Posted tagged ‘birth’

When Your Daughter Turns 36

November 8, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             November 8, 2017

                                  

Today is the birthday of my oldest daughter, Kecia Corin (Wolfe) Hodges. She hit the three followed by the six this morning at 1:21 a.m. Being considerate of her pastor dad, she waited until early that Sunday morning back in 1981 to join her parents. I went to church that day bleary-eyed but on Cloud Nine!

Thirty-six years later she parents three amazing kids who have enormous amounts of energy, teaches fourth graders, and keeps her husband organized.

Kecia has always had a creative side to her. When she was ten she went on a mission trip with me to Keams Canyon, Arizona. We had a great week, but the two of us left a day before everyone else on our team, heading back to Michigan so that I could be there for Sunday morning worship. I’ll always remember her entertaining herself in the long, long, long car ride back making a McDonald’s Happy Meal out of paper, crayons, and a pair of scissors. She was detailed to the point of making individual french fries and inserting them in the made-to-order container. That creativity has also blessed several hundred fourth grade students over the years. Even though teaching has become more challenging in recent years due to dysfunctional families, helicopter parents, and prima donna students, she is passionate about it. Her guiding question is “how can I help my students be fully engaged in learning what needs to be taught?”

Kecia is a great mom. Make no mistake about it, she rules the house! Not like a dictator, but rather as a shepherd leading the flock in the journey that includes stumbles, celebrations, problems to solve, and new adventures to tackle.

And today she begins to tip the age scale towards forty and less towards thirty! Ironically, in my mind she’s still more like twenty-five. Her mind is youthful. She’s more optimistic about life than pessimistic about people. Even though her classroom gets several challenging students each year the frustrations of teaching have not hardened her to the purpose or hazed over the mission.

She’s a great daughter! Carol and I feel that she deeply respects and loves us. She trusts our wisdom and suggestions. We are thrilled by every encounter we have with her.

Thirty-six years ago when she arrived in this world there was a Code Blue that went out. She had swallowed some fluid in the birthing process, and we remember her being treated on the infant table over in the corner of the birthing room. Carol and I held hands and uttered a prayer. This was our firstborn who was teetering on the rim between life and death.

And then we heard the lungs give a cry, and tears flowed from our eyes a few feet away. God gifted her to us and he has used her these past thirty-six years to bless the lives of numerous people.

In fact, I’m tearing up again! Happy Birthday, Kecia!

Petty Peeves In The Audience of God

March 26, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 March 25, 2015

                                         

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day for this guy! Our third grandchild was born in the mid-afternoon. Carol and I were both able to hold her in our arms about an hour later. Our oldest daughter did well through the whole labor and delivery experience, and the other two grandkids spent the night with us. We’re blessed, we’re blessed, we’re blessed!

I’ve noticed, however, that people react different ways in different situations…especially when it comes to “church stuff.”

I speak as a pastor of 36 years, so I’ve seen a lot of things although I haven’t seen it all. A recent question that has made me ponder as my head lays on the pillow is what are those things that Christ-followers are concerned with that God couldn’t care any less about?

Put in a less eloquent way, what the things that we spend so much of our time backing about and bickering about that aren’t even on God’s radar?

The birth scene of our newest grandchild makes for a good, although let me stress…a fictitious example! What if the four grandparents present at that grand occasion starting bickering about who got to hold the baby more; or what if one of the grandmothers starting getting all upset because the new grandchild didn’t have on an outfit that she had bought for her? What if one of the grandfathers started complaining that the birthing room was on the east side of the hospital instead of the west; or the creamer for the free coffee was a generic brand?

Do you read what I’m getting at? The birth…this new life…is what is important, but the focus would have been shifted to some side show issue that would make good fodder for “The Real Housewives.”

The story of the Hebrew people being freed from Egyptian bondage has always intrigued me. God rescues his people. They are headed towards their promised land. What did God care about at that point? To save his people and fulfill his promise that they would reach the land across the Jordan. On the other hand, what were the issues that occupied the top of the people’s agenda? We need food…we’re tired of manna…we want meat…we’ve got too much meat…we need water…we long for the golden days of slavery.

The fact that God has saved them from bondage and from the Egyptians is no longer high on the list of discussion topics.

I wonder…have we really changed much since then? What are the issues that church people are willing to go to fisticuffs over that yawns about?

I’m biased, I know, but I think a couple of things that he is intimately concerned about include the word “Great” in their label…”The Great Commandment”…”The Great Commission.”

One involves how we treat one another and the other involves the words of hope that we carry in our hearts about salvation now and forever.

I think God is concerned about how we treat one another, or mistreat one another…or how we allow others to mistreat others. He’s concerned over our tendency sometimes to avoid being the hands and feet of Jesus.

I think he’s concerned about the loss of being storytellers of faith…telling others about our love stories with Christ, the difference he has made in how we live and love. I think he’s concerned with how infrequently we “go into”, and how much we stay put.

What is important to God seldom seems to involve a meeting where minutes are recorded, or a vote is taken that leads to winners and losers.

But now I run the risk of including my personal petty peeves and trampling over the purpose of the past few hundred words. We must always keep asking the question of our ministries and our lives. What is really important, and what keeps me from seeing what is important.

As I held my new granddaughter in my arms yesterday I wasn’t thinking about how high the price of the latte was that I had just purchased in the hospital espresso cafe’! All I was thinking about was how blessed I am! Holding a baby who is just entering into her second hour of life tends to make you react like that!

Waiting For Three

March 9, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                         March 9, 2015

                                               

“You didn’t take any of your cough medicine yet, did you?” asked Carol, my wife.

“Yes…it’s 9:30. Why do you ask?” I had been to see my physician last week with a respiratory condition. The “happy medicine” was my compensation for housing a cold and ear infection. The “happy medicine” has codeine in it and makes rabbits appear on the ceiling in the middle of the night.

“Kecia could be going to the hospital tonight. She was having contractions pretty frequently.”

Our oldest daughter is about to deliver number three. “If she goes into labor you need to go and say with Jesse and Reagan.” (Numbers #1 and #2)

“Oh!” Profound comeback!

We’ve been waiting for Mystery Child #3 for a while. Kecia doesn’t complain much about carrying a watermelon in her tummy, but you can tell that she is at that point where there is no comfortable position. Waiting for #3 has rearranged schedules, reordered priorities, remodeled the home. #1 and #2 went to Big Sibling Class last week. They learned what it means to be a Big Brother and Big Sister. It was a refresher course for Jesse. Reagan, however, got new schooling. It hasn’t hit her yet that she will be sharing the spotlight in the coming…years. When she was two she blurted out to me one night as we were having a treat at the ice cream yogurt shop, “No, Granddad! You’re Snow White! I’m the princess!” 

Waiting for number three is a time of the family being redefined.

And we wait! As 1 Thessalonians 5 talks about the coming of the Lord will be like labor pains on a pregnant woman, they come unexpected and everything changes.

We’re not good at waiting these days. A pregnancy is a good thing for a family to go through because it lets us know that the world does not revolve around our agendas and “honey-do” lists. In this case, it revolves around someone we can’t even see yet, someone we haven’t even shared a meal with…the unseen that changes everything.

Tonight might be a short night of sleep. I’ll be tempted to take a nip of the “Baptist whiskey”, my cough medicine, but I’ll try to abstain. I may hack myself awake all night, but I’ll be ready…as I wait.