"What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the LIVING. Wait, hope for and EXPECT the Lord. Be strong and of good courage and may your heart (Ned) be sturdy and enduring.....Yes, Wait For and Hope For and Expect the Lord."

Psalm 27:13-14 (Amp)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Defined Purpose

It has been a very slow and steady day for our little one, for which we are extremely thankful. Ned's stats have been really good all day. He took a couple little dips tonight as they attempted to wean his vent a little faster than he was ready to accept so the doctor's eased back onto Ned's slow little pace and he picked back up rather quickly. The heart surgery still hasn't been scheduled and won't be until Ned is off the jet vent. His little body controls the pace of that so I am just believing that as I prayed that God would control the timing of the surgery to be best for Ned, that his low tolerance for change is God's way of making the doctors listen to Him!

Other than being thankful for the beautiful, uneventful day, I have been consumed today with really mediatating on God's purpose for this situation and for my life in general. I can't fully begin to understand how and to what extent God's purpose for Ned's life will be manifested, but I can see how God has used him in the life of our family already. I know that when Ned comes home, he will be coming to a more God focused home than he would have if we hadn't been through this valley. He will now come home not only to a mother who prays over him, but also a father who prays outloud and uninhibited for the sake of his family. He will come home to an aunt who has gotten past some anxiety to pray for him at school with her class. He will join a family who has truely been blessed to witness, first hand, the beauty and love of the body of Christ. And although he will never remember all of this, my little Ned will have already lain a legacy for Christ that most of us could only hope to have established by our last days on this Earth. I am excited about being able to let him know when he is older how God used him as an infant and my hope is that Travis and I will have given him such a foundation in Christ that this will only be the beginning of how Ned's life will impact others. I am also hopeful that by seeing how my very small son has been used by the Lord, that I too will allow myself to be used in even greater ways. That I can come to the father as His child, open and trusting to what He has in store for me and ready and willing for His service.

This birth experience has been much different from what I experienced with Jack. I'll share a quick encounter before I sign off for the night.....

About 6 months or so after Jack was born, I found myself completely out of touch with the Lord. I was still going to church, but just in the total routine change with adding Jack to the household, I had neglected to spend any quiet time in study or prayer with God and the effects of that change were becoming more and more evident to me. I remember thinking how I hadn't heard God's voice speaking to me in quite some time and I was becoming aware of the distance that I had allowed to come between me and my God. We were getting ready to go to the beach and I had planned to leave work at lunch, go by the mall for a new pair of tennis shoes and go home and get packed up (there's a lot to pack when you're taking a 6-month-old on a week's vacation!). I was running behind and didn't leave work until almost 2pm and I was completely frazzled. I contemplated skipping the mall trip, but I decided to settle down, relax, pray and allow God's timing to affect my life. I had gotten so caught up in routine with Jack's eating, sleeping, bath, schedules that my focus was on my time, not His. As I pulled off the interstate at the mall, there was a homeless man on the side of the road. I, of course, thought to myself, "how do people end up homeless....how did you get yourself in such a mess buddy?" As I ran in the mall, I kept thinking about that man and I clearly heard God say, "Betsy, take that man some money."....I protested, "But, he'll probably just take it and buy alcohol or drugs." God interrupted, "That's not your concern, all you need to do is obediently respond to what I am asking you to do." So, I go and buy a little Bible and then I go to the ATM. I take $20 out of the ATM and as it spits out my money, the machine says "transaction cancelled". I ask around, but no one knows who owns the ATM and I'm feeling like I have stollen $20? Anyway, I leave word at the cookie counter that I think the machine is broken and it may have given me money without debiting my account? I leave the mall and head back to the homeless guy. The whole way I kept thinking, "well, if I don't hit that red light, what will I do?" But God assured me that He would handle the whole timing issue. As I pulled up, the light turned red (His timing). I rolled down my window and handed the guy the $20 and the Bible. He had the most clear, blue eyes and he looked very intently at me and he said, "you know, don't you?" I was very taken aback since I thought I was the one who was being the little messenger for God, but I responded, "Yes, I know.... Do you know Him?" He looked me dead in the face and answered, "The only think I know is the Love of My Father." The light turned green, I drove off. It was immediately like God said, "If you will take the time and listen for me, I'll always talk to you and use you." It was and elated feeling knowing that all I had to do was turn back to Him and He was right there waiting to be a part of my every day life again. And it was all my blessing and benefit, I gave nothing of my own, not even my own $20.

Having shared that, I have just known that in this experience with Ned, I am learning a very different lesson than I did after having Jack. I don't think either is more or less important, but just part of God's plan to continue to strengthen my relationship with Him. I have thought often of Paul and how his time in prison led to the salvation of the Roman soldiers. In understanding his purpose, Paul was able to praise God for his struggles. I am seeking that same level of understanding and trust.

Please continue to pray for God's timing with regard Ned's surgery. While I am so anticipating being past the heart surgery, I am learning patience in yeilding to and trusting God's timing. Like I have said before, in my mind, I wish that this would all be over and I could just pick my son up and take him home, but I know that God has us here for a reason and that He will allow us to move past "this place" in our lives only when His purpose has been fulfilled. Please pray that Travis and I will be sensative to the Holy Spirit so that we can be obedient servants while we are here.

Love, thanksgiving and blessings to you all!
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned


Wofford's said...

Travis and Betsy,
Your story is heart warming and something every parent should read. Danielle and I will keep all of you in our prayers, especially little Ned. Tell cuz hello. God be with you all.
Jason and Danielle

Marcio said...

Nothing affects us so dearly and completely as when something happens to our children. In my own experience with Luke, I have learned lesson after lesson and continue to learn lesson after lesson about God...His character....how my life is really not my own...it's all about Him and not about me...or even my kids. It's nothing we would wish on anyone, yet wouldn't trade the experience b/c of how it changes us, right? I know you are growing tired and weary...but His strength is made PERFECT in our weakness....so rest in that today and "lift up your eyes to hills, where does your help come from? your help comes from the Lord the maker of Heaven and Earth."
Julie De Sa

Cadenne Hope's Grandma said...

We also have had to rely on God's timing during the past two months with Cadenne Hope. It sounds like Ned and Cadenne are "related" in that they both resist change! I can't even remember all the things the medical people tried to move her through quickly, and her body said (clearly) "slow down, people!"

Seems like there is something to be learned by having to wait!

You are in our prayers!

sherry hefner said...

Betsy and Travis, Once again I wanted to thank you for your update for all of us. I know it must be encouraging to see how many people are lifting Ned up in prayer.

Like you, however, I know that my trust is in Christ alone. I was thinking to myself today about a wonderful story shared by Bruce Feiler, the Jewish author of the book, "Where God was Born" (Great book....all of Feiler's books are so informative and have taught me much about the Jewish people and their upbringing)

He told about the night he spent near Jerusalem with a shepherd. After talking for a while, he closed his eyes for a little sleep. He awoke in the night to hear the sounds of wolves howling in the distance. As he looked around he noticed the shepherd standing quietly nearby with his torch in hand. He glanced around and saw a thousand points of light...but as his eyes adjusted he realized the points of light were the eyes of the sheep, looking at the shepherd. Feiler said it finally dawned on him, that the sheep were not looking for the wolves that were menacing all around, but were looking for the safety and protection of the shepherd. As long as their eyes were on the shepherd, they knew they were ok.

Wow, this hit home for me. I remind myself all the time, quit looking all around at the menacing things of this world and just keep your eyes on the Shepherd....if my eyes are on Him everything will be ok.

Please know I am continuing to pray...(Psalm 56:3) Love, Sherry

Belle said...

Betsy & Travis,
You guys are a true inspiration to all. After each daily update I read about little Ned and your family, I realize the things that really matter are right in front of me...my family. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share your innermost feelings and spiritual beliefs to everyone. Your witnessing alone has saved many.
So little Ned seems to be a real fighter, huh? Seems evident God has postponed his heart surgery for His reasons and you as parents are doing a tremendous job of respecting His judgements. I praise you for your continued faith in God and will continue to pray for you all. Blessings to you all...Love, Belle

Kim said...

Dear Betsy and Travis, we just want you to know that all of you are in our prayers, and you are such an inspiration. Whatever day and time that Baby Ned has surgery we will lift all of you up in our prayers. Stay strong, and know that there are so many people here for you in any way that you need us. Sunday night Emily come home upset, because she has a friend going through a really hard time and is doubting God, I told her to tell her to read about Baby Ned, and she would never doubt God again. God Bless All of You, Sincerely, "The Alexander's" Kim, Donald, Emily and Brock