When God Answers Prayers…

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WHEN GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS…

 

When God answers prayers, it isn’t always the way we would like it. The yes’s we want, the healings we desire, and the life free from pain doesn’t always pan out in what seems to be our best interests. Thankfully, in spite of our desire for comfort, God answers us in ways that will eventually bring more glory and honor to Himself. We will all suffer, and in the midst of that suffering, there is a hand of comfort that does not work for our own selfish wants, but rather through God’s perfect care.

Today, after a second ultrasound to confirm an earlier suspicion, we were given the news that baby number 3 has a unilateral, right side, lip and possible cleft palate. For the last few weeks, we have been watching and praying that suspicions would be wrong, that healing would come, or that a mistake had been made. The answer we sought was out of a desire to see our child avoid future pain, and live in the same comfort that we had with our two older sons. For now, that is not the answer that we have received. We know that God is working out His perfect plan for not only us, but our child.

SO WHAT DOES THIS NEWS MEAN?

As far as we know, and the doctors can see, our baby has an area on the right side of its upper lip where the skin did not properly come together. It may also mean, but could not be confirmed by the ultrasound, that the gum and soft palate of the baby’s mouth did not properly fuse either. There is a team of doctors being put in place to give our child the best possible outcome that can be achieved once it is born, and the full scale of what is happening can be assessed. On a side note, our hospital is home to the top plastic surgeon in the world for cleft palates~ How much of a God thing is that? As far as we know at this point, the cleft lip is the only complication that the medical professionals can see. It is not life threatening, and our baby can live a full and wonderful life once it has had a few surgeries to correct the problems that present themselves when it is born. We know at this point that there will need to be at least one plastic surgery, but beyond that we are in the dark until some further testing has been done, or the baby is here.

SO WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE?

NOTHING: God still reigns, and is still good. We are living in a fallen world, and underneath the same curse of sin as everyone else. Though we are serving Jesus in a foreign field, we are not immune to sins effects. We are not super believers. We are not varsity Christians. We are fallen sinners, who have recognized our need for a Savior, and taken up the call to spread the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world. This does not protect us from experiencing suffering now, nor will it in the future. It is precisely in these times of trial that the world looks deeply, and scrutinizes with prejudice, how we will respond when things don’t seem to go our way. Please pray for us as we embark on this journey, that we will honor the Lord in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to Him.

EVERYTHING: As most of you know, we are coming up on the end of our first two years here in New Zealand. We have only raised monetary support to last us through this first visa, and we were due to come home in July to visit family, introduce our youngest two children to the US, and raise enough support for us to come back to New Zealand for another two years. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell thus far, the surgery schedule we will now need to follow will probably not allow for us to return to support raise in July. We feel the Lord’s leading for us to remain here for at least another two years. At this point, we believe we are to reapply for our visas immediately, continue ministering, and begin the journey of physical healing for our child. In order for this to happen, and things to proceed there are a few different ways in which we need your help!

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT US?

PRAY: Besides the everyday trials of adjusting to a new baby, a third child, and a new way of life, there will be physical issues that will complicate the new season we are entering. Pray that we can quickly learn the best way to love and care for our baby physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We want to love, serve, and honor it in the best way possible! Pray that we can still continue to fully love and support the believers and unbelievers who God has blessed us with over these last two years. The last thing we want to do is turn all of our focus completely in on ourselves, and forsake the ministry that the Lord has given us. We are so thankful for all he has done here thus far, and are continuing in hope that people will be saved, and/or sanctified through the work of the Spirit in their lives. We are thankful that we get to be a part of it, and we hope to continue doing so.

GIVE: Raising our next two years support is going to look much differently now, and though we have not worked out all the logistics, we do know this-most of our leg work is going to need to be done from here in New Zealand. So…if you are already one of our current supporters, we would ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us again for the next two years of our ministry. We would love to be home and sharing with you this summer all that God has been doing, but at this point, for the sake of our family, we need to be here. We ask for your understanding and care in this time, and know that if it were possible for us to see you face to face, we would do it as was originally planned.

If you are not one of our current supporters, but would like find out more about joining our partnership team, we will put our contact info at the bottom of this blog post in hopes that you will begin to journey with us while we serve here in New Zealand. We are also hopeful that we can complete at least one, if not a few, different videos about where we are, and how we are ministering here in Naenae.

SHARE: The more people see this post, the more believers there are to pray. The more people there are to support. The more people there are to give. If you know us, love us, and have journeyed with us so far, would you mind telling others about us, and our ministry? Would you raise up others to stand in the gap with us? Would you spread the word so that others pray fervently, and without ceasing? Can you ask of yourselves and others that they give, and give faithfully to our ministry? We are only here because God has put us here, and it is through His people that He has supported us to be where we are, doing what we are doing!

We need you. We need your love. We need your support. We need your prayers. Thank you so much for all you have given, and done so far in our ministry! We look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Contact Details:

chaplinsinnz@gmail.com
cchaplin292@gmail.com
cwhitechaplin@gmail.com
notquitekiwi.wordpress.com

Monetary Support can be sent directly to:

First Baptist Church Covington
Memo: Cody and Cassie Chaplin
518 5th St.
Covington, In. 47932

 

 

Lip picture Baby 3 profile

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Life and Death: Beauty in the Imperfect Pt. 2

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It had been a long time since death, or the thought of it, ruled over me.  The LORD had been gracious and merciful in teaching my heart not to respond to my husband, my children, my family, and my church community with the fear that they would be quickly torn from my arms, and my heart.  That in itself was a miracle of God.  Death stays with you. We weren’t made for it. We were made for Life, and life abundant.  I’m not talking about some health and wealth “as long as you believe in Jesus you can have all the prosperity in life that you desire: money, materials, no problems, etc.” kind of abundant life.  I’m talking about life lived as a complete human, in the fullness of an unbroken relationship with God.  Sin stuffed it all up.  Now in death we have a tearing apart of body and spirit.  Death is raw, and ravenous.  It’s always seeking to claim, and to destroy.  It leaves behind an excruciating pain that doesn’t “get better with time”.  God’s grace just keeps getting bigger.  You might think I’m over exaggerating the effects of death, but in reality, I’m just describing to you little bits and pieces of what we suffer as a result of the fall.

In the previous post about Theilen’s birth, I tried to paint a picture for you of the chaos that surrounded his entrance into the world.  There were many real possibilities that could have happened that night.  There was a real possibility that I would have a normal birth, Theilen would be ok, I would be ok, and we would all go home that evening.  There was the real possibility that Theilen would die, and I would be ok.  There was a frightening, and very real possibility, that both of us would die.  In the end, I ended up getting gutted like a fish (at least that’s what it felt like), we were both ok, and after 5 days in the hospital we went home.

What I said to you about the peace of the Lord during that time was absolutely true.  It wasn’t until Friday (my birthday), that the fear of death and loss began to creep its way back into my heart.  That afternoon, while I was by myself, my midwife stopped by my room and gave me the full scope of what happened with Theilen in the OR.  That’s when I learned that he was almost dead, that his heart wasn’t beating properly, that he wasn’t breathing well on his own, and that on the inside, everyone around us was on the edge of panic.  That’s when the reality of what could have been started to stifle the reality of what God had done.  I began to live in the strangle hold of fear.  On the inside I was in complete turmoil, and on the verge of emotional breakdown.  In my sinfulness, I reverted to the sinful responses that I had created in the past to try and soothe my fears.  My heart’s response came from a place of mistrust, and an unwillingness to see the goodness of God in all things (joyful or painful).  I was trying to hide my sin, and anytime you are hiding in your sin, you are living in a self-created misery.  Don’t let Satan fool you.  He hates you, and he has a horrible plan for your life.  He will keep you in your secret sin as long as it takes to make a mockery of the name of Jesus.  He will continue to offer until you give into the temptations of sin in a way that the name of Christ is profaned.

The week after our return home I continued to secretly drown in my own sin.  My own self-made realities.  I don’t know if it is the same for guys, but as women, we can live a whole lifetime of “what ifs” over and over again in our minds.  Living in fantastical worlds where everything that is, isn’t what it couldn’t have been.  We can get to a place in our sin where our mind just won’t shut off, morning or night.  We replay events over and over again.  We lose sleep and become exhausted.  The exhaustion aids in our unprepared hearts, and the cycle continues day after day, until something drastic happens.  Thankfully (I can say that now), God sent my drastic very quickly.

Sometimes, a perfect storm of events can create a very unhealthy state for your body. Apparently, obesity, major abdominal surgery, and lack of sleep are not a good team.  What gives you that impression, you might ask? How about, what I felt was, another near miss at death the week after we came home.  Friday morning was particularly relaxed.  Cody had been so kind to let me sleep in after a very long night with Theilen.  We were just sitting on the couch, talking, skyping, and enjoying the day. I had Theilen cuddled in my arms.  I remember looking down at him, and in a second it felt like someone flipped a switch in my chest.  Like my heart was a phone on vibrate.  I focused in my mind:

“Take a deep breath…It didn’t stop.  Take another deep breath…I can’t control it…my heart is beating out of control…Everything is starting to buzz and go black…Look at Cody and think about how much I love him…Look at T…he’s only 11 days old…internal panic…please Jesus, I’m not ready to die…”

THERE IT WAS.  NO HIDING.  My heart, as jacked up as it was physically that moment, was splayed wide open for me to see how stuffed up it was spiritually.  I’m not one of those people who finds God or the idea of heaven boring.  Really, I don’t.  The fullness of knowledge of God, pure and unending worship, and all things coming to completion in Christ excites me!  The problem was, that I had let the good things the Lord had given me here on earth, take priority over the most glorious things that I had in Him.  My heart was responding poorly as I forgot who I am in Christ, and what I have in my salvation through Him.  I loved my husband and my children more than I was loving Christ.  I was worried more about what I couldn’t control, than what was meant to be.  There was no glory and honor for God in His life saving provision because all I had been focusing on was what might have been, or what I thought, should have been. The LORD had been kind to me in the previous week.  He had given grace where He didn’t have too.  He had given life when He could have, for His glory, allowed death.  I couldn’t see those things.  Satan had blinded my eyes to mercy and grace.  AND OH WHAT GRACE IT HAD BEEN! Cody called the ambulance. I ended up spending the day in the hospital.  No one really knew why my heart did what it did, but they called it a superventricular tacicardia.  There were lots of guesses, and in the end, I landed back on the couch that night sitting in the very seat I had been in earlier.

Now for the hard part:  The LORD used my physical brokenness to expose my spiritual brokenness…AND IT WAS A KINDNESS TO ME.  Let me say that again.  When our sin is exposed, either to ourselves or to the world, it is a KINDNESS OF THE LORD.  It means that if we truly are believers, then our God, who cares for us so much, is disciplining us to bring us back into right relationship with him.  When we are living in our secret sin, we are hiding in misery, and our loving Father doesn’t desire for us to live in misery.  He wants us to live in a reconciled relationship to Him.  He doesn’t want us to go so far into ourselves, and our sin, that we make a mockery of Jesus.  Can you see that?  It’s hard to confront the pain of our own sin, and it’s even worse to lovingly confront sin in others, but it brings glory to the LORD when we respond in repentance.

Ultimately, God is sovereign over everything that happens to me, and my family.  He gave me breath, and one day He will take it away.  He has given them life, but can use those lives, for His glory, as He sees fit.  It is right for me to fiercely love my family, but when that love supersedes my love for Christ in a way that my heart responds sinfully, then I need to repent.  Pray for us, that we would have hearts that are sensitive to the light that God shines in it, and that we would have the courage to repent, and return to Christ.  I am encouraged that my Father cares about me, and that He cares about my relationship with Him.

We are imperfect people who are striving to display the beauty of Christ in our relationship to Him, and to each other.  Being a missionary isn’t for the perfect.  It’s for those who recognize how wonderful God has been to us in spite of the depths of our sin, and in true joy, desire to share the wonderfulness of the gospel with those whose eyes and ears are still blinded by Satan.  We acknowledge that even in our imperfection, God has called us missionally to something outside of ourselves.  I would like to tell you that once my heart was exposed I did a complete 180 in repentance, but it’s a slower process than that for me.  I’m intentionally dying to my own desires for control, happiness, and a pain free life everyday.  It doesn’t mean I won’t sin again. It doesn’t mean I won’t fail.  What it does mean is that God has found beauty in the imperfect, and whether by my life or my death, He will be glorified through me.

Life and Death: Beauty in the imperfect Pt. 1

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I know it’s been a while since I last wrote an actual blog, and not just made a video for you all to see.  Don’t worry, a video is coming too, but I wanted to catch you up on the events of the last few weeks in words, and let you know what God has been showing in me.  Most all of you should know by this point that, Theilen, came barreling into the world Three weeks ago, on July 22nd.  I was way overdue, my blood pressure (which had been fine the entire pregnancy) was soaring, polyhydramniosis (excessive amniotice fluid) was stretching my muscles to bits, and my body was rebelling against me.  It had been two weeks of misery for me.  I was trying to keep my chin up, trying to be a “good missionary”, and trying to just make it through the very long days.  In reality, I was suffering (I think I can say I was suffering). I was failing horribly at being a wife and a mother. I couldn’t serve anyone in the church well, or lead in worship.  I was anxious, but unable to focus for anything longer than a short prayer.  In short: I was living under the curse of sin, and failing miserably at responding to my circumstances with a heart of joy in Christ.  I was trying to live in my own strength, and as we all know, that never ends well.

The Saturday before Theilen was born I had a pretty bad headache all day.  We thought it could be from the BP that had been creeping up each week that he stayed longer inside of me.  By the evening Cody was worried I might have developed pre-eclampsia, and we called the midwife to check in on what we should do.  This started the downward spiral of events that the LORD used to bring Theilen into the  world safely, and keep me alive.  In short: we ended up staying overnight for observation in the hospital on saturday, on sunday we went home (that’s a whole other blog in itself) to get some sleep because they kept us both up the entire night, and on monday morning our midwife decided that she didn’t like the way that Theilen’s heart was responding so we would induce.

The beginning of the induction seemed to be going very well.  It was a minimally invasive gel that was used to start my labor with the hopes that we would be able to still deliver T naturally.  In 6 hours time I was dialating rapidly, having really good contractions, and seemingly doing well in labor.  In an instant, that all changed.  Humor and laughter brought about chaos, and panic.   While laughing with Cody my water broke.  The full reality of how much extra fluid my body had been carrying set in as I continued to laugh harder and harder at the seemingly never ending fluid that was exiting my body. ( If you are wondering how much, my midwife later requested to the hospital that she be able to go back into the L & D room to just start dumping litres of water on the floor to make a guesstimate of how much I was carrying. ) Yes, it was that much.  Cody got our midwife, our midwife had him go get more midwives, and before we knew it the emergency button had been hit…Instant controlled chaos… there were what seemed like thirty people in the room.

Cody and another midwife thought that T’s umbilical cord had prolapsed, and was hanging out of me.  When my water broke T’s heart rate had plummeted. My BP was up.  There were ultrasound machines, heart monitors, doctors, and surgeons checking to see what the status was of our baby, and myself.  For a time period of about 10 minutes it was one of the most painful, and unsettling experiences that I had ever had. I’ll spare you the details of what happens when someone wants to keep a baby from falling on its cord, but it is horrific.  The doctors decided that for some reason, even though my water had broken, T wasn’t coming down like he should.  His heart rate had stabilized, but he was in my left pelvis, and not moving.  IT was immediate, and it was unanimous…they were going to do an emergency C section, and it was happening right now.

I need to pause here to talk about the LORD’s kindness to us.  He had told me in my spirit earlier on in the day that I would end up having a C section, so even though I didn’t know how it would happen, I was prepared.  When we started the induction we were rested, joking, and laughing.  Minus the ten minutes of not knowing what was going on, and everyone being prepared for the worst, there was a peace and a calm that He had placed over us which I can’t explain.  Once the doctors knew that things were very serious, but not completely dire, they began to laugh and joke with us.  I was even told twice on the operating table to stop laughing (I blame that on the surgeon who was cracking jokes about my skin color after the pink cleaning agent had been rubbed all over me, and his self proclamation of being pregnant).  In reality I was only in “harder” labor for about an hour, and then there was the spinal block, and I felt nothing but warm fuzzies all over my body.  Cody was by my side the whole time, and was strong for the both of us when he needed to be.  Then, in what seemed like it ended almost as quickly as it had begun, at 9:54pm, Theilen Uriah Chaplin was out of my belly…The LORD had shown us kindness, and new LIFE had entered the world.

I wasn’t in control of anything. I couldn’t try harder, or be better, or give life, or sustain it.  Only God could, and in his mercy that he lavishes on us, in spite of all of my failures, He showed us mercy and kindness.  He gave us grace, and humor.  He performed miracles so that we would know the awesomeness of His power.  Absolutely everything that I did NOT want to happen with this delivery happened, but there was no way that Theilen would have ever been born without a C section in the hospital.  Even in doing the C’zer the doctors still had to use forceps to pull him out.  T’s cord was wrapped around his neck three times.  When my water broke it tethered him like a noose, and began to immediately cut off his oxygen and blood supply.  The jolt made the noose hook him into my left hip socket, thereby making it impossible for him to move.  BUT GOD is the immoveable mover, who guided human hands to bring T up safely.   T was blue and seemingly lifeless when they pulled him out.  They used oxygen two different times on him to try and get him to breathe on his own, only to see his heart rate spike, and then fall when they took it away.  BUT GOD, who breathes life into the lifeless, saw fit to allow my son to take his first breath for HIS glory.  The panic was removed from the face of our midwife as T let out his first cry, and his APGAR went from a 5 to a 10.  There was praise.  There were tears.  There was thanksgiving.  And in all of this, as i laid on the OR table, I was faced with the reality that even if things hadn’t gone the same way, God would still be God.  He would still be worthy of my praise.  In the midst of all the pain and suffering I had experienced, I was not seeing the goodness of God as he was using specific things, that I saw as painful, to keep and sustain my child.  The extra fluid was keeping T bobbing at the top of my uterus, thereby keeping him from heading down into the birth canal, which would have in effect, suffocated him.  The high BP was telling the birthing staff that my body was giving out, and that I needed help immediately.  I was saying to God, “I SEE NO REASON FOR THIS!” He was saying to me, “BE STILL until I show you why”.  This was the first time in a ten day span that the LORD would give life, and sustain mine…

Theilen 1st pic with mom and dad

VLOG #3 Thankfulness and Praises

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I know that many of you may have already seen this video update, but I just realized that we had not put it on our blog.  The Lord has been so kind to us in our move here to NZ. He has continually provided for us through the generosity of others, and has removed one big weight off of our shoulders…I’ll let you watch the video for details! Thank you so much for your continued love and support as we journey here in NZ.  We Love you all!

VLOG update #1

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hey all, sorry that this is coming a little late, but at least we are getting them up! Things here are going well, and we wanted to share a little bit about our trip here! we love you all, and we continue to covet your prayers for us and the ministry the Lord has brought us too

Support….

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Everyone knows that most people who are sent out as missionaries raise their own support.  There are a few different denominations that bless their people by fully funding their journey, but we are not a part of a church or organization that financially supports its people in that way.  So when we started to talk about NZ again, we knew that we would be raising money to finance our trip, because under a religious visa Cody is not allowed to have another job outside of the church.  That is fine with us, because we would like the opportunity to focus on the task at hand while we are there! 

We talked numbers with the people who are in NZ, other missionaries, and our pastor.  We came up with a number that would basically get us to NZ and allow us to live there.  We won’t have lots, but we are counting on the LORD who provides to sustain us while we are there.  The number we came up with was $30,000 a year.  In NZ that translates into about 36,000NZD, and puts us at just above the poverty line that the NZ govt requires us to clear in order to live there. After we had a set amount, we began to break it down in a way that people could see it is not an overwhelming task to support a missionary if everyone is willing to pitch in and help a little bit.

So here’s how the breakdown went.  We asked to find 120 different people/families/churches that would commit to supporting us for $20 a month.  That breaks down into $5 a week…which is like a coffee at starbucks, or a hotdog and soda at the basketball game.  This made the task tangible.  It took away a lot of the overwhelming. We began to just tell people our story, and as we did, people got excited! Excited people get on board with what God is doing! So by the time we were allowed to present our future journey to our home church we already had 25% of our support promised by people outside the church.  As our sending church, FBC pledged to pick up 10% of our yearly support, and that same day we were allowed to present to the congregation.  By the end of our day on Sun, Jan 16th, we were at 60% of our support pledged.  Every week after the Lord would send two or three new people, and give us a church to go speak with about New Zealand.  We had friends, family, and strangers all committing to the cause of the lost in a place that seems to be such a paradise.  WE WERE HUMBLED AND OVERWHELMED.  Then, this past friday it happened.  We received confirmation from a few more individuals that filled up the last spots we needed to fund our trip.  WE ARE AT 100% of our needed monthly support! In a little less than 3 months, GOD provided all the money we asked for to take this journey of faith! THREE MONTHS!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW UNHEARD OF THAT IS???? We know of missionaries that are raising less money than ourselves, or the same amount, and it is taking them one, two, even three years! THIS IS NOTHING SHORT OF THE HAND OF GOD IN THIS SITUATION!! We give all honor and praise to HIM.  We have shed so many tears of humility as followers of Christ from all walks of life have given to us in the name of JESUS.  Families, couples, churches, widows who have nothing, children even! We are so blessed by what you all have done! 

So where are we at right now? 

We have raised our base support.  Right now we are still raising money for our outfit and passage…which is approximately $15,000.  For those of you wondering what that means, we are basically raising money for our plane tickets, the shipping container for the little bit of stuff we are taking, and for certain purchases we will need to make to outfit our home when we get there! God has already started to provide! We are still looking for people to partner with us, and to share in what God is doing.  if you would like to partner with us, please feel free to contact us at chaplinsinnz@gmail.com, or on facebook.  

IF you would like to get the video updates we will post, subscribe to our blog, or send Cody a message at chaplinsinnz@gmail.com 🙂

We sent off our visa applications today.  Hopefully we will hear in two weeks whether or not they have been approved.  Pray that we have filled out everything correctly, and that we find favor in the eyes of the NZ officials who are approving our visa.  Once our visas have been approved we will buy our plane tickets! 

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WHEWWW…and now you have been caught up to speed with where we are on this journey!!!