About a month ago, we found out that I am expecting again. This will be five children in 7 years. (I’m sure many of you reading this are having a gut reaction.) It means that I have been pregnant or nursing now nonstop since early 2007. It is a lot to take in. It is a lot for me to take in. People continue to ask me, with every pregnancy, if we were planning on having this baby or if it was a surprise. I look back on all of my beautiful children and know that they were meant to be in this world. They were planned to a perfection that is far above my own understanding of what life is all about. I believe that this unborn child is an eternal soul, and I am becoming more and more patient with the Lord as He shows me daily what it means to lay down my own my life, will, ambitions, and plans for a purpose that I do not yet understand. Having children is by far the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done with my life. Yes, I know the lasting effects that pregnancy wears on the body, and I know the scars and traumas of intense labors and deliveries. Believe me, I can let this terrify me. And yes, I know that it seems poor planning on many levels to be bringing another child into our very transitional situation. To think of adding another bed to our two-bedroom house. To think of what is going to happen when they are all approaching college age… Yes, I know. I empathize with the lady in the checkout line who told me she would never bring a child into such a terrible world. I know, I know. I can let it all paralyze me. Yes, I am tired. I wrestle with energy enough to care for the four small children God has already given me. I wonder how I am going to manage through the next seven months. Sometimes I want to hide from the morning sickness… Truly, it is overwhelming. But deep down, I know it is going to be okay. God is working through me to bring a life into this world that will change the entire course of history in a million different ways. I keep reminding myself of this: my body is the only vehicle through which this particular soul will travel into the world. Even now, God’s hand is taking up the fibers of body and lovingly weaving them together with the chords of soul and spirit. The miracle is happening deep inside my very own body. This amazing thing has been set in motion, and I have two choices. I can live in fear, or I can live by faith.
I have been reading the autobiography of George Muller, a devout missionary in England who set out to do the work of the Lord without asking for money or support from anyone. He only talked to God about his needs, and he kept detailed records so that he could write about God’s faithfulness and help the faith of others to grow. To the dime, God provided every need for his family and the work they started for thousands of children and orphans in the country. His influence was far-reaching, and his motives were that God would be glorified. To the day, to the hour, sometimes to the second, God came through to provide for the hundreds of children in his care. Once, when they had no food for the 300 orphans, Muller had all the children sit down at the breakfast table. They prayed and thanked God for the food He had provided, although there was absolutely nothing to eat in the whole place. Within moments of finishing the prayer, the baker, who had had a dream the night before where God told him to bring bread for the orphans, knocked on the door with bread enough to feed all the children. And the milkman, whose truck broke down in front of the orphanage, gave all of the milk to the orphanage instead of letting it spoil while the truck was fixed. Incredible. I am especially touched by this book right now, because I see that in this season of my life, God is stretching my faith again. Having another baby in the picture intensifies everything. Seeing the documented proof of how God provides when we seek provision from Him alone is a fresh revelation to me. While I do not begin to compare the work that we are doing to what this godly man was able to accomplish through prayer and faith, God knows our hearts, and He knows we are trying to do the work that we believe He means us to do.
I am reminded of all the Lord has done for us. Over the last few years, we have had very little money. The income we have been bringing in teaching music lessons has rarely been enough to cover our bills and groceries. Journal after journal, I can look back and see prayers that God would help us to buy groceries or pay our power bill. And yet, in this season of having so little, God has blessed us through dozens of people and circumstances, day after day proving his faithfulness. We have been able to accomplish things we only ever dreamed of: turning our home into a recording studio, working full-time on an album and finishing it, free vacations to the beach, our dream van driven right into our driveway and given to us as a gift when our only car died on the side of the road. Over the years, we have had people who did not know anything about our situation who dropped by with fresh fruit or stuck a check in our windshield-wipers. We have had barter situations with the best restaurants in town, so even though we never had money for eating out, we could frequent our favorite local cafes. We have played concerts where we made exactly enough tip money to catch up on our bills. Once, when we were scrounging up change in the car at the gas station, someone drove up beside us and remembered they owed us $100, which gave us enough money to fill our empty tank and drive to our concert in Atlanta that night. When I look back on the last 7 years of our life, I am looking back over a list of hundreds of miracles. I can’t be afraid. If I look ahead in fear, I am forgetting what God has done.
God is teaching us with such tenderness that He cares about the children He has given us, that He is taking care of everything, and all we have to do is seek provision from His hand alone. And as He leads our family, we will follow one step at a time. And we will walk in peace. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7 (NLT)
Mackenzie Chester is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. She and her husband, Randy, are The Josephine Knot. To hear music and watch videos, visit their website: www.thejosephineknot.com