Have you ever been spiritually stuck, wandering around in a dry, desert place? Well, I feel like I’ve pitched a tent in the Egypt over the last few months. You’d think that my mind would be peculating and preparing for my upcoming birth, but this season has been completely opposite. I’ve been wondering what on earth I’m doing and trying to figure out God’s plan in the midst of changes and uncertainties.
In an effort to get unstuck, I’ve been going through a process of remembrance. Often times, these desert seasons are so dry and lonely because God is counting on us to pull from the seeds He’s already planted and remember the great works He’s already accomplished. Just consider how many times God instructed the Israelites to remember: 48 different times! Before Moses died, he warned, "Be careful, and watch yourself closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live..." (Deut. 4:9). The Lord gives the instruction to remember (often through ceremonies and monuments) as well as teach others about it because when we forget, we easily diminish our own faith as we stand at the foot of great mountains.
The Bible recounts how David stirred himself in remembrance before he went toe to toe with Goliath. David remembered how God had already helped him defeat a savage lion and bear and defend his flock from ferocious animals (see 1 Sam. 17:34-35), so of course God would deliver Goliath to Davids feet.
Take a moment and ponder the amazing things has God done in your life. They may have been 15 years ago, but God's not bound by time. When we remember, we stir ourselves in the same spirit of love, power, and gratitude that enveloped us years ago! Could there a better way to wake up from spiritual slumber??
I’ve been remembering a particularly fertile season in my spiritual walk. Back in 2014, I began a journey of praying for one stranger a day. I wanted the Love of God to move mountains in the lives of people that I encountered, and through this process, I feel like I developed a much deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. I’ve kept so many memories and lessons packed away in my mind, and I’m preparing to share them on the blog so that I can re-learn and re-member God’s awesome works and hopefully encourage you along the way!
Let’s buckle up and prepare for a brand new adventure with God!
P.S.- I'd love to hear some of your awesome memories of things that God has done in your life in the comment section!
This means I have to interact with humans. Normally, I really enjoy this. After all, my time on the checkout line is likely my only outside interactions with people who can use the bathroom by themselves. Today, the woman started by counting my children and giving them each a sticker. She noticed my belly and my three-year-old divulged that there could be two babies inside. I was measuring much further along and was awaiting another ultrasound to confirm my due date and the number of babies growing inside me! This slightly baffled the cashier. Yes, five children under the age of six would be a lot!
She gave me my change and I took a few steps forward before putting the money in my wallet so she could check out the next customer in-line.
Clearly, the cashier thought I was out of earshot as she began to divulge all of her thought about me to the next customer.
"What is she thinking!!" She said. "Clearly, she doesn't even know!"
I stood there baffled for a moment. Really? I'm like two feet away and you're bashing me to another complete stranger?
I was angry. My first thought was this is why I shouldn't shop at Target. Clearly, a company that allows men in the women's changing area would have employees that don't respect life or customers who choose that. You'd think they would welcome large families because they have to spend more. But that's not the case anymore these days. I contemplated emailing management and starting a social media war #boycotttarget and getting all my pro-lifers involved. But I didn't.
As I was loading up my car, the scripture, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” came to mind (Matt. 5:44), so I stopped my complaining and prayed for her. I'm sure she never planned to be working as a cashier in her 40’s. Her life probably didn't go as she planned, and neither had mine. I didn't plan for a 4th baby and certainly didn't do some crazy fertility dance in hopes of having twins.
Truth be told, we were in the same boat.
But I chose to take two lessons from the angry cashier:
1) Live joyfully. The cashier seemed miserable standing there, and I seem pretty miserable at 8:30 pm when I'm exhausted and trying to finish the dishes and get my kids to bed. But, I can choose to be joyful and not spread misery. A sink filled with dirty dishes isn’t nearly as toxic as an angry mama.
2) Don't speak badly about anyone, ever. When we speak badly about someone, we minimize an entire human being to our meanest assumptions about them. Is it any wonder God would instruct us not to gossip, after all, we’re speaking about His creation (for more scripture on this topic, check out Belief.net ). We all make mistakes and we're all works in progress, but the important part is to keep growing! As Chrissy Weems tweeted, "sometimes we win, and sometimes we learn."
If you feel like you’ve got your tongue under control, I challenge you to take it to the next level and not think badly about anyone. When you meet a difficult person, ask God what He thinks about them? His thoughts are good, and they just might surprise you!
And if you’re still wondering about the possibilities of twins? An ultrasound confirmed it’s only one!
Has anyone ever negatively commented about your family’s size, names, or dress? How did you respond? I’d love to hear your response in the comment section!
When I was pregnant with my first child, nearly 7 years ago, I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers. I had babysat for families that used them and loved how they were eco-friendly and saved you thousands of dollars. Diaperdecisions.com reports that you'll save approximately $2,500 by using cloth diaper! Multiply that by 3 children, and we've saved a ton! (Not sure were that money went though ;)
As first-time moms do, I researched endlessly! Choosing diapers and detergents might as well have been picking a house! After hours of research, I decided to use Charlie Soap for cloth diaper detergent and ordered a set of Oh Katy cloth diapers that were on sale on Amazon.com. I also bought some pre-folds, covers, and diaper clips, and was gifted a BumGenius diaper.
We chose to use disposable diapers for the first few days until the black tar poop stopped and then I wrapped my bundle of love in cloth diapers, and they worked wonderfully for the first 6 months. We had occasional leaks, which were mainly from waiting too long to change him, but all things considered, I was happy with our choice.
After 6 months, the Oh Katy diapers began to leak in the legs, every single time he went to the bathroom. I would change him and ten minutes later he was soaked. I decided to strip the diapers and strip them again... But nothing helped! It was as if the inserts just weren't wide enough. I tried stuffing them with pre-folds instead, and they still leaked. My sole BumGenius diaper was my only trustworthy friend.
I hung up my cloth diapering hat for a while after that and was disappointed in my diaper investment. Oh Katy was Oh Bummer so I decided to gradually build a stash or BumGenius diapers.
By the time baby number 2 came, we were set.
I wash my diapers with one tablespoon of Charlie Soap under hot water. Make sure your washer setting is turned to the highest water setting. (My HE washer has an “extra soiled” setting, and with my older washer I’d simply select “large load.” ) Occasionally, I sub a scoop of OxyClean to remove any build up on the diapers.
Then I dry them on low heat for 50 minutes with wool dryer balls. The dryer balls are non-essential, just NEVER use bounce sheets. I learned this the hard way!
My BumGenius collection has served three kids with no leaking and I'm currently adding new elastic to a few of the legs for baby number 4.
If you're going for cloth- go with the best and save yourself a mess!
I should trademark that :)
Do you cloth diaper? What are your tips for new moms?
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms making 8 snacks a day and filling up sippy cups every 20 minutes. Your work has more value than you know!
Happy Mother's Day to those of you answering the 1 am, 3 am, 5 am cries for milk. You're building an incredible start for your baby.
Happy Mother's Day to you geniuses at making a meager grocery budget stretch for 7 days. You're are stewarding well through the roughest seas.
Happy Mother's Day to you who are shuttling your children from one activity to the next. You're investing in a brighter future.
Happy Mother's Day to you mom's wearing a cloak of loneliness through the longest shortest years, remember your never alone and loved by the Creator of the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to you moms wondering if you’re in over your head. We all are. But are worries and struggles are no match for an unstoppable God.
Happy Mother's Day to you tired champions, working to provide for your children and giving it all, even when you're running on empty. Your sacrifices are more than enough.
Happy Mother's Day to you women facing greater struggles than your children can comprehend, in your weakness, there is One whose strength is more than sufficient.
Happy Mother's Day to you moms who stay up late each night, pouring your heart out in prayer for your child. Your prayers will not return void.
Happy Mother's Day to you tending to a broken heart in an endless sea of grief. May the Comforter guide you moment by moment.
Happy Mother's Day to you remember the moments when you're children were small and would slip their tiny hands into yours. Your love has built generations.
Happy Mother's Day to you who are reflecting on the passing of time. How can your child be a grandmother herself already? Your righteous influence will guide your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to seek the narrow path.
To moms young and old, near and far, have an incredible Mother's Day!
(Did I miss your the stage of life? Add your Happy Mother's Day statement in the comments!)
Back in the '90s, Jackie Mize coined the phrase 'supernatural childbirth' in her best selling book by the same title. The concept seemed unheard of until she shared of her miraculous conceptions and pain-free deliveries, which encouraged many Christians to believe for the miraculous in their pregnancies and births. Mize's book was a gateway into helping believers expect and receive more from their pregnancies and births.
I was given the book in my first pregnancy by a friend who was also expecting. She shared her faith and the miraculous birth stories her mom had and I was so intrigued. From the moment I found out I was expecting, I had been afraid of actually giving birth, but after reading supernatural childbirth and inspiring testimonies online, I started to actually look forward to my birth experience. (You can read that story here )
So why did I write Re:Birth and how is it different from Supernatural Childbirth?
God first put this book in my heart during my second pregnancy. I had been reading scripture and studying Biblical Theology at Regent University, and I started seeing some concepts in the Bible that appeared contrary to what I had read in Supernatural Childbirth. But, I had experienced an incredible birth so I wanted to search for truth. My journey and Scripture interpretation took me through the finished work of the Cross. For example, in Re:Birth, we address prophetic metaphors of women writhing in pain during birth- but in the New Testament, we witness the renewal and reversal of the same metaphor, how cool is that??
Another concept that was important to address in Re:Birth was the amount of woman who experienced a supernatural birth..."BUT..." I had read so many testimonies were filled with amazing, miraculous experiences turned to sorrow and dare I guilt as woman shared what God had done during their deliveries, and also how they somehow messed it up of 'stepped out of faith.' Those ideas frustrated me so much, because believe me, I've been there! I've felt the weight of disappointment after a birth, but it doesn't mean that God was any less present or any less capable! Birth looks and feels different, even with the same women, there are no two births that are exactly the same, but we want to CELEBRATE you amazing Mamas and the amazing God we serve!
Don't forget to send us your stories so we can encourage others!
I hope you all are having a fantastic week-
Love and Hope in Christ!
While writingBirth in Blantyre, I was able to connect with so many wonderful people and hear their stories, concerns, and victories. One mom took the time to share her three birth stories with me after learning about Re:Birth and felt that God had given her miraculously short labors. I love her birth stories because they break a "birth stereotype," where women feel like labor will be long... because it's labor!
That simply doesn't have to be the case. I've shared before about praying for a three hour labor with my first baby, and being 9 1/2 cm dilated after three hours! During my last birth, I only experienced 40 minutes of regular, peaceful, contractions!
Martha shared: On my first birth it took me about 6 hours after signs of labour. And the other 2 just within 5 minutes of going to the hospital.
"[In Malawi,] whenever we are at home we feel that we are in labour pains. We go to the maternity ward reception whereby the midwife gets our details and checks on the cervix. If they see that you are in the first level of your labour they admit you and they keep on checking you till you get to stage number 8 whereby they know that you are in the last stage of your labour. That is if you find a good midwife. Sometimes you find a midwife who is inconsiderate when she sees that you are on the early stages of your labour she can even ask you to go back home and come back when you are going to the last stage of labour.
I don't know what actually happened to me. It just happened that these two kids I feel it was by God's grace. I just felt my back sore around 7am and when I went to the toilet only to see that I am in labour. I told my husband that i was not feeling alright and he said ok as.he was getting prepared I could feel that It started to be very painful By the time he finished it was around 7:30am he took me to the hospital and while I was in the car I felt that the baby was already on its way.
I remembered the moment he stopped the car I was the first person to.get out of the car and I run to the maternity ward and get straight to bed. The midwife asked me to go.to the reception I told her that I feel the baby is on its way. She immediately got her gloves and checked me only to see that the bay was coming. And she just asked me to push then the baby was born by 8am.
And my last born daughters birth was also a very quick one. It was also in the morning around past 7 when my husband was getting ready to drop my boy at creche. I told him that I could feel a slight pain and he asked me if he could drop me to the hospital first I said no he can drop the boy to school. The moment he left I felt the pain was unbearable. I asked my sister to go to my neighbours house and ask if the neighbour can take me to the hospital. By then I was expecting my husband to come back from creche after an hour. The neighbour came and take me in his car. That time I couldn't sit upright because I could feel the baby was very close. When my husband came back he was told that we already left for the hospital. He just followed us to the hospital When we get to the hospital the hospital attendants run with the stretcher and let me lay there. The midwife asked me to sit upright when we got in the hospital i told her that I lt won't be possible since the baby is close Then she rushed to get the gloves to check only to see that the baby was really coming. She asked me to push again and immediately the baby was born. Thats how I experienced the labour. "
I love how Martha knew her births were "by Gods grace." Her words remind me of Eve's when she remarks, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." (Gen. 4:1). God is with us at every moment during labor and delivery. He already knows the next moment- so there's no reason to fear!
If you're looking for more positive birth stories of God's goodness, check out Re:Birth!
Blessings, my friends!
I first connected with Joanna May Chee when I was finishing up Re:Birth. She had shared her supernatural birth testimonies on her website, mumskidsjesus.com and she was kind enough to let me share them in Re:Birth as well!
Within our first few messages, it was clear that Joanna had an contagious love of Jesus and was passionate about encouraging women. Most recently, she's poured her love into a beautiful book called Forever Loved: Eve's Story. I was thrilled to be able to preview it before it's release.
The one word I would use to describe it is "stunning." Joanna captures readers hearts with her personal story and encountering the Father's love, and then whisks them away to Eden. I had planned to read the book over a rainy weekend, but instead I finished it in one sitting (which is a miracle in itself with three kids running about!)! As soon as I was finished, I wanted to jump back in and read it again.
Joanna creatively retells the story of Adam and Eve through the voice of Eve in a way that shares the infinite love of the Creator! I could feel God's love wash over me as I read and we ALL need more of that every single day!
I would highly recommend this book to all of our wonderful Re:Birth friends- it's a perfect encouragement for women at every stage in their journey!
This is a BIG week around here. I'm never ready for book launches, they sneak up on me while I'm still working on the nitty-gritty parts of publishing. Nonetheless, there is so much to be excited about!
Re:Birth has been out for a little bit over a year now, and I'll admit, nothing has gone as planned! The doors that I've knocked on never opened and my family found ourselves embarking on a turbulent and unplanned adventure. Re:Birth sat on my bookshelf with a mixture of hope and frustration.
Last October, I received an email from a journalist turned pastor in Malawi that had picked up our press release on christiannewswire.com, he asked for books and brochures to deliver to expecting women in Malawi. Part of our marketing plan has incorporated giving books back since day one (every three purchases provides a copy of Re:Birth to a women in need), so I was thrilled to have a new area to focus on. We sent a box of copies, and they never made it! So we went with plan B, and sent brochures with scripture and encouragement for moms-to-be in Malawi.
We loved seeing the fruit of this mission, but I still really wanted to do more to help these lovely women, I just wasn't sure how! I quickly began to realize that while the idea of supernatural births and pain-free deliveries was refreshing to these moms-to-be, they were more concerned with life or death complications during birth than pain.
This was a startling realization that we seldom face in America, but Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. I began researching and trying to understand just why this is. Edward Mikwamba began setting up interviews with doctors, teachers, nurses, and missionaries so that I could learn more about the factors impacting maternal mortality, and we compiled the information we found into Birth in Blantyre. Edward did a wonderful job providing photographs which help readers get a glimpse of life in Malawi and I'm so grateful for all of the help we've received on this project. It has blessed and encouraged me tremendously, and I'm looking forward to the launch on the 1st so that we can return the blessings to Malawi!
Every book will provide a box of latex gloves to hospitals in need.
I hope that you'll consider sharing about this book- these days, sharing really does mean caring because it helps us spread the word without paid advertising, which is crucial to this project!
Our first winter back in New England has been COLD! We’ve spent a great deal of time inside, and no one has taken it harder than my three-year-old. Every morning she wakes up and asks if we can go to the beach. When I explain it’s too cold for the beach, she asks if we can go to the playground, and I have to explain the playground is covered in snow. Then she asks if we can make cupcakes. And the answer is always, "not right now."
So today, she was taking a much needed nap and I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes as a special surprise. I pulled out a new Christmas gift from LetGoShop, silicone cupcake liners! I can’t keep the paper liners in stock so, I figured food grade silicone was a great alternative and eco-friendly.*
I made some cake batter and filled the cups 3/4 of the way, and baked them on a baking tray. I peeked in at about 20 minutes...
Clearly, I used too much batter. I felt so discouraged, I was trying to go the extra mile as a mom and the cupcake batter just wasn’t working with me!
Nevertheless, my daughter came down from her nap and was so excited that I had made cupcakes. She didn’t care if they looked as though they had been dropped a few times. Instead, she asked for a pink star cupcake with a sleepy grin. We all devoured the messy treat and my focus shifted from perfection to counting smiles.
The joy of motherhood is built upon looking for the silver lining and embracing the small victories. It’ s too easy to become wrapped up in the mess of dishes and the misbehaving toddlers. But, if I let that be my focus, I’ll miss the smiles, and the giggles, and sorting through my son's rock collections while my baby climbs on me link a jungle gym.
I have to continuously remind myself that amongst the clutter and the Pinterest fails are the victories which make childhood beautiful, and thankfully, that's what children focus on the most. They're not concerned with how organized the kitchen looks, instead, they thrive on the new experiences of banging on the pots and pans or stacking soup cans into towers.
When clean-up time comes, they're equally ready to put their little hands to work for a smile and a "thank you!" It's usually this mom who would rather do it myself than risk more impending messes, but I have to remind myself that, "love is patient." When I'm short on patience, it's really an indicator that I'm short on love. Luckily, God has an unending supply and He's always available to refuel a tired mama!
Have a wonderful week!
Re:Birth is almost one year old. We've heard and shared wonderful testimonies and I'm so thankful to be on this journey.
I have to say, I'm most thankful for what's going on in Malawi right now. Our friends Edward and Edna have been distributing brochures and sharing about Re:Birth with expecting women.
Birth is much different in Malawi than America. For starters, they have one of the highest maternal mortality rates. My heart has been to do more than just send books and brochures, but not fully understanding birth practices have made it difficult to put an action plan together.
Then, I realized I'm not the only one who doesn't understand birth in Malawi. Most of the western world is probably clueless to the struggles women face. So, I've asked our friends to start interviewing and documenting birth in Malawi from the perspective of women and birth professionals.
The results will be compiled in a book to help raise awareness and support. So far, the results have been stunning.
Please consider sharing about this project and purchasing the final book. 100% or the proceeds will go back to Malawi.
Is a wife, mother of three, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps and phish food ice cream.