A story named Joel--Celebrating You, today.

IMG_4120Joel, at the entrance to the Kilns, the home of C.S. Lewis, last summer.

Feeling small, alone, invisible, I shifted to hide my body and face from others around me who were chatting quietly and sipping strong Austrian coffee. Tears were gathering in my eyes and ready to spill over onto my cheeks and I did not want anyone else to see.

"God, here I am and no one even knows I am here. You alone see my heart and here my cry. Please, Lord, open my womb and give me another child, bless me with a little boy if it is in your gracious will. Make me the mother of children, and help me, I pray."

At 33, I had already had one miscarriage and had so deeply enjoyed my precious little baby Sarah more than I knew a mama could, and longed for one more child. Having children was never easy for me--each one was a miracle. The first time around, I didn't have a clue how much of a gift it would be to have a little one in my arms. But now, I longed for another, but month after month passed and I did not find myself pregnant.

But God heard my prayers that day, and planted Joel inside of me. He was my Austrian baby. Perhaps living in the city of musicians--Mozart, Beethoven, while in my womb determined his destiny--that he would eventually become a composer, an orchestrator, a crafter of music.

Almost nine months pregnant found me in my tiny house, all 900 square feet of it, bustling about, readying my home by buying food for the kitchen, washing all the clothes that had piled up, and trying to tell little 2 1/2 year old Sarah that a real baby was coming to live with us.

I had just gone to bed, when without prior warning, no labor pains, my water burst. I remember thinking, "What was that? and then it dawned on me! Oh! I had better get up and shower and get ready, the baby might come in the next day. Sarah had taken 22 hours of full on labor pain and was slow to come. I assumed Joel would be, too.

It was 11:10 at night, but I got up, showered, (wanted to have clean hair at the hospital--what was I thinking?), and in the shower, I had such a pain I almost collapsed.

"Clay!" I yelled, I think maybe we should go to the hospital pretty soon. He helped me out of the shower and helped me throw on some clothes. "Wait, I have to dry my hair just a little, " groan, groan, holding fast to the wall.

We called our Austrian doctor who lived close by and drove the 5 minutes to the hospital. By this time, I could barely stand--it had only been 40 minutes since my water broke!

We stood at the entrance of the hospital, me breathing as best I could, and told them "Schnell, schnell, bitte!" Quickly, quickly, please!

They looked at us sleepily as though I was just an anxious young mom, but slowly took us up the flight of stairs to the maternity ward. Clay had called my best friend, Gwennie, to come be with us and pray!

I literally slipped off my clothes and donned a gown and fell back into the bed all the while thinking perhaps I was going to die. The doctor came in and greeted me, introduced me to the midwife, (It is a law in Austria that a midwife must deliver a baby--I had never seen her before.), and my friend Gwen came rushing through the door, and I screamed, "It can't wait!"

I lifted up my legs, pushed and out popped Joel, into the hands of the surprised midwife--an hour and 15 minutes after my water had broken. We barely had time to realize the amazing miracle that had just happened.

You never know what a day holds!

Today is his 28th birthday. We are in the mountains celebrating his day amidst snow, mountains and evergreen quiet and sparkle.

Thank you, God, for answering my prayers beyond my imagination. This strong, vibrant, gentle, creative, spiritually deep, generously loving man has blessed my life in so many ways, I can't count. And to see him as your helping, loving, supportive arms and encouragement at this season of life, is a grace beyond what I expected.

Happy Birthday, wonderful Joel. You have always been an answer to prayer. May your new year be blessed with favor, love, grace and the blessing of God. Love you forever.


Perhaps you would like to find Joel's music today and enjoy it in your home! To buy and album or to listen, go HERE!

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Each day, I am playing the Midwinter Carols as a prelude to Christmas! Thanks to all of you who have written Joel a thank you for this! It has encouraged him so very much!