October 14, 2016

Blessed To Be a Blessing

Almost a months ago I was blessed to spend the weekend getting to know these incredible women in this photo who are a part of Elvis' new church plant in a rural and impoverished community called San Francisco de Jacagua or more easily referred to as Los Cocos! The new church began as a Bible Study and just 2 and 1/2 months later there are now over 50 people in regular attendance. The people in this community are hungry and thirsty for the word as this is the only church in this community! 

Knowing the women's conference was approaching, Alan and I knew we wanted to help a couple of women be able to come to the conference and we were so glad we did. These women encouraged and inspired me. They are all on different parts of their journey to Christ- one woman Margarita (2nd from left) rededicated her life to Jesus at the conference. Praise Him! Coming to a weekend conference is a really difficult thing for women here in the DR- they don't have easy access to "babysitters" and many of their husbands are absent and wouldn't have any idea how to care for their kids. But these women jumped at the opportunity to come to the conference rounding up family members and neighbors to help care for the kids. They collectively left a total of over 15 kids to come to the conference! They had never been to anything like the women's conference before! 

I so look forward to knowing them better and serving with Elvis and Raysa in Los Cocos! Because of your faithful commitment to partnering with us you played a big part in these women being able to come to the conference! Thank you! Elvis and Raysa live by a very important Biblical principle "we are 'blessed to be a blessing." Thank you for joining us in living this way too! 

October 11, 2016

When It Happens Again...

No one prepared me for the first miscarriage. Yes, I just said the word... first. It's not something anyone ever thinks will happen to them. Until it does. July 8 our lives changed and a piece of me died when I lost my unborn child. They say it's a club no one ever wants to belong to, but once you're in, you are forever grateful for those women also in the club who journey painfully with you.

After six weeks stateside, we rose up and we returned home. Bruised. Beat up. Full of pain. And full of his love. And we began healing and we began walking forward. New season. I was fully focused on being wholly healthy- physically, spiritually, and in ministry. God was breathing new life into us in a season where we needed desperately to tangibly feel his presence, his arms, his love.

On September 19 that changed again. I found out I was pregnant. Shock, anger, and fear were all amongst my first responses.

Shock- we weren't even thinking about expanding our family. We were focused on becoming healthy not pregnant.

Anger- how could my body get over the loss of the last baby so quickly? I thought we were still grieving.

Fear- what if it happens again? Would I be okay?

I called a dear friend the same day I found out I was pregnant. Her voice was a healing balm to my shaky soul. As she prayed for me and spoke words of affirmation over me and this sweet little life she thanked our heavenly father for giving us this good gift and in that moment my entire perspective began to change. My heart filled with gratefulness and joy. My mind filled with thoughts of a good father who was so excited to give us the gift of another pregnancy as soon as he could. I began seeing the pregnancy in another light.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10

I anxiously awaited the days. Once a week had passed from finding out, my doubts of a second miscarriage began to ease. I began pinning, dreaming, planning, decluttering... again.

1 week and 3 days after finding out I was pregnant I saw the first sign of miscarriage. The following day I got to experience something I hadn't with the last pregnancy. I stared at the black and white screen on the machine and watched a tiny little baby with a with a tiny little heartbeat dance around on the monitor. I was in shock- so much so, that I forgot to ask for a printed photo of the ultrasound. I regret not asking for that photo. I regret not having a second ultrasound done right there just so I could have a photo.

With the heavy amount of bleeding I was put on bed rest at home for the next week, and it was in the next days that I would experience the fullness of Christian Community. Within less than 24 hours my room was filled with dear women creating plans for school pickup, homework help, and meals. I don't do "receiving" well, but God showed me so much about the body and community in those moments.

There wasn't enough bedrest that would save this sweet baby and just three days after seeing its heart beating so fast on that monitor I found myself saying goodbye to another baby.

We weren't meant for this much pain and grief and mourning and suffering. It's hard. It sucks actually. But. We are seeking him. His peace. His ways. He mourns with us. We take comfort that this is not what he wanted. He grieves with us. The same way he grieved the death of his son Jesus. The reality of the broken world has been made so real to us in very personal intimate ways in this last season. We cling to the hope that even though he did not want this pain for us, it can be used to bring him glory. That is our desire. To glorify him with our hearts, words, and love for others. We see the joy that comes only from knowing him.

We are in pain, but it will lessen in time and I find great peace and beauty in community that surrounds us as his hands and his love and comfort will meet all of our needs. And so we journey on with the joy of the Lord as our strength.

These lyrics to a song called Glory Baby so beautifully tell of the mix of pain and hope we have.

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

Related Posts with Thumbnails