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Modern Day Miracle




The word is Aramaic for “little girl,” and it is the middle name my husband and I chose for our daughter. The word comes from the passage in the book of Mark where Jesus raises the little girl from the dead.

For us, the name is a tangible reminder of the miracles God performed in the past and the miracles He continues to perform today. We wanted to continually remember that Christ performed His miracles to bring glory to Himself and point people to the cross.

Birth of a Baby

It was a Thursday afternoon in August 2009. Twenty-six hours had passed since my contractions first started. My doctor showed my husband and me charts that monitored the heart rate of our unborn baby. He pointed to the downward trend which indicated that my baby’s heart rate wasn’t recovering sufficiently after each contraction. I heard full sentences and complete phrases. However, the only words that stayed with me were “emergency caesarean section.”

My precious girl was trying to arrive in the world in the wrong position. Her heart rate was dropping, her cord was around her neck, and she was in distress.

This was everything I had been hoping, praying, and believing against.

Within a few minutes, my daughter was successfully and safely delivered, and the doctors were stitching up my incision. I breathed a prayer of thanks that God had taken care of us and safely brought Sekai into the world. It didn’t happen the way I had hoped; yet I could feel God’s presence in the operating room. In that moment, I knew that God was there caring for my little family.

The Aftermath

I wish I could say those calm feelings of God’s control that day stayed with me. The truth was in the days, weeks, and months following my daughter’s birth, my mind continually replayed my pregnancy wondering if we had somehow messed up.

Perhaps we chose the wrong doctor? Maybe I should have searched for a midwife? Or maybe we shouldn’t have gotten pregnant so quickly? Or suppose we hadn’t truly sought God?

Logic lead me to reason with myself that this was just life. Things don’t always work out the way we hope. Yet my mind kept reliving all of our choices and decisions. The things that seemed in our control: the doctor we chose, the hospital where my daughter was delivered, the healthy diet I mostly tried to implement, the birthing classes I took preparing myself for my much desired natural birth. And the things that seemed out of our control: the position of our baby in my womb or the day she decided to enter the world.

I tried to minimize my feelings of disappointment because I felt that what I had gone through was really just a blip on the radar compared to the way many others had suffered in life. So I had a c-section and not a natural birth. It happens to women all over the world every single day. I should be thankful that both my little girl and I were alive.

Yet I kept asking, “Why did this have to happen to me? What was the reason?”

I thought that with time the “whys” surrounding Sekai’s delivery would become increasingly clearer. I hoped that I would suddenly understand the reason everything unfolded as it did. This perfect clarity or 20/20 hindsight never arrived. Instead, my frustrations and disappointments lingered.

One afternoon during a conversation with my husband, I voiced my questions. “Why do I keep second guessing our decisions and wondering if I had done something different could the c-section have been avoided?”

His words were simple, “Because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted.”

“But why? Why didn’t it happen the way we trusted it would?”

My husband wisely answered me,”Perhaps the bigger question is whether we believe that God is sovereign even when things don’t work out the way we hope.”

After six months of second guessing based on what had actually happened, I suddenly had what I could only call an “ah-ha” moment.

I had been searching for clarity and understanding; wanting to know “why?” What was the point? That perhaps my delivery went so completely against what I had prayed for because somehow I had done something wrong.

Is God still sovereign even when plans don’t work out?

My voice wanted to say that He certainly is. However, deep in my heart I knew at that moment I wasn’t sure. It was hard for me to believe that my c-section was part of God’s purposes. In some ways it was easier for me to continue thinking “if only.”

Of course God’s timing with my epiphany was perfect. In the midst of God speaking to me through my husband, He was also speaking to me through the book of Job. I was halfway through the book during my daily devotions. As I read over familiar scriptures, it occurred to me that nothing had worked out for Job the way he had hoped or dreamed. It was as though a wrecking ball had crashed through his life. In the end, God did restore what Job had lost over and above.

However, I don’t think that is the point.

For me, the point is that Job still believed that God was sovereign in the midst of profound disappointments. Even though Job was never enlightened to the purpose of his pain and hurt, he could still respond in the following way in chapter 1 verses 20-22:

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;

may the name of the LORD be praised.”

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

I wasn’t exactly charging God with wrongdoing. In fact, I was self-righteously wondering what I had done wrong.

However, by second guessing what happened and longing to understand the reasons for my experience, I was effectively taking God off His throne. My desire for purpose actually said, “Lord, you might be sovereign over some things but not my c-section.”

The thing is God is sovereign over my c-section just like He is sovereign over everything else.

After Job and his friends searched for meaning in the pain and disappointment, God spoke. Maybe not the way we would have hoped. The gist of what God said is, “I am God. Maker of all. Sovereign over all. May My name be glorified.”

God ultimately acts so that His name may be glorified. Like Job, I may never understand more than that.

Modern Day Miracle

The other day I was telling a close friend about this journey God has brought me on. I shared of God’s faithfulness as He has gently reminded me of the sovereignty of His ways.

She told me she couldn’t understand why I was being so hard on myself. She said that I could have died. Sekai could have died. If this had been long ago or I had been out in a very rural location, we both likely would have died.

The thought was sobering.

Sometime later it occurred to me that just like the name Talitha reminds my husband and me that God performs miracles because it points to the reality of Christ, so does my c-section scar. A four-inch scar that everyday reminds me of my miracle-working Father.

Perhaps this is perfect 20/20 hindsight: seeing the miracles of God in the midst of disappointments, then choosing to let those miracles direct me humbly to my knees before the foot of Christ. It’s there that I glorify God and thank Him for who He is and not just what He has done.

Patrice Gopo lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and her daughter. She enjoys glimpsing God’s divine hand in the everyday moments of life. She is passionate about writing, community, justice, and poverty alleviation. Each year that passes she is amazed to see how God connects these passions in ways she could never ask for or imagine.


When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.



One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.



“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.



Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Modern Day Miracle

by Patrice Gopo time to read: 5 min