ALWAYS FAITHFUL

By Sarah Langness

In six or so short weeks, things are going to start looking a little bit different at our house. I’ve got a laundry basket of purple and pink sleepers, onesies and pants sitting on the couch waiting to be folding testifying to that change. Our little boy moved into a big boy bed two weeks ago, allowing us to move the crib across the hall into the room affectionately known as “Baby Sister’s room”. The quickly accumulating empty buckets of ice cream bear witness to one of my favorite (and most indulged in) pregnancy cravings.

In just six or so short weeks, our lives will once again be turned wonderfully upside down.

Upon reaching the 34th week of pregnancy, my local doctor sent me to another doctor in Bismarck where Baby Sister will – hopefully – be born. (I say “hopefully” because I never want to give birth on the side of the road. Or in my house – more power to those of you who do, though!) When I was pregnant with Ezekiel, the transition to a doctor in Bismarck proved . . . eventful, to say the least.

In short, at that initial appointment, I was measuring smaller than the doctor liked to see; as a result, weekly non-stress tests and ultrasounds were performed to make sure our baby boy was growing as he should. And praise God, he was and did and was born healthy! So when Jordan and I traveled to Bismarck on Monday, I was expecting similar events to take place.

And, they did.

Once again, I was measuring smaller than the doctor liked to see. He ordered a growth ultrasound to check on Baby Sister. The next day we had not one but two ultrasounds to check baby’s growth and the blood flow to her via the umbilical cord. Today we received a call informing us that baby is simply small, but otherwise growing well. Again, praise God!

I’ll never forget the fear in my heart during that first doctor’s visit in Bismarck when I was pregnant with Ezekiel. Seeing – or sensing – the doctor’s concern as well as hearing phrases like, “If the blood flow from you to baby isn’t good, we’ll have to take this baby today”, made me fearful for what could be. I didn’t know what to expect. Simply waiting for the ultrasound results was agonizing, not knowing what news we were going to get about our baby. I can still remember the fear, the tears, and the prayers Jordan and I shared that day.

But we were not alone.

My brother sent me a text that day with some of the most comforting verses in all of Scripture to remind me of that truth:

“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the watersI will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fireyou will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . You are precious in My sight . . .You are honored and I love you,'” – Isaiah 43:1-4, NASB (emphasis mine)

I love those promises. And I am so glad they are not simply words on a page.

This week, there was none of that fear. Okay, maybe just a little bit for a short amount of time. Especially after receiving a call only ten minutes after our first ultrasound saying another one had to be completed. But in comparison, that fear lasted only minutes and wasn’t nearly as intense.

Because we had walked this road before.

I was confident that Baby Sister was doing fine. That I simply carry more inward. That different doctors measure differently. That, as her brother before her, our little girl would be found growing as she should.

And while all this is true – I do believe different doctors have slightly different techniques at measuring, hence the difference that spiked the concern of our Bismarck doctor’s – I realized last night that my trust was completely misplaced.

I was trusting in what knew. In what had experienced before. In what believed.

Instead, I should have been trusting wholly, completely, utterly dependently, upon the One who was faithful in this same situation two years ago. In the One who is knitting together our little girl. In the One who has never left us and has guided us through every step of each of these pregnancies.

“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.” – Lamentations 3:19-25, NASB (emphasis mine)

No matter if the path we are walking seems familiar or completely uncharted – we are not alone. The Faithful One is there, ready to prove Himself once more. Ready to sustain. Ready to strengthen. Ready to carry.

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After the Whirlwind

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by Sarah Langness

I might as well come right out and admit it: I am feeling sorry for myself. Because for the first time since 2001, I am not attending the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention. Six times I’ve gone; three as a student, three as a counselor. A majority of my family is in Estes Park, Colorado. Many of my close friends are there. People I haven’t seen in years, don’t keep in good contact with, but still consider dear to my heart – they are there too. But I stayed home. Back in February, when Jordan and I were praying about Zeke and I attending, we felt a peace about staying home. All I’d like to know now is: what happened to that peace?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the past three weeks, I’ve been surrounded by people. Family reunions and wedding activities for two weeks in Minneapolis; then nearly four days of family visiting us here in Beulah. And now, it’s just me and Zeke. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. But after so much activity, after that whirlwind of three weeks, it’s pretty quiet around here.

So in the midst of my moping, I’m reminding both my heart and my head that the Lord knows what I don’t know. Maybe He wanted us home because of that suspiciously snotty, sometimes congested nose of Ezekiel’s that hasn’t gotten worse but hasn’t gone away. Maybe He wanted us home because He knew those two weeks away really would be enough for us, despite the fact that I currently feel like we could be gone another two. Maybe He wanted me to stay home to remind me that I don’t always have to be in the midst of the “action”, of the exciting things. To remind me that there is ministry to be done right here at home in Beulah. To show me the importance of and power of prayer for a gathering that is 670 miles away.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt . . . ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.'” – Colossians 4:2-3, 5-6, 17; NASB (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately, it’s always one thing to know truth and entirely different thing to believe truth. That’s what I’m working on right now. Who knows, maybe it’ll take all week for that to take place. But I’ve simply got to trust that God’s thoughts and plans are better than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I better be faithful with the time He has given me in the place He has led me.