October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Haley!!!

1987 found us stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During this particular duty station, Keith was more often deployed on submarines than he was home. I was taking college classes to fill in the long hours waiting for him to return from sea. It was during this particular three-year duty station that I found God again. The Lord in His great wisdom and foreknowledge placed Keith’s aunt and uncle on the very same Hawaiian island at the exact same time we just happened to be there. Uncle Herb was a chaplain at Pearl Harbor. They lived just steps from the Naval Security Group where Keith worked. Uncle Herb and Aunt Bobbie took us under their wing, welcomed us into their lives and just loved us. They showed us Christ in a thousand different ways. They weren’t preachy or legalistic. They just lived Jesus and it opened our eyes and changed our lives. This wounded young lady began to see Jesus in a whole new way and to find Him. And in finding Him, to find herself

And God’s timing was perfect. Keith and I had been married for four years, but we had married young so we were in no hurry to start a family. However, as I began to grow in God and to heal in my emotions, I began to wonder if perhaps, just maybe, we were ready to start a family. But I wasn’t sure. I was afraid. I didn’t know if I had what it took to be a mother. I’d failed in so many areas of my life. I couldn’t bear it if I failed in this one too…so we waited. Had I waited until I was ready, I’d still be waiting. But God thankfully had other plans.

I found out I was pregnant in February 1987. Joy reverberated through our entire family since this was the FIRST grandbaby on both sides! I was excited but concerned. I knew absolutely NOTHING about babies. Well, I decided that pregnancy and childbirth were not going to catch THIS girl unprepared, so every single book on the subject was systematically devoured. But no book nor class could ever have prepared me for the moment when I first felt the flutter of life in my belly and the realization that I was carrying life in my womb! Something I had hardly ever thought of before instantly became extraordinary to me and I felt like the first woman on earth to ever experience such a divine miracle. Keith and I had made a baby. A completely separate life from our own yet so much a part of us. I could hardly take it in. Although I had only been praying such a short time, I began praying over my womb and asking God to protect and fulfill His purpose in the life of this baby, MY baby.

We didn’t know whether our baby was going to be a boy or a girl. We had our boy name picked out but couldn’t come up with a good girl name. So again, I prayed. And I asked God about it. One night, I had a dream. The dream was simple. I dreamed that we named her Haley. I woke up and told Keith. He liked it.

Labor was something I had dreaded for the entire nine months. I mean, when you really think of childbirth and what transpires it could definitely put a damper on your enthusiasm. But God’s grace was there and it was bearable. Being my first baby, procedures I had, difficulties I experienced in childbirth that I now realize were not the norm, seemed okay in the moment. I marvel now when looking back, at my strength and bravery at the time. It was God’s grace no doubt. But after a long 24 hour labor and 3 hours of pushing (only to have her delivered through a vacuum forceps-type thing) with NO ANESTHESIA, the doctor announced, "You have a little girl!" She was beautiful and perfect. So on October 4, 1987 at 12:41 am, our beautiful little Haley Elizabeth came into our world. And in one moment, she changed it forever.

She made us parents. In an instant, all of our immature, selfish aspirations for our lives just went right out the window. In one moment, I felt love like I had never known could exist-the love of a mother. Nothing can describe looking at your child for the first time and realizing- she is ours! God gave her to US! It is OUR responsibility to take care of her, to teach her about God. It was a sobering realization. But God’s grace somehow showed these two ignorant, immature parents the way. He saw our desire to do this right, and He helped us.

When she was little, she was feisty and spunky, yet always the girly-girl. A tender heart yet not afraid to speak truth. Keith use to say about her- “Haley is her own dog. She has her own ideas and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks!” And he was right. Haley challenged me sometimes with her ‘right is right and wrong as wrong’ outlook. But she made me think and I often learned from her as much as she learned from me. At times, she stood alone in her standing up for what was right. This often caused her tender heart pain, but she stood firm in her beliefs.

Haley was a most imaginative and creative child. She was a voracious reader. As crazy as this seems now, (since we didn’t have cable TV or computers when she was little), one of the ways I ‘grounded’ her, was from reading! Can you imagine? “Haley if you don’t stop that right now, you cannot read for a week!” I know, but my bluff usually worked. It’s just a testament to her love for reading. To simply send her to her room as punishment would have really been a reward. Then she could just read in peace. (Don't judge me. I had to think of something! :)
As for her creativity-You could lock Haley in a room with a couple of popsicle sticks, glue and some rocks and in an hour she’d reappear with a doll or Barbie furniture or some other masterpiece. She never ceased to amaze me.From an early age, Haley had a distinct steadiness and wisdom. Her younger siblings looked up to her and adored her (and still do). But as they were all growing up, as tiny as Haley’s always been, her siblings didn’t dare cross her. Her tyranny in the car on long roadtrips is the stuff of family legends :).

Then she grew up. Before we had blinked twice she was a young woman in love. She married the love of her life, Joshua Ortego, at twenty. Their relationship reminds us a lot of mine and Keith's. He's an awesome husband to her which is what we always prayed for.
Today I look at my little girl, who once was this tiny baby in my arms who terrified me with her helplessness and dependence on me. I think of the precious child she was, who blessed us from day one with her sweetness and spirit. I look at the woman of God she has become, a prophetess, intercessor and lover of God, and I am amazed at the goodness of God.

He took me and Keith, two broken, clueless kids, and gave us this amazing gift. Through our great love for her and our great desire to not screw-up this parent thing, the Lord in His wisdom, used this to keep our feet on His path and in so doing, paving the way for the generations to come. We knew we would need Him along the journey. So in earnest, we came to depend on Him. And He was faithful. He still is.           

So Happy Birthday Haley! Thank you for rocking our world. Thank you for being a faithful, obedient and Godly daughter. And thank you for choosing the narrow way. It’s the same path that God drew us to, through you. We love you more than we could ever say!
Love your Mom (and I know I speak for your Daddy too)



Anonymous said...

OK.. You made me tear up! I love you Beffy! As usual another excellently written blog.. God is good! Keith

Michael G Montague said...

Awesome story! Makes me appreciate her all the more, what a great family!!!

Mark McDowell said...

Wow, You do have your dads gift! I do not normally like blogs but this one has changed my mind. Good job!

Mark McDowell

Leanne Mitchell said...

That was awesome. I teared up a time or two. I haven't even meet you yet but I feel like I know you.
You do have a talent. I know you are so proud of your daughter. What a good feeling to know she is making the right choices. That just shows what great parents you have been.

worshiping warriors said...

Thank ya'll! Mark that is high praise indeed!!!:) And Leanne-that really encouraged me and blessed me more than I can tell you. :)