My husband, Haskell, and I were married for 12 years before we ever conceived children. When Haskell and I married, I had the holy ghost and Haskell did not. That made us unequally yoked, and that really mattered to Jesus. He wanted the best for us and for our children and so, he closed my womb until our home was in order. We were married in 1994. I had received the holy ghost in February of 1991, and I had been taught that it was unlawful in God's sight for a believer (someone filled with the holy ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues) to marry someone who was not a believer. I lacked the faith and humility needed to believe what I had been taught when I met Haskell. I was someone who was used to having what I wanted (spoiled), and what I wanted was Haskell. So, instead of trusting God to take care of me and to give me just who and what I needed (as He said He would do for those that love Him), I rebelled and went away from the truth that I had been taught.
Those years were very hard, especially in the beginning. I wanted to feel close to Jesus and I could not. I had always loved Jesus and always prayed to him, but now I felt this "blankness" there when I prayed. There were a few times when I desperately cried out to him that I could feel his peace, but those times were not often. Over the years, Haskell and I would visit different churches, but there was no life in the spirit in them. After a short time we would leave, still feeling very empty. I would tell Haskell about my faith and what I believed, and he would tell me that I was free to go back to those home prayer meetings. We lived two and a half hours away from there, and more than that, I had sinned a great sin and did not know how to repent of it.
As time went on, I would remember some truths that I had been taught. One of them was that if you really loved God, and if He really loved you, then He would get you. Somehow He would work things out. I held on to that. I had the worst thoughts of what Jesus might do to get me back. I never dreamed He would be so gentle and kind.
In December of 2000, my cousin had a baby. I sent her a baby gift in the mail, and she called to thank me for it. She lived about four hours away and we had not been very close as adults. That phone call was the start of a relationship that has been so important to me and my life. We talked that day for a good while, and a week or so later, she called again. We kept in touch frequently after that, and it was like Jesus had opened a door that had been closed to my past. This cousin, Tracey, had also attended the prayer meetings as a child. She had not received the holy ghost and had gotten away from the prayer meetings as a teenager. But she was someone who knew me and understood what those prayer meetings felt like. We did not talk about these things, but the time was coming when we would.
Tracey and I had become so close that we wanted our families to take a vacation together in the mountains. Keith, her husband, and Haskell were both quiet people, and we joked that we wondered WHAT they would talk about. They came to our house with their little daughter, Laura, who was just under two years old. They spent the night with us, and then we all headed for the mountains the following morning. We had a great time together. Haskell and Keith really hit it off together. It was wonderful to spend time with Tracey. I was very close to her older sister while growing up, so she was always around then. I was enjoying her as an adult now very much.
On the way back to our house from that trip, Keith and Haskell began talking about their Baptist beliefs that they both had held all of their lives. I remember feeling like I wanted to crawl under my seat. I felt that way any time the Lord was mentioned. I knew that I had been given something special, but I had not lived up to that standard to be able to tell others about it. I was very quiet and uncomfortable.
About two months later, Tracey received some alarming health news. She was told that she might have a very serious autoimmune disease and she was worried. She was concerned about her soul. She wanted to know if she was right with Jesus, and in her heart, she felt like she wasn't. She felt like she needed a touch like the ones she remembered receiving as a child in those prayer meetings. Keith was opposed. He did not want her getting involved with any of that. She called me several times, asking very clear questions about the holy ghost and whether a person had to have it or not. She would put me on the spot, and I felt like I could not admit the truth, because that would mean that Haskell was not right with God. I would tell her, "I would rather have it and not need it, than not have it and find out that I needed it."
One day she called me after an appointment with a specialist in Chapel Hill. The specialist told her, "You are okay. Don't worry. You don't have this disease." She was a little relieved but still concerned. She had gotten desperate for God now, and she still wanted to know if she was alright with Him. I remember when we got off the phone that day, I took a shower and prayed for her to not stop seeking Jesus. I told Jesus that I loved what I was feeling from her and the changes I had seen in her, and I asked Him to please not let her be satisfied with what that doctor had told her. I wanted her to keep going with God and seeking Him.
She really wanted to go to those prayer meetings, and Keith told her it would destroy their marriage if she did. She was so desperate, that she decided that it was worth risking everything to find out. She needed to find out if the power of God was still as real as she remembered it being. She needed a healing because she was still having health problems. And she needed to know if her soul was right with God. She went to the prayer meeting, and on the way she prayed, "God, if this is not where you want me to be, please don't let me feel anything. But if it is, please let me feel Your touch like I did when I was a little girl." That night was a very special night in the Lord. The prayer meeting had not been going on for long when Pastor John asked Tracey to come get prayed for. Almost instantly Tracey began speaking in tongues and feeling the power of God flow through her! It lasted so long that a video was made of it. She praised God until she became hoarse. It was a wonderful, special event.
I did not know she had gone to the prayer meeting. My mama sent me an email the next morning letting me know what had happened. When I read it, I was so happy for Tracey and convicted in my soul at the same time. I prayed to Jesus to give me strength and then went downstairs and told Haskell. Tracey had done the very thing I had been afraid to do. She risked her marriage to find God. I knew my marriage was not right in the sight of the Lord. How would God require me to repent? I told Haskell that I needed to have peace with God too. I knew he did not understand how important the holy ghost was, or how wrong I had been. He said he just wanted me to be happy and that if I needed to go to those prayer meetings to have peace with God, then he would not stop me. (Jesus has been so good to me!)
I wrote Pastor John an email and told him how I was feeling. I asked him how to repent. I was nervous about writing the letter, and then accidentally sent it by mistake before I was ready. When that happened, I smiled, knowing that it was a push from Jesus. I slept all night, and when I got up the next morning, I nervously went upstairs to the computer. Pastor John had written me back. I felt so much love that I cried and cried. I was so afraid of what God would have me do, but Pastor John did not have a good answer for me. He told me to wait on God. The love that I felt in that letter from him was so comforting. I knew Jesus was taking care of me.
There was a Bible study coming up that following weekend, and I asked Pastor John if we could come. He said we could. Haskell said he was willing to "see where it led him." Well, that was a night that neither of us will forget. I was so eager to go and be among God's people and to repent. I wanted to be in their presence and admit that I had been wrong. Pastor John talked for a while, and finally I felt so much conviction that I ran and fell at his feet. Everyone gathered around and prayed for me. After a short while, I began to feel light in my spirit. The heaviness had lifted and I found myself laughing. I wondered where Haskell was and what he was thinking. I had been praying for him to just feel a touch from Jesus, so he would know that the power of God is real. I was still on the floor when he made his way up to where I was, and everyone began praying for him. He was so sweet and humbly started asking God in his heart, "What do I do? I don't know what to do." Haskell prayed for about twenty minutes like that, and suddenly the holy ghost burst out! He was overcome with joy and was speaking in tongues and happy! This was on February 1, 2003. Jesus changed our lives that night forever. He fixed it! He fixed my marriage and my mistake. Jesus is good :)
When Haskell got the holy ghost, it did something to encourage Keith, Tracey's husband. They had only met a few months earlier, but the time they spent together on our little vacation had made an impression on Keith. He knew that Haskell was level-headed, and he knew that Haskell had not grown up around the holy ghost. They had discussed their beliefs on our vacation together. Keith knew that if Haskell had received the holy ghost, then maybe there was something he didn't know about God that he needed. Oh God is so good! He has loved us and set us all up to save us! :)
Keith came to a prayer meeting, and Jesus let him know that it was real. In May of 2003, he received the holy ghost on Mother's Day. He spent that night in our home, and the next morning he was drinking his coffee and watching Laura, his daughter, play with some blocks in the floor. He started talking to the Lord. He told the Lord that it would be nice if we (Haskell and I) could have some children of our own. The Lord spoke to him and said, "They are going to have children, and you are going to have a son named Caleb." Keith got up to get another cup of coffee and asked the Lord if that was Him who spoke, and the power of God went all through Keith. A week earlier, Tracey had been talking to her mama about Caleb in the Bible. She did not know who he was, but she wanted to find out. She and Keith were wanting another child, and if they had a son, that was the name she was suddenly wanting him to have. (She and Keith had already picked out a name that was a "family" name for a boy, when they were pregnant with Laura. This was a new desire that she had not told Keith about, but had mentioned it to her mama only days before Keith's experience.) Caleb was born in January of 2004. When I got discouraged about not conceiving, Keith told us his testimony of what the Lord had spoken to him in our home. It was such an encouragement.
Back in 2000, three years before Haskell received the holy ghost and before Jesus had put Tracey into my life, I had an unusual experience. Haskell and I were riding in the car, down the interstate, when suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling come over me. I had never pondered how many children I wanted, but suddenly, in an instant, I knew exactly what I wanted. The feeling was so strong that I had to let it out. I looked at Haskell, who was driving, and said, "I want to have three children......and I want two of them to be twins, a boy and a girl......and I want to have them by the time I'm thirty-five." (I had just turned thirty.) As soon as I said that, I looked at him and said, "I don't know where that came from," and smiled. He laughed and said, "Well you better get busy then." That desire stayed tucked away in my heart after that, but I never really talked about it anymore.
In late 2004 we began to seriously investigate why we were not able to conceive. Jesus took such good care of me through all of this. He even sent a new doctor to take the place of the one that I had. I knew when I met him that Jesus had sent him to take care of me. He did exploratory surgery and then fertility drugs for several months. I knew that we were going to have children because Jesus had told Keith that we were. This gave me the strength to keep going.
During this time, Jesus was teaching me how to live. I was learning how to give to others and really put others ahead of myself. As I said before, I was a spoiled and selfish person. One night before going to bed, I humbly asked Jesus to let me know if there was anything I was doing that displeased him. He gave me a dream that night. The tender way he gave it to me was so sweet. He let me know that I was selfish, but he took such good care of my feelings. All I wanted to do was change after that dream. And as strongly as I desired to change, there were times, in real life situations, when I would feel to do something and think "That's not selfish." Immediately the Lord would bring the dream to my mind. He helped me to be honest with myself! No matter how much we want to change, we are no match for our flesh. It takes help from Jesus. I had to learn that. And he helped me make right choices.
I also had to humble myself to the authority that God has placed in my life, authority that He placed there for my good. It took real faith and real humility for me to believe that God had loved me enough to answer my prayers by giving me a pastor and a husband after God's own heart. I had prayed as a little girl to know what was really true and right about God. Jesus had put that prayer there when I was young, and then he answered it. But it took faith and humility for me to believe it. It took help from Jesus to believe that he has given me what I always wanted. God has loved me and been patient with me to teach me how to live. I am thankful for that.
One day while driving to a doctor's appointment after a failed fertility treatment, I was praying, "God, please let me have a good attitude. I want to please You with my attitude." I loved my doctor that Jesus had sent to me to help me through all of this. Jesus had put a special feeling there between us, and he really wanted Haskell and me to get pregnant. At this particular appointment, when he came in to see me, he was more disappointed about us not conceiving than I was. He was so sweet and wanted to do anything he could to help. I told him we were going to be fine, and that we were going to have children because Jesus had let us know that. I told him, "We don't know what we'll have to go through to have them, but we're gonna have them." He smiled and said, "I sure like your attitude." :) Jesus is GOOD! He sees us, and he saw me then, and he answered my prayer about having a good attitude.
My doctor eventually suggested in-vitro fertilization. I talked with Haskell and he was okay with doing that if I wanted to do it. I talked to Tracey about it on the phone and told her, "That's just science." I wanted to have babies naturally. My thinking was that God could heal me. I was also thinking about how I had gotten ahead of God when I married Haskell too quickly before, and I didn't want to push to have children if that's not what God wanted for us at this time. I got off the phone with her and had to run an errand. While driving, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Who created science?" I said, "You did, Lord." Instantly I knew that if God had created it, it was good. I also had heard from Him and knew that He was okay with us going ahead with this. I called Pastor John and told him how I had been feeling about in-vitro fertilization, and I told him about the Lord's question to me about who created science. Pastor John was very encouraging that day on the phone and told me that he did not feel that in-vitro fertilization was second class.
After deciding that we would probably do in-vitro fertilization, I was a little nervous one morning about the cost of it and the physical/emotional stress of it all. If it didn't work, could we afford another round? If it didn't work, could I take the disappointment? The Lord whispered to me, "Don't be afraid of what's in your heart." That encouraged me that Jesus was with me and that he had faith in my faith :)
There are so many testimonies all along about what Jesus did during the in-vitro fertilization process. It was all so sweet. At the end of the first round, I felt in my heart that we were not pregnant. It had all been wonderful and great, but I did not feel pregnant. I went for my bloodwork to see if I was, and later that afternoon, they called and said we were not pregnant. We were sad at the news. It hurt me to see Haskell hurting. All I wanted was to make him feel better and not be too sad for his sake. (This was not the same selfish person, and Jesus had done that.) After going to bed that night, I was startled awake with a picture in my mind of the embryos that they had placed in my womb. I started talking to Jesus. I knew someone who had lost her teenage daughter, and Jesus touched her and physically took her grief from her. I reminded Jesus of that and asked him to please help me with my burden, too. He started rolling scenes in my mind of all of the wonderful times that I had experienced going through the whole process. He reminded me of how Pastor John had told me that he didn't feel like in-vitro fertilization was second class, and that helped me go through it. I was so happy with all that I had been through, that I felt like in-vitro fertilization was "the" way to have a baby, because I was getting to share it with so many people that I love. When I realized that, Jesus spoke to me and said, "If I'm in it, it's not second class." I remember feeling like a breeze had blown through and took something out. The next day at work, Haskell and I were still a little heavy, and the people we worked with were sad for us too. That was weighing on us. At lunch, I told Haskell that I was blaming myself for not getting pregnant. He asked why, and I told him that there was one time during the first round when I had a bad attitude for just a couple of minutes. An auditor had come to the office and we were stressed, and I remember having a tone that wasn't right. I felt it as soon as it came out, and I hated it. I remember apologizing to Haskell for it then. He barely remembered it, and then, with his sweet mountain accent, meekly said, "I just don't think that's right." When he said that, relief hit my heart. I could hear Jesus reminding me, "Listen to your husband (....the authority that I've put over you for your good)." That afternoon was so sweet! I hope I never forget what Jesus did that day. All of the pain of not conceiving left. All of the fear of going through it again left. There was nothing left but thankfulness that I was a child of God. :) Jesus is good! He can make us happy even if he doesn't give us what we think we want! Haskell did well with the disappointment as well. Jesus takes care of his people.
We went through the second round of in-vitro, and things were not going as well the second time. Everything looked "perfect" the first time, but we didn't conceive. This time, things were not even starting out as well. The doctor said we might not be able to even do it this time. I remember getting in the car after the doctor had told us that and talking to Jesus. I kept asking him, "Why are things not going well? Am I doing something wrong?" Jesus asked me, "Even if things don't go well, are you still going to obey me?" Instantly I felt relief! "Yes, Lord. Yes!" I knew then that all I needed to do was continue doing the right thing. Simple. And after that, things improved. We did get to do in-vitro, and we did conceive (boy and girl twins!) :) Thank you Jesus!
When the twins were born, I had preeclampsia and had to go back into the hospital when they were a week old. That was very hard, but Jesus is right, and he's good. The Lord had more correction for me. I remembered a lot of what Jesus had taught me before about having a good attitude and being humble. Having twins was a lot of work, but Jesus helped me with all of it. He sent help every time I needed it. He gave me sweet testimonies then, too. One testimony is something that he told me when the twins were about three months old. Haskell and I were driving to a prayer meeting with the twins. We had stopped to give them a diaper change, and as I was getting out of the car, the Lord said, "When things are in order, you'll have your next one naturally." The twins were six months old when we found out we were pregnant again. We were very shocked, but thankful that the Lord had healed whatever fertility problem we had before.
Our twins, Hope and Daniel are now four, and Hannah is now three. Jesus gave me the desire of my heart that I believe he put there back when I was thirty. I did not have them by thirty-five, but by thirty-eight! What I have learned from all of this is that God is very good, not just "right", and He is very merciful.
Thank you, Jesus.