Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Safe in the arms of Jesus...

A year ago today, James and I lost our first baby. I wasn't very far along, so we kept the loss pretty private and to those close friends and family who knew we were expecting. The Lord has laid it on my heart to write a little about it and share my experience.

Miscarriage is very common and happens to a lot of women. They say one in every three pregnancies ends in miscarriage. I was surprised to learn of how common it was after I had miscarried. My miscarriage was between the 5th-6th week and I can only imagine how much harder it would be to lose a baby later in pregnancy. I can't offer any words of wisdom regarding how to go through the loss of a baby; but I can share with you how the Lord brought me through it and share what I learned. I must admit I am a little nervous writing this because it is so personal. However, I hope and pray my post can be a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We were shocked to find out we were expecting a baby and he or she was due in May. It only took what seemed like a moment to go from shocked to super excited. The instant love a mother feels for her baby is unexplainable. And James and I were both so excited to become parents! I had already begun thinking of who the baby would look like, would it be a boy or girl? Would he have daddy's ears or mommy's nose? I couldn't help but smile as I day dreamed about the little life growing inside of me.

Around the end of the fifth week I noticed some spotting. I was determined to not be an overly worried pregnant woman, so I thought it was probably okay. I had read that that was normal and could be implantation bleeding. The next day, I asked my doctor in our church and he calmed my nerves by telling me that it was probably implantation bleeding and to not worry! But the bleeding continued throughout the week. I had come to accept that I was probably losing the baby. I waited until our scheduled doctors appointment on Friday to find out for sure. I still had such high hopes that just maybe everything would be okay with the baby.

As the nurse did the ultrasound, she didn't say anything and was very quiet. This time she didn't print out a photo of our little sack baby and give it to me. Instead she told us to wait in a specific room and the doctor would be in soon. It wasn't a room where we went last time but more of a private sitting room area. I thought this couldn't be good. James and I just sat in silence not wanting to say what was on our minds. I still clung to a little bit of hope that baby was okay. Then reality hit when the doctor confirmed my worst fear, that we had lost our baby.

It was so exciting to tell our friends and family that we were expecting. And it was one of the hardest things to tell them we had lost the baby. I have to admit, I questioned why. Why would the Lord surprise us with this baby and then take the baby home. I had such hope and faith that it was going to be okay. I prayed for my baby to be healthy and safe. Why would the Lord allow us to go through this loss?

To be honest, I don't know why bad things happen or why tragedies come into our lives. I do believe the Lord allows His children to go through difficult times, so we can only look to the God of hope and peace for our strength. As a result, we grow closer to Christ and learn He truly is all we need.

The Lord gave me this verse the day we lost our baby. "...the Lord gave; and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 "Blessed be the name of the Lord" kept playing over and over in my head. God is good when times are easy and God is still good when times are hard. Everything good comes from the Lord. He is the giver of life eternal and life physical. Who was I to question my Lord and Savior? He alone knows what is best for my life and I needed to trust Him at this uncertain time.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. " Isaiah 26:3,4

The Lord gave me these verses that I clung to. In the Lord, I could have peace and everlasting strength. This was the first time I experienced God's grace in a mighty way. He gave me a peace that passeth understanding. And I had to just keep my mind focused on God and His promises. I am so thankful for a loving heavenly Father who promises to always carry us through the storms of life.

To those of you who have gone through a miscarriage, it's okay to be sad and to mourn. I was surprised at the times when I thought I was "okay" that I began to cry and be sad. I remember going to Walmart and tearing up as I passed the baby section. Or months later it would just hit me out of nowhere as I was driving. At these moments, I simply prayed for God's strength and comfort. I couldn't turn to my husband for comfort because he didn't know what I was going through. He could pray with me and be sympathetic but he couldn't take the hurt away. I am so thankful he was by my side each step of the way. But God alone knew my heartache and He alone could give me the comfort and strength I needed. May I encourage you to find your comfort and strength in Christ.

And now a year later, I feel so blessed to be 33 weeks and four days pregnant. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Having gone through the loss of a baby, I believe I am even more thankful for this little life growing inside of me. How can I complain when I feel a little sick or tired?! I am thankful for the sickness and fatigue because it means theres a baby on his way! I can't wait to hold him in my arms and see his sweet face and cover it with kisses! I think it's so special the Lord would bless us with this baby. I am so undeserving of such a gift. " Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seeing God on the Road

James and I have been on the deputation road now for five months. Time truly has flown! I wanted to share how we have seen God provide for us beyond our imagination since we have stepped out on faith. Living by Faith is the theme of my blog, and it is amazing how God has blessed us. It amazes and humbles me each time God does something for us. I feel so undeserving of His blessings and provisions.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory..." 
Ephesians 3:20-21a

Before we started deputation, we took a survey trip to Russia (so I could see what I was getting myself into!) We booked our tickets and put them on our credit card. This was certainly a step of faith. I hated having that money sit on our card. So I prayed, that the Lord would provide the money for our trip that month. James didn't know I was praying this way, and about a week later he called me to tell me about this huge blessing. I had a feeling it was our tickets being paid for and it was! A pastor and friend felt the Lord leading him to take care of our tickets, and wrote James a check for the whole amount. I couldn't believe it! I had heard of stories like this happening to other people but never personally witnessed it. This was God reassuring me that going to Russia was indeed His perfect will for our lives and He was going to take care of us. I couldn't help but tearfully praise Him for taking care of us and giving me peace about this new journey.

Before we hit the deputation road, we really needed a new vehicle. We had an Isuzu Rodeo but it had just hit the 200,000 mile mark and we had just found out we were expecting little Jacob. So we began to pray and search. The Lord closed some doors, so we kept on the hunt. We came across a small dealership with two Honda Pilots (what we were wanting). The man was from Ukraine, so James closed the whole deal in Russian, which was pretty neat. The price was a little over what we had wanted to spend, but the Lord allowed us to borrow from some friends what we needed to pay cash for the vehicle. We believed the Lord had provided this car for us, and we could pay it off in a few months. As you know I hate debt, so I began to pray that we could pay this off within two months. Again the Lord amazed us. We had a man in our church who wanted to give us $3,000 towards our car. We were in shock that someone would be such a blessing to us. God's provision again amazed me!

About a month ago now, we were in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee for a week long meeting. James and I were out shopping for some maternity clothes (for me not him :) at consignment stores. Our last stop was a cute boutique called Feather Your Nest. As I was looking I could tell there wasn't a maternity section, but a dress caught my eye. It fit my pregnant self with room to grow (added bonus) so I went to purchase it. The shop owner, Sarah, was so sweet. I was telling her why we were in town and about us being missionaries. As I was paying her, she gave me back the $20 bill I had handed her. I was really confused because all I was suppose to get was cents back. She said it wasn't much but she wanted to help us on our missions journey and raising support. I was speechless and thanked her for being a blessing to us. This was yet another humbling experience for me- that God would show His love to me through this stranger. It was such an encouragement and reminder to me that God loves me more than I can imagine.

About a week ago as James and I were driving up to Alaska, we stopped at a tiny motel for the night. James was talking to the man (the owner) about our trip and why we were driving to Alaska. He shared with him our burden for souls in Russia. He said his church supports a lot of missionaries around the world and would be happy to pray for us. After our nice chat, we headed back to our room to unpack for the night and relax. We heard a knock at the door, and James went to check on it. At the door, his wife stood there with cash in hand and gave it to James. She said your stay is on us tonight, we want to be a blessing, and smiled and walked away. James was in shock, he couldn't believe that a complete stranger would show God's love to us. We just knelt down right there and thanked the Lord for taking care of us. I was really thankful that James got to experience the same kind of kindness from a stranger that I had experienced just a few weeks earlier. It was just amazing to see God provide for us.

There are many more ways the Lord has taken care of us, but these are the stories that I wanted to share. I have to admit before we got started on this journey, I was concerned with how it all would "work" out. From the very beginning, God showed me He was in control and would take care of us. His Word promises He will provide our every need. By the time we started deputation, I was so excited to see how the Lord was going to provide our every need. We don't have a physical home to go home to while we travel, but the Lord has always provided us a place to stay and has met our needs above and beyond. I believe this is only the beginning of things to come!

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

May I encourage those of you afraid to step out on faith to simply trust your heavenly Father. He won't call you to a place and then leave you there. He will only bless your faith in Him and take care of you beyond what you could imagine!

" If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." 
Luke 12:28-31

The most important decision of faith is that of your eternal destination. If you have never placed your faith in God concerning eternity, may I encourage you to get that settled. God tells us we can know without a doubt where we will spend eternity. We can live a life of peace and comfort with Christ. If you have any questions or want to know more about how to put your faith in Christ, I would be more than happy to share that with you. It's the best decision I ever made!