Good Evening Everyone,
Sorry this is much later than usual...I drafted this but forgot I hadn't actually sent it out!
This week we have lots of birthdays to celebrate because of next week being half term. We would like to wish Dylan a very happy 2nd birthday for tomorrow, Charlie a very happy first birthday for Friday, Millie and Isla both a very happy 3rd birthday for next Wednesday, Grace a very happy 1st Birthday for a week on Saturday, Daniel a very happy 3rd birthday for a week on Sunday, and Connor a very happy 4th birthday for a week on Tuesday.
Just a reminder that if you would like to take part in our light safari, this half term, do let me know, so that I can send you the details of the locations and how to take part. The idea is that families can walk around the local area in the evenings to find decorated and lit up houses and windows, which have related activities, challenges and ideas accessible by a QR code at each location. (If you do not have mobile device that can scan QR codes - a master list of the web addresses will be available too upon request). You could also decorate your own house or a window too! (See attached flyer for more details). There will also be a variety of competitions (with prizes for the winner too).
This week, in readiness for our Light Safari next week, I thought it was appropriate to remember the verse in John 8 v. 12 where Jesus describes himself as:
This might be a strange description to immediately understand what Jesus meant by this. But when we consider the opposite of light: dark, we often think of fear, danger and loss. Whilst light gives us safety, direction and joy. Jesus wants us to be happy, to feel safe and to guide us, just as sources of light such as torches, headlights, lighthouses, lamps, lanterns and other sources of light that you can think of.
As yesterday was the date that Daniel had been due 3 years ago, I was particularly reminded how scared and out of control I had felt this time 3 years ago. You see, my eldest Emily's birth ended in an emergency c-section after nearly 24 hours of labour (18 of which were active labour!). I have now come to recognise this to not be the case, but at the time, I had felt a failure that it had resorted in surgery and that I hadn't been able to give birth to her naturally, especially when I had been so close. Also when many of my friends had been successful in natural birth at that time (comparison is often the route of dissatisfaction!). I have since come to realise what little miracles every baby is, however they are born, but I had rather ridiculously put the pressure on myself to birth naturally.
All through my pregnancy with Daniel, I had been reassured that there was nothing I had done wrong, that it wasn't I hadn't pushed hard enough (which for nearly 4 years I had put it down to), but that actually Emily was stuck because she was facing the wrong way! What relief to be told I might be able to do it naturally this time!
But then as our due date neared, I was warned that the longer I went over, that the greater chance I would have of having to have a c section again, and the lesser chance I would have of the water birth I had wanted. As my due day came and went, the midwives wanted to induce me a week after my due date. I was keen to let nature take its toll, because this baby couldn't possibly stay there forever! So they rather reluctantly allowed me to go to 10 days over, where I was booked in for induction.
As the morning of 40+ 10days came and I hadn't started naturally, I had been warned that being induced after a caesarean, was likely to mean I would have to have another, rang very loudly in my ears. The day started with me feeling I was a failure to be in this position.
HOWEVER... after so much prayer and trusting that God had it all in hand, I had no choice but to go with it and put it all in His hands, and to trust our safety, by whatever means, was under His wisdom. So when I arrived at the hospital, we were greeted by a midwife who had previously worked at the midwife led unit. She totally understood my fears and was uber keen to arrange for my waterbirth, despite many other professionals being reticent as a VBAC mum. I was keen for this, because I had laboured at home in the bath to 7cm with Emily, quite comfortably, and was gutted the pool wasn't available when I had got to the hospital, which was when everything seemed to unravel previously.
So here I was, 2nd time round, with a very different experience to first time, the birthing suite was much calmer and less busy, the pool was available and I had the opportunity and support to give me the birth experience I had been denied the first time round. All through my 2nd labour, I had a very strong sense that God had everything in his power and all went to plan. My dark and fear, was light and joy and smooth sailing with Jesus at the helm! I also had 3 post-birth nurses 'double-check' that i really was a VBAC mum who had just given birth by water birth, as they believed that I must be a first for the Walsall trust. Praise be, to the Lord who had set the path and laid out everything to perfection ahead of me - I just hadn't realised it or trusted it when I felt everything was being taken away from me.
So may all your times of darkness, fear, worry and uncertainty be replaced by the light of joy, trust, confidence and truth, just as mine was 3 years ago (and many other times before and since). Jesus is the light in the world, we just need to believe it and trust in him to guide and take control, especially when we feel so out of control and fearful. He has so many wonderful things in store for us.
As a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world, you might like to make a lantern with a battery operated light, (see the images in the attachment)
These are made from paper cups, a strip of card or a toilet roll and tracing paper, using hole punches or if you have some pretty shaped hole punches (or a sharp pencil pushing through into some playdough or blu-tac) and even decorated with pens/crayons and stickers. They look very effective and pretty in a darkened room, despite their simplicity. It really only take a little amount of light to fill a dark space. Feel free to share any photos of your creations on the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/878345892201454
Our the next weekly update email will be 4th November, and for those of you wishing to join our zoom toddlers session where we say hello to each other, have a singing time, tell a short story and then do a simple craft (like this one). Albeit, rather different to our usual session, but just a very informal way of allowing the children to see one another, pottering in and out (as can only be expected for pre-schoolers) and to try and do a little of what we would normally. Even if your child is very little, and you would just like to join us for the singing time and a hello, that is fine too, and you are welcome to hop off the call at any time (and I won't be at all offended!). We have been doing this at 1pm, but the more of the younger children we have, will allow me to do a separate morning session as well.
God bless you all, and may Jesus' light shine brightly upon you all.