier. There is some risk of the uterus rupturing during labour and this is very dangerous for the baby. She recommended a repeat c-section, but was willing to go ahead with a trial of labour. She made it very clear to me though, that if anything at all was amiss, she would perform a c-section. Even if everything was fine she might go ahead with a c-section if there was a risk of the operating room being occupied later, as there is only 1 operating room and limited staff. She asked me to trust her to make those decisions.

I left feeling very frightened and confused. Childbirth is so beautiful to me and a c-section seems utterly bizarre. This process of routinely slicing open a woman’s abdomen and uterus, when God had designed a perfectly good way to deliver babies, does not sit well with me. I am thankful that the operation is as safe as it is and it undoubtedly saves the lives of both mothers and babies, but I still feel that it is grossly over used.

I was aware of the increased risk of uterine rupture, but I was also aware of the increased risks of a repeat c-section. A woman is significantly more likely to die after a c-section than after a vaginal birth and there is also some increased risk to the baby, as excess fluid is not pressed out of the babies lungs and the baby can have an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic. The fact that I might also want more children later on weighed heavily on the decision. Each c-section weakens the uterus and puts future babies at increased risk.

I really didn’t feel like I could trust our doctor to make decisions that I would be comfortable with. Our views on childbirth were too different and I would not be able to accept a c-section just because the OR might be full later, or because I wasn’t dilating at the exact rate deemed necessary.

This was a time of great turmoil for me. Undoubtedly, this doctor had been provided by God. Why did I feel so terribly uneasy? I prayed to God and asked Him for His direction and peace. He showed me that this doctor had been provided to help me through my miscarriage and that it was okay to look for another care provider for the rest of this pregnancy and birth. I brought my fears to Kevin and he was astonished that I was thinking of switching doctors this late, (I was 7 months pregnant) and especially when I loved the doctor I had. I told him that the apprehension I had just wasn’t going away. He gave me permission to look for another care provider.

What I really wanted was another midwife, but the possibility of finding one so late in my pregnancy was very small. Midwives are in huge demand here, and if you want a midwife it is recommended that you find one as soon as you find out you are pregnant. It would also mean having our baby in Prince George as there are no midwives in Vanderhoof. I was very willing to do this, if only we could find a midwife. I asked God to bless my search and phoned a practice in Prince George.

I talked to Jane, a midwife that had been practising in Prince George for about 4 years. I told her my story and she said that she would be willing to take me on as a client as she was concerned about the possibility that I might end up with an unnecessary c-section. This was music to my ears! We made an appointment to see her and I felt the anxiety lift off of me.

We brought the whole family to the appointment and had a great time. Jane included all the children and it felt so good to talk everything out. When we left, we felt very at peace in our decision to switch to Jane’s care.

One thing ahead would be very hard though; I would need to tell my doctor that we were leaving her care. It was recommended that I just phone the office and tell the secretary that I was switching care providers. I knew though, that that would be wrong. This doctor had given me so much. I knew that I owed her an explanation and a good-bye. I went for my next appointment and explained the situation.

I honestly believe that she was very happy for me. She knew that I had had midwives in my previous pregnancies and felt that I would be more comfortable with their care. She also felt that the Prince George hospital would be much safer for me to deliver in, as they are much better staffed and because there is a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) so in the event that I did have a uterine rupture, there would be a much better chance of a good outcome. She told me, that if she thought she could have convinced me to go to Prince George to have the baby, she would have done it. I left the office feeling so wonderfully relieved and peaceful.

The rest of the pregnancy went very well. We loved our visits with Jane and always stayed way longer then we should have! I had one concern though. My labour with Melanie had only been an hour and a half and the hospital was an hour and fifteen minutes away. There was the very real chance, of having the baby on the way there. I read up on unassisted childbirth and that helped me to feel more comfortable about the possibility. I put together a bundle of supplies to use in the event that I would give birth en route. It even included a suction bulb syringe to clear baby’s nasal passage!

I awoke very early one morning with contractions. I was 35 weeks along at the time. They were quite strong and regular; about 5 minutes apart. We decided to head to Prince George. Jane met us at her office. It had been 2 hours since the contractions started and they were about the same strength and frequency as at the beginning. Jane palpated my uterus during a contraction and told us that they were strong, and I was 4 cm dilated. We decided against going to the hospital right away though; labour was not progressing as quickly as was normal for me and there was the chance that the contractions would subside.

By noon, the contractions were irregular and we decided to go home. I really wondered how I was going to know when I was in real labour. Those contractions had been as strong as the ones I had just before giving birth to Melanie. They were more than Braxton Hicks contractions, because they were causing dilation. We just had to trust that God was in control. I felt very thankful that we had switched to Jane’s care. It was quite likely that I would have ended up with another c-section and had our baby delivered 5 weeks early, if we had gone to the Vanderhoof hospital.

Three weeks later, I again awoke with contractions. We got everyone ready to go; we prayed and waited. It was very similar to the previous time. The contractions were strong and regular. I had one strong contraction and it spurred me into action. “Let’s go,” I said, and we got all of our children into the vehicle.

Twenty minutes later, the contractions had subsided some. We decided to keep driving. If the contractions stopped, than we would just go home. We hadn’t phoned Jane yet, we wanted to be sure that I was in labour before we called her. I phoned Jane when we were 20 minutes from Prince George and asked her to meet us at her office. I also called a friend and told her that we might be having the baby and to be ready to meet us at the hospital if I was in labour. The plan was that she would look after our children while I gave birth.

I arrived at the office, but Jane wasn’t there yet. I used the washroom beside her office and had a VERY strong contraction. It was at that moment that I KNEW I was in labour. I wondered if I would give birth right there! I went quickly to the van and we phoned Jane and told her that there was a change of plans and to meet us at the hospital!

It was only a 2 min. drive to the hospital, but was like going through a maze to get from the entrance to the maternity ward of the hospital. I had to rest through a contraction once, on the way to the delivery room. I guess that I didn’t look like a woman only minutes away from giving birth and it was recommended that I try walking around the parking lot to get labour going. I declined, thinking that if I left this building, I was going to give birth IN the parking lot. Jane started taking my blood pressure when I had another contraction.

With that contraction, came that incredible desire to push. My friend had arrived to look after the children and I asked her to take the children out of the room. Our baby boy William, was born 15 min later! The children say that that was the most exciting day of their lives.

William has been a wonderful gift for our whole family. I find it’s a very different thing to have a baby when you have older children too. It’s been so much fun. He’s brought so much joy to our family and everyone delights in him. I’ve also had so much help from my girls who were 7 and 9 when William was born.

William is a year and a half old now. I have tried to enjoy this time to the full. One thing that I have learned, is that children grow so fast. I want to cherish this time.

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One thing that really attracted me to my husband, Kevin, was his gift of song writing. He has been playing guitar most of his life and has written many songs in that time. I admit that I’ve always been a bit afraid of the thought of Kevin really going ahead with his music though. I never stood in his way, but I never really encouraged him either.

About a year ago, I realized how gifted Kevin is as a songwriter, and that he has been given this gift to use it. We had been able to set aside a bit of money, and I had hopes of running water or siding on the house. It then occurred to me, that we could use the money to make an album of Kevin’s songs. I believe God put that idea in my head.

The whole making of the album was an incredible time of stretching. We had to learn about recording, editing, mastering etc. I was immersed in the complexities of graphic design, when I was totally inexperienced with computers. (I developed a few nervous ticks during that time!) The album, “A Better Day Coming,” was the result of all that effort. 

I then went to work at learning how to design a website. Thankfully, {huge sigh of relief} we found a service provider that had great templates, and I never did have to learn how to design a website!

Soon after the first album was completed, I began praying for the funds to professionally produce Kevin’s next album. We’ve heard quite a bit of professionally produced, independent music lately, and what a difference. We knew that it would be costly ($10,000 or more) but we also knew that if this was God’s will, He would provide. And provide He did, though not in the way we expected.

Through a series of events, Kevin was contacted by Michael Minkoff, the president of, The Nehemiah Foundation For Cultural Renewal. He wanted to produce Kevin’s song, “Everything Will Pass Away.” After that first song was completed, Michael offered to produce the album that we had been praying about, free of charge!

Kevin and Michael have been working together for several months now. “Everything Will Pass Away” and “Hypocrite I” have been pre-released as a singles. Michael is also doing many of the instruments. There will still be some costs involved, (mastering and replicating,) but the production is free and that is exactly what I was praying for. We are so thankful! You can listen to Kevin’s new songs at www.indieheaven.com/artists/kevinmalcolm .

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