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Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Faith!

Six years ago today after 6 hours of labour, and just two pushes, I wept as I held my new baby girl in my arms.  I knew the moment I saw that she was a girl what her name would be.  "This is Faith' I said to the midwives as they took her from the pool I birthed her in to clean her up.

10 months earlier I woke with a start from a dream.  There were no images in the dream, which is strange for me as my dreams are normally so vivid in colour and detail.  This dream was just a voice, a commanding authoritative "God" voice and it said, 'You have concieved a child and it will be a girl'.

We were trying for our second child at that time, but brushed the dream off as just that, a dream.  I was so hopeful for another child  I couldn't allow myself to believe it to be a girl.

Two weeks later my sister and I were on a shopping trip in Buffalo and when we arrived in the mall I said, 'Ok I have to eat NOW', my hands were shaking and I devoured my meal in mere minutes.  My sister sat wide eyed watching my feast and said,
'Are you sure you're not pregnant?'
 'Yes, I'm sure, I did a test and it was negative'
'Well, maybe before you go buying clothes you should do another one, just sayin''"

An hour later I was staring at two pink lines.

So, I was pregnant.  That part of the dream was true.  But as for the other part?  I spent the rest of my pregnancy telling myself it was a boy.  I already had a boy and loved him more than I knew it was possible to love another human being.  Two boys would be amazing.  But deep within me was the dream of a little girl, pink clothes, dolls, and dress-up...a daughter.

I didn't dare let that hope grow inside me along with the baby, I didn't want to feel any sense of disappontment if it was a boy.

So, the moment I gave the second and last push to welcome my new child into the world I resolved myself to seeing little boy bits.  As I pulled her from the water, she took her first breath and I cradled her wet, pink and warm body next to mine.  As soon as I could, I looked to see what I had been blessed with.  A GIRL!! I was overjoyed and tears flowed freely from my eyes.

I immediately knew that her name must be 'Faith'; a constant reminder that I need to have more faith, that my God is a loving God who wants to give me the desires of my heart and that it is ok to dream and hope for those desires.

As it turns out we got even more than we bargained for.  Our daughter is a bright, funny, whimsical, creative, determined and beautiful creature who amazes, delights and yes drives me crazy!  We love her more and more every day.

At her dedication, someone known for giving quite prophetic words said to us, 'God has created in her a personality and qualities that will sometimes be challenging to you as parents, but that He has intended for His glory'

We can't wait to see what God has planned for her life.  This is a video of her first year that I put together for her first birthday.

Happy Birthday baby girl!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Anyone Need to Rent a House?

In our small group two nights ago we talked about manna.  When the Isrealites were delivered from Egypt they spent fourty years in the dessert, following a pillar of fire at night and a cloud during the day.  When the fire/cloud moved so did they.  Food in the dessert was scarce, but God provided for them  'manna' which would appear on the dew in the morning and disappear in the heat of the sun.  If they collected more than they needed, or tried to store it it would sour and spoil.  They lived day by day trusting in God's divine provision and timing.  But they didn't do it with a smile on their faces, no there was a lot of belly-aching in that dessert.

Phil and I shared how this past year of raising support has been a big learning curve, in trusting in God's provision and timing, surrendering to His will not ours.  I've done my fair share of belly-aching along the way, too.

The very next morning (today) we received an email from our tenant that she needs to break her two year lease.  The good news is she has decided not to leave her husband, to reunite as a family and we're very grateful for that.  The unfortunate side-effect of course is that we now have to find another renter.

In past years an unexpected twist like this would have sent me off my rails, I would probably have reacted with some anger, despair and worry, twisted up in it for days or weeks until the problem was solved.  This morning though I spent a few minutes making heavy sighing noises with my husband as the news sunk in.  But that was it.  That was the extent of my emotional response.  I have complete and utter confidence that the creator of the universe can handle this little hiccup-and I'm quite sure He is not the least bit surprised.

It's been a long two years since we first set foot on the tarmac in the Maraba airport and the learning curve has been steep, but I have a sneaking suspicion this is just the crest of the first of many hills.

So, the house is listed on kijiji again.  We'll keep you posted.

London Calling

Five weeks flew by in a blur of cities, hedge lined narrow roads, incredible castles, friendly familiar faces (including friends from Cambridge outside Edinburgh Castle!) and sheep, lots of sheep.  We travelled 4500 kilometers visiting family and friends from Cornwall to Glasgow.  In short, we had a blast.

One of the many highlights was getting to spend time with Phil's family.  For most it was their first time meeting Faith and they hadn't seen Luke since he was just a wee babe.  As it turns out, Luke is the spitting image of Phil's brother Barry, in looks and personality, so it goes without saying that there was an instant connection.

The view from the shore at Pendennis Castle

For many of Phil's friends the news of our move and the reason behind it came as a bit of a shock, our explanations where definitely met with some stunned silence.  After all, when Phil left for Nigeria 13 years ago he was not exactly the church going type.  But after the shock wore off and they heard about what we will be doing, their response was positive.  Other friends we expected to be shocked were the opposite, and decided to support us.  We were blown away.

For some, spending twenty four hours a day seven days a week with their spouse and children might be stressful.  We thought it might be.  As it turns out the longer we spent together the less stress we felt and the more we enjoyed being around each other.  This is an important transition as our lives shift into life in Brazil we will be together most of the time.  We're looking forward to it.

We are so thankful to all of our family and friends who opened their homes and their lives to us for a visit or to stay, to our sister Carole for inviting us to turn her quiet home into a loud, singing, dancing, base of chaos.  I think her cats may never be the same.

Here are just a few photos from our trip:

Faith living the princess dream

Luke and Faith...and Faiths' notebook in front of Big Ben

Faith and Luke meet the Queen...well almost.

Having chips at a proper English pub

'On Top of the World' Tintagel Castle birthplace of the Legend of King Arthur