Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I’ve posted recently (either here or on the Olive Branch?) talking about our charge to “tell the wonderful things God has done.” Well, have I got a story for you!

Through the wonder of the internet, God has connected me with a soul-sister in Minnesota, a 3rd grade teacher named Tammy. It has been awe-inspiring to both Tammy and me to watch God create a bond that’s a little more solid and a little more revealing about His plans through each exchanged email. Maybe the best way to share this is to provide chronological snippets of our exchanges. What started it all was an email from Tammy about an article I wrote…

I just recently received my first issue of TCW and loved it. The last article I read was one you wrote about control and what God wants. It was in the July/August issue. It was perfect for me to read.

My husband and I have been trying for our second child for almost two years. I have been through a major roller coaster ride of emotions going through this. I learned about six months ago that I really like to be in control and I never realized how much I try to control EVERYTHING which is not possible. I have to remind myself that I cannot control this….God is in control and I shouldn’t try to grab onto it over and over again. Your article really encouraged me and gave me a boost in giving it all to God.

Understanding fully how to hand it over to God has released some of this pressure though I continue to trip up from time to time. Thank you for sharing on this topic. I know I need to be patient and wait upon the Lord. In His time, our family will grow. Thank you once again. Many blessings to you and your family!

Now it was clear to me immediately that I needed to share my own struggle with infertility with this dear woman. So I replied without even really stopping to think,

I can't tell you what your sweet message meant to me. God used it to encourage me in my writing when I really needed it. So thank you, thank you. Now I want to encourage YOU! My husband and I found out I was pregnant only a few months after we'd gotten married in 1995. He was elated; I wasn't. I wanted to just be married for awhile without kids, ya know? Then when I began to get really excited (finally) we miscarried. From that point on, for two years, it became our mission to get pregnant. He was tested, I was tested, I had my tubes blasted, we prayed when we thought about it (we weren't walking the walk back then), and we finally ended up having success with Chlomid. It "took" the first month and eight months later I had beautiful fraternal twin girls who looked nothing alike. They'll have their 11th birthday in December. Three years after their birth we began trying for number three. No luck on our own, but again, Chlomid worked on the first try and nine months later came our bouncing baby boy.

I share this because I want to let you know that God sometimes works through professionals--maybe so that in some way you can be the salt and the light to them, maybe so that they can touch you in some way. I've heard it said "If God wanted you to be pregnant you would be." But to that I say, "He provides avenues and help and if He doesn't want us pregnant, we still won't be." In other words, don't let people give you a hard time for seeking available help. Of course, seek God FIRST, and it'll all work out.

I don't know you, but I already love you. Keep me posted on your family growth. ;-)

Now, hold up…I know what you’re thinking: Sheesh, Kath! That’s a lot of very personal info you’re giving to someone you don’t even know! Aren’t you afraid she’ll think you’re a nutcase or someone who’s too desperate for a friend? The second AFTER I hit send, yes, I was afraid of both of those things. But I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit prompting me to do it—talk to Him about it. ;-) Here’s a portion of Tammy’s response:

Wow! I don’t know you and love you, too!! I am tearing up over here. Thank you so much for responding and sharing your beautiful story with me! I needed your words! I am in awe of God right now. Here we are - two people who have never met before….I recently was given a subscription to TCW as a gift…..read your article that touched me in a BIG way…..and saw your email and felt the need to write to you. Then you write back with words that only a person who has dealt with fertility issues could write. He uses everything, doesn’t He?!

Take THAT doubt and pride!! Of course, I had to respond, but I’ll skip ahead a few exchanges because we got very personal about praying over wombs and what not, getting to know each other a little better and just praising God all the way.

Then I received this message from Tammy…

I got my “wonderful” period yesterday….so I guess I am not pregnant. But, I didn’t cry this time. I have cried every time since January of 07! I have had a greater peace within me from our writing back and forth. I just feel like I am in a better place right now. I know I may still have good and bad days with this, but it was an awesome feeling to actually be “OK” with it this time. I was still bummed, but not like I have been in the past. Thanks again for your openness with me.

My response…(and again, please note that this was another one that as soon as I hit send, I began to fear I’d gone too far and lost my new email friend forever.)

Okay, YOU may not have cried when you got your "wonderful" period (I laughed out loud when I read that!) but I had tears in my eyes as I read your whole message. God is SO amazing!!! What a blessing you are to me!

So let's see, if I've got my math right, I need to be on-my-face prayin' REALLY hard on Oct. 13th...and YOU better be getting ready for a romantic evening! (wink, wink) Hey, that's Columbus Day! You and I will both have the day off. I just had a crazy idea...do you want to join me in a fast that morning? Just skip breakfast that day and pray for you every time we get a hunger pang? Then break the fast at lunch? Even though we're hundreds of miles apart, we could be unified in the effort through that. What do you think?

But instead of writing me off as a fanatic or worse, my girl responded,

Okay, now I am crying!!!! Trying to keep it together while the kids are packing up over here. On Sunday in church as I was listening to the sermon….for whatever reason I thought about fasting. I do not generally do that. I did once in my life and it was an amazing experience for my faith. So on Sunday it was on my mind and I really felt strongly to fast. To be honest, after Sunday it hadn’t crossed my mind until JUST RIGHT NOW!!!! YES! I would love to fast with you and thank you for being YOU!! Praise God! It is obvious God is telling me to fast!! The thirteenth sounds great………I actually will be teaching because we do not get Columbus Day off. But, that is fine!! Normal people would ovulate around there, but my time is usually around the 16th day of my cycles???? But I feel often that when the kit says I am ovulating that I am not…..maybe I missed it?? This is wonderful! I want to do this and I thank you for listening to your heart and what God is telling you.

You all, we serve an AWESOME GOD, do we not?! So on the 13th when some of us get a day off for Columbus Day, would you all mind lifting up a special prayer for Tammy? You too will be a part, then, of this amazing work God is doing.


Melissa Milbourn said...

Kath- that is a very cool "God" Story. I love it when God causes us to love someone that we don't even know. Typically, that's how I sense His involvement in many of my relationships...it's that there is a unconditional love that I have for various individuals.

I know that's of God, because I'm not that loving. :-) however, I believe that the more we hang out with God, the more loving we become.

One of my favorite passages of scripture which describes how we should behave, and how to love better, is found in 2 Peter 1:3-11. Here's a portion...

"A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone."

Brooke said...

Did you have an article in Todays Christian Women magazine?

That is an awesome story. He is using you for sure!! Making the world a little smaller for you to reach "them". You are so awesome to be reachable and obedient!!

Love ya sister!

Rachel Olsen said...

OK, now you two have me crying! Beautiful picture of the body of Christ encouraging one another. And of the power of the internet to unite us.

Smiles ~ Rachel