Friday, August 14, 2009

My Creator

"But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven's Armies is his name!" Jeremiah 51:19

Today I am rejoicing in God creating me!

When I was a little girl I would often climb up on my Daddy’s lap and ask him to tell me the story of the “Dale Twins”. Dad would cuddle my sister and I in close and begin a familiar tale of two babies who were spared life by the divine hand of God.

It all started one day when the families only daughter noticed two pink hyacinths in bloom in their front garden. She confidently announced that her Mom, who was expecting a child at the time, was going to give birth to twin girls. This daughter was 18 years old and there had been no siblings in all these years. One baby was going to be a change…but twins? Impossible! Besides, twins didn’t run in the family. Her Father however was hopeful. He declared he would love twins. In fun, he put in his order for identical twin girls with curly, red hair.

It wasn’t long after this that the Mom did go into labour, at 25 weeks, and two precious, little one-pound baby girls with curly red hair were born. No-one had been anticipating twins, and definitely not this early. The Doctor didn’t even know that twins were arriving until he saw the second head coming. Can you imagine the surprise? Upon hearing the news, the teenage daughter was quick to exclaim, “The hyacinths were right!“ The Doctor’s gave absolutely no hope for either babies survival. Born with undeveloped lungs, diseases and other concerns characteristic of preemies, these little ones were just too small to beat the odds.

Feeling the babies were too fragile to be transported to a specialized facility, they were put in incubators and basically left on their own. Their parents made 101 trips to the hospital before they could even touch one of them. My Dad related how the Father would stand by the nursery window, watching their little chests rise and fall, and wonder, would that be their last breath? The agony of each moment. The pain of watching, yet too afraid to tear his eyes away, as if his very presence brought an unseen strength, willing these babies to fight for life.

And fight they did. Surpassing all probability, day after day these little girls clung to life. There were people praying for them all around the world. They became known as the “Miracle Babies”. Each day brought increased hope. Daily miracles were evident. After weeks and months of agonizing uncertainty, these precious little ones finally came home. The journey still wasn’t without challenges, but the prayers of many had been answered.



(I’m on the right!)

That story began 47 years ago today. Those two little babies were my twin sister and I. She and I have been constant companions all these years. She has been my insurance policy against loneliness. Although we have developed very strong characteristics of our own, those who don’t know us well still get us confused and can’t tell us apart. The joke in our family is that I’m the cute one - something I began saying years and years ago, and it just stuck. As babies we were so identical that our parents had to paint the toenails on one of us red just so they could tell us apart and know which baby they had fed.

To my Dad I’m “Peanut” or "Bells" and my sister is “Pumpkin”. Our personalities are very individual. I enjoy…no…NEED…alone time. I’m more quiet and reflective. My sister is very social and needs constant interaction with others on a daily basis. She is a “butterfly”, gracefully involved in the lives of many. Where she struggles with saying ‘no’ to any request presented to her, I need major confirmation from God to say ‘yes’. She has about an inch on me in height, yet still, annoyingly, weighs less. She is very excitable and her voice carries great distances, while I tend to hold more inside and speak quietly. Her son describes “Auntie Joy” as the ‘peaceful one’.

My sister loves to cook and doesn’t seem to mind a mess. I avoid the kitchen like the plague and believe there’s a place for everything and it should be in it’s place. Without a doubt my sister has a very giving, very soft heart. She is the first to respond to a friends need…usually with some baking. Whenever I hear that she has reached out and shown God’s love in a situation, my response is always, “Of course she did!” Sharing Jesus in this way comes naturally to her and she does it willingly, joyfully and without any hesitation. Her Christmas list with names of people she remembers each year is literally pages long. I thought my list was pretty inclusive, but her list puts mine to shame.

We were named after my older sister’s two best friends - Japhia and Joy. “Joy” seemed appropriate, as my parents were delighted to have twin girls. “Japhia” is an Old Testament Bible name that means “shining light”. Can you believe that Japhia was in a wedding as a flower girl when we were about 6 years old, and the Bride and every attendant was named, “Japhia”. It’s the truth!

We have experienced many ‘twin moments‘, feeling each other’s pain and an uncanny knowing when the other needs prayer. Have we always been this close? Yes and no. We’ve had our moments like any siblings. Being the same age, in the same class, dressing the same until High School, there have definitely been periods of rivalry and competition, yet we also always had an instant, available study companion, champion and best friend.

Not only do we share the same birthday, but we were married on the same day, six years apart. We both have only had one child. Both have a son. Our husbands share similar features - dark hair, moustache, glasses. Our tastes in clothes are similar and when we go shopping for clothes, I’ll sometimes try on items that Japhia is considering purchasing so she can see what she will look like in them! We act as a mirror for one another. We both are heavily involved in Women’s Ministry and leading Bible study. We both love dark, orange chocolates, reading, writing letters and Christmas.

Today we are celebrating 47 years. It's a different celebration this year. Traditionally Mom and Dad take us out for breakfast, but this year a cloud is threatening overhead. I will spend part of my day at the hospital with my Dad, and then wait for my husband to come with the news of whether his job has been spared. Each night as I have surrendered to sleep I've been praying that as my days, so shall my strength be. The Lord gave life and strength 47 years ago, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Thanking God for the gift of years that Dr’s said would never happen. Nothing is impossible with God. Today I am thankful for each breath and pray that my life has been worth the gift bestowed on me by my Lord and Saviour. Celebrating and rejoicing in the blessings that surround and fill my life.

Happy Birthday Japhia. And Happy Birthday to me!





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12 comments:

Joan said...

Joy:

I stumbled upon your blog last week after reading a comment you left on Susanne Scheppman's blog.

Since then, I have been reading your posts daily and want to say how they touch my heart. Your love and devotion for our Savior shines through in your posts.

I enjoyed reading the story of your birth. I have a niece who was born 10 weeks premature and she overcame many adversities. Today she is 27 with a child of her own.

God bless you and Happy birthday!

Leah said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us...a story of God's divine providence. God bless you both as you celebrate the day the Lord placed you here.

Have a wonderful day, dear Joy!!

Leah

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Happy Happy Birthday Dear Joy!

We are rejoicing that HE created you!

Sweet blessings for the day!

Gillian said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOY AND JAPHIA!!!!
Whatever the day holds HE will be your strength. Take Care

Japhia said...

Just HAD to send Birthday Greetings back to the dearest sister in all the world!!! It was fun reading about "us" and wondering, "What is she going to say next!" Thanks for NOT mentioning the "bull head"!!!! Can't wait for us to spend our day together with they boys, mom and dad!!! God gave me the best birthday gift ever when He dreamed us up together!!!! Love, Japhia

~Grace and Peace said...

Joy (and Japhia),
Happy, happy birthday! May the Lord grant you the wishes of your heart. I pray for your sweet Daddy's healing and may God spare your husband's job. But I know that you know that whatever happens, God has you in the palm of His hand.

Thank you for sharing your memories, Joy. I love the part where you try on the clothes so Japhia can see what she will look like. That is hysterical! And the all-Japhia wedding is very unusual.

Enjoy your day! I'm truly glad you were born.

Love,
~T

Lori said...

What a special post! Happy Birthday, dear Joy! You bless me everyday and I'm so very thankful to our Father for bringing you my way! Yes, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

May your day be filled with God's presence, may you feel His love and peace surrounding you.

Hugs dear friend, Lori - AZ

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Joy! Thinking of you today!

Love & Prayers,
Sue

Unreasonable Grace said...

Hi Joy, I've been unable to visit for a few weeks (woefully overwhelmed!) and am glad to catch up with you today - your birthday! I pray you have a happy and blessed day! Glad you got some She Speaks goodies! I actually thought about you, specifically, while at She Speaks this year, wishing you were there so we could meet!
Kim

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Joy - Happy Birthday to you and to your sister! I think identical twins are just the sweetest thing! So glad that God did a miracle in your lives and let you survive!

You're a dear treasure to me!

Marilyn....in Mississippi

Danielle said...

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

2. You so bless me!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

An incredibly lovely story of beginnings. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with me. God has, indeed, been faithful to keep you all of these years for his mighty and good purposes.

May this year hold for you much needed joy and strength, wisdom and favor.

Love you friend.

peace~elaine