In January I wrote in my blog Unexpected Blessing that we were expecting a fifth baby. It was quite the surprise and in trying to get our heads around the news God has taken us on quite the journey as we have come to terms with His plans for our lives! I used that blog to reflect upon God’s Sovereignty, Wisdom and Love which I used as a framework to think about all that was going on in our lives. You may also have read in my blog Hope in the God who Provides where I also wrestled with the challenge to trust in God to provide amidst the challenges arising from the imminent arrival of our new addition. I spent some time thinking about the character of God as the God who provides and the one who gives good gifts to His children.
The title of this post probably gives away the fact that yesterday God brought Aaron Matthew McClure into the world (13 days early). There was a plan set in place to gently encourage his arrival today but it seems that he was not eager to wait for that! After an excellent evening last night with the new CU committee Debbie declared that she was in labour and young Aaron was born at 11:39pm weighing in at 6lbs 12 ounces (our smallest baby yet). Debbie and Aaron will remain in the hospital for another day or so before returning home when we will then be united as a family of seven (plus the 2 cats and 4 fish).
We are very grateful to God for this precious new life who is most definitely a huge blessing to our family. The name Aaron means “strong mountain” while Matthew means “Gift from God”; most fitting we thought for our new arrival! According to a Nigerian friend our home is now “an African grandparents dream for it is a home filled with children.”
Reflections on the journey of the past few months
Putting all this into perspective we’ve also been reflecting on the journey the Lord has been leading us on these past few months. While we were away in the Lake District God seemed to be speaking to Debbie about peace; something that is far easier to experience up in the fells listening to the sounds of the wildlife and the endless running water of the rivers and lakes.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
These verses from Philippians 4:6-7 speak about this peace of God and they are verses that Debbie was reflecting on during our holiday in the Lake District. The following is an extract written by Debbie about this journey towards peace she has been on over these past months;
“I’ve realised that my daily life in Southampton is void of this peace I’ve experienced in the Lake District. With four children to care for there’s always noise of some kind around. But peace goes deeper than a physical silence. It’s an internal thing that is hard to describe. It affects both the mind and the body. The absence of peace was definitely connected to the loss of hope I experienced. I had no peace in my mind, in fact my mind went into some kind of overdrive and it felt like there was a radio playing continually in my mind. There was no peace in my heart because I had lost all hope in God and in Him having a future for me. And my body showed signs of suffering from a lack of peace. As my hope has returned and increased over the past year, that sense of peace has also begun to return. For example, when we found out that we were expecting, my initial feelings were of panic and I couldn’t imagine coping with 5 children. However as the months have passed I’ve gradually moved to a place where I can trust that God has given us this baby and will hep us to cope with our new addition. As this has happened a sense of peace about God’s plan and will for me has developed. There are still moments where I wonder how we will manage, but the sense of peace given by God prevents these moments becoming ones of overwhelming panic. These verses in Philippians 4:6-7 have definitely been my experience. While there are several earthly reasons in my life right now that should be causing peace to vanish, yet God’s peace is guarding my heart, keeping it hopeful and causing a deep and internal peace to remain.”
What I fi nd incredible about these words is the way that Jesus (who is called the ‘Prince of Peace’) has gently led Debbie back to Himself sowing seeds of hope which in turn have sown seeds of peace. Now of course is when the rubber its the road as we prepare to bring our precious little one back home. One kind of peace is most definitely on hold while new baby learns to sleep through the night. This other kind of peace however (which Debbie has been reflecting on above) is something that the “God of hope” is seeking to fill us with (alongside His joy) as we trust in Him. Why? So that we in turn might “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Thanks so much for your prayers these past months. We really value them and can see how they continue to make a huge difference in our lives. Please do keep remembering us and each of these precious children God has given to us (Benjamin, Naomi, Samuel, Jacob and Aaron) before the ‘throne of grace’.
All our love,
Steve and Debbie
“For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will feed and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.’ When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.” Isaiah 66:12-14