Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sara's Story.......And Fresh Water Wells in Uganda

I am taking part in a Bible Study at my church.  We are studying the Book of James with Beth Moore's Mercy Triumphs Study.  Today was week 3 and as we watched the video and I heard Beth teach about how God can take Anguish and turn it to Joy I couldn't help but think of our Sara and how God has used one of the hardest trials I have ever had to face to bring so much joy to me and to others,even now almost 3 decades later.

27 years ago, we had a little girl named Sara Elizabeth who was born too early and left us to go home to her Heavenly Father after just 8 days.  She blessed our lives beyond what we could have ever imagined over the years as we were able to share how God used this precious blessing to touch other lives.

This past October, we learned that Sara Elizabeth will be continuing to bless others halfway around the world.  Our precious friends, Lauren and Andy Barner whose baby girl, Caroline Joy, went to join Jesus and our Sara in Heaven on October 25th are blessing us, by having a well built in Sara's name.  They began by wanting to honor their child in this way and as a result of generous donations, they will be able to build at least 4 wells through a wonderful organization called Holden Uganda....  They build fresh water wells to honor children who die before their parents.

Today, 27 years after her birth and death, Sara is remembered each time one of these people get a drink of clean water.

Below is Sara's Story, one that Mike and  I wrote to document the blessing that Sara was in our life, how God used her.  Over the years, we have shared this story numerous times with others who could gain hope from our experience.  On the day Caroline Joy was born, we received an email from someone who was blessed by reading the story, 27 yrs later.

There are no small coincidences in life.  This is a BIG" God incident ".  And His way of saying......"Time is of no matter to me."  HE will use Sara from the day of her conception until the day He comes back to show HIS glory.

EThe world bombards us with many ideas. Equality for women, Humanism, "if it feels good do it", "Do your own thing, and "career first". Being "married singles" can creep into any marriage if you lose sight of God's plan for marriage. Once we accepted the world's plan for our marriage, it seemed doomed. The only way to get back on track is through God's word, using it as a guide for a good marriage. "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands, in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife , and the two shall be one flesh." Ephesians 5:22-31

My husband, Mike, and I found ourselves becoming married singles. He was gone so much trying to start a photography business. Sometimes we would only see each other on the way to the bathroom in the morning. Sunday mornings seemed to be the only time we had to spend together, so we'd skip church. Soon we found our spiritual lives taking a back seat to everything else.

I 'learned' to get along, putting myself and our sons first. As a result I began to push my husband out the front door to do his next job, so I could do what I wanted to do. I began to feel unloved because I was lonely. I put my needs ahead of Mike's and he began to feel unloved too. After several fights and much soul searching, we decided we had to work at putting our marriage back on the right track. We were trying to do it our own way and not really trusting God to straighten things out. Our marriage was okay... it could have been better.

Sometimes God allows us to experience trials. He gives us the choice of giving them back to Him or keeping them for ourselves. If we keep them for ourselves. We can end up blaming and bitter. Fortunately, when our trial came, we were able to look to God, as being our source of help. He has rewarded us with a deeper love for Him and for each other.

Our trial came with the birth of Sara Elizabeth.

We were so happy! Even though she was 6 weeks early - we had our little girl. Since we had two boys, ten year old Michael and three year old Zachariah, we had hoped and prayed for a daughter this time. God had heard our prayers. Sara Elizabeth entered this world at 8:01 pm on October 9, 1984, weighing 7 lbs. The name, Sara Elizabeth, means "princess- consecrated to God". Her name was chosen when we first learned I was pregnant and we never wavered once. Little did we know how important her names meaning would become to us. I had been in the recovery room a very short time when our pediatrician came in to see me. Sara had Hyaline's Membrane Disease. He told me that she was having much difficulty breathing on her own and he felt she should be transferred to a nearby hospital with an excellent neo-natal intensive care unit. As he left the room I breathed a prayer.

"God, thank you for my little girl. I'm giving her back to you, now. Take care of her for me and do your will in her life." When I was settled in my hospital room, they brought Sara to me so I could see her one more time before she was transferred.. She was in an incubator. She looked so helpless in comparison to the screaming little fighter I had held so briefly in the delivery room. We trusted God to be in total control. Mike rode in the ambulance with Sara and visited her alone until I was released from the hospital. The next day we made the trip together. Mike led me into a room lined with incubators. The room was filled with the sounds of bells and buzzers. There was my little girl with tubes and wires attached to her it seemed everywhere possible. She was the biggest baby in the nursery, but she looked so sick. A machine was breathing for her. But somehow, I had a peace. They were taking good care of her. We decided to have Sara baptized as a public expression of giving her back to God. The hospital chaplain prayed with us and baptized Sara Elizabeth when she was two days old.

We visited Sara as long and as often as possible. She had good times and bad times. Mike and I would hold each other and cry. We were amazed at how our emotions and strength complimented each other. When Mike cried, I was able to comfort him. When I needed to cry, he was a tower of strength. During this time we were learning many lessons. God began showing us His strength, love, and peace. He showed us how He had blessed us with two healthy children. He showed us how many friends we had, how many people were really there for us when we needed them. He showed us that if we will just let Him, He will be everything for us.

When Sara Elizabeth was three days old, I woke up at 3 am. I prayed for Sara, our families, the doctor and nurses, and for God's will to be done. Then I went back to sleep. Before I woke the next morning, I had a dream. In my dream, we were at the hospital. The machines and the wires were all gone and everything was white. A 'nurse' was playing with Sara. Sara was healthy and happy. She laughed and cooed. As I watched her play, the "nurse" told me to pick up the telephone. "A friend had a poem for me." A soft gentle voice recited the poem and when I woke up I remembered it and wrote it down.

Here lies a princess who'll fly through the air.
She came into this world with only one care.
The start that she got was a little bit slow,
But Baby Sara surely will grow.
The force that sustains her is God's perfect love.
Just know, one day Sara will fly like a dove.

God had given us His assurance, once again. We taped a copy of the poem to Sara's incubator and claimed it as a promise for her. When Sara was 5 days old, her condition began to deteriorate. I packed my bags and went to the hospital prepared to stay until it was over, one way or the other. When we arrived at the hospital we prayed again for God to heal her lungs. The longer we watched her, the more we felt God's presence. I heard a still small voice say, "You can sit here and beg me to heal Sara, or you can go home and trust me to do my will." Mike said he heard the same thing. We talked about it and agreed to go home.

The next day we met at the door by Sara's doctor. She asked us for an hour to analyze some test results she was just given and consult with other doctors. Then she would have some news for us. When we walked back into the nursery we were confronted by a nurse. "We're making arrangements to send Sara to Houston on Lifeline. She has a hole in her heart. We've made reservations for you at Ronald McDonald House, when can you be there?" Again that still small voice was saying, "Not Today! Not Today!" Mike was ready to pick up and go immediately. I tried to assure him we couldn't do anything for Sara that day. God would take care of her. We went home, made arrangements for our sons to be taken care of, got traveler's checks, canceled our commitments for the next week, and notified our family of what was going on.

We were to leave early the next morning. When I finished the last phone call, the telephone rang. It was Sara's doctor. "Sara is still here. She doesn't have a hole in her heart. They gave me the wrong baby's reports." If we would have followed our instincts instead of listening to God, we would have already been in Houston, five hours away from home and Sara. But we did have another baby to pray for - the one who did have a hole in her heart.

The next day Sara was no better. At this point the doctors had done everything possible for her. Sara's doctor cried with us as she told us she could no longer give us any hope. Sara would only live another 24 to 48 hours. She said, "Go home and wait."

We saw Sara one more time. We kissed her good-bye, told her we loved her, and prayed for God's will, one more time. "Sara is in your hands, God." On the way home we made several stops to let our parents know what we had been told. We shared the doctors reports and how we were trusting God. If He saw fit to heal Sara, we wouldn't give up hope. If he was calling her home, we would miss her, but we knew that God knows and wants our best. When we walked in the front door of our home, the telephone was ringing. It was Sara's doctor. "We did all we could, but Sara just passed on." Sara went home to be with Jesus when she was 8 days old.

On the day of Sara's Celebration Service, as we called it, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and spring was in our hearts. We celebrated because we knew Sara was in the best possible place - Jesus' arms. "Suffer the little children to come unto me, forbid them not; for such is the kingdom of Heaven." Luke 18:16

There were and still are tears, but there is also the peace that passes all understanding and a joy that comes from knowing that God cares about our every need. God is continuing to show us how He used Sara Elizabeth. We have seen her touch many lives. We have seen friendships healed, marriages strengthened (including our own), relationships with God being considered, and people praying and pulling together. Sara's "ONE CARE" was to teach people to love God and appreciate His Blessings.

Today we know she's "FLYING LIKE A DOVE' in heaven. And Sara is a "PRINCESS". Every princess needs a crown and our princess has one. "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will award to me on that day." 2nd Timothy 4:8 "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21 Our treasure is God and is with God. When Mike and I talk about Sara Elizabeth we feel close to each other. God did a wonderful work in our marriage and in our lives. But, He could only do that when we put Him at the center of our marriage.  AND THE TWO SHALL BE ONE.......................

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