I shared how the Lord reached out and hugged me via doctrinally rich songs of praise and worship on Sunday.  Guess what?  He did even more than that.  He gave me one of my favorite gifts in the whole wide world: watching a baby be born.

Sunday before worship, we have a fellowship time between services.  I saw a sweet lady who was due at the end of thee week and chatted with her a bit.  Then she says that it is a home birth.  Next thing I know, I’m saying, “Do you have a photographer?  If not, I’d love to do that for you.”

No, we weren’t really friends.

No, I didn’t even remember her last name.

No, our families have never hung out at all.

She still said yes!  So, I suggested she go ahead and text me the directions to her house for “whenever” she went into labor.

At midnight, I got a text, “FYI: Stephanie started into labor.  Midwife here.  Hopefully baby coming soon.”

I leaped right out of my bed.  Grabbed my camera and emptied my card while throwing clothes on quickly.  Stephanie had said that her last labor was only four hours, so I assumed I didn’t have much time.

Again, I drove in the snow to a birth for someone I didn’t know really well, but was privileged to be invited to one of the most beautiful moments a woman has.  I have to admit that I was glad I wasn’t walking uphill in fourteen inches this time.  Though, that was really exciting.

I arrived to find Stephanie and Andy walking and using counter pressure.  She teaches the Bradley method, the same method Charlsie uses, so there was already a familiar air in the room.  And then I watched her “do her thing”.

And it was beautiful.

I don’t know how it is possible to experience joy & exhilaration while also wanting to bawl & grieve, but that is what I experienced for six hours.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not unhappy.  I was thrilled to be there and blessed to be capturing moments for this sweet couple.

Still, I have a bond with Charlsie that is dear to me, experiencing the same thing with her two times. My first home births.  My first experience with midwives.  My first photo shoot for a birth.

Incredibly special.  Powerful.  Dear to my heart.

And I found it overwhelming that My Awesome God would bring me to this place while in the midst of pleading for Charlsie’s heart and mind… to a home birth.

It was so familiar, yet unique.

It was so joyful, yet heart wrenching.

It was so peaceful, yet prayerful.

When I doula-ed for Charlsie, I prayed constantly.  It’s just how I doula.  I pray during contractions. I pray as she rests.  I pray as she pushes.  It’s all covered in prayer and an act of prayer for me, even while using my camera to celebrate.

This time, the prayers were for two home birth mamas.  One laboring to deliver and one laboring to live.

It was a bit surreal.

And oh so beautiful.

Stephanie’s mom, two midwives, and her supportive husband let her lead the way in how to handle the labor.  She used the birthing ball.  She walked.  She leaned on her husband.  She used the tub.

Oh, my golly, while she rested in the tub, she looked so much like Charlsie to me.

Stephanie Tub WEB

And hours later, she delivered at home for the first time and for the first time in the birthing pool.

Her daughter came forth gently as Stephanie took her time pushing so as to be productive and for it to be less painful.

There, in a bathroom, surrounded by love and prayers and support, a child joined a family.  A mother rejoiced in the fruit of her labor.  A father basked in the awesomeness of his wife.

Stephanie and Andy WEB

And I was privileged to see it all.

Amazing.

I have attended three home births now, two of them Charlsie’s.  And while this one wasn’t hers, it felt completely connected to her.

She would be thrilled to know I got to do it.  I can’t wait to tell her about it some day.

Stephanie Joy WEB

Friends, never doubt the truth that The God of Christianity is personal.  He is.  While other religions have rules and distant gods to please and perform for, Christianity offers me and you the One True God who is intimately involved in and cares for every aspect of your life.

He is the God Who Sees.

And He is the Giver of All Good Gifts.

Caryus feet WEB

This week, He brought me an amazing gift of attending and photographing a birth.  A true gift.  My favorite kind.  And this time, it was a gift in another way, drawing me near to the Lord as I prayed for a friend who defined home birth for me.  Another true gift.  Two gifts in one.  And I am so grateful.

The only thing better would be for Charlsie to be fully healed, so I can share it with her.

After attending almost a dozen births as a doula/photographer, I am still blessed like crazy to see every birth.  Watching a child be born is nothing short of miraculous. Every single time. What an amazing honor to see.

Welcome, Carys!

Can you believe He gave me this?

 

I Will Glory in My Redeemer {no matter what}

December 16, 2014

Two days ago I stood in corporate worship gently weeping. The songs, oh the songs that morning. I am a big fan of rich hymns and songs of the faith that declare truth and theology that can only apply to Christ and our Awesome God, which might explain the tears.  Be Thou My Vision brings […]

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If You Work at a Crisis Pregnancy Center…

December 11, 2014

… could I please ask you an important question?  Do you focus on helping the client choose life or choose parenting? Those may sound like the same choice, but they really aren’t.  And honestly, I think we are shooting ourselves, and ultimately unborn children, in the foot when we make the conversation about parenting instead […]

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The Second Best Advice I Was Given {homeschooling}

December 10, 2014

Our Homeschool Forum has shared one of my posts today.  And I think it’s timely because many parents often start considering homeschooling now and many who are just starting out may be feeling overwhelmed.  If you have littles in your homeschool, this post is for you… The Second Best Advice I Was Given As a […]

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These Moments, Oh, These Moments {childlike faith}

December 9, 2014

This precious and eternally significant dialogue from Paul Louis, my six year old, was amazing and from out of no where for me, but not for him.  The ponderings of this childlike faith nearly moved me to tears, brought joy to my heart, and made his thirteen year old sister stop in her tracks to listen. […]

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How Things Work with Our Adoption Agency

December 5, 2014

In doing our home study paperwork, I have noticed that many people (including all the doctors we saw) don’t understand the agency process for adoptions, so I want to share how our journey looks.  If a private adoption makes an appearance, things change, but for now we are on track with our local agency.   […]

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Women’s Bible Study Isn’t Actually Church ……{and neither are any other programs}

December 2, 2014

I have attended a women’s Bible study for years.  Many years.  Eighteen years, to be exact.  They have ranged in size, organization, emphasis, and study style.  I would even say that the first women’s Bible studies I attended are where God drew me to deeper fellowship, study, and commitment to His Word.  And these studies […]

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When God’s Plans are Bigger: Foster to Adopt {Adoption Awareness Month}

November 25, 2014

Every week in November I will have a guest post on adoption, to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month.  These posts will highlight different aspects and different journeys.  Today, another sweet friend shares her story. God’s plan was bigger than hers! Adoption was always something we wanted to do. From the moment my husband and I started talking […]

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Are You Using What Your Enemy Gave You?

November 20, 2014

God’s sovereignty is beautiful, but it isn’t always enjoyable.  Each of us must walk through painful circumstances in life and occasionally someone will be like an enemy to us.  Ultimately, there is only one enemy in this life, yet, in our struggles with situations, circumstances, and sinners like ourselves we can be at odds with other […]

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Making the Days Count {Adoption Awareness Month: Jan & Phil… and Darling!}

November 19, 2014

Every week in November I will have a guest post on adoption, to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month.  These posts will highlight different aspects and different journeys.  Today, Jan shares her story. Her story is still unfolding… and it’s darling.    Darling* arrived at our home December 16, 2013, the result of a paper pregnancy. After […]

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