Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saved by a Newborn Infant

This is a story Corrie ten Boom shared in her book, "Tramp for the Lord." When I first read it, I cried tears of joy and gratitude over the life of my own dear child, who saved my life. May you be blessed as you read of God's faithfulness and sovereignty over every situation. We can always trust His ways. He has a plan and a purpose for each life, no matter how small!

...and a little child shall lead them. -Isaiah 11:6

One of my greatest privileges is visiting with missionaries all over the world. Those of us who live in the comfort and security of our homes cannot begin to imagine what the life of a missionary is like. Many of them have no fresh water and only simply food. They constantly face the threat of sickness and infection. Some live in primitive places where their very lives are in danger. Much to my sadness, yet to the glory of God, the list is growing longer each day of men and women who are literally laying down their lives for Jesus' sake on the mission field. These men and women stand on the front lines, often in lonesome places, but knowing that their Master, who has placed them there, will also stand with them.

Once in a primitive spot in Africa I visited a missionary couple. Their small home was located in a delightful spot that gave a beautiful view of lakes and mountains. They had very little of this world's goods but were rich in God's grace and had been given a homesite that many wealthy people would pay thousands of dollars to have as their own. Crowded into this tiny shack were six children, the youngest just a few months old.

"Come with me," the missionary wife said as she picked up the baby and walked outside. "I want to tell you a story." We sat on a bench overlooking an awesome scene of grandeur. Spreading before us was a mighty view of the mountains, covered with deep jungle and spotted with lakes and waterfalls.
"To have many little children can be a burden for a missionary," she said. "There comes a time when you have to send them to the homeland because there are no good schools here. But while they are small you try to enjoy them."

She paused and looked down at the sweet baby asleep in her arms. Her voice was tense with emotion as she continued. "But when I learned I was going to have another baby, I rebelled against God. We already had five small children, and it did not seem fair that we should have to bear another. My health was not good, and I looked upon having another child with great sorrow and unhappiness."

Tears were streaming down her face as she talked. "Was it not enough to have five children? Oh, how my heart cried out at God, and there were times when I wished He would take the baby from me.
"The time for the birth was here. I was very weak and there were no doctors nearby. We had no one to leave the other children with, so my husband put us all in the car and drove us into a town where there was a good mission hospital. There we stayed until the baby was born."

The tiny child stirred in her arms, stretched her little arm, and yawned. How precious she looked! The mother's voice grew soft. "When we returned to our home with the new baby we learned that in the short days we had been gone the dreaded Mau Mau had come. They had murdered every white person in the entire area. Had we been home we would have all been killed."

She hugged the little baby to her breast, tears flowing down her face. "This little darling was sent by God to save all our lives. Never again shall I rebel against His ways for our lives."


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eighty Minutes of Parenting

My grandmother found this precious story in a book called "No Small Miracles," by Norris Burkes, a Pediatric Chaplain. She shared it with me and now I want to share it with you. May we all be reminded of the value of each and every life and how precious each moment is...

Despite popular belief, Disney does not have a corner on the title The Happiest Place on Earth. That distinction usually belongs to the labor and delivery department at your local hospital.
But on the morning I met Sue Reed and her husband, Mike, I already knew it was not going to be a usual day.
Sue and Mike married in their early forties. Blessed with one healthy child, Samantha, they were inspired to try for another. After a few difficult starts, Sue turned up pregnant in May 2003, two months shy of her forty-fourth birthday. They named their expected baby Gabriella Grace-GiGi for short.
Because babies born to older mothers tend to carry a greater risk of genetic deformities, Sue's doctors scheduled her for immediate genetic testing. A week after the test, Sue awoke with a feeling that something's not OK. Later that afternoon, a doctor's call confirmed her suspicion. The doctor told Sue that GiGi had trisomy 18, which meant she had an extra eighteenth chromosome.
Sue said, recalling the phone call, "I struggled to hear more, even as I began shutting down."
The "more" she was hearing was the doctor telling her that most women opt to terminate these pregnancies. While Mike and Sue spent the weekend "asking the hard question of what God was doing here," Sue couldn't help but recall a previous abortion she had had in her youth, a procedure "that punctured my heart forever," she said.
"I knew I couldn't do it again. I knew in my heart of hearts that God made GiGi exactly the way she was supposed to be made. I know that Scripture says, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart' (Jeremiah 1:5).
"God was asking me to honor this life," she said. "She was our daughter with a bad diagnosis, but that was secondary. Nevertheless, that diagnosis was like an end to my pregnancy. At each doctor's visit, I was sure this time GiGi wouldn't have a heartbeat."
But GiGi's heart continued to beat, and the doctors began anticipating her live birth. They asked Sue how she wanted to care for GiGi after she was born. Sue remembers the doctor asking, with tears in her eyes, "How do you want this to play out?"
Sue and Mike instructed the doctor not to resuscitate but instead to offer all comfort care possible. "We just want to meet her and love her, to hold her and be with her. We want to know and love our daughter as long as she's with us," Sue said.
The night before her birth, Sue wrote a letter to GiGi in which she explained that "some people only dream of angels, but I get to actually give birth to one and then hold her in my arms. I am so very blessed. See you tomorrow, sweet girl."
On February 5, 2004, at 10:00 a.m., I entered the labor and delivery department to meet a couple who looked like any other expectant parents. They carried a video camera. They knew, however, that their camera would record the two most sacred moments of life-birth and death-all on one tape. Twenty minutes after Mike and I dressed in surgical scrubs, GiGi emerged, looking perfect.
"I expected a deformed baby," Sue admitted, "but she was beautiful. She was like a visitor from heaven. It was like God showing us that what we did was right, to honor this little life all the way to the end in spite of her impending fatality. Every life is precious, no matter how short. It should be God's decision when to call us home, not mine, or a doctor's, or even society's. God's timing is always perfect. I remember my heart exploding with joy that I had truly experienced God's perfect, divine will being done, that I had been obedient to it, and that GiGi never suffered but was just held and kissed by Michael and me until she died in Michael's arms. We knew that she knew we loved her, wanted her, and were there for her until she returned home."
GiGi lived just a little longer than an hour.
"It struck home with me that God hears, sees, and answers prayers," Sue said. "Even though I'd wished for a better outcome, I'm grateful God chose us. I never thought I could walk through something like this. It's made me realize how every moment in life is important-even if it's just eighty minutes. I packed a lot of parenthood into those eighty minutes."
Later Sue added, "Ever since this happened, I think about 'the moment.' GiGi's life was that moment. Sometimes love is for a moment. Sometimes it's for a lifetime. And sometimes a lifetime is a moment."


Monday, June 6, 2011

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