Just wanted to let readers know that today is a very blessed and special day in the Turner home. Four years ago today, May 18, 2004, our daughter Salina was born and our lives were forever changed. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you may be aware that little Salina was an unexpected gift from God, yet one that we love and treasure beyond description.
My wife Li and I were living in China, working as tent-maker missionaries by teaching at a large university on the coast of Guangdong Province. We returned to the States after five years of rewarding and fulfilling kingdom work in late March, 2003. About a month after our return, I celebrated my 54th birthday. Li celebrated her birthday eight days later (I won’t reveal her age) as she would not appreciate that disclosure. Let’s just say she is in her mid-30’s and leave it at that.
The reason I mention our ages is related to the fact that, even though we had thought of having children, discussed it often, and both loved children, we never seriously considered it, mostly due to age. You can imagine our complete surprise when, in August, 2003 we discoved that Li was, indeed, pregnant. After regaining conciousness, I had a long talk with God (I did all the talking) and, after expressing my myriad emotions (joy, fear, utter surprise, anxiety) I thanked the Lord for blessing us in this way and, at the same time, made an earnest appeal for his strength, wisdom, and fortitude. I recall that after this prayer session a deep sense of peace came over me and, although I cannot explain it to anyone’s satisfaction, I deeply understood that Li’s pregnancy and our pending parenthood was the divine will of the Father. At times during the months of pregnancy this peace left me (or more likely I left it), it always returned. For this I am eternally grateful.
This story could go on and on, but I won’t put you through that. Suffice to say that we learned much by all of this and have learned even more since May 18, 2004. The big lessons I think relate mostly to trusting God and allowing his wisdom to override your fears. I often had to do that. You see, returning missionaries are many things I guess, but one thing they are not is rich. In fact, the first 12 months back in America were a trial to say the very least. We both eventually began to work, but Li had to take it easy due to the fact that she had lost a baby years before. I went to work writing for a local newspaper and did freelance work for magazines and, with God’s care, we made it just fine, albeit on the cusp of disaster on several occasions. Miracuoulsy, however, God always provided.
Things were even more complicated due to the fact that it during this period that I was getting LifeBrook Ministries off the ground. During Li’s pregnancy I went through the planning stage right into implementation and opening the ministry. We spent more than a few sleepless nights with me writing and Li dealing with incessant waves of nausea. The issue here, however, is that The Lord Always Was There And Always Gave Us What We Needed.
As I look back on these past four years, there is so much I could write about, but, as I said, I will cut it short. Today we celebrate Salina’s fourth birthday. Our marriage is great, and, as a couple, I feel we are closer than ever. LifeBrook Ministries is flourishing and I am privileged to be able to do the work the Lord has called me to do. Our family is economically sound but far from materially wealthy. Please, however, understand that there are many other kinds of wealth and, with that, our vaults are overflowing.
Parenthood is a huge responsibility and a huge blessing rolled into one. Each step of the way I have believed in and, most of the time, felt, God’s presence, guidance, and fidelity. More and more I am aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, in Li’s life, and in Salina’s young life.
Dear Father of Lights, thank you for blessing this family in so many, many ways – both seen and unseen. And please Lord, continue to reveal your will and your calling on the Turner household and empower us with the qualities needed to meet that calling and carry out your divine plan. Amen.