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Caleb Gabriel

THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH
At my baby shower I spoke about my son’s name, Caleb, and how his name will forever be a reminder to me, and to him, to remain wholly devoted to God whether we are entering a promised land or a wilderness. Either way it takes courage to follow God, to fear Him versus fearing our situation. These are things that God used infertility to teach me and the Biblical heritage attached to my son’s name is a reminder of these important lessons. That leaves Gabriel, which means The Lord is my Strength – how beautifully and how powerfully this name has become intertwined into my son’s legacy. During labor I talked about my son Caleb Gabriel and was able to focus on God to be my strength, speaking my son’s name and its meaning over me as the power of the contraction would take over my body. However no one had any idea what was to come at delivery – how this name that my husband chose for our son really in a sense was prophetic because it was the strength of God that saved my baby. It was God, who after my son did not breathe at birth, when the oxygen mask failed, a failed intubation attempt, it was God who finally used an ER doctor who was rushed into Labor and Delivery to successfully get my son to respond during a second attempt at intubation. During this entire process I did not stop calling on the name of God, crying out loud to Him to save my son, declaring that He is good and He is the authority over my son’s life, crying out that every chain was broken in the name of Jesus and crying out to my baby to hang on, mommy was there. It was shocking watching tube after tube being inserted into my baby and tons of people swarming in and around him as my own OBGYN continued to work on me to deliver the placenta and to stitch me up. Time stood still for me, I noticed nothing but my son on the “baby spa” and focused on God saving my baby until finally about 45 minutes later my baby was placed safely in my arms.

PROVIDENCE
Just a few hours before breaking my waters on my due date to send me into labor God placed some verses strongly on my heart. I wrote this to a friend who was praying with me in preparation for labor:

“I was just praying my list of verses and two of them in particular feel like they are extra important for me to be praying:

‘For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.’
Isaiah 49:25, NKJV

‘ The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’
2 Tim. 4:18
Out of the two Isaiah 49:25 was most heavily impressed upon my heart. I did not realize how literally this promise would be fulfilled within the next 24 hours…nor did I realize how God had providentially provided to save my baby from low oxygen levels once we got home from the hospital.
Just a few days before God brought my baby into the world I got an Owlet oxygen and heart monitor in the mail that I won on CyberMonday through an Instagram contest sponsored by TempTraq… After 3 consecutive red alarms and low oxygen lasting 15-20 minutes as my son soundly slept early Sunday morning, 8 days after my baby was born we found ourselves in the ER and then the Pediatric ICU with oxygen desaturation episodes. If it hadn’t been for that monitor at home that God provided me with through a contest who knows? Now, with a medical-grade pulse-oximeter it is so wonderful to see great oxygen levels as my baby sleeps in his bassinet.
The Lord is my baby’s strength. When the tubes from delivery put my baby and I behind with feedings due to his sore throat and a resulting poor suck reflex – the Lord was our strength. We overcame, we met a 24 hour deadline for weight gain and no more meconium. My son is brave, he is courageous, God is his strength – these are his foundations: grounded, founded in the Lord. Where does my baby’s help come from? His help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth.

HOODWINKED

So where does that leave things, how am I handling all this? To be honest the question “why” has been on my lips before God. It is ok to ask God why, as long as we are willing to wait for His correction, correcting our perspective to align with his. Often we don’t get an explicit, “x,y,z” answer, but instead the strength to simply trust in Him as our Sovereign Lord and our Good Good Father. I don’t know why we were in the hospital more than home the first 2 weeks of my son’s life, or why he had to get an IV and a lumbar puncture, why he didn’t breathe right away when he was born or why he has to be on caffeine, but what I do know is that God saved my son’s life, God knew there was an oxygen problem and provided, God has blessed me with a reward, a gift, a heritage, a son precious beyond words. My son is actually a very healthy little boy. The hospital ran the gamut of tests on him, ultrasounds, x-rays, he is brave and strong. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Something his pediatrician told me this week has really struck me. He said he wanted to reassure me and give me some good news so he ordered a test that he really didn’t have to that I was worried about. He said this should be a really good time in my life, celebrating the birth of my baby boy. When he said that it struck me, all of these events and tests had really put me in a place of concern to the point that I was spending a lot of my time researching every possible thing about it all to the point that I was worrying about things I didn’t have to worry about. It is natural of course given the circumstances that I would find myself researching things and looking for symptoms – but the bad thing is I was letting it rob me of bliss – of simply enjoying these precious weeks where my baby is so tiny and brand new. I wasn’t resting in the Lord or in His joy, I was being robbed of this. I felt hoodwinked by it all – God has answered my prayers. He has given me a precious son, He has saved His life. God’s got this. I can trust Him with my baby just like I trusted Him with my barren womb. Now it is time for me to enjoy my blessing. Now it is time for me to enjoy my son. We are hidden together in Christ, in The Rock of Ages-The Rock Eternal.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 16:3-4

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES 
There are two songs that now are strongly linked in my memory to the birth and delivery of my son and interestingly enough they both have to do with names. Just as my son’s first and middle name have become very significant testimonies, there is another name that stands above it all – God’s name. I have an entire playlist that played on repeat during my labor – but there is one song that sticks out to me starkly – it brings me back to those moments of thanking God for the contraction, accepting the contraction, and relying on God’s strength to get me through. Interestingly I only had a vague knowledge of the song when I added it – really only it’s name and the images of Time Square – not the song itself, but the sound of it fit the mood I was going for. Now, however, it is part of my story, part of my son’s story. There is truly No Other Name. The second song I sang as a prayer out loud as I begged God for my son’s life at his birth, There is Power in the Name of JESUS to Break EVERY Chain! Amen.

God Knew

When my husband and I started to try to have a baby in 2010 God knew that it wouldn’t be until 2016 that we finally would conceive our son Caleb.

When I was in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would struggle with infertility issues when I grew up, but that didn’t stop Him from planting the desire to be a mother deep in my heart from a young age. That didn’t stop Him from placing me in a family where I was the oldest of six, surrounded by babies and younger children–I’m so thankful for those years that I feel prepared my heart for loving and valuing children – whether they “are mine” or not! All children belong to God first and foremost as their Creator*. He gets to see their first smile in the womb, their first grimace, their very first movement, their “firsts” belong to Him. God gets the first fruits of our life in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Even today with the advancements of ultrasound technology we come no where close to the 24/7 intimacy God has with our precious little ones as He tenderly and lovingly knits them–as He knitted us –together.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God is on time. God is perfect.

In January of 2013 I created a business card for a dear friend of mine as a class project for school. I needed to created one and she had a business that needed one. She created cute, lettered cloth blocks by hand. I borrowed one to help me with my project and I ended up never giving it back to her before she moved out of state. Flash forward to 2016, God has blessed my womb with life and another blessing of a friend graciously and kindly offers to take some photos of me to help document this miraculous time in my life. That morning before we met up for breakfast and photos she wanted to know if I had any wooden blocks with letters on them to help with the photos, I had none but thought maybe we could go by Walmart and grab some after breakfast. Anyway I remembered though that I had a cloth block in one of my office drawers somewhere…I just couldn’t remember the letter on it! I hoped it would still be in the drawer that I thought I’d last put it in, it was — way in the back.

Lo and behold the letter on the block was the letter “C”. In the bold color red, just like the shirt I had chosen to wear that morning for photos.

Before the beginning of time God knew me. He knew all of my paths that I’d take and every moment of my life. He knew that my husband and I would come very close to choosing to stop trying to have biological kids before He would open my womb. God knew that we would have a son and that we would choose to name Him Caleb. In 2013 He knew this and the cloth block my friend gave me to help me with my project had the letter “C” on it. How fun it must be for God, like a big surprise, 3 1/2 years earlier and He is the only one that knew as she handed me a block of cloth, both of us clueless how meaningful it would become. How amazing and how loving is our Father in Heaven truly is!

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Picture by Magdalena Ferrandino

 ” I could ask the darkness to hide me
  and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”  – Psalm 139:11-16

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – God speaking to Jeremiah (the prophet) 1:5

* Whether we accept the price God paid to adopt us as His child and become our Spiritual Father is different than God being our Creator. See John chapter 8 and Romans chapter 8.