Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Story of the birth of a Prophetess (Luke 2:21-40): From Daddy's Perspective (Part 3 of 3)

“The Time Piece”
Kelli never took any time off towards the end of her pregnancy. She told her manager at AEP that her last day would be Tuesday, the 5th of May – her due date. Every day she would walk the stairs during her lunch break to help get herself in shape for her labor. Towards the end, she walked them more times than ever to try to get her to come on out. But Anna didn't come early. On the evening of the 5th, Kelli was a bit apprehensive about what she would do the next day. With no job to go to and everything ready for Anna, Kelli was sure to be a nervous wreck at home all by herself just waiting for the baby to come. Meanwhile, that night I was praying in our room on the bed. Now, I had finished packing my hospital bag, but the one thing I hadn't been able to find was a timepiece that had a seconds hand on it to time Kelli's contractions. As I was praying, as happens occasionally to me, an image came into my mind. This one was of me looking down at a watch or a timer of some sort. So, I immediately got up from bed and started looking for my watch. God did me one better and let me find a brand new digital alarm clock w/ seconds hand stashed away in our drawer. I had to look for awhile, but I knew I would need it soon. The next morning, Kelli went into labor and sure enough, it turns out that a lot of what “fathers-to-be” do during labor is stare intently at a time piece to time contractions.

And so, as efficiently and punctually as she possibly could be, Anna came right on time.

“The Daily Devotional”
So, the next morning, as Kelli was starting her contractions, we were able to squeeze in our daily devotions. We are currently reading through the Bible with one of those Daily Reading Plans, and we happened to be on the following readings: Mathew 28:11-20, Romans 16, Psalms 71, and Deuteronomy 33 and 34. I was very happy to see that on the day of her birth, Anna's daily readings happened to include The Great Commission, a Psalm of hope and proclamation of God's goodness, and the only place in the Bible which actually talks significantly about Asher, the tribe from which the Anna in the Bible came.

“She's Here!”
Kelli labored for 18 hours. It was pretty intense especially towards the end. She started around 3:40 am, woke me up at 5:37 am, we went to the hospital at 2:30 pm, and she finally was free of her labor pains and looking intently into the precious eyes of her baby at 10:53 pm. I immediately melted like wax when she came out and I finally got to see her. She is amazing and we love her so very very much. And now I remember back to when Kelli would say, “Let's have a baby!”...and I now know the answer to the question that she would ask me...“Well, wouldn't it be fun?”

YES! Yes, it is. In so many more ways than I imagined. She is my purpose and the littlest little love of my life. She is perfect in every way, and we are so very blessed to have her with us.

“The Revelation”
Now, when I originally wrote this posting, I had been fasting and praying for some time. That morning at church, every time I would close my eyes, I would see a picture of my sweet baby girl. Now, ever since what happened in Uganda, sometimes at church God will give me an image or two of a particular body part of someone at the church that may need fixing (and He has been good to us by providing his healing also). But, that morning all that I saw during the worship time was Anna's face. I was hoping that God would have revealed himself to me that day, of all days, with something that mattered, and so I was disappointed when my selfish Daddy-self took over and all I could see was my baby girl. But as I have been compiling this very long description of Anna's birth, I have come to believe that it was God who put those images in my mind. I have come to see that Anna Marie Bruce is a baby conceived in faith, through obedience, directly after a trip filled with God's healing power and might. The decision that we would have a baby was prayed for in faith by her Grandmother without any knowledge to suggest that we were even in the business of making a baby. And, through a confirmation of her name by Anna herself, a vision confirming the timing of her birth, the daily devotionals happening to land on the scriptures that they did, and God's favor on Anna as evidenced through the images He placed in her Father's mind, I believe that Anna's name fits her very well. Anna actually means “Grace” or “Favor”, and I believe that God's favor is on our little Anna. Anna, I am looking forward to see how God will use you in your life.

And thus, the story of the birth of a prophetess comes to a close. What joy is in my heart that my Lord would give to us such a blessing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Story of the birth of a Prophetess (Luke 2:21-40): From Daddy's Perspective (Part 2 of 3)

“The Pregnancy”
And then there was the near-death experience that the new Dad-to-be would have in his car on his way back from work one day just a couple of weeks later, checking a text message from his wife...with a picture of a Positive Pregnancy Test! It wasn't necessarily the picture that caused a near-death experience, just the need to break due to the traffic and the fast approaching car in front of me. Luckily, I figured that one out just in time. I can just see it now... “Father receives news of first born, but died reading the picture text message.” And so Kelli was pregnant. Just as quickly as we decided to start trying, she was immediately pregnant.

Kelli's pregnancy continued with precise timing and flawless execution – just like Kelli. She was a champ through her whole pregnancy, never complaining and working at her job till the very end...but more on that later. On December 20th, Kelli felt Anna kick for the first time. Then, on the 22nd, the first time I put my hands on Kelli's stomach to feel for the baby's kick, and as soon as I did (literally less than 1 second) she kicked the hardest she had up until that point. It was like she was leaping in her Mama's womb in response to the touch of her Poppa. It was like she knew it was me. What a precious memory that will be for me.

“The Name”
As far as names go, there were only ever two names we really seriously considered naming Anna: Anna and Haven. Kelli and I talked about this a lot, and then we'd leave the subject alone...and then we'd come back to it. I liked the name Anna because it referred to the prophetess in Luke Chapter 2, who prophesied over Jesus when he was a baby. She liked Haven because of its quiet and serene meaning and uniqueness. So one night as we laid in bed after we had been talking about it, I put my hand on Kelli's stomach and I said... “Little baby, what is your name going to be? Is it...Haven....or Anna....or Abria....or Brianna....or Tiffany? Our little Anna gave a big kick on the second name and on no other – her name would be Anna!

“The Secret”
Around this time, we found out a little secret my Mother had been keeping from us for awhile. Now, we were always very happy with her because she never once bugged us to get pregnant. She was very good – not pushing us or making any comments at all. As it turns out, she wasn't bugging us because she was bugging God! Talk about going over somebody's head! Forget bugging us when you can bug the One who will make it happen in the end anyways! I can't deny it...I had mixed emotions when I found out she was praying for us to have a baby before we had made any indication to her that we were even thinking about having a baby! :) So, to clarify, before we went to Uganda, she had been praying that we would have a baby soon. From what I now know, she apparently prayed non-stop for this. She believed God would answer her prayer, and she even started worrying about the fact that she had some summer trips planned that might keep her from seeing the baby when she was born.

To Be Continued...

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Story of the birth of a Prophetess (Luke 2:21-40): From Daddy's Perspective (Part 1 of 3)

Anna Marie Bruce came to us on May 6th, 2009 at 10:53 pm. We are so excited to have her with us. She is a true joy, and we are looking forward to getting to know her over the many years to come! Here is the story of her birth...

The “Itch”
It all started when Kelli got the itch. It's funny how that happens. I didn't think she was for real at first, but then she kept bringing it up. “Let's have a baby!” she would say. What?... Are you serious? “Well, wouldn't it be fun?” I don't know, I mean...I really don't know. Maybe? What can you say to something with such life-changing consequences? Let's think about it. Yeah, that's a good answer – a good standard answer.

“The Decision”
Then, we went to Uganda this past summer. I was helping some of the Ugandan workers build one of the orphan homes there, and the conversation turned to personal matters. They asked me if I was married and if I had any kids. I told them I was married, but I didn't have any children yet. They asked how long I had been married, and so I told them 4 years and a few months. They were astonished...4 years and no children? “How could this be?” – they asked. “Is there something wrong?” Then, one of them had a revelation, “Oh! Well, you must be failing then!” Some of the others sort of snickered under their breaths.

Failing?.... Failing??? What in the world did he mean by that?

He continued probing, asking if we were using some sort of “family planning”, and I said yes – which seemed to quell some of his concern, but he still was not quite satisfied. He asked me if my wife was ready to have kids, and I said I wasn't sure but that she probably was. It was interesting to me the response that he gave. He suggested that it was a human rights violation to keep her from having a baby when she was ready. I had never considered it like that before. Either way, Kelli had never been very serious when suggesting we should start trying to have a child, had she? But, nonetheless what he said struck a chord in my put a seriousness to this topic like I hadn't experienced before. I prayed about it, and I sensed an urgency in my spirit; I believe God was telling me that it was time to move forward with having a baby....this was something that I needed to obey. So, on our way back from Uganda – as we were sitting on the plane together, we decided that it was time.

“An Aside”
By the way, during our time in Uganda, we had been praying that God would come in power. We prayed that He would heal many of the sick people in the villages so that the message that we were bringing would be validated. God responded to our requests, and many people were healed during our time there, and many people believed our message also. I prayed for a few women who had blurred vision. On one occasion, the woman I was praying for said that after I stopped praying, she looked up and at first I was blurry, but then suddenly everything came into focus. Another woman said that at first she couldn't see that there were people standing behind me, but when she was healed she looked at me and then past me and was a little surprised to see them there. She said, “oh...there are people behind you!”

Ok, enough about Uganda...back to Anna.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2 Weeks

Anna turned 2 weeks old yesterday and today we had her 2 week check-up. She was 7 lbs. 7 oz., 20 in. at birth and has already grown to 8 lbs. 13 oz., 21 in. We are thankful for such a healthly girl! Here are just a few photos from the last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Best Mother's Day Ever

Anna arrived just in time to be the perfect Mother's Day gift! My mom, Gigi, was here helping me out with Anna so that made the day even more special. She has been so much help and I am very thankful for her. She left today and it was hard on both of us. B's mom, Grandy, also stopped by for an Anna visit so we got to spend time with her too.

(her little onesie says "Mommy's Dream Come True")

P.S. More Anna pictures coming soon!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just the Two of Us

We have really enjoyed these last few weeks as a couple before our little one arrives. A few weeks ago we took a short "babymoon" to Fort Worth (thanks for the idea Tim and Marci!) and went to an art/music festival then hung out at Sundance Square. We also recently visited the Arboretum and biked White Rock Lake on our new bikes. We miss Barton Springs and the Greenbelt, but are finding that Dallas has fun outdoor spots of its own!