Browsing the blog archives for the year 2013

The Trip of a Lifetime!

Family Updates

Waller Family in IsraelWith the next generation of the Waller family growing quickly, we realized that there was perhaps a narrowing window of practical opportunity for us to travel together as an extended family. This fall we finalized plans for a three-and-a-half week trip to Israel, the land of the Bible. Our group of 14 represented three generations of  the Waller family, and included all but one of my siblings. (Rachelle and her family would have loved to join us, but had to decline due to the timing of the trip.)

Walking on the Wall of JerusalemFor us, this was not a spiritual pilgrimage, but rather an opportunity to see with our own eyes the land we read about in the pages of the Bible. It is one thing to read about the Sea of Galilee, but another to actually drive through the city of Tiberias, and eat a picnic lunch on the shore, and gaze up into the hill country where Jesus fed the five thousand.

I love the verses we find at the end of Psalm 48. Picture a father walking around the city of Jerusalem, pointing out to his children the landmarks and memorials that remind us of the great things that God has done through the ages.

“Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” –Psalm 48:12-14

Abigail at MegiddoAs a new father, I find this passage of particular significance as I ponder my responsibility to teach my children to know the God of the Bible.

In this picture, Abigail is sitting in a feeding trough at Megiddo, found in the ruins of Solomon’s palace in this city.

Someday when Abigail is older, I look forward to going over these pictures with her and describing the significance of the places we carried her through at just three months old.

Print This Post Print This Post

Chapel Lesson – Are you qualified?

Teaching

On December 5th I had the opportunity to share a chapel lesson for the elementary students at our church’s Christian school. With the help of Heidi and Zach, (two of Valerie’s siblings) I shared a story that I hoped would help the students understand why Jesus Christ was the only one that could suffer and die a substitutionary death for the sins of mankind.

Print This Post Print This Post

Growing Happily!

Abigail, Family Updates

Abigail at Two MonthsWe just returned from Abigail’s two-month checkup appointment, and she is doing wonderfully! A happy, healthy baby, our little daughter brings great joy to our home.

Abigail’s favorite place to play is on a blanket near the patio window where she gets lots of warm sunshine in the morning. She is learning how to use her hands and enjoys batting at little toys hanging from a mobile.

Another favorite spot is on the floor in Daddy’s office. You can watch Abigail enjoying her playtime in the video below. She loves her “wiggle time” and making little cooing noises.

Many friends have told us to treasure these moments because she will grow up before we know it.  🙂  In just a couple short months it is amazing to see how much she has grown! Even in the last week or so she is starting to lose that “newborn cry” and sound more like a growing little girl! My IT consulting work allows me to work from home several days a week, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to enjoy these special moments as a family.

 

 

Print This Post Print This Post

Answers to Prayer

Family Updates

In the weeks leading up to Abigail’s birth, I found myself sometimes pondering a question. How do you pray for an upcoming birth experience? Do I pray through a detailed checklist of all the things that I would really want to see in the birth, or do I just trust that God knows our hearts and He is going to work out all the details as I commit these things to Him?

PrayerPersonally, I believe that prayer is really a relationship of communication and trust, not just a method of obtaining the things we want in life. Yes, God knows our needs, and He can (and often does) provide for them without our even asking, but how much more does He delight to see us come to Him as children coming to a father, pouring out our hearts before Him in childlike simplicity, being confident of His care for us?

And yet even after making our requests known, there is an aspect of trusting that God knows what is His very best for us, even if this means His answer is not quite the same as we were anticipating. Consider the nation of Israel as they were coming out of Egypt. I think that if I was there, I would have been praying for smooth roads and plenty of provision along the way. But what did God give them? A difficult path with very real needs. But God’s intent was that these very needs would become the testimonies of God’s faithfulness and loving care for His people.

Mother and BabyI love reading in Deuteronomy chapter 8 where God calls His people to “Remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness…” After recounting numerous examples of how He had provided for their needs during these difficult times, God exhorted them to never forget what He had done for them.

Remembering God’s faithfulness is what gave Joshua and Caleb the confidence that God would lead them into the Promised Land, just as He had brought them out of the bondage of Egypt.

“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord” –Psalm 107:43

For me, walking through the process of the birth of our first child was an incredible opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness and loving care for us! This week my heart overflowed with tears of gratefulness as Valerie and I were reading some scripture together. God was so faithful in carrying us through this experience! All along the way, even down to the smallest details, I could see how evidently the Lord had prepared the way before us.

Strength for Labor

Timing contractionsIt is often through our weakness that the Lord’s strength is made most evident. One of my primary concerns as we approached our baby’s due date was that Valerie would have the physical stamina to go through the labor and delivery process. As all of you parents know, labor and delivery is not for the faint of heart! 🙂 It has been said that the energy required during this process is comparable to the energy expended while running a marathon.

Valerie and I were also earnestly desiring, if possible, to have a natural, unmedicated birth. We are very grateful for the advances in technology and medicine that save many lives when complications occur, but we personally believe that God designed our bodies for the birth process, and that many undesirable side affects can be avoided (where possible) by taking a less invasive approach.

Heartbeat and Contraction MonitorIt was a specific answer to prayer to see God not only give Valerie the strength for labor, but to enable her to go through the entire process without any type of pain medication! I cannot tell you the encouragement it was to know that the Lord was with us and see Him give strength for each step of the way! What a comfort to know that our families and friends were standing behind us in prayer as we worked through each contraction leading up to Abigail’s birth.

At one point before the labor really started in earnest, Valerie and I were getting tired after over 20 hours of frequent contractions and very little sleep. I knew that rest would be very important for the even greater marathon that lay before us, so at 7:30 that evening we sent out a text message asking for prayer that we could get at least a few hours of sleep before moving into active labor.

She's Here!God answered that prayer! For the next several hours till about midnight, the Lord allowed us to get bits of sleep between contractions as they slowed to about 20 minutes apart. At midnight the contractions suddenly went to 5-8 minutes apart and we moved rapidly into active labor. We went in the strength of that rest for the next eighteen hours until Abigail’s arrival at 5:58 that evening.

Many times when I see first pictures of mom and dad at the hospital with their new baby, mom looks understandably exhausted. I was amazed to look across and see Valerie holding baby Abigail shortly after birth. Instead of a pale, exhausted face, I saw a countenance that was just glowing with the joy and excitement of finally being able to hold our little girl. God answered prayer!

Just the Right People

Not only was God pouring out His strength and grace upon us as a couple, but He also put together a wonderful team to assist with the birth. The nurse assigned to us that day was one of the kindest nurses I have ever met. She was extremely gracious and sensitive to our needs, and gave us excellent care. Hearing the gentle music we were playing in the background, she asked if we were Christians, and we were delighted to learn that we shared this common bond in Christ.

Grandma and Grandpa Waller

Adam’s parents, Brian and Sue Waller

We had made arrangements for a doula to be with us for the birth, and here again the Lord put together just the right one to give helpful suggestions at key points during the hours of labor before the midwife arrived for the actual birth. The midwives on call during our labor and delivery “happened” to be our two favorites of the group, and did a beautiful job assisting with the birth, even allowing dad to help “catch” the baby.

Blessings on Logistics

As I reflect on our birth experience, I am amazed at how many things the Lord orchestrated to demonstrate His loving care for us! Even the little things, like the weather going from the sweltering 90’s the week before to a very comfortable 70’s for the ride to the hospital in a car without air conditioning. We would have survived, but it made the 20 minute drive so much easier for Valerie!

Enroute to the Hospital!Speaking of the drive, had Abigail been born just a couple days earlier, some road closures along the route would have forced us to take a detour on a cobblestone road. (Note for prospective dads, bumpy roads on the way to the hospital during labor is not a good idea.) But by the time we were making this trip, the roads had been reopened, and we had a very smooth ride.

Another desire that the Lord granted us was to be released to go home from the hospital as soon as possible, knowing that we would rest much better at home (assuming mom and baby were recovering well with no complications). Our hope was to head home after the state-mandated testing done 24 hours after birth. In spite of a very hectic day for the hospital staff, they managed to squeeze our testing in at the end of the day, and little Abigail passed all the tests with flying colors.

As we were just packing up our bags to leave the hospital, we had a surprise visit from our pastor and his wife. This was a very sweet visit, and perfect timing for us! Thirty minutes later, and they may have missed us entirely. Our pastor helped me carry our bags down to the car, and they prayed for us before our trip home.

Speedy Recovery

Two hours after the birth, we were moved across to the recovery room where we would spend our first night together as a family. The nurse explained the different pain medications to Valerie, and what we could expect in terms of the recovery process. In the hours that followed, the hospital staff was surprised to find that Valerie was experiencing very little pain, and a little Tylenol from time to time was all that she wanted.

Here again we felt that the Lord was answering prayer in giving Valerie a very smooth and speedy recovery. Many first-time mothers that are far more strong and robust than Valerie have much more painful and difficult recoveries. We recognSleeping in Daddy's Armsize that every birth is different, and there are many factors involved, but we personally believe that it is the definite hand of the Lord that is causing Valerie to spring back so well from Abigail’s birth.

Our subsequent doctor checkups have all gone well, and everyone seems to comment on how well Valerie is doing. As we hear these comments we turn to each other with knowing smiles. We know full well that it is not our strength and ability, but the gracious lovingkindness of a prayer-hearing God! To God be the glory, great things He has done! We want to give tribute to the Lord’s faithfulness in giving us strength that we did not have, and to thank each one that had a part in praying for us! God answers prayer!

Print This Post Print This Post

A Father’s Joy

Family Updates

Sleeping SweetlyChoosing a name for our “little one” was a special privilege for Valerie and me. More than just a name that sounded pretty, we wanted a name that would convey meaning and give a sense of purpose to the little life entrusted to our care.

Abigail — My father’s joy

The name Abigail is of Hebrew origin, and comes from the word awb which means father (like Abba Father), and gheel which means great joy or exaltation (literally, to spin around in ecstatic joy). Together they have the idea of a child bringing great joy to a father.

Waller FamilyAs a boy growing up in the Waller home, one of my most treasured memories is that of sensing my father’s approval. To see my dad smile, place his hand on my shoulder, and hear him say that he was proud of me meant the world to me. I felt like I could face just about anything in life as long as I had the simple confidence that I was bringing joy to my father.

I believe that every person is born with a deep desire for their father’s approval. We find this even in the life of our Savior Jesus Christ. At key points in His earthly ministry, you find recorded those affirming words from His Father, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” How those human emotions must have swelled in the heart of our Lord to hear those words! And what a powerful opportunity and responsibility for us as fathers!

P1100332aIt is our prayer that Abigail will grow to live a life that brings joy to her father. Proverbs tells us that “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” May our little Abigail be trained up in the ways of the Lord, so that her heart may be one that delights in bringing joy to her father. May the approval that she senses from her earthly father in those early years be just a foretaste of the even more important approval of her Heavenly Father, and may her life be guided by the desire to bring joy to her Heavenly Father.

Renee — Born again

Abigail’s middle name expresses our desire that she would one day place her faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our daughter was born physically on September 6th, 2013, but in John chapter 3, Jesus talks of another kind of birth. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

P1100342aNicodemus was understandably bewildered by this concept of being born again, but Jesus was making a very important distinction between these two “births”. The perspective of most Jews in that day was that they were God’s people by virtue of being physical descendents of Abraham. Jesus pointed out that while they were born of the flesh (Abraham’s children), there was a spiritual birth that had to take place for a person to become a true child of God.

It is from this context that the passage goes on to one of the most familiar verses in all of the Bible, where Jesus describes precisely how a person is born of the Spirit. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Unlike a physical birth, a spiritual birth requires action on our part. We must believe in Jesus Christ, accepting His death as the just payment for our sin, and trusting exclusively in His righteousness (not our own), as the basis of our relationship with God.

Abigail Renee WallerThe beautiful thing about this spiritual birth Jesus describes is that it is offered to anyone, not just the physical children of Abraham. This is the fulfillment of what we find in God’s original promise to Abraham thousands of years before, that “…in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This opportunity to become God’s child is not something we can do for someone else. We must personally make that choice for ourselves. Valerie and I have made that choice, and we pray that as our little Abigail grows in understanding, she will also make that decision to put her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be born again.

 

Print This Post Print This Post

Baby Waller has Arrived!

Family Updates

With hearts full to overflowing, Valerie and I returned home last night from the hospital, bringing our precious baby girl, Abigail Renee Waller. She weighed 7lbs, 12oz, and measured 21″ long.

First Family Picture

Abigail was born at 5:58 PM on Friday, September 6th. Valerie did an absolutely outstanding job as a first-time mom, working through about eighteen hours of active labor with a calm and stability that amazed the midwife and hospital staff.

Thank you so much to each one that was praying for us though these incredible hours. Never in my life have I gone through three days with so little sleep, but the grace of God sustained us each step of the way.

I look forward to sharing more of the specifics in how the Lord used your prayers, but first I wanted to share an initial post to let you know of Abigail’s safe arrival, and that Mom and baby (and Daddy) are all doing very well and making a speedy recovery. Valerie’s mother is staying with us for several days, allowing us a little more rest as we recover from the big event and adjust to life as a family of three!  🙂

 

 

Print This Post Print This Post

Labor Day Approaching

Family Updates

On Monday our nation will celebrate our annual Labor Day holiday, a day usually marked by picnics and barbeques as American families enjoy one last long weekend before settling in to school schedules at the end of summer.

Getting Close!Valerie and I are anticipating another “labor day” of far greater significance for our family, and yet with a much less predictable calendar date! Our little one is due any time now, and we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming this new member of our family into the world.  🙂

These recent days have given me a new appreciation for the scriptures that speak of the Lord’s return. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” — Matthew 24:36

We don’t know the day or the hour that baby will come, but when that hour comes, we had better be ready!  🙂 We have our bags packed, a folder with all of our important papers, and a full tank of gas in our car. Rain or shine, day or night, we are ready for the trip to the hospital for baby’s birth.

What a reminder of how important it is that we be ready for the Lord’s return! Whether the Lord comes back in our lifetime, or whether death ushers us into His presence, all of us will one day face eternity. God has graciously offered the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ as the payment for the just penalty we owe for our sin, but only in this life will we have the opportunity to humbly accept this free gift. Are you ready for that day?

Attending birthing classes has been a fun adventure for Valerie and me. Although we are both from large families, it feels quite different when you are the parents. 🙂 I have gained a new appreciation for the advances of technology, and an increasing awe for the incredible way that God has designed our bodies for the natural childbirth process.

As we look forward to our “labor day”, we would be grateful for your prayers for a safe and healthy delivery! We have made the preparations that we can, but ultimately trust the Lord to carry us through the grand adventure before us!

Print This Post Print This Post

The Blessing of the Lord

Family Updates

Rejoicing Together

On March 3rd Valerie and I celebrated our first anniversary, closing a year filled with all the joy and blessings of two lives being molded together with an ever-deepening fellowship and love for each other. What a priceless experience following many years of waiting and trusting God for His best!

We both share the experience of having our faith tested in the latter end of our single years as we tried to focus on putting the Lord first in our lives, and trusting Him to accomplish His best in each area of our lives, including the area of marriage.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches that if we seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, that all these things will be added unto us. In the preceding verses, Jesus points out that all over the world, people are seeking after the necessities of life. Finances, food, and clothing are certainly needful, but as Christians, we have a Father that cares for us and delights to provide for His children.

If God cares about the little things in our lives like food and clothing, how much more does He want for us to have His best in the area of a life partner! “Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers”, Proverbs tells us, “but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” Probably no other relationship in this life will have a greater impact upon our life choices than that of our spouse. I believe that God has given me His very best in Valerie, and it has been my delight over this past year to spend time with this precious gift from the Lord.

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
— Proverbs 10:22

Does this mean that if you focus on loving the Lord with all your heart and seeking Him first, that you can be sure to have the marriage of your dreams? No, not necessarily. You can take God at His Word that all these things will be added unto you, but God knows what is best, and whether marriage is part of His very best for your life. A loving marriage might be our sincere prayer, but we are wise to hold our dreams with open hands so that God is free to bring His own answer in His perfect time.

I certainly had not anticipated reaching the age of 31 before I was married, but I would not trade the fruit of the lessons God had for me in those faith-building years of preparation and growth. Valerie and I have often commented to one another that we would not be enjoying the richness and fulness of what we have today, had it not been for some of those trying lessons and seasons of personal growth in our single years. God truly does all things well!

Family PictureBut lessons in life and faith don’t end when you get married, as all of you married ones know!  🙂  One of the lessons that God has taken us through in this past year was in the area of patience and trust regarding children. Both Valerie and I were eagerly looking forward to the potential of children, but month after month passed with no signs of a little one.

Our prayers continued as we watched all five of our married siblings rejoice in the news of a baby on the way. David & Priscilla were married a month before us, and just had their first in March of this year. Valerie’s brother Joe was married two weeks after us, and they had their first in January. We were only too willing to “join the club”, but could do little but pray and trust the Lord for His best.

I realize that many couples try for years to have children, and some never have this opportunity, so nine months may seem like a comparatively short time to wait, but for us the test of patience and trust was very real as we reached the end of 2012. It was with no little joy in early January that Valerie shared with me the exciting news that the Lord had blessed us with a little one!  🙂

All of this was an exciting new adventure for us, although each being the oldest of ten children, we had some understanding of caring for little ones. Our parents were of course thrilled with the news, and shared much valuable advice for us as we stepped into this new season of life. Never have I been more thankful for my mother taking the time in those early years to teach me how to cook and clean and care for a home!

Valerie did experience some morning sickness as is typical during the first three months, but this was thankfully more mild than what many go through. She is doing very well, and our little one continues to grow and develop. Our midwife reports that baby is right on target for development, with a due date at the very end of August.

Baby WallerAbout two weeks ago we had our ultrasound. What an incredible experience to see our little one for the first time! (No, we didn’t find out the gender, we are leaving that as a surprise.) As one working in the field of technology, I was fascinated by the advances in this arena.

Far from the little profile picture my parents could see when I was a baby, our doctor could show us the baby’s heart beating, details of the spine, and just about every part of our little one’s developing body. “Everything looks perfect!” was the doctor’s happy report.

Above is a picture that the doctor graciously allowed me to take during the ultrasound. We are rejoicing in the blessing of this little one!

 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
— Psalm 127:3

 

Print This Post Print This Post