Monday, January 23, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday Christy Murphy talked about seeking God's face. This morning I got a glimpse of the hem of Jesus' garment through these flashes of images that put this story together. And MAN it makes me want to see more of HIM!!!!

God has a plan. You've heard it a million times. You've said it to people when you couldn't think of anything else to say. You may have muttered it to yourself when you were at the end of your rope. You have probably questioned the veracity of the statement on more than one occasion. You've had your doubts.

Boys and girls I'm here to tell you that my life has been flashing before my eyes this morning and God has been giving me glimpses of my life...and not all of them have been pretty...and He has been showing me how it all fits with the timeline of one special event. My mind is pretty much BLOWN by this realization and I'm a little bit giddy with the joy of seeing His plan and all it's intricacies in action!!

On New Year's Day 2012, a sweet, precious, amazing baby was born into the world. God is pretty good at arranging amazing births but some of them are the stuff of legends. See here's the thing... His mama didn't realize that she was going to have a baby. I know. I know. There's a tv show for that. I know you watch it and scoff at it and think they're all lying. I know you think that it takes a special kind of stupid to grow a child inside your body and not realize that it's there for the bigger part of a year.

Well I'm here to tell you that you're mistaken. And God has been prepping me for this task since at LEAST 1976. That's about as far back as I've been shown for this one but predates the birth of the mom in this story. So what I'm telling you is, this plan is infinite and it is AWESOME!!!

In 1976 a couple of things happened. I met my best friend in the whole world, Valerie Cloud. We were in third grade at Edgewood Elementary School. Her sister had a baby that year. Sandy was in the military and the doctors missed a pregnancy that resulted in the birth of her son Marcus...or Patches as he still is in my memories. I've known since I was eight years old that a person could have a baby and not know about it before they gave birth. God gave me 35 years to get comfortable with that idea.

1987 brought the birth of my first daughter. I was a single mom at 19 and I went through all the crap that comes along with it. People whispering. Folks showing up to see who the baby looked like while feigning interest in my well being. Artificial friends who just wanted a piece of the gossip. I didn't care though. I loved that kid (and still do) more than life itself. She has saved me from myself on more than one occasion and I don't even think she knows how much I cherish her. Her birth though...was enough of an experience to get me ready for the next one.

In 1993 God put my ex husband in my life. Make no mistake about it, we are ex'ed for a reason. A ton of them actually. But there's a reason that I'll always be thankful to God for sending him to me. One thing my ex was NOT good at was managing his money. When I married him he had a business that someone else might have turned into a very lucrative career. For us was check to check. And because we didn't have extra money, we also didn't have any insurance. When our first child was born in 1994 I sought out a home birth because a person that I knew through my job had done it a few times.  (Side note... I think temp agencies are a BIG part of God's plan! LOL)

After my daughter was born that night in May 1994, I told my midwife, "Why don't more people do this? I'm going to tell EVERYONE about it!!" That pretty much laid the groundwork for my becoming a doula and for my obsession with blogging and message board debating...possibly one of the earliest forms of electronic social media.

Two more home births of my own, and a bunch of client births under my belt, and I started drifting away from the plan...or so it has always seemed to me. He has a way of leveraging EVERYTHING we do, though!! I fell in with the "wrong crowd" and spent some time in the muck and the mire, struggling to keep my head above water. No drugs or anything...just bad influences. I know God's protective hand was on me the whole time though because I came through it unscathed physically.

Because of that time in my life, finding MyChurch on the internet (and on the news...and on a door hanger at my house...) was like a breath of fresh air. It came along at exactly EXACTLY the right time in my life. Like to the DAY that I needed to hear from God. (I wonder if Jeff and Christy realize how much a part of this story they hold!!)

Soon after, I heard Kathryn sing for the first time and I knew we would be friends. I can always find her voice and I appreciate her ability to harmonize so sweetly. When she started her first growth group, I signed up right away. That growth group led to some pretty astounding things we had in common that didn't have anything to do with music or food or anything that we would discuss with too many other people. But standing in the driveway of that house and talking to her one night, I knew I had a friend for life.

As our friendship grew I started helping out at the church whenever I could. I also became a growth group leader. My first group had a grand total of TWO members. Still one of the most monumental experiences of my life because it brought Kelsey and I together and allowed me the privilege of attending her daughter's birth. Second try at that same group wasn't even as successful as the first one. What it taught me though, was that God wanted me to have a group but that He needed to push me in a different direction.

I took a semester off from leading a group and actually participated in a different kind of group in the fall of 2010. I joined a weight loss group and met Rebecca. I don't know why I hadn't really connected her and Kathryn in my head but they are sisters and I latched on to Rebecca pretty much instantly. She and I weighed the EXACT same thing that day. Coincidence? I think not.... LOL She was an amazing partner and made sure that I got to meetings and went to work out or walk. I know that God put us together for a reason!!

In the Spring of 2011 I felt like it was time to start a singles group at church for the "mature" singles. Nice way of saying...old. Ironically, most of the people who came weren't all that old. LOL We were a rag-tag bunch but we fit together nicely. We had a great semester of fellowship and fun, and we learned a lot about ourselves. We all worked on our relationships with God and I feel pretty comfortable in speaking for the group when I tell you that we're all in much different places than we were this time last year. Much. Different.

Rebecca and I kept losing weight. I was amazed at how she was transforming and one day she brought me a bunch of clothes that she could no longer wear. I tried them on and realized that I was losing, too! It was a COOL realization and one that bonded us even further! We spent a lot of time talking about life and boys and just, you know, stuff! She became a sweet girlfriend that I could always find on Facebook to chat with and just be myself.

Because she was there at the beginning and all during my relationship, she knew more about a lot of the nuances of the situation than a lot of people. She has a perspective that probably no one else has. She sat on the couch with me in the beginning when I was questioning if it was starting for real or if I was imagining it. She could see his face when I wasn't looking and could tell me if the whole thing was in my head or just my heart getting away from me. She was there to dry my tears when he was gone and I was missing him. We commiserated over long distance relationships and the desire to feel like a priority to someone.

So when the time came for me to get ready to go out with him on New Year's Eve ... just as a friend ... there was no one else on earth that I'd rather have spent the time getting ready with than Rebecca. We chatted on Facebook for seriously about 3 hours. We talked about relationships. We talked about makeup. We talked about teeth whitening. We talked about a LOT of stuff! She even asked me if I had any births coming up. I told her I was waiting on a client to go into labor who was due that very night.

What never came the last year...was that she thought she might be pregnant. Her exact words on that night were "Im good, fighting a cold, but other than that, Im good" So when I tell you that she had no idea, I'm telling you that NOBODY had a clue. See here's the thing... Rebecca is a tall drink of water. She has a long torso. A baby can hide out in a body that long without having to curl up into too much of a ball. Put a placenta in front of that baby and you'd never feel the first kick. If you'd spent a couple of semesters leading a Zumba group, your abdomen would be tighter, too. And if you had lost as much weight as we had dropped, you'd be expecting a plateau for a while.

Rebecca wasn't an isolated teenager. She wasn't hiding out in her bedroom wearing baggy clothes. She went on a mission trip, led a growth group, greeted people cheerfully on Sunday mornings at the name tag table, worked full time, and managed to find the time to graduate from nursing school. Which means that not only was she out and about and completely surrounded by people...she was surrounded by MEDICAL people.

When she went to the hospital a few hours after our conversation feeling like she was about to pass a kidney stone, she really did think she had another kidney stone. When she chose to go to the hospital in town where they don't deliver babies, she did that because she didn't know she was about to have her own. No one was more shocked about the baby than Rebecca. And that is the HONEST truth.

So here's what I know. Noah is here for a reason. God has something AMAZING planned for this kid's life! Can you even begin to fathom how intricate the web of God's plan is? What He must have been weaving all these years to get that baby here? The generations of that family that have come before, making them tall and giving them bodies MADE for having a baby in such a way!!?? I mean just look at all the things that He did in MY life to get ready for him to be born. And all I get to do is be the storyteller!!


Kerri @OhMann! said...

1 - You are such a good writer!

2 - I love this story!! SO COOL!!

We can never know the infinite plans of the Master, but nothing is more amazing than watching them unfold.
I would have to imagine she may *not* have been as inclined to do all that she did (for His Glory) had she known she was pregnant - including school. You never know! What a blessing that she did *not* know!
Aside from all of the astounding connections you have mentioned here, doesn't it seem SO purposeful and divine that he was born on New Years Day??
Little Noah has definitely sailed into this world for a reason. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh me, oh my... A tiny part of me isn't okay with someone else writing about this before me, but the bigger part of me, the part of me that has fallen madly in love with the Lord all over again because of His sovereignty and infinite glory, is just in awe that Noah's life is already making God's name famous. And let's face it...we are still processing nine months worth of processing.

Thank you for loving my sister and for your sweet words about Noah. I can't wait to get to Heaven and see how far and wide the impact their lives will have on eternity.

Kerri, as I have prayed over all of this I really feel like the purpose of Noah being the first baby born in Columbus in 2012 was God saying I am doing a new thing...a brand new thing in your lives. A thing you would never have chosen but a thing you can't live without.