Advent Devotion – Day 10

Dear Summerfielders,

We often hear about children who are sick and their great courage. We marvel at their strength. Today I would like to share with you a woman who wowed me with her courage and sense of peace that God was in her situation no matter what. I have no doubt that God orchestrated the one and only conversation I ever had with her because I so much needed her words later on in my own faith journey. She was truly a shining star.

Both the boys were born while I was pastoring in West Virginia. They are 55 weeks apart in age. Several of the United Methodist churches in the area formed a youth group so the kids in our tiny churches could have a bigger group with whom to have fellowship and faith formation. In December the year Caleb was 5 months old and Jack was coming up on a year and a half we had a Christmas party for the youth group at a nearby church that had a gym. During this time my husband was working 2 1/2 hours away so I drug the boys to a lot of church events.

As the adults sat in the gym watching the high-schoolers play basketball and whatever else, a woman who was chaperoning from another church struck up a conversation with me about having two kids so close in age. I said that yes, last year in particular was hard having an infant and being pregnant and that it really challenged by faith to find myself pregnant again so soon.

She responded that she had felt the same way when she found out she was pregnant shortly after having her first child. She said though that ultimately what she learned was that God had a plan. Her first child developed a very serious illness during his first year of life. Ultimately he needed surgery to try to correct the issue that was threatening his life. As they were taking her child, then about a year old into the OR, she went into labor.

She gave birth to her second child as her first was dying in the operating room. Her husband told her after the delivery that their first child had not survived. I cannot imagine being in a situation where the balance of life was so poignantly visible. Of course, she said it was hard. But she also said that as much as she resented being pregnant again at the beginning in the end she understood that she likely would not have survived the loss of her first child if she didn’t have a needy new-born demanding that she pull her life back together immediately. She said, “God had a plan. God always has a plan.”

And there across the gym was this second child, now a tall high-schooler, practically grown up and ready to leave her nest. God had blessed them with a rich life together. She had known pain. But she had chosen to see the blessing in her life and live that out.

Her story stuck with me. I drew on it when I needed it most. God blessed me by knowing her for just one evening. I pray you are blessed too.

Peace,

Pastor Jennifer