Faith’s Story Part 1


                                                     Here I am 28 weeks gestation on my 35th birthday

Three days ago I celebrated my 36th birthday. It was a blessing and I was left with a heart of gratitude as I thought about this time last year. On April 29th, 2013 (the day after my 35th birthday) our world was turned upside down. I was 28 weeks pregnant with our 6th child. The pregnancy up to that point had been quite eventful.

I had a preliminary screening done for possible abnormalities when I was in my second trimester. The results of the screening indicated that the baby was at high risk for spina bifida and down syndrome. I had a follow up appointment with a level 2 ultrasound. While the ultrasound ruled out spina bifida there were still great concerns that the baby had some sort of chromosomal abnormality. There were three findings that were of concern to the doctor.

1. My placenta looked unhealthy, it was very thick. This was of concern because the baby’s growth could be hindered and it presented a greater possibility of having a premature or stillborn baby. From that point on they began to closely monitor the baby’s growth which meant more visits to the doctor.

2. The umbilical cord contained only two blood vessels, instead of the normal three. I learned that babies with single umbilical artery have an increased risk for birth defects, including heart, central nervous system and urinary-tract defects and chromosomal abnormalities.

3. The baby’s heart was in the middle of her chest as opposed to the left. The doctor was also concerned that there were holes in the baby’s heart. So in addition to my frequent trips to monitor the baby’s growth, I also had to see a pediatric cardiologist.

When I left the doctors office after hearing the news, I went to the bathroom and cried…sobbed. I felt that I had already met my quota for suffering while going through with Isaiah (baby #5). Wasn’t having your newborn baby stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and undergoing three major surgeries enough?  I cannot go through this again was my response to God. It was too painful. He allowed me to cry and vent and then he gently asked me if I truly believed he was in control. In that moment by his grace, I made the choice to trust God and receive the peace He was offering. Tyrone and I chose to stand in faith and had others praying with us for total healing of our baby girl. Walking by faith was a choice I had to make everyday.

On April 29th, 2013 at 28 weeks gestation, I was in for yet another surprise. Click here for part two of Faith’s story.

I WANT TO MAKE THAT MAN LOVE ME!

 

I want to do marriage the good old fashioned outdated bible way. I want to be my husbands biggest cheerleader. I want him to be happy to come home because he knows a warm home cooked meal is waiting for him(well most days at least). I want him to know that I respect and love him. I choose to magnify his strengths and pray like crazy concerning his weaknesses. I want him to share his heart with me without hesitation or fear that I may judge him. I want my actions to make him fall in love with me over and over again. I want him to still be happy that he chose me to be his bride even after 13 years of marriage. Now while the feminist may scoff at this and render me as a weak and needy woman, the bible says the opposite! And oh, for the record I am so weak and needy, and admitting this has been so liberating and brought a greater level of intimacy between me and God and my husband (2 Corinthians 12:9). Nevertheless I digress, back to the topic at hand. Have you ever read the bible and the words just leap off the page and you can hardly contain yourself because you finally get it? I recently read Proverbs 31. Yeah that same passage that challenges us women in so many ways. It’s amazing because often times when this passage is discussed, the focus is on all this woman DOES as opposed to who SHE IS! I find it interesting that the passage doesn’t open up with all her deeds, instead, it first highlights how her husband feels about her. “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. HER HUSBAND CAN TRUST HER, AND SHE WILL GREATLY ENRICH HIS LIFE. “Proverbs 31:10-12.

 

the couple 2013

I must admit that I have not always proven myself to be trustworthy to my husband. No I have
never ran off with another man but I I have done a lot of running with my mouth. I have never had issues with telling him what I thought he was doing wrong, what was wrong with him and what he needed to do better. When I was done I would expect him to trust me with his thoughts. In short I was a being a nag! I felt very justified in my nagging. I must praise God for his grace because He has brought me from a very loooooooooooong way. Let all the “expressive” ladies say amen! I have already confessed in a previous post that I love to talk but I am learning the delicate art of knowing when to speak and when to be silent. I don’t have to stop talking, I just take my chatting party to God in prayer. I must confess that sometimes as he is speaking, everything in me is screaming, “I CANT BELIEVE YOU SEE IT THIS WAY or HOW CAN YOU THINK LIKE THAT!” However, as I am learning to hold my peace and not always play therapist in our discussions, my husband is sharing more of his unedited thoughts with me. And you know what, I find that when I listen, REALLY LISTEN he is more willing to solicit my advice and comments and a greater level of trust is developed. And it sure is easy to love somebody you trust, dont you think?

Pay Attention…God is Answering!

My church  is doing a 40 day prayer challenge and I have been keeping a prayer journal. In it, I record prayer requests, answers to prayers, and any insights the Lord gives me during my prayer and bible study time. When writing in my journal, I don’t focus on proper grammar and format. As I put ink to paper my unedited thoughts flow. I am writing for an audience of two, me and God. This approach allows me to write without any inhibitions…very liberating experience. Its amazing because as I write, thoughts and feelings come to the surface that I didn’t realize was there. There is something about being deliberate with recording prayer request and the answers that come. It makes me more aware of how God is responding. So often I pray, God answers, and for various reasons, I miss it. Sometimes it’s because I was not praying in faith and I didn’t expect God to move. Or I pray and God answers but not in the way I wanted and expected him to. My prayer journal helps me to be more sensitive, more alert to the ways God is moving. Everyday I have something praiseworthy to record. EVERYDAY! It’s amazing. And as I go back and read the answers to prayers, it builds my faith and encourages me to keep on praying. He is listening. To me. I have an audience with the creator of heaven and earth. Now, how awesome is that?!

Me

Anika Jones

I am a very expressive person. I love people. I love to talk. I love to share the new things I am learning and when I share I love to share with a childlike enthusiasm that may annoy some. I love to get to the “feelings” part of every story. I share my feelings and when I am done, I want to hear your feelings as well… and when we are done sharing, I love to have a , ” so what does this all mean and how does this all connect party.” No kidding its true, ask my non-talkative husband. Along the way, I tried being someone else. I tried to contain what God had given me to share. I tried being more ” mature” in the way I expressed myself. Who God had made me to be was getting lost along with the gifts that came with my personality. I got discouraged and even doubted God using me on a grander scale, I was slowly shutting down. The noise in my ear sounded something like this, ” yes you blog but you dont write as well as the other bloggers out there. Yes you have ideas that you think are creative but others will see them as being juvenile, and whatever it is you are saying has been said by others but even better. ” Insecurities, doubts, and past hurts can be big bullies if you entertain them.

I just got off the phone with a really good friend (we all need one)and she encouraged me from such a sincere heart. I hung up the phone feeling refreshed and ready to unleash what I know the Lord has put in me without reservations. Help me Lord to not be hung up on feedback from others, help me to be faithful to dispense what you have put it me. Help me to use every gift you have put in me for your glory, and not for the approval of man! And let the church say AMEN!!!!

Avoiding God

 

Ever been there, disappointed so then you come up with the clever idea to avoid God?
I found myself being really busy. Being busy is not a difficult thing for me, because there is always something to do. However I must recognize that just because there is always something to do doesn’t mean I have to get it done right away or that I always have to be the person for the job. I have mastered the act of conveniently making myself busy when I just don’t want to deal with the issue at hand. Sometimes the issue is just too painful and requires too much self inspection so I avoid Him. This is not to say I don’t pray or acknowledge God but my prayers remain at the surface. I choose not to quiet my spirit long enough to not only tell God all, but to be still to also hear His response. I pour out my heart and “run” before God can address me. It is easy to justify thoughts and feelings when these thoughts are not being challenged. But to grow, I must be challenged. So here I am this morning God, not only to cast my burdens on you, but I am also choosing to be still to hear your response. Your response that brings loving correction. Your response that is more interested in fixing me over the issue at hand. Your response that brings the the right perspective and peace. Truth is, when I avoid God’s response, I miss out on great blessings.

Receiving the Grace of God

 

I can admit that I still struggle. Struggle to accept the grace of God. I have such a works mentality. Yesterday I missed my quiet time with the Lord. This was not intentional but baby number 6 got up earlier than usual and required my attention. I am almost ashamed to admit it but I was beating myself up for missing this time. I felt that somehow God was not gonna move on my behalf because I didn’t put in the “work” that morning. Therein lies the problem, there is too much of an emphasis on me doing as opposed to resting and receiving what Christ has already done. Gods grace is not to be abused or taken for granted, nor is it to be rejected…such a delicate balance. Yes we should strive to have daily communion with God, it is a great benefit to us and it pleases the Father. But we must not reject the grace of God when unpredictable moments happen; trust that the Lord sees and will honor the desire that we have to be in His presence.