Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
(Psalm 127:3 NASB)
The next morning, we began unloading Elisha’s tightly packed car looking for the essentials. Little did we know, we didn’t have days to get her moved in. Early that afternoon, she began having contractions again. With little medical history and uncertainty regarding her prenatal care, we drove to the emergency room. False alarm. We hit the drive-through after we left and went home to rest.
Thursday morning, Elisha was still symptomatic and most of her suitcases and bags still lined the hallway. That evening, we began documenting the inconsistent contractions. Life was such a whirlwind for her. From couch surfing to the domestic violence shelter, the hotel, and then Amira’s House, she had not experienced calm for months, and her anxiety was building. We returned to labor and delivery for another check and after several hours, they deemed it false labor again. As she moved to the edge of the bed to get dressed, she simultaneously reached for the call button. “My water just broke,” Elisha said matter-of-factly. The nurse came in with a look indicating she did not believe her. But after checking she stepped back and said, “Well, you’re not going anywhere.”
The wild ride had only just begun. With a few phone calls, we summoned volunteers to continue unpacking Elisha’s belongings and organizing her room. Meanwhile, I wasn’t sure how she would feel about me being in the delivery room with her, given that we’d only known each other one week to the day.
“Please stay,” she said. “I don’t want to be here alone.” Much like the interview, I saw so much strength and yet vulnerability and fear in this young mama, who had been through the wringer. She refused an epidural, stating she wanted a natural labor. Later that night, as labor progressed, she asked for some pain medication and reached for her phone and put on her gospel play list. I assumed this would be for background music to distract her between contractions, but I was wrong. As the time neared and labor intensified, she began to sing along with her favorite songs and sang right through each contraction until it was time to push. The nurses were astonished, saying it was so rare to see someone so composed during late labor.
As the baby’s birth was imminent, I approached the bed and asked whether Elisha wanted me to hold her hand. She did. As she brought her baby into the world, I watched in awe. Having almost died in a previous delivery, due to hemorrhage, this mama was demonstrating so much courage, strength, and absolute trust in the Lord. I couldn’t help but wonder, who would be blessing who, while she was at Amira’s House.
Sweet baby boy made his way into the world at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning. I knew and would later share with her that God would use that moment of worshipping through the pain as a pillar in her life to come back to. God’s presence was with us so tangibly. But more unexpected divine provision was coming.
Remember how Carol, the nurse volunteer who went to Memphis with me, had a schedule change that allowed her to be able to travel? That schedule change also meant she was the nursery nurse for the weekend. Carol came on duty in the nursery at 7:00 a.m., less than three hours after Elisha’s son was born. When she came into the room, the three of us were in amazement of what had occurred over the last 72 hours. Tuesday morning, we flew to another state to get Elisha; Friday morning, we had a baby.
Said Carol, “God revealed His perfect timing when my work schedule was changed the week prior to me even knowing about Elisha. He revealed His perfect peace to me as I stepped out in faith to travel to pick her up and bring her safely home. He revealed His perfect love and grace as he allowed me to be working in the nursery the first two days of his life.
Carol gave the first bath, taught mama to swaddle, and helped with breast feeding. God undeniably stepped into their world and provided a rescue. Lauren Daigle’s song, “Rescue,” talks about God sending out an army to find the hopeless woman in need. Today as I write this, Carol is planning to come over and cook with Elisha. Many other volunteers are engaged in helping fulfill our mission to “help her overcome the past, embrace the present, and prepare for the future.” Our new resident is taking parenting and financial stewardship classes. She’s in counseling and job training. She is learning cleaning and cooking skills and so much more. We are blessed and excited to be helping her walk through this leg of her life’s journey, and celebrating the precious baby that now has a brighter future ahead.
God appears to be re-writing the story of Elisha and baby boy. In the time they have been with us, we have experienced His very real guidance, provision and protection. He is our foundation and our covering. He is our rear guard. We know He is walking right alongside us as we fight on two critical battlefronts. We fight for justice for the unborn by providing a viable long-term option for the mother to choose life. And we fight for the freedom for the mamas. Freedom from addiction, trauma, fear, shame, a poverty mentality, and more. Both initiatives have generational and kingdom impact.
Some may be reserved to give to an organization that is helping one woman and child at a time, or even in our next phase, serving two women and two children. But through the work we do, we go deep and broad in the lives of those we serve. Staff and volunteers are with the mamas 24/7, offering comfort at night when breastfeeding is difficult, guiding them nutritionally, teaching conflict resolution, assisting with business phone calls, leading devotion, transporting them to appointments, and so on.
We believe God has plans for many more women to come through Amira’s House and encounter His love and grace. We feel it’s time to open our second bedroom. There are still only nine maternity home beds in all of Tarrant County, and Amira’s House has two of those nine. For the last year, one of those rooms has sat empty. It’s time. We are ready to serve another mama and baby, but we need you. They need you. If you are not already giving, would you prayerfully consider a year end gift or becoming a monthly sponsor for 2022?
To provide quality care for these four lives, we need additional programming funds. This will allow us to hire staff, provide appropriate training, and function with administrative excellence to stay true to our organizational core values of connection, identity, trust and empowerment.
Just today, we were notified of a new church partnership, and we expect more. It will take all of us banding together to make this work possible and deeply impactful. In this we bring God glory by caring for those in need. As we look toward Christmas and the excitement that comes with the holidays, Amira’s House has so much to be thankful for. Women are choosing to come here, where they are finding love and hope during a difficult time in their lives. Many of you have helped get us where we are today, and we are grateful. Let’s continue to partner with God in powerful ways and watch Amira’s House and the women we serve blossom. Click here to make a one-time or recurring donation.
Until our next update, we pray you and your family have a peaceful and joyful holiday season!
Founder & Executive Director
Amira’s House Maternity Home