Saturday, August 14, 2010

The end of an era

This week I had my last appointment with my midwife, whom I have absolutely LOVED! I've only been to the OB/GYN twice before that (yeh, sure I kept up my annual physicals....), who happens to be a man, and never thought anything of it. But with my pregnancy, there was something extra special about working with my midwife, a seasoned woman that sees pregnancy and childbirth in the similar light as I.

This appointment was no longer pregnancy focused. My time with her wasn't spent listening to my baby's heartbeat, or talking about pregnancy ailments, or talking about which birthing skirt I would wear. Instead, our conversation vascillated on a variety of topics, all which clearly cemented that I was, for real, coming to the end of my pregnancy journey.

We talked about how India is sleeping, if we will travel again soon, how I'm feeling, breastfeeding, tetanus, adoption, birth control, solid foods, whose parenting advice to listen to, and a few other humorous things. It felt like chatting with a wise friend. It felt good.

As I walked out of her office, and drove home, I got a little sentimental and emotional (although that doesn't take a whole lot lately).

That's the end of that chapter. A chapter which seemed to last FOREVER, has now come and gone. It was an incredible chapter in my life, one that produced the coolest gift ever.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

My one-month-old World Changer

To my dear little India,

Happy One Month Birthday my precious one! I can hardly believe that it's been one month since we officially met. In some ways it feels like you've always been a part of our lives, and sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can still feel your warm, slippery newly birthed body. And it feels like that just happened a few minutes ago. You have already changed so much. Sometimes that makes me cry and I get anxious at the thought of you growing up too quickly, but I know the Lord is good, and this is how He has designed it.

I want you to know that I loved you completely from the moment I knew I was pregnant with you. From before I could feel you tapping inside of me, before I knew what you looked like, or if there was anything "wrong" or "right" with you, before I knew you were a little girl, before I first looked into your eyes - I have loved you completely. I still love you my India, although now, it is different. My love for you is deeper than it was for you one month ago, and I'm sure one month now it will be even more exquisite. My love for you is pure and intoxicating. I love the smell of your head and your breath, the softness of your skin, the look of admiration in your eyes as we stare at each other for hours. I could kiss you all day long!

Your Daddy and I are so delighted that God chose you, for us. We have felt completely unworthy at times to be your caregivers, overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising you to be a blessing to this world. Please have grace with us, and forgive us our failures, as this is a learning and growing process for all of us. We are trying so hard.

We want nothing more than to watch you grow up, a secure, confident little girl, with a tender heart. We want you to see our love and commitment to each other, to you, to the lost and hurting in this world, and to God.

India, you are absolutely beautiful and altogether lovely. I've spent time at the Pyramids at Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, been awed by famous mountains and mountain ranges, been humbled by the Ganges, Mekong, Thames, Nile, and Yangtze rivers, gone on safaris, trekked in jungles and deserts, watched sunrises and sunsets all over the world, walked on pristine land that was virtually untouched by man, seen volcanoes erupting, have seen many seas and oceans. All of these things that are considered some of the most amazing experiences anyone can take in. But, my sweet little girl, NONE of it is as breathtaking, inspiring, beautiful or heart-moving as you are.

Thank you for being my daughter; I'm so proud to be your Mama. I love you.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's in a Name...

We all know I'm a little unique. Maybe more along the lines of a lot unique. I'm sure it didn't come as a surprise to the people who know us well when they heard we named our daughter India. It's a unique name, but not that unique. I'm sure some of our family members were holding their breath as we announced our little girl's name, hoping we didn't pick something way out in left field! :-)

The meaning of a name is very imporatant to Dallas and I, and as we talked baby names, we came up with a couple names of each gender that meant something special to us. Actually, I was so sure I was having a boy, that we only picked one girl name and had several boy names lined up to choose from!

In most other cultures, when you say your name, many people either know what it means, or after you get to know someone, you mention what your name means. We have lots of friends overseas who take great pride in their names. My friend Moon(her English name), was born when the "moon was shaded" so her name means "moon shade" and therefore, she goes by Moon in English. Another one of my friends has "flower" as part of her name, and it fits her perfectly. In American culture, we don't always pick names by their meanings, and that's OK. But while paging through baby names, I couldn't stay away from the meanings, and was deterred many times just because I didn't like a name's meaning.

Picking the perfect name weighed very heavy on my heart, and at times, I felt very burdened by it because I wanted the exact name that God had for this little being growing inside me! Here is how we decided on India's name.

After I graduated from high school, I went on a mission trip to India, which was tiring, hard, eye-opening, rewarding, frustrating and beautiful. I came back changed, not so much visibly, but very stirred by what I saw and experienced. I didn't understand or know it right away, but my eyes and heart and mind were permanantly changed. I needed time to process what I had seen, which essentially took years. It was on this trip that I felt God really confirm in my heart that this was something that I could do for the rest of my life. I felt like He promised that He would lead me and give me strength to do whatever He called me to do or go wherever He wanted me to go.

This was not necessarily my "calling" to missions, but this was the confirmation of my calling, with a clear promise to go with it. It was almost like a re-calling. It was the time that I knew, that I knew, that I knew! I felt SO secure with this promise, and had great peace. Even still when I think about this period of time, I feel unbelievable peace and warmth and have a sense of victory. India has always had a very dear place in my heart because of this. India changed my life. I continued in this calling, going back overseas to Asia, until....

About a year after this trip, Dallas and I started dating and I shared and shared and shared and shared and shared some more about missions, and the lost, and saving the world and how I felt like I was called to full-time ministry, although I didn't know what that meant exactly. I just knew that mission work was going to be involved! I talked his ear off, impatiently hoping to influence him. He shared some of the ideas on his heart, and we realized these full-time ministry callings could work together, and soon we were married! For the first two years of our marriage God stirred in our hearts that a time of change was coming, and soon we joined YWAM and spent four years doing various mission work full-time. Our lives were turned upside-down during this time.

If it hadn't been for my trip to India, I don't know if our lives would've been so drastically touched. Maybe they would have. I don't know. But, we can both confidently say that because of my trip to India, our lives were without a doubt, changed.

To us, India Josephine means many things. India, to us represents God's calling and promise and peace to rest in. India also reminds us of something exotic, fragrant, beautiful and rich in history. Josephine means "God will increase", and that is our prayer for our little India Josephine!

We pray that God's calling and purpose that we, her parents have felt on our lives, would be increased on our little girl and that she would do greater things than either of us have done or can do! When I found out I was pregnant, the very first prayer I had about this little one, was that God could use this little babe for whatever He wanted but I wanted Him to call this baby to the Muslim world! Nothing like trying to influence God... :)

In the same way that India the country turned my world upside-down, our little India girl is doing the exact same thing and changing our lives.

Thank you Lord, for your vision, promise and peace in raising this little gift.

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