Motherhood

What Kind of Child Will This Be?

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And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with them. (Luke 1:66)

We are familiar with the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was to give birth in her later years. When the angel Gabriel told Zacharias this, he was quite doubtful due to his and his wife’s advanced age. Because of his doubt, he was struck mute. We also know that when Mary, pregnant with the Christ child, went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby jumped within her womb at hearing Mary’s voice. This unborn child was already so special…already so in tune with the other unborn baby who would became King of Kings. After his birth, at his circumcision, there was much fuss about what name this new child should have. But Zacharias, being obedient to what the angel had spoken, announced that his name would be John. His voice was immediately returned to him after this proclamation, which made all those around him stand in awe. What kind of child will this be? That was the question on all their minds that day so long ago.

We are no different. Our baby is born, we look at him (or her) in amazement and pure love, and we wonder…what kind of child will this be? Will my child be like me, or his father? Will he have my eyes? Will she have my smile? Will he love sports or will she love to dance? Will he grow up to be an astronaut or will she grow up to be President? So many questions, so many things to ponder.

The truth is…God already knows what His will for our child’s life is. He knows everything about that child, down to the number of hairs on her head. He has great plans to prosper him and to give her a hope and a future. His plans for our child are far greater than anything we could ever imagine. Opportunities are limitless when they are guided by our God.

Perhaps we should stare down at our newborn and wonder not what type of job they will have or what hobbies they will enjoy. Perhaps we should set our focus on this:

What kind of child will this be? Will he love Jesus with his whole heart? Will she be obedient to God’s word? Will he impact this world for the gospel in ways big or small? Will she be a light that shines love, grace, and compassion to those around her? Am I ready and equipped to guide this child to the cross? Am I ready to hand this precious baby over to God and let Him be the ruler of her life?

Only God knows exactly what kind of child this will be. He knows that our mama hearts want only the best for our children, no matter what age they are. When we trust in Him, when we pray daily and lift our children to Him, He takes those children and those prayers and He does His marvelous works. And as we nurture them in the things of God, and as we watch them grow and mature, we see just what kind of child (and adult) they are. Then, just like Zacharias , we lift our voices in praise.

Motherhood

Childlike Faith

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By:  Betty Predmore

She is 8 years old and she just danced out of the house, excited for her new adventure at gymnastics camp. Her childlike exuberance and confident expectations are refreshing to my heart. Oh to be a child again!

Jesus put such great value and importance in children when He said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for such belongs to the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a small child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:13-15)

Children have this ability to look at things with hope and promise. They anticipate goodness and have trusting hearts. That is exactly how we are expected to look at our Lord…with hope and promise, anticipating all the goodness He has for us and trusting our entire lives to Him. We are to have childlike faith.

Do you have CHILDLIKE faith today? Are you looking towards the goodness of God and trusting that He has you in his mighty arms? Or are you being CHILDISH…expecting what you want, not what He wants, and having a little fit when you don’t get your way?

If we are honest, we will admit that most of us have a bit of both. We have those moments when we fully trust in our God and His purpose for our lives. Then we also have those times where we just want to scream, and kick, and get our own way. Praise God that He knows us so very well, and is so forgiving of our childishness.

Let’s approach this day with childlike faith. Let’s trust in the One who made us. Let’s bounce out the door this morning with the same attitude as my 8-year-old. Let’s make it a good, good day!

Motherhood

Bend, Don’t Break

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By: Betty Predmore

Motherhood is an incredible journey. There are so many emotions we experience as mothers, so many opportunities to grow. From the moment they are born, our children hold a precious place in our hearts. We want only the best for them, and we do all we can to make life wonderful for our little darlings.

Motherhood brings so many happy moments, filled with love, laughter, secret whispers, and butterfly kisses. It brings special bonds that nothing in life can break apart, and a sense of unity and security. I wish our minds had the capacity to clearly remember every moment of laughter and joy that comes from being a mother. I wish I could conjure up in a moment every time I felt that sense of fulfillment that my children bring me. But the moments are too many to corral into a thought or a memory. They are as numerous as the stars, and I consider myself to be a very lucky mama.

Amongst all that joy and laughter has also been some pain. No matter how hard we try, our children are left to experience the tough stuff. Childhood illness, death, bullying, mental illness, fear, abandonment, broken homes… and the list continues. If only we could protect their hearts from all pain! But the reality is that life is life, and part of life is struggle and hardship. If we are honest, we know that we tend to grow, change, and learn the most through our moments of trial. It is through those hard times we realize that God really does walk with us, never leaving our side. Of course, we want our children to have that realization, that sense of security.

As mothers, our prayer should be that through it all, the rain, the sunshine, and the cloudy days, that we have grounded our children in their faith and gave them a knowledge of someone who is far greater than any of us, and who is far more capable of easing their hurts and troubles. Have you pointed your child to Jesus? Have you hit your knees time and time again on their behalf?

Life is sometimes difficult. Motherhood is often challenging. Many times we experience pain and concern for our children, and sometimes a fear that is almost crippling. As strong women of God, as mothers of His precious children, we will not let those moments define us. When the tough times come, we do not break….we bend. We bend our knees, we call on our Father, and we intercede for our sweet precious babies. Oh, what a mighty power we have because of Jesus! Oh, what a glorious difference we can make in the lives of our children! Oh, what a precious gift it is to be a mama!

 

 

Motherhood

Broken Sandals

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By:  Betty Predmore

I bought my daughter a new pair of sandals last week. Her feet are growing so fast, I can’t keep up with her. She was pretty glad to have those cute new sandals and has been wearing them almost every day.

My husband got a call from school yesterday that she needed a pair of shoes. Apparently, she has broken one of her new sandals while playing tether ball on the playground. Just like that…in an instant….her pretty new sandals were broken.

Isn’t that the way life is? We can be walking along our journey, enjoying life for the most part, when suddenly our strap breaks. Something happens and in an instant, we are broken. We question why. We mourn. We wonder if we could have done something different. Sometimes, what is broken can be mended. Other times, what is broken can never be repaired.

The key is to not lose hope in the times of brokenness. That sandal may get tossed into the garbage, but our lives, our hopes and dreams, do not have to be. We have a God, a marvelous and glorious God, who walks alongside us in our times of despair. He takes our broken pieces and puts them back together. He calms the storms in our hearts, and parts the clouds in our minds.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

My husband delivered new shoes to my daughter. He fixed her problem like a good father does. God will be there to see you through, like a good Father does. When those moments come, in that instant of brokenness, cling to God. He will never leave you.

Motherhood

Walking By Faith

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BY: Betty Predmore

There are some moments in life that are just so sweet they bring you to tears. I had the joy of experiencing one such moment about a week ago with my eldest daughter.

There we were again….another appointment with the eye specialist. My poor daughter’s vision had diminished so much at this point, that she was lucky to read the top letter in the eye chart. (That is 20/400 vision for those that might not know.). But this visit held hope. A contact in the eye was supposed to restore some of the lost vision brought on by Grave’s Disease which resulted in keratoconus. So there we were, getting fitted for the contact which would go in the right eye, and getting the cornea transplant scheduled for the left eye.

The doctors did many tests that day. Then a specialist came in, put some drops in my girl’s eye, and inserted a contact. Another check of the eye chart and she got all the way to 20/50‼! She asked my daughter to wait in the waiting area for about 15 minutes to let the contact settle in. I followed her to the waiting area and sat down beside her. I saw her dabbing at her eyes, even the one that hasn’t been touched. Concerned, I asked her if her other eye was irritated. She turned towards me and I saw the tears streaming down her cheeks. “No, mom,” she answered, “I’m just crying because I can see your face.”

My heart broke for this sweet child who has been missing so much. My heart rejoiced that she could actually make out my face. And my hope soared that finally, FINALLY, this beloved daughter of mine would have her vision restored. I held her in a warm embrace as her tears flowed and I thanked God for walking alongside my daughter throughout this ordeal. Just like we are promised, He never leaves us. He walks through our fires with us, sometimes ahead of us, forging our trail, and sometimes beside us, carrying us when we cannot stand.

I have spent many hours in hospitals and doctors offices over the past couple of years. There are times I have felt exasperated, frustrated, and downright mad. But none of that compares to the simple, pure, and beautiful joy of those precious moments that are gifts from our Father. Those struggles don’t hold a candle to the happy tears of a child….tears of hope, tears of excitement, tears of wonder.

Thank you God that you are ALWAYS there. Thank you that you choose the unexpected moments to bless our socks off. Thank you that You provide healing, even when we feel hopeless. Thank you for loving my daughter even more than I do. And thank you for giving her faith, even when she could not see.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Motherhood

Getting Her “Normal” Back

 

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By:  Betty Predmore

I sit here in this cold hospital room after a somewhat sleepless night, grateful that yesterday is behind me. My oldest daughter had surgery yesterday, the second in a series that will hopefully return her life back to “normal”. I am so weary of watching her suffer through the effects of Grave’s Disease….the changes in blood pressure and pulse rate, the rapid weight loss, the hair loss, the tremors, the eyes bulging from their sockets with a pressure so great it created a cornea problem and has minimized her eyesight significantly. I am tired of being a spectator on the sidelines in her game of life, not being able to help her move forward with all she envisioned for her future.

Five months ago, I sat in this same hospital with her as they removed her thyroid. This elimated most of those problems, but the eyesight remained an huge issue. I have sat by the last few months, watching as her sight has diminished to almost nothing. I have watched as she struggled to continue working, lost her ability to drive, and became reliant upon others for transportation. I have also been aware of how this has impacted her emotionally. So yesterday she had surgery. This procedure was meant to restore her bulging eyes back into the sockets correctly. She is bruised and swollen, and quite frightful looking at the moment, but the surgeon assures me all went well. So I sit here as she suffers through this pain, struggling to even open her eyes with such swollen and bruised eyelids. I know that the next several days are going to be beastly. But through it all, she is kind and polite to her caretakers, despite her pain.

This sets us up for the BIG ONE. The surgery (cornea transplant) that we hope will correct her vision. We are hopeful that this will take place in the next few months, after she heals from this surgery. This one will give her her “normal” back. This one will allow my little journalist to go off to the big world and fulfill her dreams. This is the one all our hopes are hanging on.

As I sit here, I am thanking my God for protecting her, for bringing her this far, and for being on this journey with me…every step of the way. I am thankful in my mama heart for the assuredness I have that He goes before us, preparing each of my daughter’s sweet steps before they are taken. I am so filled with gratitude that even though I know she is struggling, she is here. I feel like this is so hard, but I know it is nothing compared to the mamas in this world who have lost a child, who would give anything to be in my place right now. This morning I give thanks! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Today I remember and reflect in James 1:17… “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,”. My sweet girl is my good gift from above. Thank you, Father, that you give so generously!

Motherhood

I Couldn’t Fathom

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By:  Sherry Clair
(Continued from: I Didn’t Want Him)

We shared the news with family and began moving forward; however my anger at God had not dissipated and I reminded Him often. Just over six month pregnant, I was taking a moment to mentally glare and grumble at God. I was suddenly so overwhelmed with such a fierce love, a severe longing and desire to have my baby that it brought me to my knees, sobbing. I wasn’t frightened by his movement anymore; I was terrified of never feeling it again. I wasn’t overwhelmed at the possibility of difficulties in the future but overcome with the absolute want and need to have a future with this baby. For Abi to hold her brother, for josh to meet his son, to hold him in his arms and tuck my nose into his neck and breathe in the scent that would be so uniquely Gabe. I WANTED my baby. I knelt begging for forgiveness and praying for my son. I was no longer angry, but I still wanted to understand why? The answer that I FELT was clear, Lazarus. I found a bible and began to read.

Lazarus and his two sisters; Mary and Martha were beloved friends of Jesus and he often stayed with the family when his travels brought him through Bethany. Martha often served as hostess and Mary spent time listening and learning from Jesus. Mary even acted with extravagant abandon and devotion, when she used perfume, costing a year’s worth of wages, to wash Jesus’ feet, unknowingly anointing and preparing him for his upcoming burial.

In John chapter 11 we discover that Lazarus has fallen ill, his condition is so concerning that the sisters send word, imploring Jesus to return and heal their brother. Despite the fact that Jesus loved the family very much, he remained where he was for two additional days stating in verse 4 that “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death, no, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this”.

When Jesus decided the time was right for him to return to Bethany, the disciples attempted to dissuade him, expressing their concern over the risk that he was taking traveling through the area where so many were scheming for his destruction. Jesus was unmoved and shared with them in verse 11 “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up” seeing the disciples confusion he continued “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes I am glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come let’s go see him.” When Jesus arrived in Bethany he was told that Lazarus had been in the grave for four days; by all appearances he was too late.

I stopped and reread; Jesus loved this family, but didn’t go to them, he let Lazarus die. I didn’t understand, Jesus had SAID that his sickness wouldn’t end in death. I could understand why leaving the work God had given him might not have been possible, but I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have healed Lazarus anyway. In Matthew chapter 8 a centurion came to Jesus requesting he heal his servant, who was in bed at home. He knew that Jesus had the authority to just speak and it would be done. If Jesus did it for the centurion’s servant why didn’t He do it for Lazarus?

I kept reading; understandably Mary and Martha were devastated. Not only had they lost their brother, but I imagine that they may have felt a loss of hope. If they believed that their brother would not perish due to the awesome authority of Jesus, it must have come as an even bigger shock when he did succumb to his illness. Mary, Martha, their family and the community were grieving the loss of their loved one when Jesus arrived. Martha and Mary, each in turn, went to him saying “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died”. To them, the chance for a miracle had passed away when their brother breathed his last breath. It must have been so difficult for them to understand, why a man who had performed countless miracles and had the authority to make the lame walk, give sight to the blind and a voice to the mute, let someone he loved perish.

Jesus knew Mary and Martha’s hearts; he knew that they believed the time had passed to heal Lazarus. Mary, Martha and the entire community stood wailing and grieving over the loss of their loved one. As Jesus stood witnessing this overwhelming grief, he was deeply moved and became very troubled in his spirit. John 11:33 describes his feelings as “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled”. I couldn’t understand why Jesus could be angry with Mary and Martha, he was the one who let Lazarus die. I am sure that he felt some frustration over the disbelief that he was witnessing in Mary and Martha, but maybe His feelings weren’t directed only towards those that were present. I believe that it was toward death itself; the pain and sorrow that had to be caused to ultimately bring glory to God.

Jesus was so troubled within his spirit over the situation that Verse 35 says that He wept. Jesus wasn’t weeping over the death of Lazarus, he KNEW that Lazarus had to die and be raised from the dead. He was weeping with and for those that he loved. Understanding the way Jesus felt standing outside Lazarus’s tomb, I was able to understand the grief that He must have felt when we received Gabe’s diagnosis; the sorrow that he had to have had over my devastation and anger when my prayer hadn’t been answered. How wrong I had been that day when I turned my eyes towards Heaven imagining a heartless and detached God, His heart had to be aching as much or more than mine at my sorrow and despair. It didn’t bring God any joy to not send the answer we were expecting.

Verse 39 finds Jesus going to the tomb and demanding that the stone be rolled away. His request met resistance from a concerned Martha, who still didn’t understand what was about to occur. She responded “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible”. Jesus must have been further troubled knowing Martha was almost unknowingly refusing a miracle because she was concerned about the smell. Jesus could only respond to Martha by saying “didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed”. In verse 41 Jesus turned his face towards heaven and said “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Verse 43 then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out”.

Lazarus was dead; his heart had stopped pumping blood to his organs causing them to shut down and stop working all together, the blood pooled in his body becoming thick and stagnant. He was not breathing; no oxygen was being shuttled to and from the lungs. Lazarus had been taken and prepared according to Jewish customs. His body cold and firm, wrapped from head to toe in burial cloth, laid inside a cave, covered with a large rock and left to decay for four days. Jesus called out to him, called him to draw breath and life back into body, for his heart to beat again; Lazarus stood and exited the tomb.

I don’t know why Gabe has Down syndrome; I don’t know why God chose this path for my family. I don’t know why bad things happen or why sometimes God doesn’t heed our call for help or rapidly answer our prayers. But I do that know Lazarus died. Jesus didn’t heal him from his illness; he grieved with and for those he loved. I also know that Jesus made an opportunity by not healing Lazarus; He had an opportunity to bring Glory to God.

Gabe is perfect; he is smart, strong and so sweet. He is joyous, inquisitive and gentle. He was born without complication and has had none of the medical issues and conditions that are so common for individuals with Down syndrome. He is growing and meeting his milestones. God didn’t miss an opportunity, he made one. When I look at Gabe I am reminded of Lazarus, I am reminded each day that of the opportunity that God has given us; one that has strengthened our faith, taught us unconditional love, and has brought Him Glory.

…I don’t know what your thoughts are, that’s a blessing and a curse. Maybe you’re in a similar situation, maybe you’re facing a prenatal or birth diagnosis of Down syndrome, or any situation that you just can’t seem to understand. You may not be the only one thinking the things your thinking, no matter how bad they may sound in your head. You know my thoughts now, and I hope you know that you’re not alone…