Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sit Back, Relax, Grab a Cup of Coffee

…or hot chocolate if you prefer.  I want to tell you a story about our recent trip to Guatemala.

Andy was asked to do the Sunday morning devotional for our team.  He chose to speak about adoption since our trip to Guatemala last year was the motivating factor for us seriously pursuing adoption.  It was appropriate, too, because this July marked our sixth year of waiting for a baby.  So, he shared a little of our story simply to help illustrate the message.  He talked about the fact that all believers are adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5).  And, our adoption makes us children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).  Now, that’s good stuff!

Afterwards, one of the missionaries currently living in Guatemala, Luis, told us that he felt that he and Ron, the director of the mission organization, should pray for us.  He said they’ve prayed for many women who weren’t able to conceive who later conceived.   He said that in Hebrews 11:11 it says that God gave Sarah the “strength” to conceive (NKJ), he then cross referenced that with Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” 

Andy said later that when Luis proposed this, his first thought was, “Were you not listening to what I just said?  I said we’re adopting.”  But, he knew this guy hadn’t walked through the whole process with us over the past six years, and we knew God would get His way no matter what.

About two minutes later, Ron, who had not heard our conversation with Luis, said that the Lord showed him he needed to pray for us.  Last year he said that to our pastor’s wife who had been suffering from debilitating migraines for 15 years and she was healed!  So, we said, “OK.”

A couple of days passed and they hadn’t prayed for us yet, so as they were leaving one night a lady from our team said, “Ron, are you going to pray for Andy and Michelle?”  He said, “Oh, I’ve already pronounced her pregnant, but I’ll pray if you want me to.”

WHAT?  What in the world?  How can that be?  I started my period the day before we left for Guatemala and we’d been in separate rooms ever since!  (TMI—I know.)

So, the group laid hands on us and Ron hovered his hand over my womb and began to pray.  It wasn’t a weird emotional thing, just a simple prayer that went something like this:  “Lord, we come to you asking that you bless this couple with a child.  We ask you to open Michelle’s womb and allow her to conceive.  I come against the spirit of infidelity…wait, that’s not right…what’s the word?”  The group said collectively, “INFERTILITY!”  Ron said, “Oh yeah.  I come against the spirit of infertility in the name of Jesus.  So many people see children as a burden, but Michelle and Andy have been waiting for a child for a long time, Lord.  They want to be parents.  I pray that you would not allow them to be negative about this, but that you would bless them by allowing her to conceive.  I pray believing that you have done it already.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.”

After our group concluded, I went up to get a shower and cried, a lot.  I was scared to open my heart to the possibility again.  I had prayed and believed before and it didn’t happen, so I had closed that part of my heart off in defense.  I asked God if I should believe, if I should open my heart to hope for pregnancy again.  I knew that if it was of Him that it would happen, but if it was just people who wanted good things for us, my heart would be broken again.

Then I started to think about all the people who were in the room during the prayer and how the result of this prayer would affect their faith too.  I knew at the end of the month if I wasn’t pregnant that it wouldn’t rock my world so much that I would lose faith in God.  He’s taught me that my faith can’t be dependent on whether He gives me what I want or not.  But, what about them?  How would this affect their faith?  That thought was too much for me.  I knew it was out of my control.  So, finally I said, “God, all I can do is trust you.  I trust you with our hearts and with the faith of all of those who were there.  This is your deal.  I trust you.”

For the remainder of the trip, Ron made comments to me as if I had already gotten a positive pregnancy test.  One time he said, “the next time I hug you I won’t be able to get this close to you because you’ll have a big belly!”  I didn’t really know how to respond to those kinds of comments.  He said, “You’ve got to start talking like that now.”

At the Guatemala City airport, a second team of missionaries from Eternal flew in on the same plane we were to fly home on.  So, we got to hang out with them in the airport for a few minutes as our week of service was ending and theirs was beginning.  The pastor and his wife were on team 2, so I went to her right away and told her that Ron had prayed for me.  She immediately started crying.  She knew that when Ron prayed, he wasn’t messin’ around!  After all, God healed her last year and she had complete faith that God could heal me too.  So, she looked me in the eyes and said, “Live in it.” (Mark 11:24)

We were home for a week before we went down to FL for two weeks to visit Andy’s family.  As we were packing, I calculated the days and figured out that I should expect my next period while we were gone.  But, all I could think was “live in it,” so I didn’t pack any tampons.  Instead, I packed two pregnancy tests and the Willow Tree statue, “New Dad”, that I had bought years before and planned to give Andy to let him know our first child was on the way!  At this point I had decided to live in full faith that God was going to answer the prayers for me to conceive and trusted that He would be there for me if it wasn’t His will.  I had more than the faith of a mustard seed that God could do this (Matthew 17:20).

While in FL, I took care of my body as if I were pregnant.  I didn’t get in the hot tub at Andy’s parents house, which was very strange to everyone else who knows how much I love the hot tub.  I wouldn’t eat certain foods like soft cheeses, and I just kind of took it easy.  I even said to myself secretly in my head sometimes, “I’m pregnant!”  Andy on the other hand struggled to believe it.  He felt so strongly that God had clearly shown us the path to adoption that it just wasn’t His plan for me to be pregnant.

Three days before my expected period, I woke up before Andy with the intention of taking a pregnancy test.  I went into the bathroom and peed on the stick.  It was the calmest I’ve ever been taking a pregnancy test.  As I waited for the results, I prayed that God would guard my heart.  I had such a peace that He would be there to comfort me if I looked over and saw a negative. 

Now, put down your hot beverage.

I’m pregnant!  Yep, you heard me right, I’M PREGNANT!!!!  Now, stop reading for a moment and let this miracle of God sink in.  Praise the Lord!!!!

It was the most surreal moment.  It was like a movie scene where I was flying through a tunnel of pictures from the last six years of infertility at lightening speed and it all stopped on that positive sign.  My plan was to go back in the room and give Andy the statue of the man holding the baby and let him figure it out, but...that’s not what happened.  J

I SO needed another human being to confirm that what I was seeing was real, I mean, I’ve never seen a positive pregnancy test before.  So, I ran in the room (I had to wake Andy up) and grabbed the paper in the test box that tells you what to look for.  I held it in front of his face with a shaking hand.  Once I felt sure his eyes had focused enough to know what he was looking at, I held the stick up next to the paper.  I watched his eyes move from the stick to the paper, from the stick to the paper, from the stick to the paper…and then he gasped.  We looked at each other with eyes and mouths wide open like, “Are you serious?!!”  And, I just smiled and nodded.  We hugged and cried and I shook like Chihuahua.  It was a magical moment!

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you know how important it was for me to tell everyone on person.  Well, listen to how much God cares about the details.  We were in Orlando visiting Andy’s sister when I took the test, so we got to tell her family.  Then, we stopped off and told my brother in Palm Coast on our way to tell Andy’s parents in Orange Park.  We stayed a couple more days with his parents and got to tell his grandparents and cousins.  One the way home, we stopped off at my parent’s house in GA.  When we got home we got to tell almost everyone in person.  The reactions were SIX times greater because of how long we’ve waited.  I will treasure their faces, hugs, and words of praise to God for the rest of my life.

Sometimes when I tell people, they say things like “See, all you needed to do was relax and not be under so much stress.” Or “That’s how it happens, you start the adoption process and BOOM!”  All I can say to that is, no.  Don’t give credit to anything other than who it was, a blatant MIRACLE from God.  And I ask that you don’t leave that part of the story out when you tell it to others.

I am eight weeks along, due April 9th.  The doctor said everything looks good!

Thank you all for your faithful prayers over the past six years.  We know that God heard your prayers too.  He is faithful and good, even when we don’t understand his timing.

These verses have comforted and encouraged me over the past six years.

Psalm 113

1 Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD

2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,

6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.

9 He settles the barren woman in her home as the happy mother of children.  Praise the LORD.


Emily Fiore said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! I am so excited for you! I know this is something you have wanted for a long time and you have definately been a part of strengthening my faith w/ your blog. Our God is amazing and He knows what is best for us. Please continue to keep me updated on what is going on w/ the pregnancy - and I want to see pictures of you all big and stuff. :) love,
Emily Fiore :)

Julie said...

Emily Fiore told me about your blog. I've been waiting since May for a post. I am moved beyond words. My husband & I have only been trying for 3 years. I guess I can wait 3 more. Congratulations, and I pray that everything goes well with your pregnancy. Enjoy it!

Kerri Bumgarner said...

I am so excited for you guys!! Reading your blog tonight really brought me to my knees, God is so faithful! Thank you for sharing your story! We definitely need to hang out sometime...Kerri B.

Nikki said...

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST EVER SINCE YOU TOLD ME!!! You are our "Sarai", our patiently-waiting wife of Abraham in 2008. This child is a miracle and I can't wait to behold him and feel God in the flesh. You, Andy, and "Willow" are in my prayers.

Emily Walker said...

Congratulations! We are so happy for you and Andy. God is so good! Good Luck and take it easy. We miss you at Belleview, but know you are getting ready for something bigger and better. We will continue to pray for you both.
Emily Walker

Glenda said...

God is so good, and I am so happy for you. I have been praying for God to give you this experience. You know that I know of God's wonderful power & love. He turned my shame into joy. I love you and can't wait to see you and Andy. Please call me when your in town. Love, Glenda

medschoolmommy said...

I have been looking forward to seeing this post! I am still so excited! I answered the phone the other day and was excited about something and Natalie yelled out to me "Did she have her baby? What is her name??!" The only thing I could figure was that she thought I was talking to you! (I can't for the life of me figure out what would make her think that talking to Aunt Michelle would equal Mommy flipping out!! Ha ha!) Can't wait to hold my little niece or nephew and kiss that sweet baby face. I am blessed to have you as a sister and I am so blessed by you. I hope and pray that this pregnancy will continue to be a beautiful gift from God and that your story of faith with richly bless those around you! Much love to you both.
(Aunt) Heather

jimmy ( said...

Guys, I am so glad for you. Lauren had told me part of the story, but it's good to hear all of the little minor details! Wow.

You guys really inspire me to seek God for a miraculous life, and that belief can really lead to healing, joy, fulfillment, etc.

Thanks for being so encouraging.

lindsay said...

I just got on to see if there was any adoption update and PRAISE GOD. I am beside myself excited for you two. What a mighty God we serve! You are more of an inspiration than you will ever know. I love you guys (all 3 of you!) so, so much and wish you all the best as you embark on your pregnancy journey.

carrie said...

YAY!!! Oh my! I am so excited for you two. Praise to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than we coule ever ask or imagine. Do you realize the testimony this child ALREADY has?!?! Incrediable. Love y'all and will be continuing to pray for a healthy pregnancy.

J said...

That's such a great story. I've been wondering when you were going to post the details! I'm so happy for you and Andy!