Friends today’s post is more of a short story than a blog post, but I felt someone needed to hear this story. I pray that it helps you to see God’s hand in your challenging times.
Today’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 42:1-45:15
“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. Genesis 45:4-8
Have there ever been times in your life when God had you walk through an experience to help, comfort or “preserve” others in the future?
I know, most of us will never single-handedly save a whole nation. But stop a minute and think about some of the things you’ve been through…have you ever informed, encouraged, cried with, or comforted someone in a similar situation?
You never know the difference you may have made in that person’s life.
At the young age of 20 I was pregnant with my first child. I was so excited about having a baby and being a Mom. Everything was going great until the seventh month of my pregnancy. I went for a check up and my baby measured much larger than he was supposed to be at that stage in the pregnancy. The doctor sent me to the dietitian to get a special diet to slow down my weight gain. Other than being disappointed about the rigid diet, I didn’t think anything of it.
Then, a few day’s later, I began to show signs of pre-term labor. Little did I know, as we drove into the emergency room parking lot, I was driving into “my home away from home” for the next month.
This was 35 years ago. The world of giving birth was very different. The doctors said I was either having twins or I had another condition called hydramnios, which was caused by an excessive amount of amniotic fluid. They said I needed a “special” procedure called an ultrasound, to determine what was going on in my uterus. No hospitals in my county had one of these ultrasound machines (so funny, now every doctor has one in their office) so we had to go to Pensacola, and hour away. Oh and we traveled in an ambulance. Just imagine an hour-plus ride with an oversized seven-month pregnant woman on a gurney in the back of the old station wagon type ambulance. I was not a happy camper.
The test showed I did have hydramnios, so the doctors decided I would stay in the hospital until my baby was born, on bed-rest. As I entered my room I noticed I had a roommate and she was really happy, which was weird because I was really unhappy. Her side of the room looked as if she had been there for a while. When I got the back-story I understood. She had been pregnant eleven times. Each time she would get to a certain point and have a miscarriage. So when she got pregnant this time the doctors put her in the hospital, for the whole pregnancy! She was happy because she had carried this baby longer than any other time.
I thought she was crazy! As the days turned into weeks and I got more depressed she just kept getting happier.
Little did I know that four weeks later I would understand a small portion of the desperation this woman felt when she lost the child she wanted so bad. On Friday night I went to sleep like normal to be awakened in the middle of the night to a river in my bed. Those four quarts of amniotic fluid were everywhere. When I realized what was happening, I feared the worst. For the last two days the doctors hadn’t been able to hear a heart beat. They had scheduled an amniocentesis for the next day, but we wouldn’t be needing that now.
I was rushed to labor and delivery and hooked up to the fetal monitor–no heart beat. I prayed so hard that it was a mistake and the baby was really okay. It was no mistake. I was given some type of strong sedative and delivered the baby a few hours later. A little boy, I never saw or held.
Did God allow me to be in the room with someone who had lost eleven babies to prepare me for my worst nightmare? Was her delivery of a healthy baby girl God’s way of giving me hope?
I say yes. Just a few months later I became pregnant again and delivered a perfect baby boy nine months later.
From the beginning I knew God had some reason for allowing me to go through so much pain, but what was it? From that time on I was always drawn to women who had experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. I would go out of my way to meet with them, pray with them and try to encourage them. But my real “Joseph” moment wouldn’t come until my own daughters began their journey to being a mom.
My oldest daughter Allison began working in a daycare at the age of fourteen. She just loved babies! It wasn’t long after she got married that she began talking about having a baby. Months turned into years and there was no pregnancy. The pain of watching friends and family get pregnant so easy and deliver healthy babies was sometimes more than she could bear. Finally after two years of trying to get pregnant, she went to see a fertility specialist. She definitely had several things working against her getting pregnant, but after a surgery, tons of shots and fertility drugs she became pregnant. We were all so excited, but the doctor warned us that her numbers didn’t look that strong. A few day’s later Allison lost the baby. I immediately remembered my loss years ago and did my best to comfort and encourage. Thanks be to God a year later she was able to deliver a healthy baby boy.
Did God “send me ahead” to experience desperation of wanting baby so I could help, comfort, and preserve Allison’s hope? Did God allow me to experience the loss of a child so I could understand?
I think so.
A few years later Allison became pregnant with her second child and three months later we found out my youngest daughter Krista was also pregnant. The girls had so much fun! Showers, nurseries, baby clothes. I was overjoyed. There’s nothing like watching your girls become moms.
Allison’s second delivery would turn out to be another time I would be called upon to preserve hope in God’s plans for life. Days before her due date we were awakened to the worst fear of our lives. Allison seemed to be hemorrhaging. Scared to death, we rushed to the hospital, praying all the way for Allison and our baby boy to be safe. Little did we know that God had it all under control. That night we witnessed the Holy Spirit, literally wake Allison’s doctor up and tell her to go to the hospital. When she walked in with her “bed-head” and saw what was going on she rushed Allison in for an emergency c-section. God used the blood from the small remains of placenta previa to get us to the hospital. The cord was wrapped around our baby’s neck several times and he wouldn’t have survived a normal delivery.
Did God “send me ahead” to experience the fear of losing a baby so I could comfort and pray for Allison in her scariest moment?
I think so.
Six weeks later, I would again be called upon to come along side and draw from my painful experiences to walk a road with my daughter Krista that neither of us wanted to go down.
At Krista’s seven month check up she measured much larger than she should have been at that stage of the pregnancy, so the doctor did an ultrasound and noticed a blockage in the baby’s abdomen. The doctor immediately made an appointment for Krista with a high-risk obstetrician. Krista left the doctor’s office in a state of shock. She called me and said, “Something’s wrong with my baby!” We were so scared.
The next two months were some of the hardest days of our lives. With each appointment came more bad news: the baby had an intestinal blockage and would have to have surgery the day she was born, most babies who have this problem have Cystic Fibrosis (C.F.), genetic testing revealed that Krista and her husband Larry were both C.F. carriers, the baby has a one in four chance of having C.F, the average life expectancy of a person with C.F. is 35 years old. It was more than Krista could bear.
Once again I would reach in my past and pull out pain, fear, sadness and anger so that I could relate, speak life in the place of death, and keep our hope in God alive.
Since those days our baby girl Ayla has been a joy in our world for almost four years. Yes, she had a rough start–seven weeks in the NICU, three major surgeries in her first three months of life. Yes, she has C.F. but God has performed miracle after miracle and Ayla is a normal, healthy little girl who already has a personal testimony of the faithfulness of God.
You would think that would be enough, but earlier this year Krista also had a miscarriage but this time I wasn’t alone in using my past to understand and encourage; now my daughter Allison also grieved and empathized as only someone who’s been there could.
God prepared me to be there for my daughters, and many others. God prepared Allison to be there for Krista and many others. God has prepared Krista to be there for people she hasn’t even met.
As a mom who’s now sitting back and seeing God’s hand over it all, I’m thankful for my preparation. I can say with Joseph, You (enemy of my soul) intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. (Genesis 50:20)
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same
comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 45:16-47:27