For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children
Romans 8:22-23 NLT
There was tension in the air as we waited for news. The family gathered, like every other night, as food was cooked in front of the house but the usual joking was noticeably absent. We had all expected the baby to be born that day when our young neighbour went into hospital in the early hours of the night before… but the labour didn’t progress as predicted. She was not permitted company for the birth and the nurse on the phone said she was getting too tired; they were considering a Caesarean section.
Thank God for medical intervention. Only it wasn’t as simple as making a decision to keep mother and baby safe. The welfare card allowing almost free hospital care would not cover an operation. The family would have to pay – or at least this is what they were led to understand at the time. There was a panicked discussion about how to get the money. Being the end of the month we could offer some, but not enough. This was an injustice that we had never experienced for ourselves and it was confronting.
To everyone’s great relief, the baby was born naturally within the hour and, 48 hours later, our neighbour brought her beautiful new son to visit us for the first time. The shadow of the birth had already lifted and we just sat and adored him. It was a mountain top moment! It will be an uphill struggle for this young mum but this was a time to focus on the fruit of pain rather than the pain itself. Pain is inevitable but what we build with our pain matters.
Another neighbour has phantom pregnancies. She experiences some of the joy and struggle of growing new life inside her, but the hope is all in her head. There is no sense of arrival or making it through the pain. As she rants and raves, escaping into a world of drugs to ease her disappointment, I see the labour pains of God’s creation waiting to be renewed. Some people have a rougher ride than others and this is confronting too. I can only trust that their sense of release will be all the greater when this waiting period is over.
As Jon and Elliot train to run up 61 floors for their vertical marathon next Sunday they will (hopefully) endure the pain because they are running for a reason! They want to do something physical to express their commitment to a six year old girl and to an adoption process that keeps knocking us back. The past few months have held patterns of pain on many fronts but we are trying not to channel that pain into higher walls or thicker armer. We want to allow it to break us and soften us, show us when to embrace painful circumstances and when to walk away, and above all lead us into greater reliance on Jesus, our wounded healer.
- We are so thankful for parents who take the time to visit and share our lives – Elise’s parents this past month and Jon’s parents next month.
- Please pray for the little girl that we are waiting to adopt. Pray for miracles in the approval process if this is the best timing for her. Praise God that she is well loved in her current care setting and for the relative peace of mind this allows us as we love her from a distance.
- Praise God that Elliot and Sam are both in a great space. Sam is loving play rehearsals at school and perfecting a fab French accent! He is very proud have won a short story competition this week. Elliot is playing guitar in a rock band and is currently away on an adventure filled school camp. We are so grateful for school!
- We begin a new season of weekend kids club activities through hot season. It kicks off with swimming at the boys school on Sunday. Pray that we will give our small group of kids the time and attention that they deserve and that relationships with their families will deepen.
- We have a group of 14 students arriving from Australia this week for a two week mission exposure programme. Pray for deep connection with the issues as they face new experiences. Pray for fun and health and energy for all those involved, especially our teammate Lish who will be leading.
- Pray for RoyRak as we look at new selling pathways to be able to offer greater job security to our staff. Pray for each of the women who work so hard to support their families, that God will meet them in the everyday busyness and that they will know their own worth and extend worth to others.
- Pray for our elderly neighbour in prison that she will never feel forgotten. And for the health of her partner as he is getting frailer and needing more hospital stays.
- Jon and I will go away for 4 days of debriefing later this month in order to process some traumatic stuff before we embark on new challenges. Pray for healing and hope for the future. And for our teammate Dianne who will be taking care of our kids!
- Please pray for the General Election approaching fast – March 24th. As we move a step closer towards democracy pray for a peaceful and non-corrupt vote day. Pray for those seeking power to remember the poor and to act justly.
- Donate to Jon and Eliot’s hearing aid fundraiser here!