Saturday, September 7, 2013

Our Story, Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Once we arrived back in New York after our three month trip to Australia, life took a turn we were not planning on.

We had kids.

I confirmed with Claude just recently that in our engagement and the first year of our marriage we never really had a conversation or came to any decisions about having a family.  We were reasonably afraid of having children in our first year and did our part to avoid it.  But then God started working on our hearts.  That process started on the plane trip back to the U.S.

I've always been prone to motion sickness, but in the flying I had done as a teenager and young adult I had only gotten sick on a plane one time.  The flight to Australia had been uneventful on the motion sickness front, so I was a little surprised when I got sick coming back to the states.  I thought it was a bit odd and left it at that.

Then I noticed that I was really tired.  Must be jet-lag.  Right?

And then I had a few other signs that made me wonder...but no.  I wasn't really pregnant, was I?

I didn't want to take a pregnancy test (why, I'm not sure), so Claude and I decided to just wait and see.  Within a week, I had miscarried.  With no pregnancy test for it to be official, I never told anyone.  But I knew.

What I didn't know is that this early pregnancy loss would be the catalyst for a complete shift in our thinking.

It wasn't more than a few days after the miscarriage that the Lord started talking to Claude and I about our plans for family.  No, we hadn't mapped out when we would have kids, but we were trying to avoid it.  Claude was concerned about financial provision.  And I was pushing to start a family.  We were not on the same page.

But God basically told us that He would overcome our desires in the area of children.  As we both let this concept sink in it made complete sense.  He is the God of the universe.  Why would our methods of birth control keep Him from bringing a child in His timing?  And, what was even more pressing to us, why would we give Him control of every other area of our lives and not submit our family to Him as well?

For us, it made perfect sense to leave our family planning to God.  It was a big step of faith for both of us.  But then we realized, we didn't have any idea what would be best for ourselves or our family.  Who are we kidding?  We may have some good ideas, but we are not omniscient.  And we wanted to be completely surrendered to the Lord, so we prayed and we let go of trying to prevent another pregnancy.

During this short period of time (really it was within a week or two of arriving back to New York from Australia), God had provided jobs for us at Starbucks and a family from our church very generously offered for us to stay in their basement while we saved money for an apartment lease.  God had again provided what we needed.  We worked and saved and enjoyed getting to know the family that was hosting us.  It was actually a refreshing time and we were really beginning to embrace where the Lord had us.

It was three months before we found a place of our own.  We moved in just after Christmas and by New Year's we were able to share a little announcement with our friends and family.

He came a few weeks earlier than we expected, but on a Friday evening in July of 2007, we welcomed Joshua Mu En Chew (aka - the Little One) to the Crew.

Just a month before his birth, Claude made a decision to find work in the science field and make use of his undergraduate degree.  He began doing research at a large university hospital in the city.  I quite my job making coffee and stayed at home with Joshua.  And we both played in a part-time orchestra for extra pay.

We weren't raking in the dough, but God was providing for us every step of the way.  And we were having fun being parents.

The thought of another child was definitely at the back of our minds...or maybe the forefront.  Following the Lord in faith is an exciting journey, partly because you never know what's around the bend.  And as we continually gave over our family planning, we wondered what God would do.

It wasn't long before we knew what was next.  One night, when Joshua was only a few months old, I noticed that my hair wasn't falling out like it normally does when I wash or brush it.  From my first full-term pregnancy I knew that could only mean one thing...

To be continued...

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