I remember the weirdest things in the middle of the night. I don’t know what it is, but I can be sleeping soundly and suddenly be awake, brain in high gear, thinking of stuff. Most of the time it is stuff that I haven’t done, need to do, or should have remembered the day before, but every now and then, it is something like what I will write this post. Last night, I laid awake for at least an hour telling you this story in my head.
Easter 2004, I was sitting on my mother-in-laws front porch when I felt the Lord speak to me in a very tangible way. I would describe it as a vision, but I know that half of you would stop reading right here and I don’t want to scare you off. Suffice it to say that I felt the Lord give me a promise that I would have a daughter.
Fast forward to 2005…I got pregnant. I was so very sure that God was fulfilling His promise to me. After all, I had waited almost a YEAR. I purposed in my heart from the very beginning that this was a promised daughter and I was determined to enjoy every single bit of the journey…even the puking. From the beginning, we were set on naming her Sydney. Of course, we had no way of knowing definitely that I was carrying a girl, but isn’t faith pretty much like telling God how He is going to get it done? I dragged David to baby stores to pick out furniture. I bought little clothes and hung them up in the closet. Y’all, I was seriously a nutcase.
Which is why when they couldn’t find a heartbeat at 12 weeks, my faith took a knock out punch. I was devastated. Did God even exist, because I sure knew that His promises were not true. And if He didn’t keep this promise to me, how in the world could I trust Him to keep any of His others that were written down? I went through a SERIOUS trial of my faith, realizing that everything I believed up until then had come as a result of head knowledge from growing up in the church…but I didn’t really KNOW Jesus. I didn’t trust Him. I got by with a little help from my church friends, but I was a saved “lost” person. I wanted to know Jesus. I prayed to know Him. But I didn’t really know Him.
Aren’t you so thankful that He answers our prayers to know Him? This tragic circumstance was my first step in coming to know Him as Savior AND Lord. LORD. Meaning “YOU are in charge, God. You tell me where we are going with this.”
Well, many of you know the basics of the rest of this story. In 2012…8 YEARS after His promise to me…we brought Kate home from China…despite MANY impossibilities that I still wonder how He overcame. Two years later, we lived an even more impossible story with Naomi, who was born on my mom’s birthday…and Jessica, who we received 6 days before she would have been an orphan forever.
You would think that it’s enough, right? He fulfilled His promise…like 3 times. He worked it all together for good. He made something out of nothing. He BLEW OUR MINDS every step of the way. Surely that is the end of the story of redemption.
But it’s not.
Our God is an “OVER and ABUNDANT anything you can ask or think” God. He did something else that I woke up last night thinking about.
Last year I became CEO and owner of Ascend Technologies, the company that David and a partner founded in 2000. This is a story of impossibility all its own, but I took the position because I believe that the Lord has called me to it. I believe that Ascend is going to be a force to be reckoned with, not only in the technology world, but in tearing down the kingdom of darkness.
Even though we are in a rebuild of the company, I have strongly believed from the beginning that we needed to give out of our need so we can be trusted to give when we have extra, so I began looking for a way to step out on faith and trust in God with our resources. Several needs and opportunities immediately presented themselves and though I was eager to be able to meet them, the Holy Spirit said “wait”. “Wait to give? Is that really a very Christian thing to do?” Sometimes it is. When we aren’t connected to the Holy Spirit, we are totally susceptible to seizing the wrong opportunities at the wrong time and wasting the resources that God has given us for something else entirely. It’s a thing. I didn’t know either. But it’s a thing.
About six months ago, one of my very dear friends messaged me. This is a friend that I met through a church that we only attended for a couple of years. She and her husband were in between ministry assignments and just “happened” to come to rest at this 20 person church during that time. Our hearts and personalities connected immediately and we became the kind of friends that embarrassed our kids because we were always so loud and obnoxious when we got together…it was a blast.
Anyway, since we have moved to Albany, this friend and I have had a really hard time staying in touch…because well, life (mostly mine) gets in the way of the best of intentions. So messages between us were few and far between and when she messaged me it was fairly “out of the blue”. This message was about a young girl that she knows who had been called to the mission field in China and was trying to finish raising her funding. She was wondering if she could give this girl my information so that we could connect and talk about China.
The girl’s name? Sydney Faith
Unbelievers have to try to explain away circumstances that seem to “fall into place” so they come up with things like “luck” and “coincidence”. It’s just luck that the sun comes up every day at the same time. It’s just coincidence that you run into a person that you haven’t seen in years at the exact moment that you need their encouragement. After all, isn’t it “a small world”? Those of us that KNOW Jesus see life from a totally different perspective. We KNOW that there is a Designer that is continually working all things together for our good. In this perspective, moments of pain and suffering become opportunities for God to do amazing things and “coincidences” become moments that God ordained from the beginning of time for our good and His glory.
So Ascend is a small part of supporting Sydney Faith in China right now. Sydney and I communicate regularly through email and Facebook. She has prayed me through some things. I have prayed her through some things. I had never even seen this girl until two days ago when she was able to send pictures with her update from China. We could certainly be related. In the update, she described in detail how God is moving and how as a direct result of their work, three people have recently accepted Christ…three people that until Sydney and her team went to China had no idea who Jesus was… three people who are now excited and won’t stop talking about what they have found in Jesus to all their friends in a part of China where Christianity is unheard of.
Redemption. Multiplication. He’s the Author of the most amazing stories.
So I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about Sydney Faith and about the weeping that has been turned into complete joy by a Father that I don’t deserve…and I realized what the date was as I was thinking about this.
March 17th. The exact date of the procedure I had to endure 11 years ago to remove our 3rd child from my womb.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11