Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Baby Story by Jana Bentch Stoltzfus

NOTE: Names of my dear friends have been changed :)

This is our story…a story of God’s faithfulness, His love, His guidance and His perfect timing!

Nate and I had been trying to conceive for several years. Two years ago, in June of '08, I first truly asked for others to agree with me in prayer for this. The first time was with my cell group – a group of wonderful young ladies who I believe were faithful to pray! One evening when we met for cell, we met on the hill at EMU. It was a beautiful evening, NO rain in sight – just some big beautiful clouds. Kay, Joy, Emma and I were praying and singing as our hearts felt led. I asked the girls to pray - to truly pray that God would bless me with children. The girls began praying for me. As soon as they started praying, I looked up and saw a huge bright beautiful rainbow!!! As they continued to pray, another one appeared and then a third one! Three rainbows! What a miracle!! The girls and I agreed that those rainbows were a symbol of God’s promise to me. I believe on that day that God promised me three children (though the girls joked that maybe I would have triplets!) While they were praying, Emma had gotten the sense that the Lord was saying to sing out to Him every chance I could…Kay was then led to Isaiah 54 – 1"Sing, O barren women, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor… 9To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.” Oh what a beautiful image!!! As soon as the girls were finished praying for me, the rainbows disappeared!

The next day, I was outside working in my yard and recalled what Emma had said about singing. So I started to sing and as I looked up in the sky, a rainbow appeared! Oh the tears…

That following spring, in April of '09, I was going through a time of struggle, wondering when something was ever going to happen. Nate and I called his mom and asked for prayer. While she was praying she received from the Lord the number 12 and the word wisteria. We were not sure what that meant at the time, but knew that God would reveal it eventually.

A few months later, as I found myself struggling once again, wondering and waiting, God led a practical stranger to speak into my life and to encourage me. During a yard sale at Nate’s family’s farm, Holly (an acquaintance of Nate’s from high school) stopped by and talked to Nate for a little. She left, but returned a half-hour later out of obedience. She said that she kept hearing from the Lord to turn around and come back to us and that He wanted to tell us “You are not forgotten”. She asked if that meant anything to me and I shared about our struggles with having children. She confirmed that is what she had sensed it was about! This still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Every time I need a little encouragement, I think back to this…God has not, nor will ever forget about me!

This last winter, a gentleman from my mom’s church, who we did not know very well, heard a word from the Lord and shared it with my mom that the Lord is going to bless us as he and his wife were blessed. They struggled for several years getting pregnant, but the Lord blessed them with their own child and later they were once again blessed by being asked to adopt a child. I have always been open to adoption…so we will see if God has that in store for us!

On Valentine’s Day of this last year, God once again spoke into our lives! After church, Ellie (who knew nothing of our situation) said that during worship she saw an image of Jesus holding a baby and He handed it to me. She said the baby was a little girl that looked just like me! I sobbed! One more reminder that God would fulfill His promises to me!

This last fall, I quit leading my cell group and began to really struggle with two of my friends from the group. These two friends became pregnant fairly easily and fairly soon after they started trying. It was very hard on me to hear of both of their pregnancies and in a sense, I “unfriended” them. But the Lord called me to reconciliation. On April 11, God laid it on my heart that I must reconcile my relationships with Kay and Joy. I immediately emailed them and asked them to meet with me that week. We had planned on meeting that Wednesday. When Wednesday (the 14th) came, I got home from work and the last thing I wanted to do was meet with them. As I sat down to email them and let them know it wasn’t going to work, Kay called. I knew that God wasn’t going to let me get away with this one! A half-hour later, Joy and Kay were sitting in my living room. I apologized to them for how I had treated them. I admitted my hurt, but did not blame them, but felt that God was telling me that I needed to reconcile my relationship with them. It was a very sweet time with these two.

That following Sunday (the 18th), I shared with my new cell group (Ellie, Rachel and Melanie) about my story. Rachel anointed me for healing, which was the first time I had been anointed for infertility. The ladies prayed great prayers over me. While Ellie was praying, she had a sense about the birthing process for me and how it will be a very spiritual time for me when that time comes.

So, there I was, after almost two years of waiting for God to fulfill His promise, but remaining fervent in my prayers and having received many words of encouragement and promises from the Lord. Remember the two words my mother-in-law received – the number 12 and wisteria? Well, in the month of April (when wisteria blooms), 12 months after she received those words, 1 week after I reconciled my relationship with Kay and Joy, and 3 days after I was anointed, we found out we were pregnant (4/21/10)! AAAHHHH!!!! What a miracle! God is so good! He is so faithful! And what is really neat, is that we got pregnant right around Easter, I found out right before my birthday, we are due right around Christmas (during the 12th month of the year☺) and we just had confirmation that we are going to have a beautiful baby GIRL (who will look just like me ☺)

A couple of weeks after we found out (5/2/10), we shared with our cell group that we are pregnant. The ladies again prayed over me and anointed me. Rachel said that she received the image of the Lord’s holy fire surrounding the baby and me. The enemy cannot penetrate His holy fire, which is something I have clung to throughout this high-risk pregnancy. In fact, the name that we have picked out for our little girl means “the Lord’s holy fire”, but sorry, we aren’t sharing exactly what it is until she is born!

So, I thank you my friends and my family! Thank you for the many prayers that have been spoken on our behalf and on our little girl's behalf! This is truly a blessing and a miracle and I praise God each day to have the chance to share this testimony! I would not change anything about my story! He knew what was best for me! He knew the perfect timing and when both Nate and I would be absolutely ready to receive this child and to raise her to be a great woman of faith!