We cry tears of joy when we reflect on the miracle of Isla Joy Elizabeth Richards. When God creates new life, it is a miracle! For us, we have prayed and waited so long to see this promise that God gave us come into reality in our lives. We give Him all the glory for what He has done, His faithfulness and His fulfilled promises.
Isla Joy Elizabeth Richards arrived June 9 at 5:45am. Her birth was an incredible joy! We had my mum, Roslyn, come to stay with us and support us before and after the birth. The timing was perfect! I truly value and treasure having my mother present during the birth, and the reassurance and comfort she brought.
We have been overwhelmed by the support and blessings of so many people in the lead up to Isla's birth and in the time since! We had a beautiful baby shower in Melbourne last December which was a powerful time of encouragement to me in a time of incredible fear. For the first 20 weeks, I had not only suffered from severe morning sickness, but an incredible fear of losing our baby. It was an invitation from the Lord to press into Him and to trust in His goodness. While I was withdrawing from relationships in my fear, I had many family members and friends insist upon celebrating. It was a incredible time of reassurance and growth.
When we returned to Nhulunbuy, I was again overwhelmed by the kindness and generousity of my work colleagues who organised a baby shower dinner and lavished their love upon me. It took me by surprise how deeply they valued my friendship and presence in the office. I have worked there for three and half years and seen many people come and go during that time. My prayer has always been that I would be a positive and encouraging influence on my work colleagues as they serve the community so selflessly. I desperately wanted to finish well.
In addition to this, I also had a baby shower with Christian friends in Nhulunbuy who prayed and prophesied over the birth and my time as a mother! It was encouraging to hear the birth stories of strong Christian women who follow the Lord with complete surrender. The young women from our youth ministry also came and lavished their joy and excitement upon me. All the women put together a little book of advice and encouragements to keep.
When Isla came into the world, we were astounded by how peaceful she is! She sleeps easily and is comfortable in the arms of lots of people. Isla is quickly reassured. She loves music, always turning her head towards the sound. We pray that she will grow with a deep love of music and will worship the Lord all the days of her life. Her Daddy sings to her every day and she loves it. The worship band in our home-church also play for her, and no matter how loud it is, she always falls asleep!
In the mail last week, I received a precious gift from some incredible women from my homeschooling days! The tears just flowed as I looked at the quilt that they all put together. Jenny Stephens organised the quilt as a gift, and many friends and family members all contributed. (See the video for a picture of the quilt. I struggled to get Isla to look at the camera; she just wanted to look at the quilt!)
Words cannot describe how blessed I am! I cry to the Lord daily in thankfulness for His goodness. My daughter will grow up to serve the Lord in strength and beauty, and she has been welcomed into the world with such generousity and celebration!
To all who have journeyed with us,