Pregnancy and the Electric Slide

Yesterday, my husband John and I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a close friend of ours in Philadelphia.  There were very few people who we actually knew at the festivities, but thankfully, we were reunited with two good friends who we had lost touch with over the years.  Both individuals were extremely glad to see us there, because they, too, were feeling doubtful that anyone who they knew would be in attendance at the reception.  It worked out beautifully that we could all sit together at a reception table, since there was open seating.  Since we had not spoken to these two ladies in quite some time, we obviously had some exciting news to share about our little Jesus freak on-the-way. 

John and I are finally feeling more comfortable about talking with our friends about our newest addition to the DiBiase family, now that I am at least three months into the pregnancy and we have had reassuring ultrasounds showing our little person growing nicely in the little shelter of my tummy.  So, it only seemed natural to me to mention our new site as an intro to discussing the subject of our pregnancy.  It became a very comfortable way to introduce the idea of us expecting a baby some time in October, because for whatever reason, some times I think it is difficult to come right out and say it.  Although the congratulations and excitement of our friends almost always follows, there are some occasions when people don’t respond in such a positive way to what may seem to be ecstatic news.  Trying to be sensitive to why some people may respond in this way, is I think the very reason that it can sometimes be awkward to bring up in conversation.   

However, John was the first one to bring it to my attention yesterday, that he couldn’t help but notice several pregnant young women at the wedding reception who were farther along in their baby’s gestation than me.  It was also around this time of the night, when the general dancing for the wedding reception guests opened up with the crowd pleaser of the “Electric Slide.”  I didn’t realize then that this would become a comical topic for a blog, but one of my observations during the song really made an impression on me that I felt would be worth sharing.  Out of the corner of my eye, I couldn’t help but notice one friend of the bride’s attempting to join the fun on the dance floor to the all-too familiar “Electric Slide.”  What really held my attention, however, was the fact that this young woman looked to be rather far along in her pregnancy, probably at the later end of her second trimester.  I think this was when I became in awe of the beautiful design that God must have in mind for woman who become with-child.  It is a completely natural transition that temporarily borrows the body of a willing and able young woman, to allow her body to be the dwelling place of a new little person until he or she is ready to enter the world.  Although the woman’s body does take on rather odd shapes to accommodate this temporary inhabitant, it is all made possible by the amazing design that God has created for His children.  So, the biggest impression that this moment made on me, was that the role of being a pregnant mother should not in any way be made to feel like punishment or like some kind of disqualification from a normal life. 

Although I might have felt a bit hesitant to get out and go crazy on the dance floor last night, I was so pleased that one pregnant mother was determined to have a good time despite her changing body and somewhat awkward appearance compared to everyone else who was out cutting a rug to the “Electric Slide.”  It was very encouraging for me to see that even pregnant women can have fun at wedding receptions, and that it would probably be helpful for me to loosen up a little bit in the future the next time I might have the opportunity to have some fun dancing.  Unfortunately, as I continue to struggle with morning sickness on literally a daily basis, I was trying sincerely hard to keep my lovely dinner down at the time that the “Electric Slide” began to play.  I was very thankful, though, that God provided an outlet for me to observe the joys of another pregnant mother who was obviously well beyond the difficulties of morning sickness, which for me happens at all different times of the day … not just the morning.  Hopefully soon, I will be able to feel better as my little Jesus freak continues to grow, and the next time the “Electric Slide” is played in my ear shot, you can better believe I will be attempting my best version of the line dance that I have come to love over the years!

It's Never Too Late

I didn’t get serious about my relationship with God until I was almost 40 years old. By then, my children were 12 and 15. There are times when I look back and desperately wish that I had raised my sons—from the time they were little–on Christian music, Christian books and TV, and especially, on the Word of God. Since I didn’t have that privilege, I have studied the Scriptures extra hard, and I have prayed extra hard, too—hoping to make up for lost time. I made it my highest goal to get to know God and His ways, and to encourage my children to do the same. The Lord graciously honored my efforts, and He taught me to believe that it’s never too late to impact a child for Christ.

When my son, Joseph, was a Junior in High School, God led him to start a Bible Club that would eventually touch the lives of countless kids, not only in our town, but in many surrounding communities. When he graduated, my son, John, took over leadership of the club, and it continued to grow and reach scores of children with the Gospel. Today, John has a Christian music ministry that touches the lives of millions of people each year.

It still bothers me sometimes that I wasn’t the Christian mom for my kids that they needed in their growing years. But I’ve discovered that God can and will make up for lost time, if we do our part by devoting ourselves to prayer and the study of His Word–and if we walk in close fellowship with Him daily. Don’t buy the devil’s lie that says that your loved ones have to be very young to turn to Christ. If God could change my heart when I was almost 40 years old, He can certainly change the lives of your loved ones. Begin today to stand in faith for their salvation and deliverance, and watch the Lord honor your efforts for His glory!

The Strap-On Black Pillow

One of the scariest parts of coming to the realization that I am actually “with-child” … is how my once ballet-physique is beginning to dramatically change.  Okay, so the truth is, it has been quite some time since I sported a ballet costume and wore my toe-shoes … but I do like to think of those days as when my physical appearance was at its peak.  Now, as I slowly approach 30 (coming up in June), and I am finally in my third month of pregnancy … the reality of having to acquire some maternity clothes is becoming a necessity.  With the exception of a quick 10 minutes run into Old Navy a few weeks ago, when I bought my first official pair of maternity jeans (which I later found out were way too big for me) and a pretty floral colored blouse that I can picture wearing in the hot summer months of being pregnant – I was truly putting off going shopping for maternity clothes as long as I could.  And to be honest, I only went into Old Navy that night, because I was in a bit of a panic if you will – that I could no longer find any pants in my closet that would contain my little bump.  The true moment of the Old Navy run, as I like to call it – was when I was at the check-out counter upon realizing that I had left my wallet out in the car.  I wish to think of this moment as one of my first truly absent-minded pregnancy moves, which just left the lady behind the counter laughing at me with an understanding grin.  Call it denial, or being stubborn – two characteristics of being with-child that will both be defeated as I watch in person how God designed a mommy-to-be’s body to shelter another human being … I thought I would be able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes much longer into my pregnancy.  Confronting the truth about the matter, led me to search out a destination for some new threads that would be able to contain my tummy while not breaking the bank.  Fortunately, I had the blessing of one of my good friends who actually was the one that found the Motherhood Maternity store in the mall, while I had my back turned to it, while I was devouring a quick craving for some Auntie Anne’s pretzels!  So, thankfully, my friend Rebekah was the one to lead us into the store.  I immediately felt this surreal sense of unbelief as we entered the store … almost as if it was a dream.  And then, out of the corner of my eye … I saw them for the first time, as I walked by the dressing rooms.  It was almost as if my dream had turned into a nightmare, when I saw these black pillows hanging on the walls of each dressing room – with a black Velcro strap dangling from the pillow.  I later found out by the polite store attendant, that the strap-on black pillows serve the purpose of allowing women trying on clothing now to estimate how the clothes will look in the future.  The attendant explained that the pillows are meant to add about 3 months to any current tummy size.  I guess that made sense, when I realized that whatever clothing you might buy today, will have to be able to stretch and withstand the expansion of your tummy in the coming months.  I just never knew that these maternity stores had such creative gadgets – that are practically kept secret from the rest of the naive world.  In a way, I wish I could have been prepared for what I was about to experience – but alas, then I would not have experienced the horror of strapping on that black pillow with one of my new maternity shirts and seeing the shock of my friend’s face when I came out of the dressing room.  As I kept finding some very reasonable prices for some nicely designed shirts … one by one I would strap on the black pillow, to make sure they would still work for me in the coming months.  It almost became kind of a contest, to see which clothes were really made to stretch, and which ones would not allow for the future expansion.  While I checked out my purchases at the end of the shopping spree … I heard this little voice in the back of my head.  It was almost as if I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of my new maternity threads have been strap-on black pillow tested … and mother approved!  (as I hear the echo of a Kix cereal commercial in my head)  It was also a fun outing for my friend Becky and I to experience together, because it saved John from having to wait through me trying clothes on – which he claims I do painfully slow.  John did make an appearance in the store, however, right before I purchased my items.  I did spare him the experience of watching me strap on the black pillow.  My rationale was, I think it will be much easier for him to watch my body slowly change on a daily basis – instead of blowing up like a balloon in 1 minute with the help of a pillow, which would be sure to cause a panic attack for John.  If there it one thing that I hope to prevent for John during this whole experience that we are having together, it is to limit as much panic as possible.  I think that is a very reasonable goal to have, and I know in the end, he will hopefully appreciate my thoughtfulness.  ;o)

You CAN Make a Difference

Just the other night, I was watching one of the greatest evangelists of our time talking about his intense desire to win souls for Christ, and how it inspired him to lead millions into the Kingdom of God. As I listened to this man’s testimony, I began feeling woefully inadequate and discouraged, and I heard myself say, “I have a passion to lead people to Christ, too, but I’m certainly no great evangelist. What can I do?” Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s “still, small voice” say to my heart, “You can pray.” Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that only the day before, a loved one that I had been earnestly praying for, had expressed their desire to have a personal relationship with Christ.

This wasn’t a first-time experience for me. Over the years, I have discovered again and again how God honors the prayers of those who honor His Son. Scripture says: “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP) Those of us who answer God’s call to prayer, and refuse to give up until the answer comes, will witness changed hearts and changed lives. And when we get to heaven, there will be people who run up to us and say, ‘I am here because of you.”

Don’t give up on your spouse, your children, your grandchildren. Don’t give up on that coworker, that neighbor, or that friend. I can tell you from experience that if you stand in faith for those that the Lord puts in your path and on your heart, the day will come when you will see them serving Christ. You CAN make a difference for God, and you don’t have to be a worldwide evangelist to do it. Just make yourself available to the Lord, and be sensitive and obedient to His call to prayer!

Great-Grammy Pauline

Today, will be quite an exciting day I think … not just to be able to get together with my parents, brother, John, and my grandmother Pauline – but to be able to share the surprising news with my Grammy that she is going to be a great-grammy!!!  Honestly, this will not be the first time that my Grammy is going to be able to have this honor … but it is definitely going to be a surprise to her that a new baby will be coming from John and myself.  With my Grammy being 80 years old now, I can only imagine that these little shocks in life must come with such elation and joy – I hope that she is so excited for us, and I honestly can’t wait to see her first response to hearing the good news.  Even though I am 12 weeks pregnant now, I have been waiting for the opportunity to tell my Grammy in person about our little munckin on-the-way … and tonight is my first opportunity to do so.  So as we dine tonight at Red Lobster, celebrating the life of my mother, Linda – and cheering her birthday wishes as she consumes lots of lobster … I am totally thrilled to be bringing some news to the table about a new little life that will be making an entrance into the DiBiase household hopefully sometime in October.  (October 4th is my due date, given by my MD – for those who have been wondering)  I will be enjoying chicken tonight, even though I am a devout seafood lover … thinking that it might be best to spare my growing little person all the mercury and other undesirable things that can be found in seafood.  At least John won’t be feeling so alone, as he enjoys his strickly chicken cuisine (because of his strong dislike for seafood).  So, although I feel like I am breaking some kind of rule about eating chicken at Red Lobster … I am planning to break into the conversation with my Grammy about our little person, when she realizes that I am not ordering the “Ultimate Feast!”  I sure hope it goes well.  ;o)

A Life Forever Changed

I can still remember the first time I heard the Lord speak to me through His Word, even though it was many years ago. My heart was in turmoil at the time—over troubling world events, and over the unsettling situations in my own household. As I thought about the future of my sons, Joseph and John, fear gripped me. What kind of world was I bringing them up in? How would they survive? How could they ever be faithful followers of Christ with everything going against them in the culture we lived in? Something made me get my husband’s old Bible off its shelf. (I know now that it was the Spirit of God). I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I flipped through the pages. My eyes fell upon Isaiah 42:25 (NIV): “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.” Shivers ran down my spine. I had never before heard the voice of God speaking to me so clearly. And my life has never been the same since. All I could think of was that God really and truly cared about me, my family, and our concerns. And He put promises in His Word that belonged to us as followers of His Son—if we would only trust Him, and take Him at His Word.

Since that day, I have trusted the Lord to watch over my sons, and to lead them into the good plans and purposes He has for their lives. And He has been so faithful. God wants to speak to you through His Word today. Will you take the time to seek Him with an open Bible, and an open heart?

More To This Life

It is amazing how we can go through our lives, that mainly consist of repetitious acts of work, eating, sleep, and relaxation with our spouse … With the occasional addition of a ”moment” from God that breaks through all the mundane monotony and reminds us what this life is all about. In the words of classic Steven Curtis Chapman (1989),

But there’s more to this life,
Than livin’ and dyin’, More than just tryin’
To make it through the day.
More to this life,
More than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this Life alone can be

Those were the words that I heard speak softly to me, when I held the new life of my close friend’s baby girl in my arms for the first time earlier this evening After struggling to make it through my work day as an Operating Room registered nurse, filled with heartache and pain, my life became grounded again by the little moment that God gave me, reminding me of the amazing blessings that God has in store for those who He desires to bless with little children. To see the astounding love in the eyes of my close friend and her beloved husband, who created this new life together with the breath of God, was enough to allow me to forget the troubles and concerns of my day and become focused again on God’s goodness. This little moment of grace also allowed me to be reminded of the growing new life inside of me, that in less than 7 months, will miraculously be a precious blessing to my husband and me. Although only slightly bigger than an inch at the time, the little person inside of me will one day soon be ready to make his or her entrance into this world, with God’s help.

I guess the realization of being pregnant becomes very real when you get the opportunity to hold a new baby, and just ponder in the wonderment that this scenario is going to one day become your very own. I am so glad that God gave me the blessing of this moment today with my friend’s new baby and all the reassuring thoughts that came along with it. I think it was just what I needed to encourage and remind me that there’s, ”More to this life, More than these eyes alone can see, And there’s more than this Life alone can be.”

A Mighty and Loving Shepherd

I know from experience how daunting a job parenting can be, even though the rewards far outweigh the challenges.  I believe that’s why the Lord has special blessings of wisdom, power, and provision for those of us who have been brave enough to tread the pathway of parenthood.  Years ago, God showed me a Scripture that gave me great comfort and peace in a difficult time: “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)  This is the Lord assurance that in good times and in bad, He will tenderly care for us and our children, and He will supply everything we need, as we look to Him for His protection and provision.

This scriptural promise from God should especially encourage single parents, who may often feel painfully alone in trying to raise their children in a godly way.  I know a lady who had to change jobs and take a cut in pay in order to properly care for her children.  She told the Lord that she was going to lean heavily on His help, and He blessed her with bonuses and rewards from her employer that enabled her to make more money than she ever had before.  If you are facing challenging circumstances today as a parent, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and do your best to follow His lead.  When you do, you and your family will experience the power and provision that can only come from a mighty and loving Shepherd!

A God who Works Behind the Scenes

I once heard someone say that God likes to surprise us.  They used the example of how He designed it so that babies were formed inside a woman’s body in complete secrecy.  God didn’t form us in transparent bubbles, for everyone to see.  No, He formed us in utter seclusion in a mother’s body so there would be an element of surprise in the process.  David wrote: “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.” (Psalm 139:15-16 NIV)  God likes performing miracles in secret places.  Isaiah understood this principle, and he told the Lord: “Clearly, You are a God who works behind the scenes.” (Isaiah 45:15 MSG)

Perhaps you don’t see God doing much of anything in your life right now, and part of you wonders if He has forgotten you.  Take heart, dear one, because nothing could be further from the truth.  God is busy working behind the scenes right now, and He is preparing some sweet surprises for you that He’s going to reveal when it’s best for you.  In the meantime, take the apostle Paul’s wise advice, and “Be glad for all God is planning for you”! (Romans 12:12 TLB)