Sunday, June 26, 2016

There Shall Be Showers of Blessing

One of my many favorite hymns is "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing." The song written by Daniel Whittle in 1883 says:

"There Shall be showers of blessing;
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing, 
Sent from the Savior above."

I know this sounds very churchy and AME but I never realized how this hymn would mean so much to me. I hummed the song and realized that over the past few months God sent angels to shower Little Miss Braylen with so much love in so many forms. My husband and I are forever grateful because as new parents we really didn't know what we needed for the new baby. In fact we were stumped adding items to the registry after adding the Baby Travel System and onesies. My sister in love who just had a baby a few months prior stepped in and gave me some pointers and so did a good sister friend. Thank you Christine and Amie!

God poured His blessings upon us when He sent his angels in the form of sorority sisters, family and friends, church sisters and coworkers who planned amazing baby showers for Miss Braylen Jael and I. During the showers God reminded of the scripture found in Psalm 126:5 that says, "those who sow in tears will reap in joy." He reminded the tears I cried over the last four years were truly preparing us for our blessing. At each shower I remember thanking the hostesses and guests for being so thoughtful and considerate. What I do know along this journey called life is that people don't have to be nice. They don't have to do anything for Braylen nor do they have to make their presence known. I was reminded by someone after one of the showers that God had already seen my tears but because of my faithfulness to the process this is an example of what it looks like when He said, "I will open up a window and pour you out a blessing that you won't have room enough to receive." She then reminded me of how we never became bitter or jealous in the process. I began weeping silently and realized how at one point 10 family and friends were expecting babies and I felt so barren yet I still rejoiced.

As I think again about the hymn "There Shall Be Showers of Blessings" I reflect on the promises of love and this beautiful season of refreshing we are in that was only sent to us from above. What does that mean? God all by himself sent earthly Angels to be a blessing to us like only He could to prove yet again that He is a provider and sustainer.

I'm so grateful to each and everyone who showered Miss Braylen Jael with love, prayers and gifts. There were even individuals who anonymously sent gifts to our home with well wishes sand prayers. She's truly a blessed little girl. I said to all of the attendees at the showers that people don't have to be nice. They don't have to bless our lives with gifts or items as we anticipate the arrival of our blessing but I'm so honored they did.

Thank Yous----

Sorority & Line Sisters Gathering 
(We Love you Braylen Gift and Book Shower)

Family and Friends Gathering (Love on Braylen Day)


Hopewell AME Gathering 
(It's a Girl Braylen Jael Shower of Blessings)

Work Gathering (#TeamBraylen)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Excuse me if I get a little Giddy or maybe even strange"---- It's Father's Day

"Tomorrow is Father’s Day! I am so very happy because this Father’s Day is so much different than any I’ve experienced in the past for this in fact is my first Father’s Day as a real life dad. Yes, as a Pastor, I’ve always received messages, cards, and even gifts on Father’s Day simply because of the calling over my life, but this one is totally different since we are actual parents…Look where God has brought us from. So if I’m a little giddy, can’t stop smiling, or overwhelmingly emotional tomorrow, please let me have that time, because guess what… baby’s having a baby, and I’m a daddy!!!! ‪#‎BraylensDaddy‬"--- Facebook Status of Jarrett Washington

I read his status on last evening and my heart melted.  I recall Father's Day 2012 as if it were yesterday. My father was delivering the Father's Day message at the first church we were assigned to. As my husband got up to introduce him, he thanked my father for being an amazing father in love and a few other sentimental words. He then said words that I've never forgotten. He said, "I'm wishing the Ole Man and all the other father's an amazing Father's Day. I may not be one this Father's Day but next Father's Day I will be a father!"  That was four years ago. During our fertility journey my husband never gave up on remembering God's promise to him. 

For years I've seen him wear homemade Dr. Suess hats reading to kindergarten students, cheering at football games, helping with essays, teaching boys how to tie a tie and even allowing our godson to have our home as a haven with no rules... sliding down banisters and even saying yes to him when his parents said no. Last summer I witnessed him cry at the airport when he saw one of the youth from our church off to California not knowing when she would return. I've witnessed him stand with a little boy at Easter who forgot part of his speech to give him support. I've seen him hold my hands and felt him dry my tears as we waited for God to expand our family and I saw how he fell apart on April 17 and again on September 25 when we received the news that our fertility treatments didn't work. That was then..... This is now. If you TRULY knew our story you would understand our celebration and praise. 

A few weeks ago at one of our baby showers everyone witnessed the joy that he felt of being a dad when he promised to only open one of the many gifts we received because there was an abundance of gifts and blessings. Instead of opening one gift......let's just say my husband enjoyed himself and rightfully so. He opened every gift that was presented. 

I have a few tricks up my sleeves today as I celebrate my husband on his first of many Father's Day. As I turn 36 weeks today, time is winding down and he will have lots of work to put in.... lol! I'm so grateful that God has blessed my husband and I to truly celebrate our own Father's Day. He deserves it! He was faithful over the few things and God is blessing him with his own. This was no easy journey and the road was far from smooth and easy but look how God has moved. My husband is going to be a daddy............ He is a daddy. He's our furbaby Jaxson's human daddy and Braylen's daddy. If you see my husband is giddy today, please praise and celebrate with him!

Happy Father's Day Jarrett Britton Washington!

Scripture: Psalm 127: 3-5 "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court"

Monday, June 13, 2016

It was Necessary

This weekend I was able to view a video by recording artist Fantasia Barrino. This live recorded video is an impromptu worship with friends that went viral in a matter of hours. As I meditated on the words of the song I thought about the journey my husband and I took to get to "The Other Side of the Blessing." I went into worship of my own. The words of the song simply says:

"I am who I am today because God used my mistakes. He worked them for my good like no one else ever could........... It was necessary."

I immediately thought about the roller coaster of the path we took to get to a place called Here and I realized like never before that God allowed us to be on this path so that we could witness to others who were on the same journey to expanding their families. When we were on the journey I remember crying out to God that I didn't want to be anyone's testimony. I wanted Him to bless me indeed and enlarge our family. I didn't want to wait.  As I look back on this journey I can say boldly, "It was necessary!" As I minister to and pray for those ladies and families who are having difficulty expanding their families I am able to tell them of our journey. I truly wouldn't have been able to minister to them if I didn't go through the process.

Jarrett and Deronda being broken to their lowest point.-- It was NECESSARY!

Being told we only had a 5% chance of having a child---It was NECESSARY!

3 Failed Fertility Treatments--It was NECESSARY!

People constantly asking when we would have children--It was NECESSARY!

4 years of testing and doctors' appointments--It was NECESSARY!

Praying for others more than we prayed for ourselves--It was NECESSARY!

These things all worked for our Good!!! We never gave up in the process. We never stopped praying. We remained humble and are forever grateful of how God blessed us for our faithfulness. I am forever grateful that my husband never gave up on me in the process. There were many days I didn't feel like I was the best me that I could be.


Click here to Listen to Fantasia:  Necessary

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Elders of a Community Are The Voice of God

There is an African Proverb that says, "The Elders of a Community Are The Voice of God."   I believe I've always known this but it's amazing how God has confirmed this so many times in the past  few days. During this last few days I was able to visit a senior neighbor in my childhood neighborhood who is just like a grandmother to me, sit at a baby shower for Baby Braylen in front of the Senior Mothers of our church and read a card confirming how wise our elders are.

A few years ago during our difficulty expanding our family, I was tossing and turning in my sleep and very restless. My thoughts kept going back to the promises of God and when He would answer our prayers. Suddenly I saw a silhouette appear in the bathroom door of our bedroom. For some reason it didn't startle me because I could see the shape of the silhouette and the smile on the face and recognized it to be the spirit of my deceased grandmother, Anna Mae Corbin. She was smiling so brightly and simply said to me, "I'm so proud of you. God is doing a magnificent work in you. You even became a Missionary. You are making me so proud. Look at my grandbaby girl.... My baby girl is going to have a baby girl! Isn't that something?!"  As fast as she appeared, she disappeared. That night I got the best sleep and rest that I had had in a long time. I will always remember this spiritual visit from my grandmother and will hold it dear to my heart.

This week I had the opportunity to visit my childhood neighborhood and literally received prayers and blessings from the eldest neighbor. She decreed and declared blessings over Baby Braylen's life and how brilliant she will be because God took extra time in forming her. I was so overwhelmed by the prayers that I had no doubt that the prophesy she spoke would come forth. There is just something about having God speak through the elders to you.

On this past Saturday our church family hosted a beautiful shower for Little Miss Braylen. (Baby Showers blog coming soon) In the midst of the fellowship and opening gifts I read a beautiful card that had these words:

"Back in the day the old folks would gather around a newborn. With hearts full of hope, they'd take turns holding the precious little one close. Then, softly, sweetly they'd whisper, "Are you the one? Are you the one to dream exciting new dreams, the one to soar to amazing new heights to live a life of limitless possibility?"

After I read the card, I looked up and realized that the organizer of the shower strategically had a reserve table for the Senior Mothers of the church that was placed directly in front of my table. Though these mothers didn't say much during the shower, they occasionally nodded and smiled as the younger ladies played games and enjoyed each other's fellowship.  Before the shower came to an end, I made sure to hug and thank the Senior Mothers for attending as well as thanking them in advance for their wisdom and knowledge I know they will share with me for Baby Braylen.

None of these events that transpired within days apart of each other were happenstance. I believe God, as He always does, was reminding me to not only honor my elders but to remember they have wisdom and can share so much with me. I'm sure Braylen will be resting in one of their arms during worship experiences really soon and being poured into spiritually. 

I'm so blessed to have a wonderful "village" that will help in the maturation process for Braylen and even my husband and I. I know there is a lot to learn and I, as a "new age" mom, will need to sit at their feet many days to learn.