Tag Archive | faith

A Birth Story – Daughter’s Perspective

A Birth Story

A miraculous thing happened on June 3, 2014. A precious new life entered this world! His name is Ezekiel Francis Drennen. My eighth sibling and fifth little brother!

 

My day started with a 6am alarm clock. I had to make sure I was up right when it went off because I needed to complete a cupcake order and get ready for my mama’s 9am non stress test at the hospital – a routine appointment during the latter part of her pregnancy – all in the time span of 2 hours… yikes! Cutting it close on time! But I went to bed the previous night with a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to do the order at any other time because my grandparents were due at our house the following day at lunchtime and my mom was going to “pop” at any time.

So I got up that morning, started a pot of coffee and got to work on my Sesame Street themed cupcakes for a neighbor. I did this in about 1 ½ hours. I was cutting it close on time. I raced from the horribly disastrous kitchen (from all of my baking supplies everywhere) to my bedroom to get ready to leave and pack up my hospital bag just in case it was needed! I woke up my brother, Isaac, and asked him if he would be kind and clean up my horrible mess because I had no time to do it myself. I felt so bad, though, that I left him half a bag of jelly beans and half a container of cookies as a reward. Yeah, my aunt, who was watching my siblings that day, probably didn’t like me for all the sugar I left with him!

8am rolled around and my parents and I left for the appointment a bit early so we could stop for some breakfast at McDonald’s, which I was more thankful for than usual because I hadn’t had any breakfast before then. I am a breakfast-first-thing-in-the-morning kind of girl. Off to the hospital we went, and got there a little early, too. My parents and I prayed for God’s will that day as we were anxious for the baby to come, but wanted God’s timing for things. I’m sure everyone thought about the likelihood (or even the lack thereof) of my mom having the baby that day, but to be honest, we tried not to talk of it too much.

 

We sat down in the waiting room until we were called back into the room where my mom would be hooked up to the monitor to watch the baby’s heartbeat for about twenty minutes, then we’d be able to go home. All three of us sat in there and talked with the nurse for a bit whom we had come to know and love…then my mom had a few long, sharp contractions. Looking back, I cannot remember if she made it all twenty minutes of her non-stress test before the nurse decided to tell the doctor on call and ask if she wanted to check my mom’s cervix. So we went straight into the room and waited.

*A little side note: my mom wanted to do a vaginal delivery, however, she had had two previous cesareans; BUT they weren’t back to back. I was breech and a cesarean delivery, then my mom had six successful vaginal deliveries, and Sammy, the eighth baby, was also breech and therefore a cesarean delivery. The hospital she was going to deliver at had one doctor who believed my mom could and even should have a vaginal delivery. But it was only one doctor who supported my mom’s desire. He wasn’t on call that day, but he did say he was going to be at the hospital.

While we waited for the doctor to come in we talked with the nurse (same one as earlier, her name is Shannon) about my mom’s desire for a VBAC and that there was a doctor who wanted her to do that. So the nurse said she would try to get a hold of him and let him know about my mom, should she go into labor that day. Well, sure enough, when my mom was checked her cervix was paper thin and at 4cm. The doctor on call that day wanted to go straight to Labor and Delivery and do a C-section, however, remember how I said we had stopped for breakfast before the appointment? She had eaten a little after 8am, so they had to wait 8 hours before doing a C-section on my mom – at 4pm. So Shannon wheeled my mom, as my daddy and I followed, over to Labor and Delivery where my mom would get hooked up again to a monitor to watch contractions and baby’s heartbeat, as well as get some blood drawn and get an IV – and where we were to wait for 7 hours.

So we waited…

And prayed…

I had told my mom about two months before that I wanted to be there for the birth. She was excited about that and we talked about what to expect and such. I also did some reading on how to encourage and different ways to comfort a woman in labor. The closer it got to the time of the delivery, the more excited I got! So while in the waiting process I did a lot of praying for different things: comfort for my mom, healthy baby, and that she’d be able to have a VBAC.

We waited some more…

And prayed some more…

My dad called/texted his, as he calls it, “prayer circle” of friends, including the pastor of our amazing church, asking if he could come to the hospital and pray with us.

I sent a text to a few of my friends who wanted to be updated on my mom’s progress. May I just take a moment to say I have been blessed with some very caring people in my life! I asked them all for prayer as well.

 

My dad and I went to the hospital’s restaurant for lunch.

Then we waited and prayed some more…

 

A bit after 2pm my mom’s contractions really picked up, coming to about three minutes apart and lasting about that long, too. It hadn’t been a full eight hours yet, but the doctor didn’t want to wait that long. At 3pm they started getting things ready to roll her into the operating room to do a cesarean. We hadn’t heard from the one doctor who would do a vaginal delivery for my mom.

Now, most women wouldn’t have handled not getting what they wanted in a pregnancy, especially when it came to the time for labor and – most importantly – the delivery. But my mom isn’t “most women.” She had been praying since the beginning of the pregnancy that the Lord’s will would be done. She made her desire known for a vaginal birth, but she was more concerned about 1) the baby’s health and what’s best for him, and 2) God’s plan for this.

She saw this situation of not hearing from the one doctor who would give her what she wanted as God’s way of saying, “This isn’t My plan for you.”

 

God’s plan is always better, even when it doesn’t look like you are going to get what you want. God is more concerned about what is best for you. I was trying very hard not to be disappointed with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to be there in the room when my mom gave birth to my brother. But, I was really trying to see it the way my mom was, that this was God’s will. Nothing happens without God’s “go ahead”. This was happening for a purpose.

As it turned out, during one of her contractions, my mom experienced an extreme burning pain that lasted a good minute or two. When she explained to the nurse what she was feeling, the nurse told her it was scar tissue from a previous incision. My mom said that it was very painful and scary and didn’t want to feel that again. Another confirmation that God’s will is best… a cesarean was the way this pregnancy was heading.

 

While everything was being prepared, the pastor of our church arrived and prayed with us 15 minutes before my mom was rolled away for the cesarean.

 

Thy will be done, O Lord!

 

While I could not be in the room while my brother came into the world, I was sitting in the waiting room right outside of it with my pastor.

I sat there.

And then, I hear a cry.

Ezekiel Francis Drennen had taken his first breath.

My baby brother had made his entrance into this world at 3:51pm!

 

My daddy sent me a picture text just minutes later (I try not to be too much of a “tech” lover, but right then I was very grateful for cell phones and text messaging). He was beautiful! And big!

I showed the picture to my pastor and then laughingly said, “He looks really big, I wonder if he will compete with his older brother for my mom’s biggest baby.” At the time, the title of “Biggest Drennen Baby” was held by my brother, Noah (fifth child), at 10 pounds 11 ½ ounces.

About five minutes later my daddy, nurse, and my new baby brother came through the doors and were heading to the nursery. My daddy said they were going to weigh him – my curiosity as to how big he was was growing.

 

Well, folks, he weighed in at 11 pounds 7.5 ounces! Can you say, “Big baby!”

 

My daddy came out to get me after the weighing and we went to get our belongings and go get situated in our new room while my mama went into recovery.

He was a very healthy baby, except for slightly low blood sugar which didn’t last too long, thank the Lord!

 

My aunt drove my seven other siblings to the hospital at about 6pm where we all waited for the baby to be rolled in to meet us!

It wasn’t until 8pm that night that Ezekiel was finally able to come into the room – the nurses wanted to feed him and watch that blood sugar for a little while. They also bathed him and it just so happened that when all of that was done they were going through change of nurses, so we had to wait a bit longer while the night staff was updated.

 

Then, at about 8:15pm, we all got to meet our precious little Ezekiel, or Zeke, as we would call him!

Oh, how beautiful he was! And to be honest, he didn’t look like he weighed over 11 pounds. But that’s just my opinion!

 

Both mama and Zeke were doing beautifully, and were able to go home Thursday at lunchtime.

And here we are, home and all blissfully enjoying the newest little addition to the Drennen clan.

 

The Lord is truly so good! I am so happy and blessed by my big, loud, crazy family.

 

 

~

I was featured on Mama Moment Mondays!

Giving It All Up

Giving It All Up

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

God uses all circumstances for the good of those that love Him. When it says “all”, that means the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is one of the most difficult things to do, but I have to trust that whatever happens in good times and bad, God has a purpose for that circumstance.

 

In the bad times… He could be stretching my faith and using my circumstances to inspire others who might be going through the same thing. He might be teaching me to rely entirely upon Him. There are many reasons for going through difficulties.

There is something we all – including myself – need to remember. Some things might be more than we can handle. And I used to believe the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But then one day – I forget where that was – I read something that said how silly that is. He will give us big, challenging, looks-like-more-than-we-can-handle obstacles, because God doesn’t want US to handle it on our own. He wants us to learn to give it up to HIM so He can handle it for us. God is willing to guide us hand-in-hand through mountain-top and valley experiences. First, we have to be willing to give up that struggle to Him. As silly as it sounds, I think we “like” holding on to our troubles. Like we think we can handle it without God. Sometimes God brings us to a point where we absolutely crumble, because for so long we held on to what God intended to handle Himself. I have learned time and time again that you must allow God to take it – you have to make yourself give it over to Him. While He is willing and able to take it from us, He wants us to be willing to give it to Him. And this is not a one-time deal. You don’t just give God that struggle or difficult circumstance and expect that to be it. It is a daily decision to leave it in the Lord’s hands. Results will not always (in fact, rarely ever) be instantaneous. It takes time. But know that God is working, molding us, and healing us from whatever struggle we may be going through.

 

While we need His strength and guidance through life’s toughest battles, we also need Him through the victories.

 

In the good times… We need to understand that nothing happens because we are so good, so wonderful and awesome. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” It is all because of God’s love for us and His gifts He has given us. Nothing we do is because of our own ability or talents. While it is true, we each have unique gifts and certain things we are talented in, we have to remember to ask ourselves, “Who gave me those gifts? Why am I talented in this area?” It is because of our heavenly Father, how much He loves and cares for His children, and how He desires to bless others through us. Everything leads back to God. He is the reason we are alive to experience these victories, and also the reason we have victories in our lives. When we experience a victory, we have to point back to God and say, “It was all because of my wonderful, awesome, magnificent God!” because it certainly is all because of Him, His grace, and His mercy.

The Lord will give us things to do, but He wants us to pray to Him and ask, “How would you have me to do this?” and ask for continual guidance through whatever direction He provides in order to perform that specific task.

 

With everything you face in life – both good and bad – lift your hands up high and praise your Maker! That’s the only way you will get through the valleys victoriously.

Lent: To Do Or Not To Do

Lent

This past Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, a 40-day period when people prepare their hearts and minds for Resurrection Sunday. This part of the year, when we all get ready to observe Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, has always been really exciting to me. The past few years I have really started to take an interest in the different ways different people take part in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Lent, in particular, has been on the forefront of my mind for some time. It has caused me to want to dig a little deeper and understand it a little better – possibly even observe it, though not to the degree that some people may. I read through some articles the other day that explained what people do for this 40-day period and what its meaning is. And while I am still learning about it, what I got from those few articles was this: Lent is a time when people want to hit a sort of “refresh” button. They desire to maybe get rid of a nasty habit, or fast from something in particular. It’s a time to prepare themselves and their lives for Resurrection Sunday when we all celebrate the glorious day when Jesus rose from the grave.

Now, to me this sounds like a great opportunity for spiritual growth. That’s one of the reasons I was so interested.

However, I thought about it, and really couldn’t think of anything to “give up” for 40 days that I would rush right back to afterwards. I thought of all the typical things: chocolate, Facebook, etc. But what’s the point of that? Those are (basically) everyday things that, like I said, I would rush straight back to after the 40 days were up. So, I had this crazy idea that in stead of give something up, take something on! Start something new! Start something meaningful and beneficial to not only myself, but to others! When I first thought of it, it was just an idea that I had thought of. But then I read a blog post that talked about the very thing I had thought of a few days before, The Reverse Lent Challenge over at Karen Ehman’s blog. I figured it was a green light. A Do It! from God. So, here is what I have come up with (with some inspirational help from things I have read):

 

Thank God for a blessing each day. His mercy is new each morning, so even if you’re not having the best day ever, God has still given you SOMETHING to thank Him for. Find it and praise Him! You could even start a journal for the 40 days recording your praise for this time. It could end up being a great keep-sake.

Spend time in prayer for someone else. I’m thinking of the JOY example (Jesus, Others, You). First, we praise God. Then, pray for someone you know. It may be a friend, family member, or neighbor. It may take 3 minutes, it may take 30 minutes or more. But in a way, you are actually “giving up” something for Lent by doing this: your time. Take time to love and serve others through your prayers.

Spend time in prayer for your spiritual growth. Take time to ask God to show you the things you can do to either work on or get rid of in your life to bring you closer to Him. Also, as we are nearing Resurrection Sunday, ask Him to help you be sensitive to His Word and the story of Jesus’ life here on earth. It is life-changing to truly listen to it and let it work in you. In fact, it could mean the difference between life and death.

Spend time in God’s Word. Especially the Gospels, where it tells the events of Jesus’ life here on earth. I would suggest setting 5 extra minutes aside from your daily Bible time to add that extra time to soak in the story of the Gospel.

 

Obviously, participating in Lent is completely up to you, but the more I come to learn about it, the more I am drawn to the idea of spending time to evaluate, cleanse, and even strengthen my spiritual life.

 

Before I finish, however, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about fasting. This is one of the usual and more popular ways to observe Lent. There it absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, it is a Biblical practice that I would encourage. What isn’t Biblical is boasting about it… and I see that more and more. Matthew 6:16-18 says, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”  The Bible says very clearly that we are not to use fasting to make us look super spiritual to the whole world, but to actually keep it a secret. Giving up TV for a whole 40 days, or not eating out at your favorite fast-food restaurant within the next 40 days is not my business. It is between you and your heavenly Father. If you believe that giving those things up is the way to help you focus on your relationship with the Lord, then, by all means, go for it! God uses all sorts of things to draw us to Him. But your 500 Facebook friends don’t need to know about your fasting.

 

I am not trying to preach, or point fingers. I honestly believe there are people out there who just simply don’t know what the Bible says about fasting, even though/if they are a Christian. What I am trying to do is encourage you to observe this time of Lent and to receive all of the wonderful things God may have in store for you through this time! It will look a bit different for everyone. But whatever you do, I pray that it will be a time of reflection and growth in your love for the Lord.

 

I have attached a blog post I recently read about Lent that I really enjoyed. Check it out: Yes. Do That. over at Amy’s Finer Things.

 

 

Where Is Your Focus?

 

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Keep your eyes on the Lord.

 

 “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  -Matthew 14:29-31 (NIV)

When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus while on the water, he began to sink. When he focused on the storm instead of Jesus, that’s when trouble came to him. Things started falling apart for him.

The same is true for you and me.

When I don’t keep my full focus on God and His purpose for me, even in the midst of a bad day or tough week, that’s when things could go completely and utterly upside down. They will get worse not better. God is bigger, more powerful, more in-control than anything I could ever go up against. “You of little faith” (v. 31). Wow! I don’t want to have “little” faith – I want to have complete faith in my Savior. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyways.”  When given a circumstance that looks more chaotic than I could possibly bear, I need to be courageous to “saddle up” and keep my eyes on God, my Rock and Sustainer.

Jesus was protecting Peter on the water while he had his focus on Him. But, just like what happened to Peter when he started focusing on the storm, God won’t hesitate to remove His hand of protection over us if we start to lose our focus because we are fearful and focus only on our problems, or even when we are confident we can handle it on our own.

I am nothing without Him.

“I may be weak, but Your spirit’s strong in me

My flesh my fail, But my God, You never will”

God wants me to remember that, and to completely rely on Him and His goodness and strength. He will not lead me astray.

So through the storms of life, when you are tempted to doubt, just like Peter did on the water, remember not to let anything turn your focus from the all-powerful Protector. Instead, pray. When faced with any situation, the only thing to ever do is get down on your knees and look up – pray to the Lord.

He IS the light that breaks the darkness.

Don’t take your eyes off of the Lord.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” –Psalm 18:2 (KJV)