Life, Faith, and Baby #5

Yes you read that right! God has indeed blessed us with Baby #5! While the short story there is that Joel and I felt a conviction from early on not to prevent adding to our family and God decided now's the time, we all know I like the long version of stories. For the context of this one, I'm going to rewind to this time last year. 

Last Winter into Spring God was doing a work in my heart on accepting His cup for me and being grateful instead of grumbling and that really set the stage for so much to come. In May, Joel was away on a mission trip to Brazil and as I prayed throughout his trip, I felt like God kept putting on my heart that I needed to be joyfully ready for us to step out in faith into the next season of ministry. The key word there was joyfully. 

For the last 7 years Joel has worked at our church as the Missions & Outreach Pastor. He loves his role there and has a really cool and unique job. We love our church dearly and our church community has truly become family to us. For the last few years, we've had people ask when we were going to plant a church because that's just part of the culture at our church and they could see Joel's passion for preaching and shepherding. Some others would ask when we would head overseas to be missionaries because they could also see his passion for the lost around the world. We'd expressed many times that if and when God wanted us to do so we would but that we didn't feel like He was leading us that way at the time. All that to say, when I started to sense God was preparing me for a transition, I knew I could be ready... but I knew being joyful about it was going to be hard. 

As I drove to pick Joel up from the airport late that night, I begged God to help me be joyfully ready. I had butterflies in my stomach thinking he was going to get in the car and tell me that we were moving to Brazil. But that's not what happened. All summer I waited thinking that any day he would come home from work and tell me that it was time. But time went on and that wasn't happening.

Still yet, all Summer, God was prepping me. When I would have time to think or long times in prayer I felt like God continued to remind me of so many specific details about every time He'd asked me to step out in faith. I was flooded with memories of how He provided when I moved to Delaware as a single 22 year old to be an intern at LifeHouse Church. He reminded me how He guided us when we thought we were supposed to go help church plants on two different occasions but He closed the doors for us and then opened a door for Joel to be on staff right where we were. I remembered how when we were outgrowing our 2 bedroom farmhouse right as covid was coming along, He provided a house we never thought we could afford. I remembered how we pleaded with God for local family to help supplement since most of our family lived away and He gave us the sweetest of people to love us and our kids. On and on it went as I remembered His faithfulness and I kept feeling like He was encouraging me that He would be faithful again. 

On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I was home with sick kids. Joel came home from church and we were discussing the sermon. Our pastor has been preaching through the book of Matthew and that Sunday was talking about disciples following Jesus wherever, whenever, and in whatever. Joel nervously shared with me that he'd been really convicted and that while he didn't know where or what, he felt it was time for us to being willing to step out in faith for the next season of ministry. I think he was waiting for the pushback to commence. I could have certainly argued that with 4 little kids and him finishing his last year of seminary and me just finally getting back to normal health it was not a great time. But God had been so gracious to prepare me and I instead just laughed and told him that I'd been waiting 3 months for him to tell me this. Turns out that during his trip to Rio a couple conversations with a missionary there started his summer of preparation and God had been graciously prepping us both without either of us knowing about the other. 

The next few months are kind of a blur. We prayed about and explored many options. We continued to ask God to put in front of us what He wanted us to walk towards and remove what He didn't. Within in about a month we realized that it was indeed church planting we were called to and within another few months we knew it was somewhere in New England and then within the next couple months we had settled on Maine. It's been an incredibly humbling journey and one that's kept us dependent in prayer step after step. But through it all, God has been so faithful.

We were about 2/3 of the way through that narrowing down journey and knew we would be moving to somewhere in New England this year when a friend of mine asked me if I was nervous to get pregnant knowing what the year ahead would be. I was so thankful that in that moment I could honestly reply that by God's grace I wasn't  nervous. In the weirdest way, us not trying to control the timing of our children has been so freeing for us. I think partially because God has just given us peace that this is the journey He has us on specifically. I shared with my friend that I knew God knew the exact month we would move and also the timing of our next child if He chose to give us a 5th. 

That was the place God had graciously brought me to the last week of February. I was on my second week of weight watchers mainly trying to lose the weight I gained in January from being stuck on the couch in appendectomy recovery. The more disciplined I tried to be, the hungrier I was. I've done WW many times and that's typically not the case for me so I was starting to be suspicious of my ravenous cravings. Then the nausea kicked in and I was falling asleep quite early at night. 

I had told myself I'd wait til the weekend but on Thursday the 29th, I woke up just ready to know. Sure enough those 2 lines popped up before I could even lay the test down. Leap Day came with something extra to leap about. Joel had been up late doing school and up again tending to an awake kiddo so he was sleeping later than usual. I just left the test on the bathroom counter for his wake up surprise. He came downstairs and chuckled and said "we're just going to do all the big transitions this year."  Haha. We proceeded to tell the kids who were all very excited. Levi fell in the floor with excitement. Malachi just emphatically said "It's a boy!" and Cora Mae argued that "It's a girl cause her (me) is a girl. When is she going to come out?!"  Haha. 

I'm 13 weeks and Massey Ruth is starting to get it now but she's the most baby obsessed child we've ever had so I literally can't even stand how sweet she'll be as a big sis. Levi and Malachi are desperately hoping for another boy to add to their brother pack. Cora Mae is probably the most affectionate this go around and always warns Massey Ruth to "be easy with the baby." I have a feeling we're going to have to set timers to pass this babe around for turns. 

As far as future plans, we're hoping to move this summer in late July or August and I'm due November 4. Thanks to a nurse friend, I've already found a hospital and a practice that I'll hopefully get to deliver with in the Portland area. And for some added fun with this little tie breaker we're doing something we've never done.... we're not finding out the gender til birth! 

That's certainly enough details for one post. We're grateful so grateful. This walk of faith we're on is one crazy ride but we know and love and trust the One who leads every step. 



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