Surprise Baby Shower
Recently someone asked me how difficult it was to decide to have our baby in Thailand. I replied that it was a "no-brainer" for us and went on to eloquently explain how having children on the field had been our plan all along. However, after several minutes, I had to go back and amend my original answer; while the initial decision to have the baby here was easy, it has not come without certain sacrifices along the way.
Months ago, after the worst of my morning sickness had passed and I was just beginning to process this whole pregnancy thing, I realized that I probably would not get to experience one of the major American rituals of pregnancy: a Baby Shower. After a good cry and a bit of a pity-party, I gave myself that "God-is-in-control-and-everything-is-going-to-be-OK" talk that has become a regular part of my life since coming to the field. After all, every decision comes with certain sacrifices that we deem to be acceptable based on the positive outcomes of the decision. For us, the opportunity to raise our child on the mission field among the Akha people is so amazing that missing out on a baby shower really is a minor sacrifice!
So, having made peace with the fact that there was no baby shower in my future, you can imagine how blindsided I was when we arrived home last Saturday evening to shouts of "Surprise!!" from the living room. I dumbly responded by saying to my friends "Oh, you're all here." Then, as I glanced over to the dining room and noticed the table brimming with pizza, salad, cookies and fruit, I continued my brilliant commentary by saying, "And you've brought food." It had already been 30 seconds and I still had no idea what was going on. Finally, someone said "It's a baby shower!" and I caught on!
It was a rare treat to have some good ol' fashioned "girl time". While we did not play the traditional silly baby shower games, we had a great time chatting about all the ins and outs of pregnancy and motherhood. Not only were the Chiang Rai ladies there, but it was a special blessing that some friends from America and one from Bangkok happened to be in town as well.
Of course, I can't forget to tell you about all the wonderful gifts we received! The Satterfield girls from America graciously brought an entire suitcase full of gifts sent from friends and family back home. So, we are now fully stocked with adorable, teeny tiny onesies... so cute! I also received a few more practical gifts, like American nursing bras and nursing pads. (Thank goodness! I've only seen one nursing bra for sale here in Thailand and let's just say it wasn't really my style!) The most special present we received, however, was a Peter Rabbit baby quilt that Paul's mother sent over. This particular quilt is especially meaningful because it was made for Paul when he was a baby by his great-grandmother who recently passed away.
It's times like this when I'm reminded of the beauty of God's Upside-down Kingdom. Just like Abraham with Isaac, so often God asks us to surrender something only to give it right back again. However, when the thing is returned to us, it becomes a gift far more precious than it ever was. We cease to be rightful owners and become instead humble recipients of God's goodness.