by: Rhoda Baty
My name is Rhoda Baty and I am a pastor’s wife and a certified Life Purpose Coach with Life Purpose Coaching Centers Intl. and American Association of Christian Counselors. I live in Snohomish WA with my husband of 36 years. We have two daughter’s/sons-in-law and 7 grandchildren. I also work at an alternative high school with at-risk kids. I love to read, hike and play with my grandchildren.
The sky was a breathtaking blue, the sun’s bright yellow glow was warm on my bare arms, and the soft green grass tickled my naked toes. What a perfect summer day! I had no idea what was looming on the horizon. I had just hung up from telling my daughter I would be glad to have my grandchildren for a couple hours. Two rambunctious preschoolers and one preteen would come spend a couple hours with me while mom went to her prenatal appointment. The beautiful day would be a great outside activity day. We could use the Play Doh with all the various cutting tools, saw knife and shaped cutters, pushing the Doh through cylinders, the tiny scraps falling to the grassy ground instead of sticking in the carpet.
My other two grandchildren would walk around the corner to gramma’s house. The five of them eventually ended up in the above ground pool, splashing away with the colorful water balls and the animal floaties that I purchased at the dollar store. Asking ‘nama’ to, “watch and see what I can do! “Lounging in my chair I put my finger in my book to hold my place. I looked up to see the latest ‘trick’ being performed by one and all. Water splashing out of the pool getting me wet which cooled my body on a hot day. Glancing down at my watch I thought that it was about time for my daughter to be pulling up. Knowing she was probably just around the corner I called her. I was thinking popsicles would be great today and I thought she could stop by the store and purchase a package. My grandson would want Spiderman popsicles, my granddaughter’s would want Dora popsicles so I decided on Scooby Doo as Scooby is not gender specific.
When she answered the phone I could tell something was wrong, she could hardly talk through her crying and no, she wasn’t just around the corner as I had hoped. The test revealed several different abnormalities that may be wrong with her baby but they would test again next week. She should think about terminating her pregnancy. Fear penetrated my heart!
I have come to understand that when God does something in our lives He is multi-tasking. It’s never just one area it encompasses more. His plan is to dig deep into our souls where the change affects our ‘whole’ person and our ‘whole’ life as opposed to one area of our life. I was soon to discover He would be doing that in more than just my family’s and friends lives.
When the initial shock of the announcement subsided, it became clear as a crystal what needed to happen. We called a few girlfriends to pray. For one week, we petitioned the throne of God for a misdiagnosis. Knowing that God sometimes doesn’t answer our prayers the way we like we decided what disabilities we could handle and asked for those if we couldn’t have a perfect baby. I wonder sometimes how God puts up with us. We can be dumber than a box of rocks in our thinking!
One-week later six women and one lone guy waited for the news. How would God answer our prayers of one week? Would our fears of a disability play out or would we have a perfect baby? It was hard to sit still with the flock of butterflies in our tummies, we nervously chatted, hoping the time would go fast to hold at bay the negative thinking. We looked at our watches every few minutes. Finally, the phone call, we were caught off guard, stunned, much like being side swiped. It was so much worse than we could have imagined! We had never even heard of these disabilities before. The strong suggestion told to my daughter, “the wisest thing to do would be to terminate the pregnancy now; this baby has 100% chance of dying!”
Oh no, she didn’t just say that! What she didn’t understand is that she just put up a red flag in front of 7 bulls! We were on this like water on rice. We prepared a specific and detailed plan of how to pray. We would pray for each part of baby’s body. For baby’s mind to understand His Word and His ways. (2 Timothy 1:7) For baby’s heart to have a compassionate heart to love God and others, (Deuteronomy 6:5). For baby’s feet to follow the path He had ordained, (Isaiah 52:7). We continued through each part of baby’s body. My daughter’s most pleading request of God was that baby would have a voice to speak of His love and care, His healing and grace.
Something was happening in those days of prayer. Our prayer lives were being transformed more than any of us could have imagined. As we prayed for God’s will, He knew what we wanted; God began to move in our hearts, we came to want what He wanted. Upon awakening each day we would hurry to our computers to hear what God was speaking through each of us. We heard God’s quiet whispers and shared our prayers and insights with each other. Our goal was to pray that God would touch and heal our baby, God’s goal was to bring everyone of us into a more intimate relationship with Him. At the same time our bond of friendship was growing. God was working in more than one area.
We had been praying and fasting for five weeks when our baby died. In those five weeks Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”, was happening in our hearts. During this whole process we had all felt peace and joy. It was not explainable, we couldn’t find words to describe how we felt but we continued to feel peace and joy. Of course we cried, more than once to be honest but the peace and joy seemed to cover us like a warm blanket. I have heard it said that joy is what is happening inside you, not what’s happening around you. That was certainly true for us. God was working in more than one area.
We found out that our baby was a girl. My daughter wanted to pick a name that reflected the peace and joy she and the rest of us had felt during the five weeks of prayer and were continuing to feel. My husband found a list of Hebrew names with their meanings and she picked Annabelle Erin which means peace and joy.
God granted my daughters prayer that Annabelle would have a voice. ‘Annabelle’s Legacy’ started when she was safely in the arms of Jesus. Annabelle was healed and our prayer group became her voice. God was doing more than one thing.
Our group spent those five weeks bonding around a crisis. We grew emotionally closer to each other and emotionally closer to Jesus. We needed to continue our daily sharing of God’s Word and how He was speaking to each of us. It was an insatiable thirst like we had never experienced before. Our decision would be to find a short devotional that all of us would read and comment on each day. This way we were keeping our connection and growing in God at the same time. Our husbands often heard us talking on the phone about our spiritual journey, telling us we sounded like the girls from the TV show ‘The View. We decided to name ourselves “God’s View” with “View” meaning Victorious Intercessory Encouraging Women.
Often we have people contact one of us to pray for a life/death situation. As in our praying for Annabelle we often fast during our prayer for others. In the course of talking nonchalantly with other women we ask if they have a regular devotional life. Most often they say, “well, not really and I feel really badly about that.” To that our response is, “I’m in an email devotional group, if you get one more person we can start a new one.” Today we have 10 email devotional groups in our area. God continues to work in more than one area.
God made all of us for something special and Annabelle’s Legacy was God’s special purpose for her. Annabelle was granted a voice. She is like a light shining through a prism as more and more email devotional groups are starting. As she safely snuggles in the arms of Jesus she is in our hearts, where Jesus lives. He worked in more than one area.