Monday, April 18, 2011

Setting the Stage

I so enjoyed sharing with you about my amazing journey into this world!  But I feel that I need to go even further back to share with you some things that God orchestrated even before I was born.  One of these things came to light this past weekend, and I knew I had to share this with you!

About 5 years before I was born, my parents were unbelievers, and my mother was battling depression and my father was holding down two jobs trying to make ends meet.  They had neighbors next door that through their testimony and witness, my mother found salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.  For the next several years my mother learned of Jesus and His forgiveness and restoration.  She learned that God was the giver of life, and that He was in control of her life and doing all things for her good.  She was able to overcome most of her depression through claiming the promises of her Savior.

She prayed faithfully that my father would come to know Christ as his Savior too, but it seemed to not be His will  yet.  While my mom was carrying me, my father was secretly meeting with the pastor of the church in order to profess his faith and join the church.  One the day I was baptized, my father surprised my mother by also professing his faith in Jesus Christ before the congregation that day.  Isn't God amazing?  God used these precious saints to bring both my parents to salvation by the time I was born, so I was blessed with attending a faithful church with believing parents all my life.  This also meant that I would attend a Christian school, and come to a saving knowledge of Christ at an early age, and although I have had many ups and downs in my spiritual journey,  I can say that I have been loving the Lord since I was just 8 years old, having given my heart to Christ during chapel in 3rd grade.

But I need to tell you more about these neighbors that shared the gospel with my parents.  This godly man and his wife were Ted and Willy Triezenburg.  I grew up knowing them as Uncle Ted and Aunt Willy.  They were a wonderful example to our family, an example of godly parents and a close knit family. And they loved me and my siblings as their own.  They took my mother, and later my father, under their wings and they became great friends.  They discipled my parents through they years and were always there for them.  They were even bowling team mates for the church league.   I will always remember the times I biked over to Uncle Ted's jewelry shop in Ballard and stopped in to say "hi" - he would welcome me as though I were the most precious little girl in the world.  He'd take time out of his busy day to listen to my prattle, and introduce me to some of his workers and let me ooh and aahhh over the pretty jewelry behind the glass. Aunty Willy was always ready with a sincere hug and wanting to know how I was doing.  My parents even asked them to be my godparents, and I knew this.  So in some ways I had a special bond with them through out my life.  Earlier this month Uncle Ted went to be with His Saviour, and is now singing before His throne and it is good.  I had the privilege this past weekend to attend his memorial and remember all the wonderful things about this man of God - his peppermints, his wink and a click of his tongue, the twinkle in his eye that told me that he loved me.  I was also pleased to be able to  thank Auntie Willy, probably for the first time, for sharing the gospel with my mother, which allowed me to grow up in a home with believing parents, giving me a heritage that was a foundation for serving my Lord and Saviour through my life.

Thank you, Father, for Uncle Ted and Aunt Willie and for their lives.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Miracle Birth Story

This is the first installment of what I would like to call "His-Story - God's Grace in Our Lives".  These will be stories about times when God moved in mighty ways to accomplish His will in our lives and to show us His grace, sovereignty, compassion, faithfulness and love.  I have been pondering on this for nearly a year, and now it's time to start.  But where to start?  I originally thought this would be stories about His-Story in our lives as a family, but I realized this week that I had to go back farther...much farther - back to the beginning of my life and how much God moved to bring me into this world, and how He kept me here through several life-threatening experiences.  I hope you enjoy the stories, and here is one of my favorite stories of all time!

My mother and father already had experienced the ups and downs of a large family (for their time).  My mother had recently become a Christian, but my father was still an unbeliever (or so my mother thought).  They had 2 boys, and 2 girls, perfect right?  My father was going through some difficult and trying times at work, and my mother's last 3 pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, two of which were later in pregnancy and life threatening for my mom and traumatic for my father and older siblings.  Her doctor even told her not to come back to her if she got pregnant again!  Their last child had been born with a mild birth defect, but it required several surgeries in her first few years, and she dealt with difficult things like temporary hearing loss and difficulty breathing making daily life difficult.  My father was done, he had more than he could handle, he was content with the children he had.  My mother, on the other hand, yearned to have another baby.  I can relate to this - after my miscarriages and after having Esther , I did and do desire to have another baby, probably to find healing I suppose, and I have talked with other moms who have felt the same way after miscarriages, twins or having babies with special needs.  So, my pregnancy was not exactly met with excitement on all sides...even my mother did not expect this baby to survive pregnancy.

My mother was uncomfortable through her pregnancy with me, she was 35 and that in itself makes for a more uncomfortable pregnancy I can tell you.  At one point, her body was threatening to miscarry me, and she went to her doctor to see what was going on.  He said that she would probably miscarry...when my mother expressed her sorrow at that thought, he was surprised...she already had more than enough children, why would she want another one?  She wanted this baby more than she could share with this doctor who had no understanding of maternal instinct.  She prayed that this baby would make it.  She did not miscarry, and actually went past her due date!

After two attempts to induce labor, as she was more than 3 weeks overdue, my mother went to yet another appointment with he doctor, and he told her that this baby was just not ready six weeks past the due date???  So she went home, got the other children home from school, and started to make dinner.  Suddenly she was experiencing pain from one hip to the other, and it didn't seem to be going away.  Shew as very uncomfortable and felt that "something is not right".  So my father took my mother to the hospital at 8 pm that night.

 When my mother was checked, the doctor told her that she was dilated to 2 cm, but he wanted her moved to the delivery room anyway.  Once settled in the bed there, my mother experienced all the pitocin that had accumulated in her body through the two IV induction attempts.  She heard this terrible screaming, not knowing it was herself.  My father, 4 stories down in the waiting room, heard this scream, but had no idea that it was his wife!  Immediately my mother began shaking, and heard the doctor say "you have a baby girl" - looking at the doctor she saw that he was holding me like a football - still in his street clothes even.

He laid me on a little table by her bedside.  She saw a little baby with skin hanging in loose folds off her body, but with a beautiful face and she even smiled!  My skin had already begun to decompose, and I was covered in meconium.  The doctor told my mom that he would have to do some repair work on her right away, but that she'd have to come back in later for further repair.  My mother remained in the hospital with me for 5 days.  I weighed just 6 lbs 13 oz - the doctor said I had probably lost 1 1/2 to 2 pounds due to dehydration and a deteriorating placenta.  I was born at 8:30 pm, just 1/2 hour after arriving at the hospital.

My mother says that as a newborn, I was like a 6 week old baby - sleeping through the night, smiling, laughing within the first week.  She had to take special care of my skin for a while - no bathing, she had to use a special cream, and just dab it on, no rubbing, as my skin would just come off with rubbing.  She said I was a good baby and did lots of sleeping.

During my first year, I had several bouts of pneumonia, probably due to meconium aspiration and second hand smoke.  But I survived all of those as well.

God had a plan for my life, and He brought me into this world despite all the situations that would cause people to think that it wasn't meant to be.    My birth story is a story about God's sovereignty, God's Grace, and God's compassion.  My mother had a miracle baby (that's what the neighbors all called me).  She was so convinced that I would not survive that she had not prepared at all - no baby clothes, no baby things...but God provided all that as well.

In looking through my baby book this morning, it is full of cards and the list of baby gifts is long...looks like most people recognized a miracle when they saw it too!

So, why did I start our His-Story with this story?  Because I wanted to share with you that God had a plan for my life.  A plan that was not apparent to others, even my parents.  God says in His Word, in Jeremiah 29:11 -
" For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
 “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future

  He had a plan for my mother, my father, my siblings, myself and for you.  In Psalm 139 He says,

 "3 For you created my inmost being; 
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you 
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
   before one of them came to be. 

  He knew, even before I was born, God knew how many days I would live on this earth.  I thank God for His touch on my life.  I praise Him for leading me down paths that I would not have chosen for myself, but that were for my good and His glory.  He does all things well.

God is so awesome!  I am amazed at His love, compassion and almighty power.  I stand in awe.  Praise be to God who does all things well.