Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 says,
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
I was 6 weeks from our second-born’s due date. This had been a relatively easy pregnancy, though nausea was more of a problem than with my first. Nevertheless, I was enjoying good health and relatively good energy levels even at this late stage. Our mission had a meeting near Nairobi, a good 2 hours from where we lived and I had some shopping that needed to be done, so I made the decision to go with Chip for a day in town, ending with a nice fellowship with colleagues. Sounded good to me! We planned for me to stay overnight with my friend in Thika, where the fellowship meeting would be hosted, while Chip went with the friend’s husband to a project this colleague was overseeing several hours’ drive away in a rural part of Kenya.
The day was as uneventful as a major trip to Nairobi could be. It was sure nice to get away for a nice overnight outing and to see people I didn’t normally get to see very often. The fellowship meeting with other missionaries went well too. I enjoyed everything thoroughly…until I ate. That’s when the trouble began. Our husbands had already left for their trip when the nausea began. And it wasn’t normal pregnancy nausea. This was uncontrolled vomiting. I figured I could take things real easy and tough this thing out until Chip got back the next day. But when the contractions began following each session in the ‘small room’, I began to get quite concerned. After some hours, when things were not letting up, but were actually accelerating I got real scared and admitted to my friend what was happening. Naturally, she knew about the vomiting and was concerned enough about that, but when I told her about the contractions, now she was scared and insisted on calling her doctor. She was imagining trying to deliver a baby alone in her home and was having none of that! Can’t really say that I blame her!
After a couple phone consultations and no respite from symptoms, my friend packed me in her car, and we went to see her doctor. I had been praying for the past few hours that God would not let this baby be born while Chip was so far away. By the way, in those days, there were no mobile phones and there was no phone available in the remote place where our husbands were, so there was no contacting them. We were on our own…other than God, of course. Amazingly, by the time we arrived at the doctor’s, the nausea was finally beginning to ease, but the contractions were still strong. The doctor (who was not a Gyn, but a regular GP) decided to give me time before trying any procedures, since the nausea was abating. He was convinced the constant stress of the vomiting was what was setting off the premature contractions and was hopeful that now the contractions would ease too. So, we returned to my friend’s home in Thika and waited. Sure enough, everything settled down and I even got a few hours’ sleep. My poor friend looked pretty ragged next morning, and I probably looked rather rough myself, but we were both so rejoicing that she did not have to play midwife the night before! Our husbands returned later to quite the tale of the scare and answered desperate prayers. I’m not sure who’s prayers were more desperate, mine or my friend’s!
When I read Ecclesiastes chapter 3, “a time to be born…” I am often reminded of this incident. It simply was not time for Sam to be born yet. He went to full term, born 4 days after his due date, a good 8 lbs 2 oz and healthy as can be. I tend to be impatient sometimes and wonder why this or that is not happening. Why is it taking so long? I am always having to remind myself… “all in good time”. If I have done what I need to do and done the best I can, now it’s time to wait and let God bring about things in His timing. I must admit I don’t always like His timing. But time and again, it has proven to be the best. For everything, there is a season…