My daughter lives more than one thousand miles from me. She’s in the northeast, we’re in the southwest. Just a few hours before I boarded the plane to fly back home from the D. R., my daughter phoned to let me know her water broke (2 weeks early!), and she was headed to the hospital to deliver. Our newest little one arrived before I landed in the States.
In less than 12 hours after my husband picked me up at the airport, I unpacked, did some quick loads of laundry, repacked for more frigid temps, had a quick four hour nap in the middle of the night, and my husband and I were on the road making the long trip to Pennsylvania.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was completely wiped when we arrived at the hospital. But it is worth it to drive more than a thousand miles to be with family. There is no joy quite like holding a new gift from God. And this newest blessing is special; our little granddaughter is beautiful but quite needy. She’s struggled with catching on to nursing, and she’s a tiny little “sweet pea.” She’s had a challenging start.
We brought her home on Tuesday and 24 hours later my daughter called me to her bedroom in tears and let me know she’d just heard from the pediatrician. The doctor told my daughter that we needed to bring the baby back to the hospital after the nurse made an “in-home” visit and gave the medical report that our little one seemed to be failing to thrive.
Stepping into that kind of unknown is always scary, but I’m so thankful for the many times I’ve seen God be faithful, even when things aren’t going as I think they should, His providential care is kind and good. God’s good providence can be trusted in the unexpected.
On Wednesday, our little “sweet pea” was admitted to the hospital. I was scheduled to leave the next morning to travel to Michigan in preparation for a women’s event where I was the only speaker. The event started on Friday. As I sat in the hospital, I began placing calls because I wasn’t sure I would be able to make the event. I’ve never been faced with cancelling a speaking engagement before, but I knew my first priority at this point was my daughter and her three little ones. I’m thankful she has a devoted husband, who has been so helpful, but in my own experience, a girl needs her momma, too, at a time like this.
I’m thankful that God directed throughout the course of the next 24 hours in most unexpected ways. The baby made a dramatic turn around. She was back home by Thursday evening and was starting to eat well. She saw the pediatrician early Friday morning and he gave an encouraging report and her lab results showed improvement. My precious daughter insisted that I keep my commitment to speak at the women’s retreat in Michigan, and although my heart was torn at the thought of leaving her for the weekend, we packed up and headed out for the seven hour trip.
We arrived at the conference center half an hour before the event began. I have never been so physically depleted, sleep deprived, or ill prepared to speak. And I was scheduled to speak four times at this event. Faith doesn’t walk by sight. From my perspective, there was no way I would be able to even stand for that many hours, much less deliver messages that would be coherent or effective.
But God so faithfully reminded me of His calling. On the drive there, He asked me to trust Him on this, and clearly assured me that He was with me. I needed that word more than ever.
My prayer throughout the weekend, and the promise I clung to was this:
[box]And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9–10)[/box]
From the moment I stood to share in the first session, it was evident that God was graciously answering prayer and meeting with us. He desires to be glorified, and it never ceases to amaze me how He delights in taking the feeble and displaying His power through weakness.
I love living in God’s providence. I had a plan, but His is always better. I originally planned to arrive home from my trip to the Dominican, with several days to rest and recoup before the women’s retreat. I had planned to travel to my daughter’s home and spend a few days with her helping her prepare for the arrival of this little one, and then we’d have a relatively uneventful birth. But God had other plans. I would’ve never planned to speak in such an exhausted state, but I also would never have experienced that level of dependence on Him if He had let us go the “leisure route.”
My daughter also has had the opportunity to walk by faith through this event. Her other babies have been very healthy and they thrived from the start. She’s never had one admitted to the hospital (after birth). In both of our lives, this has been an opportunity to walk by faith, not by sight. And I’m so thankful that God is the One leading us along the way. He has proven Himself a trustworthy guide.
I fell in love with the women I met at the retreat. I leave praying for April as she mothers her little ones, Melody as she seeks God’s wisdom with a very difficult family situation, I’m asking God to meet with Andrea in fresh and meaningful ways as she responds to what He showed her this weekend. I’m thankful for women like both of the Karens I met, who are being used by God to disciple women, for Peggy, who serves this body of women so well and trusted God with the question of whether I could even make it to the event. I was deeply touched by Marge, a faithful pastor’s wife, now in her seventies, who shared a powerful testimony and gave me the sweetest words of encouragement as a speaker that I’ve ever received. As I watched the women respond to God at work this weekend, I stood amazed. Woman after woman confessed deep hurts and shared painful stories, and God met them there in their pain. He did what He promised He would do. He displayed His power through my weakness.
Will you join me in asking God to continue that working in these women’s lives?
Will you pray for our new little one?
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