We've decided on a middle name for our littlest princess. Kalil (Kah-LEEL) is a Hebrew name that means "complete". We've known of and liked this name for over a decade, but it seemed fitting to go with Anastasha (Greek name for "resurrection") since she will be made "complete" at her "resurrection".
Since our last email, we've been blessed to have some special events for our daughter. The first one was an evening of prayer and worship with some friends locally. It was very sweet and intimate time for us to cry out to the Lord for strength and mercy. We were very blessed by the love of the Body of Christ, manifested by our dear friends who attended. Most of the women who attended have lost children themselves, including one who gave birth do a daughter with anencephaly just over one year ago.
The second event we attended was a baby shower last week given by some very special young women. “Living Alternatives” is a home for young women who have a crisis pregnancy and have decided to carry their child instead of having an abortion. These brave young women have followed our story and wanted to do something tangible to bless us, so they invited Tonya and I down to their home near Tyler, TX. We were so blessed to meet them and be allowed to share our story with them. They showered us with gifts, as well as with love and prayer. We were indeed very blessed and so thankful that they each have chosen to give their child a chance at life.
Tonya is 35 weeks pregnant now. We had Caius at 35 weeks and 5 days gestation. So based on our history, we assume Anastasha is coming soon. Tonya has been contracting very regularly, but hasn’t gone into labor yet. Anastasha is doing well, growing and active in the womb. She is head down, engaged and ready to come out and meet us. We both assume she’ll be born within the next 2 weeks.
As it gets closer, it is clearly a bittersweet time. There is increasing joy and excitement in our hearts for the time to meet her and be with her. But there is sadness not knowing how long we’ll have with her. We know that however long it is, whether minutes or years, it won’t seem like long enough.
As our journey nears its pinnacle, we are learning by necessity to trust more in our Heavenly Father. Tonya and I were talking today about the fact that in this life we struggle much LESS with trusting God with the “big” things – life, death, illness, jobs, etc. But where we really struggle is in trusting Him in the “little” details. We are both control freaks (what a mirage that is!), and like to know the details before they happen. Even with Anastasha’s life, we ultimately trust Him in “what” He decides. But the “how” is stressful to us. Will she be born alive? How long will we have? What will we do with the kids during labor? Who will come visit and when? None of these are big details in the grand scheme, but the cumulative effect is to cause us angst. And this is mostly because of our disbelief and lack of trust, which is sin. Would you please pray for us that we would TRUST more?
Some other things that we would really appreciate prayer for in the coming days:
Preparation for our children’s’ hearts for what
For Tonya’s body to be strengthened for labor (and the
contractions to settle down until it is really labor time)
That we can
hold Anastasha in our arms while she is still alive
Many of you might be wondering if we are resolved to the fact that Anastasha will die. I can say truthfully that I have been praying more earnestly for Anastasha’s miraculous healing more in the last 2 weeks then probably I have cumulatively the rest of the pregnancy. Do we believe God CAN heal her? Oh yes, with ALL our heart we do. Do we believe with certainty that He WILL? No, we don’t because we don’t presume to know His specific will and plan in this situation.
We do have HOPE. But our hope is not in an outcome that we desire per se, but our “hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18. As hard as it is to say or to write, our greatest desire is that God would be glorified and magnified in Anastasha’s life by whatever means. That is the prayer we have for all of our children, and we know it is a dangerous prayer.. He may be most glorified by her miraculous healing and long life to show the world His power and mercy. Or He may be most glorified in her short life and death to show the world her great value despite her frailty and brevity. We don’t know, but we do trust Him…deeply.
Thank you for your prayer and support. We need it now more than ever.
Craig and Tonya
On those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
To deliver them from death
And keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
For we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
Even as we put our hope in you.
PS. When Anastasha is born, Tonya and I know that some of you may want to show us love in the form of flowers or gifts. And we are thankful for that. But we would be SO GREATLY BLESSED if you would consider instead making a donation to the orphanage and school that I have visited in Sudan several times. Harvesters Reaching the Nations is an awesome ministry of which I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees (click here to watch an endorsement by Franklin Graham http). To give, you can go to this web page and put Anastasha's name at the bottom where it says "in honor of". The money you give will be used not just to bless us, but to advance God’s kingdom in Sudan by caring for and blessing some very precious children.