~ A Mother’s Destiny
I Cor. 2:1-5 – “When I came to you,…I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words; but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
As one mother to another, I don’t come to you as an “expert,” but simply as someone who has prayed, birthed and mothered for many years and wants to share with you how the Lord has led…
Have you ever thought of your life as being touched with destiny? Everyone one of us here…no matter the circumstances of our birth, no matter the home life we were born into, no matter our economic status – or lack there-of – have been born with the plan of God in mind. Our choice is if we will allow God to use us.
Those of us who are mothers probably remember the moment we found out we were expecting for the first time. Oh, remember all those day-dreams of pink and blue. Of all the pretty little ruffles and bows we would dress our little girl in – or – as our husbands would remind us – the choice of whether our baby’s room would be decorated in Ohio State scarlet and grey or Bengal’s black and orange tiger stripes! And then after all those 'important' decisions were settled by reminding each other that the baby wasn’t even here yet; then the nerves set in…
…and the prayers…
“Oh Lord, am I ready for this? I thought I was, now I don’t know…cause it’s gonna hurt! But, it will be worth it because I know You’ll give me the sweetest tempered, most loveable, most huggable, happy, compliant baby ;-)…but….just in case it should cry, just in case it should get sick…am I ready for this?”
No matter how much we pretended to be the best mommy when we were little girls, no matter how many younger siblings we helped take care of when we were growing up, no matter how many families we babysat for when we were teenagers…there’s NOTHING like having your own baby, is there? So many things that Mom never told you about! Everything from how morning sickness doesn’t actually end at noon, to how fatigue can hit you like a smack in the face, to how much you will LOVE that baby. Isn’t it funny how changing YOUR baby’s diapers was never as bad as changing those of other babies?
And no one can ever tell you about how that love will show you the heart of God and how He loves His children. Especially when it comes to what we will have to face – good and bad – when it comes to our children. Do you think that we break our heavenly Father’s heart when we disobey? Do you think, as our heavenly Father, that God’s arms burn to hold us and comfort us when He knows our future and the things that must pass, the furnaces we must walk through to become the children and have the testimony He wants us to have? I do.
My husband, Ty, and I married in the fall of 1984. Our marriage began in a little country church on a beautiful fall day filled with my favorite spectrum of colors…yellows, golds, rusts, reds, burgundies, and the deeper greens of autumn. I took my farm-boy out of the country into Dayton and we enjoyed our new marriage and traveled on weekends with a contemporary Christian band he sang in; we enjoyed our friends, our church and our new-found status as a married couple in our extended families. Soon we discovered that we were going to have a baby! We would barely get to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary before it came. As we were the 1st of our circle of newly married friends (5 couples of us married w/in 4 months) to take the next step, everyone was very excited for us. We were on our way to having those 5 kids that we had always talked about.
Oh, mothers, aren’t those 1st months of pregnancy “great”?! :-/ Where were you when your 1st bout of morning sickness hit you? Mothers, and we ARE mothers during pregnancy, soon find out that our sweet little ¼” long babies cause our bodies to take on a mind of their own! My babies told my body to eat things like Taco Bell bean burritos, raspberries and ice cold tomatoes w/salt and pepper. What did yours tell you to like?
Well, as with all things related to time, days turned into weeks and weeks into months. In the latter months I soon found myself so swollen that I had to switch shoes at least 3 times a day…each one gradually a little looser fitting. Then I noticed that I had NO ankles! And in the last month I had about 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants that I could fit into…including a pair of my husband’s old sweat pants w/the elastic taken out! On my next trip to the Dr., he very quietly told me, “I’m not worried about the baby, so don’t YOU worry, but I want to you go home, pack your bags, call your husband and have him take you the hospital. We’re going to admit you TODAY.”
Well, how do you NOT worry about a thing like that? I was still 15 days short of my due date. Well, you know how those pregnancy hormones are…I told myself that since the Dr. wasn’t worried about the baby that I could handle this change of plans. It wasn’t until my husband came home to get me that I realized that something must be wrong w/ME and as soon as the door opened I fell into his poor, confused arms and sobbed.
Once we got to the hospital, we went through the admitting process and I was astounded at the weight I’d gained in a week. I was also shocked that the nurses were so shocked that my legs were the same sized from my hip to my ankle. Didn’t all preggos swell like this? I was equally concerned when they didn’t say ANYTHING after they took my blood pressure. When my Dr. came in, he again reassured me that the baby was fine but that I had Toxemia and I had to stay in bed until the baby was born b/c I had retained so much fluid and my blood pressure was at pre-stroke level. Mind you…he was saying this in the calmest way possible so that my blood pressure wouldn’t go up even more!!
Five days passed, not only was my swelling and water gain not going down, but neither was my blood pressure. The decision was made to take our predicted 10 lb boy by c-section the next day.
Before 7a.m. I was wheeled into surgery with my sweet, nervous hubby following behind me. I remember a sweet little nurse popping her head over mine as I lay on the table, saying, “Do you realize that in 5 minutes you’re going to me a mommy?!” FIVE MINUTES!!
Before I knew it, the Dr. told my frightened husband to look over the little curtain to see what he had. All I can say is that LIGHT absolutely BEAMED from my husband’s face! Whatever our baby was, I knew then and there that it was beautiful. Then, to the shock of us all, the Dr. said, “It’s a GIRL!” A 7lb. 10 oz. 19” long precious baby girl! Jessica had come to join our family!
The worst part about having a c-section is that all you can do after is sleep. It’s also the protocol for many hospitals to keep c-section babies in the nursery for 4 hours before bringing them into the mother’s rooms. Just in case we ever wondered, this was another opportunity for God to show us that He was watching out for our little family. During an exam a nurse noticed that the tube she was using to suction Jessica’s nose with turned and came out the other side. To make sure, she did it again. Same result. This was a clue that she needed to get the Dr. in to verify a suspicion…after x-rays the suspicion proved correct.
Jessica was born with a Tracheo Esophogial Fistula. Her esophagus actually grew into her lungs instead of going into her stomach. If I would have nursed her after birth, she could have drowned. Immediately, the decision was made to take her to Children’s for surgery. The surgeon assured us that this happens in 1 in 4,000 births and that he personally does 2 of these surgeries a month. She was other-wise very healthy and because of that she sailed through a 9 hour surgery in 4 hours! In a few days, like so many other babies w/a fistula, she also had to have a treach put in. Believe me, there’s NOTHING like your baby watching every move you make while you put in her treach tube for the 1st time! The Drs were all very encouraging and she came home 5 weeks and 1 day after she was born.
Jessica was home! There may be doubters, but I’m telling you that she KNEW she was home! She slept soundly and comfortably and learned to laugh in our home.
One cold January, on a Saturday morning, when Jessica was 12 weeks and 4 days old, my husband got up to change her diaper and have a little Daddy Time w/her so I could get 5 more minutes in our warm bed. I heard a noise and looked up as Ty came running wide-eyed into our room. “I’m calling an ambulance! Something’s wrong w/Jessica!” I went in and she was still breathing but was limp and ashen. Everything was such a rush! The EMT’s came in, looked at her, and after taking her vitals and using a hand pump over her treach, they snatched up my baby, ran down the stairs and put her in the ambulance. I tried to get in the back but they pushed me up to the front seat w/the driver. I can tell you EXACTLY when she left this world. We were crossing the Stanley St. bridge and the men in back started screaming for the driver to hurry!
We got to Children’s and I watched them run, carrying my sweet baby into the ER…and I waited for Ty to get there as he had driven behind us. We were ushered into a little room where we called our parents and prayer warrior friends. There was a young lady who was the clergy on duty that morning who was assigned to us. I told her, “Listen, we’re Christians and I don’t want you praying any pansy prayers like you would w/unbelievers clinging to anything they can. If you're going to pray…then you PRAY!” We prayed. She would come in and out and give us up-dates. Finally, after an hour and a half, the Dr came in and told us that she was gone. They tried so hard but she just wouldn’t stay.
My baby? MY BABY?! My baby that I’d had her name picked out since I was 15 years old? My baby that I sang “Jesus Loves Me” to my whole pregnancy so that she would recognize it when she was born? My baby that I had nearly died to have?
Oh God! What has happened to our world? God, did You feel this way when Jesus died and had to be separated from You before the resurrection? How do we live through this? How DO I live through this?
Jesus NEVER promised that all would be easy once we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. It takes courage to stand strong in Him. In John 6 Jesus told the nearly 150 disciples that to follow Him they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Vs. 60 says, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’” Many of them left until practically only the 12 remained. Jesus turned to them and said, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” And for once Peter didn’t have his foot in his mouth and he said one of the most profound things anyone trying to hang on to reality while enduring a tragedy could ever remember: “Lord, to whom shall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life…”
The next several days were a blur of shock and sadness, but we hung on to Jesus. My body still prepared itself to feed Jessica – but she wasn’t there; my arms ached to hold her – but she wasn’t there. After 3 months of all the activity that surrounds a new baby, my world just seemed to stop.
But I have to tell you ladies, that God IS still on the throne! He does lift us up and He does get us through. His Son didn’t leave this world w/o scars, why should we think we should be any different?
When the smoke started to clear and we got slowly got back to living life, the Lord gave me a verse I have claimed as my life verse: 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Mothers, everything we go through has the purpose of destiny behind it. Jessica was put here not only to bless our lives for 3 months, but to teach us about the heart of God toward His children. We also had 2 miscarriages between Jessica and our other beautiful daughters, Jasper and Jenna. (Did you notice that God DID give us the 5 we prayed for? Just not the way we thought He would.) But we have been able to minister to others who have gone through those same things like no others can. Because we had Jesus to rely on, we have been able to step out and do more and say more than would ever have been possible before. The Lord used what we went through to make us strong and bold for His glory…not our own.
Mothers, you have been chosen to do extraordinary things! Your attitude in the “mundane” - not just the tragic - is what teaches your daughters character and perseverance. Your “everyday” is what shows them that life is worth living because when they grow up, they will be blessed with the privilege of caring for their children. All the wiping of bottoms and noses, all the patty-cakes, all the same stories read over and over again, all the skinned knees, the chicken pox, the school lessons, re-learning new math, field trips, talks about the facts of life, first crushes and broken hearts, graduations…and letting go.
Mothers, all these things have YOUR fingerprints on them! Your fingerprints are all over your children! Your destiny is them! Because God has touched your life with destiny, because everything that He has taken you through – even what seems so boring and mundane -- has taught you something that you can pass down to your children and, in the spirit of Titus 2, pass down to the younger mothers that you know. And because of that, the Lord has written about YOU in His Word:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
She can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
And faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
‘Many women do noble things,
But you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
But a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Now THAT’S destiny!