Month: March 2017

The keys to the Kingdom

In 2013, my husband to be and our team made a way to Bethlehem in Palestine for our outreach. One of the girls on our team was having a hard time sleeping and our team leader stayed up to talk and pray with her. As they were talking, they heard a loud thud and turned on the flashlight and discovered a red box had fallen from the shelf. They decided to look inside and found it was full of keys. Keys of all shapes and sizes. A word our team felt was this would open the keys to the Kingdom. 

Today, my husband and I are sitting in a guesthouse in Gambia. A place neither of us dreamed or imagined we would ever be. We are here because we were called. We are here because we asked and we received a very clear picture of where God wanted us to be. We are here because we were given the keys to the Kingdom where we can open and close doors. We’ve been entrusted with these keys to open an invitation to relationships with people who come from backgrounds we never imagined in them in. We have keys to the Kingdom.

A few months ago, we started praying about the next steps for us. We knew we were getting comfortable and perhaps it was time to get uncomfortable. One day we prayed and asked Him, “where do you want us?” And I got a picture of a machete. Nothing is random to God but it was for me. My husband suggested looking at the map and we did. We were already feeling Africa was on our hearts. Then we saw it, The Gambia. Shaped like a long machete. We prayed and I remember specially saying, “If this is where you want us to be, you will reveal and make yourself clear to us.

After that we shared with close friends of our, not too long after, we got a text message from when they were in a meeting and shared that the couple who came to stay just so happens to be leaders of YWAM. We knew them for a couple months at this point but we never asked where they were from. Needless to say, we were shocked and it was a key to a door to His Kingdom that we asked for. Who knew?!

Here we are, waiting for more doors to unlock as we see what else will unfold. 

Pray for us as we continue to open these doors. To handle them with delicacy and care as we enter a new culture, new language and new community. Let us be gifted and ready to roll up our sleeves and say, “yes, here I am. Use me.” Let Him be the one to shine His light in whatever ways He can.


Birthing story of Selah Ivy

The last six months of 2016 has been an interesting wrap up for the year and this blog is way overdue for a new post. For right now, I would just love to share several blog posts about this past year to catch up. Because there is just so much to share and not enough time to write all at once. 

This post will be about the birthing story of my daughter and how this season has changed or maybe not changed so much.

Before we got married, one of the things I strongly felt was if I wasn’t ready to have family, I wouldn’t get married. It was important to me to make sure I had the foundation of Jesus set. And the man of my dreams also. When I met Josiah, I knew he was the one, even if it took awhile to finally see. It was less than two months after getting married that we discovered the two pink  lines would change the course of our marriage but for good! We knew we were called to multiply!  

Over the course of the pregnancy, we thought of names. Never would anyone think that name picking is easy. But one name caught my eye: Selah. Josiah didn’t seem super fond of it at first and then one day, I received a confirmation and told Josiah on the way home. The blessing we received was a huge deal for me. A week later, my friend asked me what name we were thinking and I told her and she shared how she was thinking of the name for their possible second daughter and her husband said the name wasn’t for them and agreed it  was for us. Talk about God knowing before we did!

The Hebrew definition means to pause and remember though some may disagree. Her middle name, Ivy means faithfulness and together it means to pause and remember His faithfulness. We believed her identity will help her know who her God is and know His promises in every part of her life. Little did I know, her name would remind us constantly.

The last four months, my husband and I continued staffing for David’s Tent DC on the National Mall and also taking Bible Core Course. While we didn’t take the traditional course load it was still pretty intense. I ended up only doing part of the course because of my stress level. The course ended the first week of May and Selah was due on the 12th. I was slowly taken off the David’s Tent schedule to prepare the arrival of our baby girl. 

That gave us a chance to finish painting her room and setting everything up. A week before her due date my mother in law came to help for three months. To help kind of take our place at the tent and to help with the baby in any way she could. 
A week goes by and no baby but I was 2 cm dilated. We planned for an induction on Friday the 19th. I honestly wanted to avoid an induction and kept hoping she would come before but nothing. So we went in on the 19th at 8pm and they started the induction around midnight. An hour later, contractions began.

I was able to sleep most of the night until about 7 when contractions were getting stronger.I walked in the hall when I could. I couldn’t eat but I tried to sneak a granola bar but threw up later. Laboring and birthing is so much work. By 3pm, I was starting to space out. One of my biggest concern was seizures, I didn’t know how my body would react to giving birth. Spacing out was a sign of exhaustion and I really needed to rest. I had hoped to go natural as much as I could. I did try using laughing gas but for some reason I didn’t like it. 

At 4 pm I decided to use epidural. I was 7 cm at this point. It wasn’t an easy decision because the last time I had a needle stuck in my back I had migraines and headaches that kept me in bed for a week. But the team at Washington Hospital Center was good at explaining and comforting me in my decision. 

After 45 minutes, my legs were pretty numb. They checked to see how far I was and was  10 cm within the hour! I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to push but I was ready to go. They said I could rest for a little but and this gave Josiah a chance to shower and grab dinner. He went with his mom. By 7, I was ready to start pushing so the nurse came in and checked my contractions and told me to start pushing. My water refused to break and I kept pushing hoping it would break but nothing. The sac was slowly coming out and after hour she went to go get the doctor to break my water and to start the birthing process. They came in and started preparing me for the final stage. After breaking the water, I pushed some more. After awhile, my contractions started to slow to five minutes apart. They started getting concerned and just decided that anytime I felt a contraction to go ahead and push. Aft 9:33pm, my 7.6lb 20in, beautiful baby girl came out. I honestly don’t know if she cried but they handed her to me and all I wanted to do was just hold and talk to her. She looked at me with her big eyes and wouldn’t leave my sight. 

We were released in less than 48 hours. And we were so glad to be home. Little did I know that we Selah would be lifeflighted a few days later due to her levels from jaundice, and while most people will say it’s not a big deal, it is when paramedics show up at the door because the pediatrician called and told us to rush her to the ER only to fly to Childrens and spend several days in NICU and not being able to hold your baby or breastfeed. It was traumatizing as a new parent but… I’m thankful that she doesn’t have long term effects and she’s healthy and thriving. Nine months later, she’s determined to walk soon. Has five awkward teeth with a beautiful laugh. To watch her sign, “daddy,” is one of my favorite things.

When she was first sick, it was traumatizing especially with my hormones all out of whack. But when I look at her now, she reminds me of God’s faithfulness, even if it takes awhile or someone needs to remind me. She has been a blessing to us. Challenging to better ourselves and see beyond the independence of what we have become accustomed to. Learning to love beyond our means we have never experienced before. At this moment, Selah is my arms breastfeeding and she’s been sick all day, the things I would do to make her better or better yet, be sick for her. 

I wouldn’t trade anything for those 22 hours I labored with her. I wouldn’t trade watching my husband struggle in the middle of the night going through a bunch of wipes while changing her diapers.  I wouldn’t trade the lack of sleep if it means I get to hold her again for the first time. How is it that God entrusted us to birth such a tiny creation? She was loved before she was made and loved at conception and she was loved the moment we first held her. She is beautifully and wonderfully made. Weaved to His perfection and satisfaction.

To view photos you can check out Instagram: mrslizasmith86