Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Transitions to Fatherhood - Thunder & Lightening

Last night, there was a horrific thunderstorm near our home outside Boston. For over an hour, it felt like the thunder and lightening were both simultaneous and just outside our bedroom window. From 2:30-4am, flashes of light and rumbling, with giant roars, were constant.

Thankfully, my beautiful wife Katie, who is 9 months pregnant, was able to sleep through much of it -- only by the grace of God.

I'm usually the deep sleeper, but tonight God had lessons for me to learn. I had gone to bed worried about several things: a) the coming birth our first child - a girl, who was due June 4 but had not come; b) the seemingly overwhelming needs of our church partners in Africa who were sharing new losses of life with me earlier that day and new things they felt that God was calling them to do; and c) transitions in life - how would I be going from my life pre-babyto being a dad to a beautiful baby girl? Was I ready?

I drifted in and out of sleep - every 5 minutes waking to a roar from the earth that could not be ignored. One of my best friends, Scott, told me today that the storm was so loud their dog Leila shivered under the bed, unwilling to be held or comforted - a sight he had never seen. In short, the storm was loud, bright, and scary. At times, I felt like Leila.

But, as I lay staring at the ceiling (or more honestly, peeking through my eyelids - afraid to take in the show), I was slowly comforted by God. I started thinking about the Rock God has been in my life, in Katie's, and in the lives of our African friends. I started thinking about transitions & God's grace.

For all of us, God is faithful. I started remembering about the transitions for the woman I met who had walked 6 miles from her hut to the Mtshabezi Hospital in Zimbabwe to give birth -- she was all alone. She walked that far and then gave birth within days while I was there visiting. I've since seen women like her and God has helped each of them through that transition.

Then I started thinking about the decision I made in 2004 to not go to Harvard and instead go to Zimbabwe to see how our church in PA could get involved in the AIDS crises, unsure of what a transition like that meant. Would I ever get to go? Now, today I'm sitting less than 2 miles away from Harvard. God has graciously allowed all of us to take part in building the ministry of Forgotten Voices that came from that 1st trip AND I just graduated with my masters from Harvard last week. God is faithful through all transitions.

Katie and I obviously love the church. When we made the move to Boston from PA for my grad school, we were unsure of where we would find a church and God provided us with a home that exceeded our wildest imaginations - God knew and provided for us during this transition. Friends from Hope Fellowship have become family to us and we love them deeply.

We didn't know where we would live and God provided a home - both in Boston and now the perfect new home when we move back to PA where I'll resume full-time leadership of Forgotten Voices.

God provided the perfect job for Katie in Boston, after she left a job she loved at Messiah College. The new job as a social worker for a Head Start preschool here in the area helped Katie experience great joy in using many of her skills - some she didn't know she had. Through this transition God helped her fall in love with her role, her kids at school, and her coworkers.

With the rapid fire of the night's storm, I kept thinking about all the ways that God sometimes rocks us and rolls us with provision that exceeds our desires. Just like the thunder and lightening, our God is faithful.

I slipped off to sleep - thinking about our God. I woke refreshed and at peace, knowing that God has been there all the time. I just needed a light & sound show to help me know that God will be there as I transition into fatherhood and continue to lead Forgotten Voices.

Now - as we await our daughter's arrival, I'm staring into the dark sky -- waiting for the thunder and lightening to come again tonight. But this time, rather than with a heart full of anxiety, I am at peace --- expecting God to continue to provide for our every need & thankful to Him for this incredible journey He has taken Katie & I on.

Tonight - I'm also praying for all of you. That you may experience the peace of God that transcends all understanding. THat the peace of God will guide your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. That tonight, whether you are in the midst of a storm in the sky or storm in life, you will experience peace. Enjoy the show!!

-Ryan Keith
Father to Be - Anyday now...

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