Nightmares, Miracles, and Morning Sickness

I will tell things in the order that they have happened, because the story unfolding is the most important part…

About a month ago, we found out that I am pregnant again.  (yes, I know how this happens; no, it wasn’t an accident; yes, I do have my hands full; no, I am not trying to beat my mother’s record ((9!)), etc., etc…)

Up until now, ever since Rosie was born, we have felt the Lord leading us to leave the door open for having more children.  I don’t know how long we will feel this impressed upon our hearts, but for now, that is how we have operated.  And it has been really good.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been physically exhausting in unimaginable ways to be pregnant or nursing constantly for over 5 years (with a likely year and a half to go…).  But once they are here, and you see their little faces, and you know them…  It is a small sacrifice.  As my Mama would say, “Who would we not have had?”

I wasn’t surprised to find out I was pregnant.  It was surreal (and still is), and Randy and I just looked at each other–the weight of it sinking in on many levels.  The joy of it, the eternal significance of it, the burden of it–the physical toll, the emotional roller coaster, the financial responsibility–the fact that this would change the entire course of our history…  It is hard to take it all in.  Ultimately we felt peaceful about it, knowing that this was the next step in our schooling of living by faith.

We decided we’d try to keep it a secret for a while.

The next day, we were going to a concert in the park.  We loaded up our Ford Taurus (which will only hold 3 car seats) full to the max with kids and instruments and headed to the show.  The girls were planning on debuting, Rosie on the toy piano and Paloma on harmonica.  We didn’t make it to the show.  Our car stalled at a red light and wouldn’t budge.  A van-full of strong men jumped out behind us and pushed us off of the road.  Several people stopped to help, gatorade and water bottles in hand.  Our neighbor was driving by and had room in her SUV to carry us and all of our gear back home.  We left our car on the side of the road, hoping we could fix it the next day.

On the way home, talking to our neighbor, I was so thankful to be wedged in the back with the instruments.  I could not hide the hot tears on my face.  I was so heavy-hearted.  Here we are, working our way through life with three precious, small children, and we are about to bring another into the world.  And our car, which is already at max capacity, has just died on the side of the road.  We didn’t have any money to pay for repairing it.  And most likely, it wasn’t going to be worth repairing.  I felt so helpless.

We have been living so close, especially this summer.  It has been exhausting, and I have felt a heaviness in my soul, clinging to the hope that we have been following the voice of the Lord.  We have been living by faith in a much more literal way–truly depending on God and seeing his hand provide in new and unexpected ways.  It has been good, but I must confess, I am weary from it.

We found out the car is dead.  And it is not worth resurrecting.

It is amazing how unattainable something like a vehicle can seem.

We started to pray, knowing in our hearts that that car would not have served us come spring anyway. I really believed that somehow, God was going to provide for us.

I made a half-hearted post on Facebook about wishing I could find someone who would trade us a minivan for a lifetime supply of guitar lessons.  My dad had his friends in the car business looking for us.  We checked a couple of leads here and there.  Two weeks went by.  No word, no sign.  No idea what we were going to do.  We were still praying, still believing.

Something happened in our family on the following Saturday night.  Randy explained it to a friend in a post on Facebook, and I will quote him for this part:

“A few weeks ago my whole family was experiencing alot of fear.  Girls were having nightmares alot- us too.  We were broke, our car had to be junked, and we found out we have another baby on the way (number 4- awesome but scary) and weren’t sure how we were going to manage-overwhelmed!  So one night I was reading my kids a bible story and just happened to turn to the story of King Jehoshaphat and read how all of his army was scared because of the advancing enemy armies.  You know the story- how God’s Spirit filled one of them and he prophesied, “Don’t be afraid for the Lord is with you! For the battle is the Lord’s!”  Then they decided to stop being scared and threw a huge party.  The next morning they got up, put the musicians at the front of their army and went out to meet the enemy singing and praising like God said.  The enemy didn’t know what to think, and God struck them with fear.  They started killing each other, then the Israelites took all their enemies’ wealth home with them that day.  After we read it I jumped up and said, “Alright! I’m sick of being scared!  Everybody get up and sing this song!” and I made up a song with “I won’t be afraid for the Lord is with me!  For the battle is the Lord’s!”  We all marched around the kids’ rooms banging toys together and singing really loud.  Then we prayed for each other, laid hands on each other, and sang the song with that person’s name in it: “Rosie won’t be afraid…, etc…” and we prayed for the nightmares to stop.  Then we repented for being scared, asked God for a van, and started celebrating and thanking God for a van we didn’t have yet.  Haha it was awesome!…”

We really felt something change in the atmosphere of our home that night.

The following week was really intense–the kids and I were all sick with colds.  On top of being really sick from the pregnancy, I felt completely overwhelmed.  I told Randy that I just wanted to hide for the next few weeks–just crawl in bed and sleep the first trimester away.  Not only did I want to hide from the kids, I wanted to hide from my own body–my own self.  We continued to pray for a miracle.

The weekend came, and Saturday night, we went to a birthday party.  When we got back in the car, exhausted from keeping all the little ones from jumping/falling into the pool all night, there was a voicemail message on my phone.  I listened to the message.  I listened again, stunned.  Randy and the kids didn’t know what to think, because I was listening with my mouth wide open and tears filling my eyes…

This is what the message said (only the names have been changed…):

“Mackenzie, hey this is (Josephine).  So, tomorrow is (Freeman’s) first birthday, and we can think of no better gift for him than for us to give you our van…  But we want to know if you want it!  Cause we just bought a new van, so we hope you want our van…  It would be yours…  And it’s a good van, we really loved it…  It’s a really good price.  Yes, it’s the zero dollar price…(laughter)   Anyhow, when you posted that (on Facebook) the Lord put it on our heart to move forward in a way we weren’t expecting…  So, I decided to leave a message so you can process it.  Um, we really hope we want it… (laughter)  Alright, friend, we love you.  Bye-bye…”

The next day, one of the most beautiful families I have ever known drove to our house, on their baby’s first birthday, and delivered to us the nicest vehicle we have ever owned.  They were smiling and laughing, glowing with joy to give it to us.  It is a minivan with tons of space for our growing family, room for a babysitter and all our instruments.  It is in great condition with brand new Michelin tires, leather seats, luggage rack, a bunch of luxurious touches that we have never had in a vehicle.  It runs beautifully, the air gets cold immediately when you turn it on, you can see the world in a more beautiful way–up high with lots of windows.  Rosie and Paloma are amazed that you can watch movies in a car, because they even threw in a portable dvd player for the girls!  I never knew I could be so attracted to a man because of the car he drives, but Randy looks more handsome than ever in the driver’s seat of our 2003 Honda Odyssey EX-L.  He is radiant with God’s goodness and the assurance that we are going to be okay in this world.

We have seen that as we follow the conviction of our hearts to let our family grow in God’s timing, he has always provided a way for us to take care of our children.  Even when it seems impossible–God has made a way.  We will be reminded of his love and mercy, the tenderness of his love for us–every time we run an errand, go to the grocery store, drive to a concert, take a family outing.  God is so good, and his mercies are new every morning.  There is no end to his love, no limits to his goodness.  His faithfulness is beyond human comprehension.  He makes a way when there is no way.

“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys:  I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”  Isaiah 41:8

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Jim fountain says:

    Great guys! Blessing. Us too are also expecting baby #4.

    1. Thank you, Jim. Congrats to you, too!

  2. Dea Irby says:

    God is indeed so good!!!!

    1. Oh, Dea. He is so good. I will always remember your story about the proverbial loaf of bread in the mail in times like these… Love you so.

  3. As I read this I am happier than ever to be a Chester!!! We love you guys and can’t wait to get together… soon!! Praising God for His provision – all 6 of you look great in a van!!

    1. Anyone would look great in that van! (ps.You don’t look so bad yourself in your new van…) Glad we will always be linked together by The Chestermobile… Love you more than words can say.

  4. This post has left me in tears. Led by the Lord, I recently moved back to my hometown to help my family (health problems.) Since the move I have lost my job and been left with negative dollars in the bank. I know God will provide and provide even more than I anticipate but I have been very overwhelmed. After reading your post I am reminded just how faithful He is and how he wants to bless us for our obedience. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much. I pray that God will continue to show you His will, and that as you follow Him, He will make a way for you.

  5. Jennifer Cox says:

    Mackenzie—What a great testimony to the grace of our Father. What a precious family to reach out when told as well…..can’t wait to see the next addition of your family! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! God really is so good. And I am humbled and amazed at how good people who love the Lord can be as well… It is truly a miracle.

  6. nance says:

    wow…. wow…. mackenzie…. i continue to be amazed and blessed beyond description by you…..

    much love and admiration for the blessing of YOU and Randy and your family…

    1. Oh, Nance. Thank you! Would love to sit down with you soon and catch up. You have been a miracle like this in our lives, sent to help us in a crucial moment and to encourage us that God cares and is watching over us. You are precious. I will never forget how God has used you in our lives.

  7. Tina Turner says:

    Blesssed, Blessed, Blessed. So happy for you and your happy and a big Congratulations!!!

    1. Thank you, Tina! You are sweet.

  8. Amy says:

    Blown away … thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. Thank you, Amy. Love you.

  9. Debbie says:

    So thrilled for you! Watching you walk by faith is a beautiful thing! GOD is FAITHFUL!!! We love you guys so much and think of your beautiful family, often!!! Who would have ever thought, when you and Randy were painting the mural on the childrens room at the Christian bookstore! GOD is good!

    1. Oh, Debbie! Thank you so much for your comment. Can you believe how long ago that was when we were painting that mural and I was wearing crazy clothes and shoes to work? I was such a little kid. But even then God really had his hand on our lives. I am so glad you were my first boss. You are great. Love you all so much.

  10. MacKenzie and family,
    What a beautiful tribute of man’s faith and God’s provision! God has many provisions of unbelievable magnitude as you serve Him with a pure heart and clean hands. You are precious in the eyes of the Lord and your Aunt Barbara. We love you guys and I will never forget the day I read this beautiful real life story. Who else could God trust with a little new creation than you two. His love for us is unfathomable!!!! What a blessing He also has for the friends who gave you the car, take good care of it and it will last through many babies. Love and prayers.

    1. Aunt Barbara, thank you so much for this. You are so sweet. We love you and look forward to spending some time with you next time you are close by…

  11. Anna Robertson Bennett says:

    Gabe and I were both very touched by your story and your writing. Congratulations on the minivan. We love Randy’s teachings to the kids about “no more fear”. What an inspiration!

    1. Anna, thank you so much. So glad it meant something to you both. Looking forward to getting together with you all when things settle down a bit for you (how is the new baby?) and me (when I can actually heat up a skillet without the smell making me rush to the bathroom…). Love to your sweet family.

  12. Melanie Terrell says:

    Mack, this is THE most beautiful and inspiring thing I have ever read!!! Fear is my biggest enemy, and this really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing your faith life with all of us! I – for one – am BLESSED by it! I also loved Randy’s real-life interpretation of that amazing Bible story! Wow! Thank you for modeling your faith in such a real way for all the world to see! I love you…and Randy…and Rosie…and Paloma…and Baby Kells!

    1. Oh, Melanie. I love you so. Thank you for being such a wonderful big sister. Who knows how different my life would have been without you?!

  13. jeannette steiner says:

    Mackenzie, I am thankful that Melanie posted this and so blessed to have read it. I KNOW those feelings as well but have also found through the years that God WILL provide in ways that we least expect Him to. He owns it all! I am thankful to our God for His provision for you and your family. Reading this has strengthened my faith. Thank you! Congratulations on baby #4! Be blessed! Jeannette Steiner

    1. Jeanette, thank you for reading this and sharing. It means so much to me. Love to you and your family.

  14. India Lynn says:

    Beautiful. I love happy endings. 🙂

    1. Thank you. I love happy endings, too!

  15. Taylor Irby says:

    What a beautiful post!! So encouraging!,!

    1. Thank you, Taylor. Love you guys. Your family is so sssswwwweeeeeeeettt!

  16. Tracie says:

    Somebody put this on facebook, so I came to read it and I am praising God with you, and laughing in recognition of His grace at the same time. After walking with the Lord all of my 51 years, my family and I have experienced these sort of things so many times (even including being given vans totally out of the blue when we needed them most without saying a word to anybody!). The more we trust Him, the more he provides, and the more He anticipates and provides our needs, the more we trust Him! I think your husband found the key – not fearing! My favorite verse is “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” No matter what circumstances beset us, He is stronger, and He can use them for His glory if we trust in Him. Bless you as you walk this exciting path!

    1. Thank you so much for responding to this post. It is so encouraging to talk with others who have lived seasons of their lives in the same way. God really is so good. May God bless you as well. Thank you.

  17. Carolyn Cox says:

    I love your honesty and I love God’s everyloving care of His children.

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Love you.

  18. Denise Kaiser says:

    Thanks for sharing this story–brought tears and hope to me. God bless you & your family.

    1. Thank you so much. God bless you as well…

  19. Mary says:

    Yahoo!!!!! The Lord reigns! Thanks for sharing Mackenzie – this is so encouraging!!!! I am crying too!

  20. Walking by faith & not by sight! I think the world will be a blessed place to have another Chester baby. 🙂