by Angela Hines, a member of the Pikeville Missions Team and a member of our Worship Team
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are having technical difficulties with the blog and therefore cannot publish photos. You will find photos on Facebook Tuesday evening, which you can view even if you are not part of the Facebook community.
Several months ago, just days before the application period closed for the summer missions trip the Dominican Republic, I sat in church and could not shake the sense that I was supposed to apply.
After talking with my husband, I applied and then proceeded to sit back and watch. Over the next few weeks, it first appeared that I would not be able to go after all due to an unexpected pregnancy. Then the trip location changed from the DR to Pikeville, Kentucky, once again allowing me to go.
As I watched, I wondered, “Why God? Why are You sending me on this trip?” I honestly didn’t know.
But I said “Yes.”
Fast forward to nine days before we leave and I receive a phone call from Dave Kroeze, Outreach Pastor, asking me to pray about leading worship for a variety of events at Aflex Missionary Baptist Church, one of the churches we’d be partnering with on our trip. Due to the timing of the request and circumstances at the time, I sat back and said, “God, if You want me to do this, You will have to enable me to.”
And then I said “Yes.”
One of the times of worship I had been asked to lead was during the Sunday morning service. The pastor made it clear to me that I was to follow the Lord’s leading on what I was going to share of my personal testimony and what to sing. “Don’t quench the Spirit,” he said.
That week, as I got to know the members of Aflex while I serving beside them, sitting with them in Bible study, and sharing meals with them, I prayed: “God, what would You have me share with these people?”
You see, my story that God has been weaving for the past 10 years primarily centers around six miscarriages, but most of the people I was meeting were men and teens. How could my story apply to them? So I prayed, and I waited.
Saturday night, I sensed the Lord giving me direction on how to share the following morning, and I was filled with His peace, knowing that even if what I had to say was for one person only, God would use it.
And so I said “Yes.”
Sunday morning, I sat at the church piano and shared of how after two healthy pregnancies I had two beautiful sons, but then I began losing babies. I miscarried two, and then God gifted my husband and I with a third son. I lost another…and then God did the unexpected. He gave me the promise of “Eliana” – a name which means “The Lord has responded to me.” He was promising me a daughter, but His fulfillment would not look like what I would have expected.
My next pregnancy also ended in miscarriage…and it was then that God showed me how He was trying to remove anger from my life. “Be like Job,” He said.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
It was nearly three years before I conceived again, but in that time, God did a mighty work in my life. He changed my heart – softening and molding – and bringing me to a place of peace in Him.
During that pregnancy, I was cautiously optimistic, but it again ended in miscarriage. And as I sat alone in ultrasound room with tears streaming down my face, I said “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I told the Lord, “I do not need a daughter to know You are good and that You love me. You are sovereign. Your will be done.” I was at peace and content. I surrendered.
At this point, I was able to sing the song “I Surrender,” which speaks of giving ourselves fully over to the Lord and submitting our lives to knowing Him more as He fills us with His spirit.
My story takes a joyous turn here because the following year, 2015, God allowed me to carry to full term a beautiful baby girl, who we named “Eliana Grace” – The Lord has graciously answered my prayer.
Eliana is His special, undeserved gift to us and has brought untold joy to our family. My deepest desire for Eliana is to be gifted with a sister to share life with, and so when I found out I was pregnant in April of this year, I was thrilled and excited.
But God once again chose to bring that baby straight into His presence and three weeks before we headed to Kentucky, I once again miscarried. But I am being true when I say, “God’s timing in gifting us with Eliana was perfect and while I would not have chosen the painful path to get there, God used it in mighty ways and so I would not change it. And this gives me the confidence to say, that should He choose to bless us with another daughter, her arrival will also be in the perfect time. And through it all, my eyes are on Him.”
I sang “It Is Well” here, not the old hymn, but the modern twist on it that calls us to trust in the Lord’s work in our lives, to keep our eyes on Him, and to say “It is well…with my soul”.
As I shared and sang, I could see people responding. Tears. Bodies bent in prayer. People coming to the altar and being prayed over. As I finished, Dave came to the front and asked me to do the second song again, calling the church to pray and give to the Lord those things that were burdening their hearts and to Let Go – and Let God.
The Holy Spirit was at work in that room. It was filled with the sound of prayers and tears and the tangible evidence of Jesus in our midst as brothers and sisters laid hands and arms on each other in support and surrender.
Truly, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
I walked away from that time in awe. Not of what I had done. But of what God had done… of what can happen when someone says “Yes” even when they don’t understand why.
And I walked away knowing that I had just experienced the very reason that God had called me to participate on that trip.
Say “Yes.” Open your heart and your life to being available to be used as a vessel of God. Your story and your gifts are there because He wants to use them to bring glory to His name and further His kingdom.