Answered Prayer

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change of name
God Gave Me A New Name

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: I met Hadassah when she emailed me after reading my name change story, on my blog Ashes to Beauty. I was so happy for her and I felt honored when she told me that I played an important role in her name change journey. Praise God for giving both Hadassah and me the gift of a new name to go along with our new identities in Christ! Here is her story.

 

 

Ever since I can remember, I have never felt a real connection to my first name Julia. When I was in primary school as a child, I used to get teased a lot about the name, so much that I eventually decided never to mention it. Many years later, after I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I asked God for a new name. I saw change in my character and I wanted a name fitting for the new person I had become in Christ.

In Biblical times, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and gave Jacob a new name; Israel. Therefore, I strongly believe that there is an existent connection between a person’s name and God’s purpose for their lives.

A few days later He honoured my request and gave me the name: “Hadassah.” I still remember the day when this name dropped in to my Spirit, there was this crisp sense of joy and peace that I couldn’t explain and I knew in my heart that it was Him. I kept speaking the name out loud over and over in excitement but also a little nervous to find out what it meant! I knew Queen Esther’s Jewish name was Hadassah, but I never really knew what it meant – so finally, I did some research.

So it was no surprise to me when I found out what my new name meant because it explained me.
I discovered that Hadassah is a name of a tree called Myrtle. That was another confirmation to me personally because I’ve always loved trees madly. I find them fascinating and am the kind to stop the car and take pictures of beautiful ones. I think they are grandly designed and there are distinct characters about each and every one of them – they are like human beings in a way; like me. You can tell a lot about a tree by observing its fruits. So it was no surprise to me when I found out what my new name meant because it explained me.

I then began a journey of prayer in preparation towards informing my family. I was troubled that my father would feel betrayed as my first name belonged to his late aunt. It was also during this 6 months period of prayer that God led me to the website of Ashes to Beauty where I read about Lily’s journey to finally changing her name. I was so surprised that she and I almost had a similar experience, and that this was the same God! I sent Lily an email asking for some advice and prayer and she emailed me back!

Finally after 6 months, I approached my father and explained my intentions and reasons to change my name. My father is a very strict man and I was really fearful he would not understand. After listening to my story, he gave me his blessing, thank Jesus! I was so overwhelmed with joy because I realised that God had already spoken to his heart.

change of nameEarly in the beginning of the year 2016, I visited my country’s department of home affairs to officially remove the first name and include my new name. I can’t explain how awesome that felt. On the actual day, a lot of God-moments happened, I was shown favour in many ways, by almost every official who had to assist me. Everything flowed so effortlessly like He was there right next to me. The process that could have taken the entire day; took just below few hours because God had prepared everything for me.

It felt like my name had been waiting for me since I got born again and we were finally reuniting. I felt brand new; fresh and really loved by this God, My heavenly Father adopted me into His family by Grace and has given me a new name. He also gave me a scripture to stand on; Isaiah 55:13, which was in response to my previous life that was full of thorns and nettles. God is good. He is a loving Father who yearns to have a meaningful relationship with us.

Every time someone calls me Hadassah, I am reminded that I belong to God, I am reminded of my purpose – which is to sing about His son Jesus Christ and I know that my “petals” smell of fine perfume of the Holy Spirit, my fruits are edible and nourish lost souls and my leaves are evergreen of the Word of God from January to December.

That’s how God sees me.

Victory Over Infertility
And The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt in our Household

VICTORY OVER INFERTILITY ISSUES

We were married in 1982. At 20 and 22 years of age, we weren’t real sure what direction we wanted our lives to go in, but one thing we knew for sure was that we wanted children.

Although we discussed the topic briefly, the question of whether we could have children or not never came up. There was no reason for it to come up. Having children was the natural progression of life for us….or so we thought.

In the beginning, there was no sense of urgency to get pregnant. We knew it would happen eventually. In the meantime, we enjoyed unwrapping this new gift of marriage that we both were complete novices at.

A year came and went fast. We were still enjoying our new marriage but in the back of our minds we were beginning to wonder why there hadn’t been any signs or symptoms of pregnancy.

At the start of year number 2, we decided to make getting pregnant a priority, although at the time I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what more we could have done on our own to make it happen.

6 more months went by. 2 ½ years into married life and a little sense of anxiety began to set in each month. And each month our disappointment grew more and more.

We both made appointments with our doctor to find out if there was something medically wrong that was prohibiting us from having children.

After months of testing, our doctor told us that more than likely we would never be able to have children.
After months of testing, our doctor told us that more than likely we would never be able to have children. To this day I don’t remember how or why he came to that conclusion. Maybe the explanation was given to us and we were in such a fog that we mentally checked out after his opening remarks. On a positive note, at least we knew indeed that there was some sort of medical reason for our failed attempts.

We both got the feeling that our doctor was tired of seeing us. It was almost as if he thought we would have given up on the issue of having kids over the months that he had been seeing us. It felt like we put him in the uncomfortable position of having to tell us that there was no hope, because we were too stupid to give up on our own.

We shook our doctor’s hand and thanked him for spending as much time on/with us as he had over the previous months. There wasn’t a lot said in the car on the way home after the appointment that afternoon.

My wife had been raised in the church. I on the other hand had been a Christian for less than a year. In most instances, spiritual immaturity when you’re heartbroken and disappointed over life taking you in a direction contrary to where you want to go can be devastating. For me, this “challenge” provided an adrenaline rush.

Looking back on it now, I can see that I had several things going in my favor.

  • I had an insatiable thirst for the Word of God.
  • I had not been “churched” yet. Meaning that I hadn’t been around enough Christians to tell me that simply believing what the Word of God says is no guarantee that prayer will be answered.
  • I had an amazing Pastor/mentor during this first major test of my faith.

When we got home from the doctor’s office we talked about what we were going to do. I knew what I wanted to do; I suppose I just needed to know what direction my wife wanted to go in.

Praise God we felt the same about the situation! While we believed in medical science, we knew that medical science isn’t always the last word. God placed the desire for children in our hearts. These feelings weren’t something we conjured up on our own. I knew in my heart that there was no way I was going to be denied the son that I had looked forward to having since before I was married.

First things first

During this time in my life I was working on a job with split shifts. My lunch break was 3 hours long. I spent my lunchtime alone at San Antonio Park in Long Beach, CA soaking up the Word of God each and every day. I was captivated by it. Not counting the time I spend at church in the Sunday services and in midweek bible studies, I was getting 15 hours per week of good solid bible teaching.

Before we went before the Lord, I knew we had to build a foundation upon which to build our prayer. If the foundation for prayer wasn’t laid clearly and correctly, the enemy could cause doubt to creep in later on.

We searched the scripture and found Deuteronomy 28:11 (And the Lord will cause you to abound in prosperity in the fruit of your body…) and Psalm 37:4 (Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall grant thee the desires of thy heart) and we used them as our foundational scriptures.

We took our prayer before the Lord and settled our faith using 1 John 5:14-15.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15

We left our prayer closet joyfully, knowing in our hearts that it was done.

Faith that Stands the Test of Time

1 year came and went. With each day, we thanked God for answered prayer, acknowledging that our son was on the way.

The 2nd year came and went. Still no signs of pregnancy. We shared our hopes and dreams with those around us. This was a big mistake. Those around us couldn’t see the vision we had of overcoming the challenge of infertility; therefore they inadvertently became more of a hindrance to our faith than allies of ours.

2 years and 6 months came and went. Now I’m beginning to get ticked off. My faith in God and His Word was growing by leaps and bounds. I knew that we were going to have a son and I was ticked off at the enemy for interfering with what I knew the will of God was for our lives.

Strictly as an act of rebellion, I remember coming home from work and proposing an idea to my wife. We first sat down and assessed where our fatigue level was, spiritually speaking. After all, it had been 2 1/2 years with no sign of answered prayer. I knew I was stronger now than I was when we began, but it was important for me to find out where her faith level was because I was about to take things to a new level.

delight-verse3I posed a series of questions to her first (so that she wouldn’t think that I was off my rocker!) I asked her, ”We prayed for a baby correct?” She replied yes. “We prayed for a son, correct?” She replied yes…

Well then if we can pray for a baby and believe, based on scripture that we will have one and if we can pray for a son and expect to receive one, then why can’t we pray and ask God for certain physical and personality traits that we want him to have?

What I meant was that if we can pray for the particular sex of the child, why can’t we pray and ask God for a certain complexion, eye color, personality trait etc.?

This type of prayer may seem presumptuous to some but you have to remember that all the time I was spending reading through God’s Word didn’t magnify what we can’t do. My eyes were focused on God’s Word and all I could find in there was what we could do. My focus was on scriptures like “All things are possible to he that believes, (Mark 9:23) and He that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20).

I could tell that my wife was kinda skeptical, but after a few days of milling over the limitlessness of God, she excitedly got on board and we went before the Father with a modification request to our original prayer.

My wife and I prayed for our son to have hazel eyes. We prayed for him to have brown curly hair. We prayed for him to have a light caramel complexion. We prayed for him to have a calm, even demeanor. We prayed that there will be no “terrible two’s” in either our lives or his. We shielded him from birth with the protection of God that would follow him all the days of his life.

Please understand that this new updated prayer had nothing to do with us thinking that we wanted a “pretty” child or a kid that was striking in appearance to others. This new prayer had to do with a rebellious spirit aimed at the forces seeking to stop our blessing from reaching us. This new prayer was us snubbing our noses at the enemy and telling him that the more difficult he tries to make it on us, the bigger the testimony we were going to have at the end of this journey.

My wife and I asked for features in our son that are very difficult for two people with our physical attributes to produce. But at the end of the day, it is the Lord our God who would get the glory for doing what is impossible for man to do.

The 3rd year came and went. The 4th year came and went. The 5th year came and went. Then after 5 years and 6 months, my wife announced to me that she was pregnant. After having lived in anticipation of this moment for so long, the announcement seemed a little anti-climactic. I had lived in a state of expectancy to such a degree that when the day finally came, it seemed as though I had been through it already.

The pregnancy only lasted 8 months. During my wife’s 8th month checkup the doctor discovered the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. He said that if she tried to give birth to him naturally, there might be complications so she went in for a planned C-Section.

daddysgirl3Then on December 4th, 1989 the Word of God became flesh in our lives in the form of our son Jonathan Randle Winfield at just under 10 lbs.

The journey which was impossible according to man culminated 5 ½ years after it began and we now have a walking, talking, living testimony of what faith in the Word of God will produce.

And remember that prayer request update that we made at the 2 ½ year mark? Every single thing that we included in the updated prayer request was granted to us. Our handsome young man is now 26 years old with a 5 year old daughter of his own and his own son scheduled to arrive in August, 2015.

Is anything too hard for God?

I can say emphatically NO! The only limits that God has to contend with are those placed upon Him by us. The photo above is of the Word which became flesh in my life, Jonathan Winfield holding his daughter and my granddaughter, Kylie Winfield.

Thank you for allowing me to share this testimony with you. I pray that others will find inspiration and hope in the words they’ve read here.