Thursday, November 11, 2010

Living out of Abundance

Recently, my church hosted a conference with Eric Johnson (son of Bill Johnson, Bethel Church in Redding, CA). He spoke several times on living from a place of abundance- and it has completely wrecked me (in a good way). So, I thought I'd share some of it with you, and see if you get wrecked by it too!

Fruit vs. Report
Every day we are bombarded with tons of bad reports and some good ones too. For some reason, it is often easier to believe the bad stuff over the good? Why is this? Why do we question good news? For example- you may here that your Great Aunt has been diagnosed with cancer, and has only a week to live. That same day, you may hear of a friend who has been completely healed of cancer and is 100% healthy. My gut reaction to the Great Aunt- is sympathy and empathy. My reaction to the friend is often- Wow! Really? I'll say it again-

Why are we so quick to believe bad news? Why do we question good news?

In Numbers: The Israelites had been wandering around in a desert for years, and they finally come to the land that God promised to them. They send a bunch of guys to go and check out the land and bring back a report. The guys literally bring back the fruit from the land and tell everyone of its abundance, but then they bring the report- There are giants, and they are stronger than we are! Numbers 13 says, "they gave a bad report". I absolutely LOVE Caleb and Joshua's response. They chose to focus on fruit. They said,

"The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, the He will bring us into this land and give it to us.....Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them."

When we choose to focus on the report and what we see, we miss an opportunity to see what He sees. There are so many things that we encounter every day, and we have a choice- do we walk in fear or faith? The Associate Pastor at my church likes to ask? What is your "F" word? Fear or Faith?

So how do we choose faith?

As soon as I had children, I became really good friends with fear. I felt like "if I don't worry about this, then no one will- and something bad will happen!". YUCK! Fear felt way more comfortable than faith. Faith felt more like neglect and carelessness. Not true.

I think that the Jesus used the mustard seed not to show us how much he can do with how little, but to show us that faith is a process and it will grow.

Living in a Place of Abundance
So the question rose up within me, do I really believe that God will take care of my family? I realized that I really don't. I believed that God can give me wisdom on how to take care of my family, but not that I can entrust Him with the care of my family. wow.
I also realized that about 90% of my prayer life consists of just asking him for things. Last I checked, that's not much of a relationship. I want a relationship. I have challenged myself to limit how much I ask God for things- its my way of boosting my level of faith and trust in Him.

And it is working.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finding Redemption: The Birth of Baby Number 2!

When Isabel was just past one, I found out I was pregnant again. Once again, it was unexpected, but we were excited! Our sweet baby was due to arrive just two months before Isabel turned 2. My pregnancy this time was very different. I was very nauseous, and felt completely different from how I felt when I was pregnant with Isabel. Things still progressed, and by the time I was just two weeks shy of finding out what we were going to have, we discovered that our sweet baby was no longer living. My heart entered into the deepest sorrow that it had known yet. I grieved for months, and still do over our sweet baby. It took a while for me to heal, and I really didn't gain full closure until I held my next baby in my arms.

While I was eagerly waiting to "try" again, I started researching my option. I had done the doctor route, and after having a not so great experience with an insensitive nurse in my OBGYN's office, I decided there must be more! A close friend of mine had decided to use a midwife with her second child, and I was a bit skeptical. I had been given a bad taste in my mouth toward midwives only because my Mother's generation were told it was a scary way to go- and it may have been! BUT, times have changed. The first thing that drew me to using a midwife was the cost. We do not have medical insurance that covers pregnancy, so to have a baby for a fraction of the cost was extremely appealing.

And then I found it. I found Gentle Beginning's Birth Center. I started reading their philosophy an approach and now I was really interested. The real kicker was reading the testimonial form. I absolutely cried my eyes out. It touched me so much that there could be such a special and intimate relationship with the person that is helping you bring your child into the world. Things like listening to your needs, supporting you during labor, even- EVEN praying for you! I was thoroughly convinced. After praying about it, my husband and I chose to pursue Sarah Jones as our midwife- and wow did we ever hear right from the Lord!

Let me just go off on a bit of a tangent here regarding midwifes. They are the best and dearest of people. My midwife came over for dinner on several occasions, prayed for me, knew my daughters name AND her bear's name, and knew my struggles and desires. She spent an hour with me each visit, and I can not imagine having another child without her by my side. It was the breath of fresh air that I needed inside and out.

After taking several months to physically heal, we were pregnant yet again. I dealt with a lot of fear during this pregnancy. Every moment was precious. The week after it was confirmed that we were having a boy (once again, I just knew!), I went to Redding, CA for a conference. A prophetic word was given that someone had been through an Abraham and Isaac situation and that the Lord wanted to heal the fear that was related to letting go. WOW was I ever ministered to! It was totally me, and the Lord really delivered me from fear! It was a major turning point for me that I needed before heading into labor. It during this time, I decided to name the baby we lost, Isaac.

False labor started a month before I was due. Unfortunately it was due to me being dehydrated, and I dilated to a four! I remained a four until I gave birth a month and half later- wild I know! I walked, and I walked, and I walked, and I did the EPO, and just about everything I knew under the sun. I kept having false labor, and I was so over due! Expected due date was December 14th, and 9 days later, he still had not arrived. We decided to do a sonogram, and baby was so big that they had to do calculations on their own because the sonogram didn't know how to handle a baby that size! They gave me an estimate of somewhere between 9.5 and 10.5 pounds. We decided to consult a Doctor.

Now, to be quite honest, I cried my eyes out over this decision. I knew he would probably through the "c-section" thought my way- and I just did not want to go there. Truth be told, he did mention it, but he never pushed me at all. In fact, he gave me the choice to try and labor at the birthing center in my own and know the risks that were involved if the baby got stuck. After praying about it, we felt it would be best to stay and labor at the hospital, but I did not want pitocin. So, they broke my water at 8pm that night- WHY we did not wait until the morning- I HAVE NO IDEA! lol.

For the first time, I was able to feel what normal contractions were like. It was wonderful! I was excited, and I was progressing, and wow was I ever blessed. The Nurse at the hospital that labored with me wanted to be a Nurse Midwife some day, so she had very natural ideas regarding labor. She didn't strap me down. I did have to have an IV, but no fetal monitoring at all times. I walked up and down the hallways until it got too uncomfortable. I labored in the shower, and even in the bath tub! She was such a blessing. By 6am, I was fully dilated, but Timothy still had not dropped into position. He was changing positions and would not come down the birth canal. It was then that they had to put me on pitocin.

I was exhausted- and knew I could handle pitocin contractions so I opted for the epidural again. Thankfully this time everything went in well and I finally got some rest- expecting to see my baby very soon. Not so much.

The Doctor put me on a high dose of pitocin hoping that that would push the baby out slowly, but instead it just made things really intense for me and the baby. All I could do was wait. Several hours later, he still was not coming out. They were beginning to talk "c-section" again. I asked them if I could at least try and push, and they said ok lets see what you can do. So, at 11am, I finally pushed- and he crowned immediately! NO one expected this. Especially the Doctor!

I had to wait another half hour for him to arrive so that I could deliver the baby! After 3 more good and solid pushes, Timothy arrived at 12:12pm. He immediately put him on my chest- which I was not expecting. He looked almost identical to Isabel. I was so relieved and proud, and I felt like the fog had lifted off of me once again. It was a rebirth of my soul. We named him Timothy Justice. Timothy after his Father's middle name, and Justice because it was the name that we both felt fit for him. Timothy means honoring God. Justice- we've heard defined as: Restoring relationships.

*Photo was Taken by F. Robert Openshaw, who is my Uncle. Timothy was about 6 months old*