Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Robo!

Today is my wedding anniversary. I have been a married woman for 7 years! I really can't quite believe how quick the time has gone, and everything that has happened in those 7 years....well the whole 12 years we have been a couple to be honest.
I met my lovely husband in 1997 when I was just 15 years old. I truly believe he was sent into my life at just the right time. I was going through abit of a rebellious phase and had been "hanging around" with a not-so-nice bunch of people, when one day I met Robert. He was so sweet and our relationship just kind of grew from there really. Robert was a Christian and led me to Christ a few months later. My life changed literally overnight and I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the whole of my life with.

Robert is and always has been my soul mate. My best friend, my encourager. The one I can talk to about absolutley anything, who doesn't care if I'm having a bad hair day, prefers me au natural with no make-up on, knows how I like my tea and has seen me grow from a naive, insecure young girl into a strong, confident young woman. He is the father of my beautiful children and was amazing at each delivery - and continues to be an amazing dad. He has helped with the nappies, the grazes, the teething nights, reading with the boys and teaching them how to ride their bikes. He is the one who hears my fears, wipes away my tears and keeps me strong during the times of turmoil with illness, financial ups and downs, and all the other lifes little tests. He is the one who tells me everyday that I can do anything through Jesus, the one who makes me laugh with his hilarious dance moves, the one who knows how to woo me and calls me his Sweetie.

I love my husband so much. Neither of us is perfect and we know the buttons to press to wind eachother up. But one thing I do know is that when we said our vows 7 years ago, I was dying with a rare blood disorder and yet my Robert stood by me, and declared his love, and his Faith in Jesus that he wasn't going to lose me, and chose me as his wife. True Love really does prevail all!

So, Mr.Robo...aka Babyhead (haha-now everyone knows!) this is my public declaration to say I love you so much. Thank you for the past 12 years ... and the 7 of those I have had the privledge to be called your wife. You are amazing and help to keep this house going with your positive attitude,strength and how hard you work to provide for us all. We are a great team - all six of us.
Here's hoping the next 7 years are full of much more laughter, joy, prosperity and love for us all.

Just like I wrote on my collge book 12 years ago - Stace & Robo 2getha 4eva! Love u!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Miraculous Healing...!

I became a born again Christian at the age of 16, not long after meeting Robert. I pretty much accepted most things I heard about the Faith, but really struggled with the whole concept of healing. The thought of someone being "magically" made better from any kind of illness just didn't make sense to me. Surely it wasn't possible. I can remember saying during one particular conversation "I will only believe it when I see it!" I'm such a sucker for putting myself in those situations!!! Let me explain how 7 years ago today my life was dramatically changed.....

When Rob and I discovered we were expecting our first baby, we experienced probably every emotion that could be opened up by that double blue line on the pregnancy test. We had been together 5 years, but were still very young. I was just 20 and Rob was 26, and although we had also wanted to be "younger" parents we hadn't been trying to get pregnant. Excitement soon set in though and we really began to enjoy the thought of baby Omokaros arrival. Due date was 27th Feb 2003!

The pregnancy progressed very well. It was text book, and I looked and felt fab. I was in my size 12's then and can remember at 5months desperatly trying to stick my stomach out as there was hardly no bump! (Now I have to suck it all in, but hey ho!!)

Then when I turned 24 weeks, I began to get huge bruises all over my body, along with a purple/red coloured rash - similar to a menagitis rash - under the skin and wouldn't disappear when a glass was pressed against it. I was also suffering from horrendous nose bleeds. My mum is a nurse and had just so happened to nip over to our house one evening not long after all this started happening. She examined the rash etc and rushed myself and Robert to the doctor. As soon as the GP saw the bruises and rash, he was straight on the phone to the Maternity section at the hospital informing them that there was an emergency on the way. I was terrified, and crying. I kept asking him "what about my baby? Is my baby okay?" but all he said was "Stacey, I honestly can't answer you that, all I can tell you is that you need to get to the hospital now. Please just head straight there."
It was horrific as you can probably imagine. Rob got me back into the car, and my mum drove us straight to Wexham. It was the scariest moment of my life, and I kept asking Rob and my mum "do you think the baby's dead? why wouldn't he tell me my baby is okay?"
They were obviously both upset but were trying their best to uplift me and calm me down. We arrived at the hospital shortly after and were given a side room. At first a midwife suggested I take a piriton tablet as maybe I had, had an allergic reaction, which we refused. No way was I going to take piriton when I was pregnant! And my mums nursing knowledge helped her to have an idea of what could be wrong. She was getting increasingly frustrated and told the midwife I needed a blood test. They done all the routine obs on me and we heard the baby's heartbeat so knew he was okay. My blood pressure, etc was perfect, so they agreed to do the bloods. They were advised to make the bloods a priority, so we could get the results asap, and told me I would need to stay in for closer observation until they had the results.

I don't think anything could have prepared us for the shock news. The blood test results came back showing my platelet count had dropped from a healthy 300-400 to just 7.
We were informed that 50 was life threatening, so with my reading and me being pregnant I was basically a walking corpse. They had to page the haemotologist to come and see me. As it was by now quite late, Rob went back to my parents to freshen up and get some rest, and I was advised to sleep until the haemotologist arrived. During the night my platelets further dropped to just 3, and Dr.Mackie arrived on the ward to see me.
Dr.Mackie is your typical consultant. He is one of the leading Haemotologists in England. A tall slim man with grey hair and glasses that he wears at the very top of his nose. He wears suits and has really long slim legs so the suit trousers seem to go on forever. He is very friendly but in a serious, matter of fact kind of way. He is fantastic.

So, back to that very early morning on ward 24. Dr.Mackie and one of his nurses arrived at my bedside. He asked me how I was feeling and examined the bruises and rash - which was now from the tips of my toes, to the top of my neck. I remember one bruise in particular that was huge and placed right in the centre of my pregnant belly. It was heartbreaking to look at.
Dr.Mackie explained to me that he had to perform a procedure called a bone marrow biopsy and that he would need to do this from the bottom of my spine. He explained that he felt that I either had a type of luekemia, or a blood disorder and the result of the biopsy would determine this.
I was crying and asking if I could phone Robert to be with me. I was scared and felt very alone. His nurse phoned Robert, but they had to perform the biopsy straight away as I was beyond being an emergency patient.
I remember walking into the single side room and laying on my side on the bed. His nurse and a midwife each held one of my hands as I lay there sobbing, praying my baby was okay.
It was all very medical with Dr.Mackie explaining the procedure as he performed it. The pain was excruciating and I was willing it to be over. They were very kind to me though and even showed me the bottle of my bone marrow (woohoo, thought they were going to give me a "I've been very brave sticker too, but alas, no!!)
They explained the results would probably take 24 hours to come back, but in the mean while I needed to start a very high dose of steroid to try to stabalise my platelets. I also needed an emergency scan of the baby, and spent some time on the fetal heart monitor in the FAU. Robert was now with me and devastated that he wasnt there for me during the biopsy ordeal. (I think he just wanted to see the procedure done, being the geeky documentary type of guy that he is!!)
We had it confirmed that day that our first baby was indeed a boy - Joshua, and apart from measuring a little on the small side was very healthy. The relief was breathtaking.

So, our first day of being in hospital began. My GP phoned to see what was happening and apologised if he had scared me, but explained that, by walking into his office that day, I had in fact scared him. I later found out from him, he recognised what I had as he had seen one patient in the past with the same illness, but he obviously couldnt tell me that, that day.
I began the dose of steroids at a very high level, and was being monitored CONSTANTLY!
Dr.Mackie came back to see us the following day and explained that I didn't have luekemia but indeed did have a rare blood disorder called ITP - Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura. This illness can be life threatening and is where for unknown reasons (that's the meaning of Idiopathic!) your body's immune system attacks your platelets stopping your blood from clotting. I was covered in bruises, had the rash and nosebleeds because I was bleeding internally. He informed me that it was a miracle I was still alive, and that if I hadn't gone into hospital that day, I would almost certainly have died from a brain haemorrhage.
The rest of my pregnancy was spent in and out of hospital. I needed countless transfusions of platelets and one blood transfusion, but still we were told these were a false boost to my body just to prepare it for child birth. We were also informed that a caesarean and natural delivery both poised a 50/50 survival rate for myself. I had scans on the baby every two weeks after my diagnosis of ITP as the level of steroid I was on was very dangerous for him and the first sign of distress they would need to consider an early c-section regardless. We were told Joshua could suffer from a slight brain damage due to the steroids.
It was a very emotional time. We continued to buy all our baby equipment, but everything was tinged with an air of sadness. I was so poorly, often sleeping for hours at a stretch.
A particularly difficult week was the week before my 21st birthday and christmas (I'm an xmas baby!) when I had to be in hospital every day from 8am until 6pm having a platelet transfusion. Usually I would go to the maternity area and have the transfusions brought down to me on the FAU, but this week I had to go to the ward where people go for chemo, and other transfusions. My lovely mum, who at that time was working at Thames Valley Hospice (!) was given compassionate leave for 3 months so she could support me. We couldnt afford for Robert to have lots of time off work - I had naturally been signed off, so money was becoming tighter.
My mum drove me to the hospital every day, sat with me for the whole of those 10 hours and then drove me home in the evenings before doing it all over again the following day. She is truly amazing. I can't thank her enough for everything she done for us during that time.
The first thing that upset me that week was the doctor who came round to see me before the transfusions started. He told me everything I had heard before, but the tone he used really upset me. I had to sign a disclaimer stating I knew and understood the risks of me catching HIV, Hepatitis, etc from the transfusions and the risk to the baby. I didnt want to sign the form as he had made me so upset, but the nurses and my mum encouraged me that I needed this transfusion and the risks were minimal, but had to be told to me. I eventually agreed and the transfusion started. Throughout that week I met people of all nationalities, ages, male & female who were having cancer treatment/biopsies/transfusions, etc...
It was a fun week in many ways, with all us patients and relatives laughing alot depsite the sadness. And hearing peoples stories and what they were going through helped me in my battle. There was one elderly lady who was just adorable and cried when she heard what we were going through. Then on the penultimate day of my transfusions, a couple walked in that I recognised. They were the parents of a boy I had been through all my schools with. They explained to us how the dad had been poorly on and off with cancer, and how they thought they were over the worse, but now he was very ill again and would probably spend christmas in hospital. My mum chatted with them lots, but I couldn't really bring myself to get too emotionally attached. I started to feel very down that day.
Now, like I said earlier I became a Christian at 16, but if I'm honest I hadn't really built a strong relationship with God over those years. I think the trouble was Robert and I needed someone in the church we were members of at that time to take us under their wing and encourage us - teach us. We were a very young couple and it was easy to hang around with all our other friends who weren't Christians. I didn't understand back then that I could work on my relationship with God by myself. We attended church most weeks, we prayed now and then, but something hadn't quite clicked into place I guess. We did have lots of people praying for us throughout this time though. Roberts family, some church people, and Roberts friends from his previous church. But still I was doubtful that God could heal someone so poorly!
So, this week of transfusions ended, and my 21st birthday was spent collecting the results to say I was all clear from HIV, etc and that the transfusion had been a success meaning I would be able to spend christmas at home. I should have been relieved, but deep sadness came with the results that day and I couldn't sleep that night. I went downstairs and had decided I'd had enough of life and was going to take all my medication in the hope of not waking up in the morning. I got my meds out and put them on our dining room table, and suddenly felt the urge to write a letter. I didnt know who to, but just began writing regardless. I love writing and it really helped me to jot down all my thoughts and feelings. I finished my "letter" and sat looking at all my medication.
I was scared and crying, and didn't quite know what to do. I then heard someone say to me, switch on the tv to channel 783, which was a christian channel. Can I just add that there was no-one else with me. The house was in darkness, Rob was asleep. The voice I heard was in my mind, but not myself. I now know it was God, but that night I didn't really think about it. I just followed the prompting and put the tv on. There was a man preaching in french. I was really surprised as there was no subtitles yet I could understand everything he was saying. I had studied french up to A'Level standard but by no means could I understand a french conversation where the person was naturally speaking very quickly and passionately in my every day life. This man was talking about healing, and how there was a person out there somewhere who was very poorly, and needed God to break in. That this person was at the deepest low point they had ever been at and they didnt care anymore whether they lived or died. He was urging this person to touch the screen as he wanted to pray with them. Believe me, I had never touched the tv screen in a response to a tv preacher before, and actually haven't since, but that night heavily pregnant, heavily poorly, heavily low I reached out my hands and let God break in. Afterwards as calmly as if I had just come downstairs for a cup of tea, I packed my medication away, switched off the tv, put my "letter" in my keepsake box and went back to bed. I slept like a baby the rest of my 21st birthday night, and the nights to follow also. I didn't share that experience with my family until after christmas. Robert knew it from God, the whole affair. That God had put that programme on, that day, that time just for me. My parents firstly were upset that I had even considered suicide, and then began asking more questions about God - they were "non-believers" at this time.
So the weeks after christmas continued with hospital and midwife visits. My platelet count had risen to 115, which was still very low, and a "false" result in that if I wasnt on the steroids and having the transfusions they would drop straight back down again. But the fact they had reached over 100 was greatly celebrated by everyone, inc Dr.Mackie.
Then on the evening of January 22nd 2003, an hour after I had finished dressing the babys cot (I wanted everything prepared and was getting very excited to me him!) I had show, which is where the mucus plug closing the cervix comes away. I had read various pregnancy books so understood what this meant. I went to bed as usual that night thinking I must contact my doctors in the morning. Then just after midnight I woke up with very painful contractions. I woke Robert and was very scared. Not only had I never experienced pain like it before, but the baby wasn't due for another 5 weeks. We were giggling nervously in between contractions and Rob was timing them to see if they got closer together. We called my parents and the hospital. Obviously everyone in maternity knew my name and had been informed of what was happening so they told me to head straight in. My parents came to collect us, and off we set. My dad probably took the longest journey he could to the hospital. He claimed he wanted to avoid all the roads with speed bumps so as not to cause me discomfort....virtually impossible in Cippenham/Slough where nearly every road has speedbumps!! lol, it's funny to think back on that journey.
We arrived at maternity and were whisked straight into a labour room where I was met by two midwives, a consultant from Dr.Mackies team, an anaesthetist, and two of the gynecology team. My modesty evaporated into thin air at that moment!!!! I was already 4 centimetres dilated, and so it was decided we would try for the natural delivery I so wanted. The labour progressed very well, but frustratingly they wanted me on the bed alot of the time, hooked upto the heart monitor, etc...This was all very new to them aswell, not alot of midwives knew about ITP, and no-one could predict the end result of this birth so everyone was trying to behave great but was naturally nervous. My parents were fab. My dad would pop into the room every now and then, and at one point had me in stitches when he revealed he was in shock as someone had escaped from the mental health area and had flashed him in the carpark when he was topping up the carpark ticket. Hilarious. God is so great that even in times of anguish, He has a sense of humour!!
After 10 hours of labour, I was ready to push. I needed an episiotomy to help me deliver Josh, and a short while later at 4.10pm out he came, tiny with a huge mop of dark black hair, screaming and wriggling around. Good signs!!! He was gorgeous, but a little jaundice due to being early. Whilst he had his newborn tests done, the doctors struggled to control the bleeding I was suffering following his delivery. Where the doctor had made the incision for the episiotomy, she had slightly nicked a vein, which usually wouldn't necessarily cause a problem, but as I had ITP my blood wasn't clotting meaning I was haemorrhaging. Suddenly panic took over. Countless people were rushing into the room, and a crash team turned up. I was being constantly stitched, then un stitched, stitched, then unstitched and was in agony. I could feel life draining away as the bleeding didn't show any signs of stopping. My parents were hysterical outside the room, and Robert was getting really cross with the medical staff. He suddenly began to pray over me demanding the bleeding to stop, and literally a minute later it did. Within half an hour I was sitting up in bed holding my baby Joshua who depsite being through everything he had, was very healthy and didn't need to go to scbu. He was very tired though and as I was so weak I was advised not to feed him myself that night. We were also kept in that labour room overnight as a precaution in case I did suffer anymore bleeding or anything. It was very surreal when it was just myself and Josh left in that room. I lay there staring at him, watching him breathing, sneezing, moving his tiny fingers. I fell in love with him instantly. I thanked God for him and that I was here to witness at the very least his first few hours of life.
The next day we were moved to the postnatal ward, where I was told miracously despite losing 4 pints of blood my platelet reading had stayed at 115. I did need a blood transfusion which wasn't ideal, but was greatly appreciated at the same time. After 5 days we were let home and life as a mummy and daddy really started for us. I was still having my weekly appointments with Dr.Mackie, and was so blessed that straight after Josh was born my steroids were reduced by 25mg, meaning I could safely establish breastfeeding. God provided another miracle for us by answering that prayer!
Initially at the start of my treatment I was told I was likely to be on steroids for at least a year after the baby's birth. However, 3 months after Joshua was born I was completly off all medication, my platelet count had returned to a very healthy 320 and you would never have thought we had just lived the past 7 months with death constantly knocking at my door! Dr.Mackie asked me at my last appointment "Stacey, how can it be that you are sitting here so healthy and happy, with this beautiful 12 week old baby who is also so healthy? You should be dead! You are a miracle!" To which I replied "God had other plans for us!"
I had been advised to consider not having more children as they couldn't be certain the ITP would return. God thankfully took that decsion out of our hands as a week before Joshua's 1st birthday we discovered we were expecting baby number 2!!! The pregnancy was 100000% healthy, with a 2 hour labour where I needed no intervention-in fact I had just one midwife in the room with us that time around. All very boring in comparison!! :o)
And as everyone who knows us personally will know, we have also been blessed with a further 2 sons. Isaac who's 2 yr and 5 months and Samuel who's 9 months. Again both pregnancies and labours were text book PERFECT!
I think for financial purposes and my sanity we will now stop with the whole producing babies! As gorgeous as they are....4 boys aged 6 yrs and under is full on! Im so happy though when I think what could have been.
God is just amazing. When Joshua was 6 months, my parents gave their lives to Christ. They claimed they couldn't not believe in him when they had witnessed first hand His amazing ways.
God has performed many miracles and answers to prayers in this past 7 years (It was 7 years ago today I was diagnosed with ITP). Firstly my mum coming over to our house that night, when she wasnt going too and rushing us to my GP, he then stopped me from commiting suicide that night. A young girl on her 21st birthday desperate for a breakthrough. He gave my platelets that "false" boost and He delivered our baby healthy with no brain damage or other problems. Josh may have been a tiny 5lb 9oz, but now he's like a giraffe. That boy is so intelligent, funny, handsome, popular and advanced for his years. God stopped me from bleeding to death when a team of more than 10 people couldn't handle the situation, he healed me from ITP a whole year earlier than any top haemotologist had predicted, and when I say heal, I mean heal! I have had 3 more children since then and ITP has never been an issue. At times if I'm abit run down I get the odd bruise or nosebleed, but I know that's either just the devil trying to break me, or God reminding me what He done back then! Maybe it's both....
But the most amazing miracle to come out of the whole affair for me is that my parents came to know Jesus for themselves. I would go through it all again if it meant that happened.
Im just so grateful to God. Don't get me wrong it hasnt been a total walk in the park. At times I can get upset with the memories, especially when I heard my friend from schools dad did die over that christmas. It made me question "what I have I done to deserve healing, when others are dying?" A tough one hey, but I do believe it meant God wasn't done with me. We have now been members of a great church for the last 5 and a half years where I have got stuck into ministry work, shared my testimony resulting in women giving their lives to Christ and have grown as a couple and as Christians amazingly. I never question Gods powers, what He can do. I'm only human so yes at times I question the whys and whens but I can say when it comes to His healing powers and how He answers prayers, I'm a changed person.
God may not always answer prayers how we expect them to be answered, but one thing I know for sure is that He's for us, more than anyone else in the world and He will never let us suffer. We just need to have Faith in Him and Trust His plans for our lives. I speak from experience and yes, I'm still learning but I have had a confirmation of the Godly kind that this life isn't for nothing and I sure won't be wasting a minute of mine despairing over the things that don't happen but instead will continue to embrace the things that do happen. God is in control...let Him prove Himself to you!!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Encounter of the Godly kind....!

Hello my dear blog readers!
Well, as most of you who know me will know, Rob and I have just returned from our break away in London, where we attended the Hillsong Conference for Europe. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
This was our third year as delegates, and each year we have really loved the conferences, but both agreed that this year was by far the most awe striking experience we have both ever had.
The speakers were Inspiring, the Worship Beautiful (5000+ followers of Christ singing His praises was like a taste of Heaven for me), the dance/drama/technical work all just, so out of this world creative and 10000000 times better than any x-factor show!!!! It was... wonderful.

And added to this the fact I got to spend 5 child free days with my hubby was just such a Blessing to us. My fab parents moved in, and cared for the children fantastically! Thank you mummy & daddy so very, very much!
I went to the Conference with a feeling of comfort and familiarity - it was afterall our 3rd year, but also expecting to gain a Fresh understanding of His Word and maybe...just maybe...receiving a confirmation of well....something!
What I didn't expect was to experience a raw encounter with God that would firstly break me, and then lead to me gaining a fresh revelation and direction for my life.

The conference days are split up into different sessions, with a different speaker leading each session. On day 2 the second session was titled "Unshakeable Faith." We were to hear some real testimonies from people who had experienced miracles in their lives through having Faith, and Joseph Prince (an amazing Pastor and Speaker) was to finish off the session with a small preach.
"Should be cool" I thought as we sat down ready for it to start.
I can imagine at that point God was having a real giggle at me "Should be cool! My dear sweet'll see!" And thankfully I did! I've started to explain the beginning of the next chapter in my life, let me just take you back a few months and share a few things that will help you to understand my journey and where it's now heading....

This year started good for us...well better than good actually - it started off fantastic, with us being Blessed with the safe arrival of our very healthy (7lb15oz) & very gorgeous Samuel. Son number 4 in the Omokaro house! I remember the day he was born, arriving home a few hours later feeling so happy. My parents and older 3 boys were at home to meet us and welcome the new addition and life felt complete at that moment.
Fast forward to just 5 days later, and things started to wobble. Rob had to start a very long stint of night shifts at work. As I was naturally up throughout the night breastfeeding and meeting the general demands of having a newborn, Rob would get home from a 14 hour shift, take the older boys to school and nursery for me, go to bed, wake up in time to collect Josh from school at 3.20pm (Adam would finish nursery at midday so I would do this run), get ready for work and then leave at 5pm for another long shift. We were literally passing oneanother, barely having time or the energy to have a conversation. The small amount of time Robert was at home, the children obviously needed time with their daddy. The rest of the time I was like a headless chicken running around meeting the needs of the 5 other humans in my family. Added to this was the fact that Adam, our second son was very very poorly and under close observation with the doctors. He had suffered with extreme tonsillitis for the past 18 months...and I mean EXTREME! He was very underweight, couldn't eat, brush his teeth, hardly breathe at night, was constantly on a very strong one dose a day type of antibiotic, and was just so very poorly. Added to this was the fact that Isaac, our third son was only 19 months old and it appeared was hitting the "terrible twos" a tad early. He would hit out at other children for no reason which saw me not wanting to go to Sparklers (our church toddler grp that I'm on the core team for) through fear of him lashing out. I had never experienced this behaviour with my eldest two boys, so I felt embarresed and like I had to watch him constantly - difficult when your breastfeeding your week old baby.

Now I am a very capable person. Lots of people would vouch for that. I am used to doing home life during the working week virtually single handedly - when he's on dayshifts, Rob is out the house at 5.15am before the rest of us have awoken and is back home at 7pm just as the boys are in bed for the night - and I think I do it really very well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining as such. Rob and I are a great team, but even I found this whole time kind of overwhelming really. Things did start to get abit easier over the next few weeks - Isaacs behaviour settled alot (we still did....and do have moments but he's young toddler and I'm so over the whole being judged thing - check ur own kiddies peeps...none are perfect sadly!), we recieved a date for Adams operation to remove those evil tonsils and Robs hours slowly began to settle.

Then just when you think you can take feeling "wayhey" for granted, something happens that knocks it back down again. For us it was my nan who was always so healthy and young for her age, suddenly becoming very poorly and being rushed into hospital where two weeks later she passed away. It was a huge blow to us as a family, and saw me revert back to closing into an invisible shell around myself.

We weren't able to get stuck into a Lifegroup due to Robs working hours (small groups of people frm church who meet once a week to share, discuss and basically do life together) and I felt really lonely. I don't mean to upset anyone, but at that time I felt like I didn't have any true friends around me, that they were all too busy for me and at times I began to feel distant from God. I got on with my daily routine and doing life, but inside felt really quite crap to be honest.

Adams operation was just 4 days after my nans death which was so hard staying in the hospital where she had just died, knowing she was in the morgue whilst we were just down the coridoor in the Childrens ward. Having to leave my little man in theatre, when I'd just experienced a loved one dying was horrendous. We didnt dare change the op date though. Adam needed this, we as a family needed this for him. His illness was demanding alot of my time, energy, and emotions which exhausted us all. But still, it was a hard time. He healed well thank God, but the emotions I felt following my nans death and funeral were very intense and new. I was on edge, naturally feeling angry and very upset at times, and I constantly questioned God on "Why?" I ad peace in knowing she was in heaven having a fab party no doubt, but the suddeness of her death was so hard to get our heads round.

I was very blessed that not long after this, a new term of FIC started which is a ministry Rob and I help to lead in church. It helped me so much to focus on others instead of myself, and God really spoke to me, and used me on that course actually. The guests knew the situation with my nans recent death and I think my honesty compelled them to really being true with what they needed to deal with. Hmmm, God is amazing isn't He?!!!! My husband was amazing. He prayed with me constantly and encouraged me. My nans death hurt him obviously but he was able to put his emotions to the side at times and boost his wife. For that I am so grateful.
And over the next few weeks I just started to step up again - serving, praying more regularly again and reading His word.
Robs hours are still long, but we had a great summer hols. Adam started school in September(much to Josh's delight - they have a year in Infants together!), the younger two are great fun to be around during the day and are in a synced routine which helps me alot, we have joined a great Lifegroup where a couple of the other families are experiencing the husbands working long hours, meaning we can all support oneanother and I have generally been feeling more positive. (Like the old me. Not just living the humdrum of the day, but really enjoying it, looking forward to it).
And so...back to last thursday...sitting down....ready for this session at the conference to begin! Lights go down....first video testimony begins.....then the 2nd.....then a Hillsong staff member gets on stage and tells a part of his story....and another person does the same. With each testimony my heart beats faster, I feel a chill throughout my body. I know God is speaking to me. The first testimony was about a couples daughter being healed from Down Syndrome - (amazing!) will know if u read an earlier blog of mine that my elder sister is handicapped - something I've had to struggle with. The second testimony was a lady being healed from Ovarian/cervical cancer - I am currently awaiting the results from a second cervical screening test I needed, and may need an x-ray on my ovaries due to some unexplained bleeding I have had on and off since Samuels birth. I haven't shared this with many people, but feel now is probably a good as time as any to let everyone know I need their prayer! I'm concerned, but know His plans for me are above any health issues! The third testimony from the Hillsong team member was about his wifes difficult pregnancy, resulting in their unborn child dying - I have an amazing testimony that some of you may have heard about my first pregnancy. It just seemed like with every testimony shared that morning, I had a connection in my own life with them. Yet these people all had something so strong that I hadn't felt quite so connected with for a while...FAITH! I was a mess. Sobbing, nose dripping, tissues piling up. Worship began and I just fell to my knees and begged Gods forgiveness that I had dared question Him, doubt Him all those times. I could feel my whole body being, cleansed I guess. I've never experienced such a feeling before. It felt like little pin pricks all over and I felt as though I was floating like a feather. It was the most bizarre, yet peaceful feeling of my life. I knew at that moment that I had Encountered our Wonderful Saviour at a new level. Joseph Prince finished the session (I was still a mess...but know he was fab!) and I felt stirred. And so my encounter had happened. I knew then that this year isn't a write off, that Jesus is still very much in it, and that great things are still to come. My faith has been totally restored.
Like Joseph Prince said, in the bible it doesn't say "O you of little prayer" or "O you of little fasting" it says "O you of little FAITH!" That's all God wants us to do - have Faith in Him...when we have Faith in Him, it allows Him to shine, allows His Glory to be revealed to all! I'm so grateful I've had that reconfirmed to me!!

As the conference continued with the main message to us being that of "Trusting Gods Word over your life, Stepping into what He wants you to do and Taking the Steps to make It happen", I continued to feel stirred to a calling I feel has been put on my life since I first met Jesus 11 years ago. I have had it prophesised over me by 4 different people that I would work with young women. Supporting, Encouraging, Counselling, Teaching, Bringing God into their lives. I'm very blessed to be able to do that in my every day life with women at Sparklers or who attend our FIC course, even with friends and family members, but I have always wondered if God would let it happen in another way. At Hillsong conference each year there is a stand representing a ministry called "Mercy Ministries"in the huge foyer area. This is a fantastic ministry that works with girls aged between 18-28years of age who have been victims of rape, abuse, self harming, human trafficking, eating disorders, depression, addictions....and so on.

I have said it at the past conferences and this time around also kept saying to Robert I would like to find out more about it and so following Gods prompting, this year I took the bull by the horns and planted myself at the feet of Zoe -the lady representing Mercy and bombarded her with questions. To cut a long conversation short, I have signed up to be an advocate of Mercy Ministires and am SOOOOO excited. I trust God enough that if It's not meant to be that I do work with this ministry that's cool. I know He will open the right doors for me - and my family. I have enough Wisdom to know I can't ignore the facts that were overwhelming me a few months ago - I do have a hubby who works long hours, four very young boys, and a great church we are privledged to be members of, where I am very commited to the ministries I work with there....but...what if...what if I can still have all that and also get some insight into this particular ministry too...! My mum has always said when I do return to "work" she couldnt imagine it being into your average 9-5 office job, but working for God! You never know.....BUT...God does! What a great revelation hey!
And so that's kind of the end of the last chapter explained and the start of this new chapter opened to you! A friend without meaning too made me feel I was doing the wrong thing by writing a blog. I dis-agree. I'm not ashamed of my life, my family, my experiences, my thoughts, my revelations. If I can, through being honest stir something up in others, encourage people, humble people, allow people to pray for me, get a small taste of Jesus into peoples lives...then I'm going to do it! I'm not perfect and actually I dont want to be right now, as I enjoy the end result of each little episode of this life with Jesus in it. There are a couple of things in this blog post I will touch on at a later date - namely my testimony of healing and the health concern I'm going through at the moment. But the great thing is, with renewed Faith in God, I know this health concern doesn't have to be a concern....just another little page in my book! I have experienced His amazing healing powers before and know He can do it again if need be.

So, Hillsong was fab. We bought loads of resources if anyone wants to borrow some. And if you feel intrigued...sign up for next year! We have! Before we left to come home we filled in the form and paid up (u get a good discount if u sign up there and then...but mainly it's a great investment into our futures we think!) And next year, Hillsong have hired the O2! Wow! The conference had 1900 more delegates this year, and so is growing. News of the amazing things God is doing in churches all around Europe through this conference is obviously spreading! I know we feel fired up to put what we learnt into practice in our church and Ministries we're involved in there! Be an even bigger support to the great team in our church and the community around it!

God is Amazing, I love Him so much and have lots of FAITH in the future! I want to see others declaring that too!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Hillsong Conf 2009!!

Okay, I just had to write a very quick post to say I am sooooo excited. Tomorrow lunch time my gorgeous hubby and I travel to London for 5 days, 4 nights to attend the Hillsong Conference 2009 at Excel. This will be the third year we've had the pleasure of going...and the best thing...we don't take the boys!!! How blessed are we that my fab parents are going to move in here for that period, and look after all FOUR children for us.
The previous years we've stayed in the Travel Lodge down the road from Excel (nice -basic home comforts and all that), but this year we think we deserve to go abit more up market and are staying at the Crowne Plaza right on the doorstep of the venue! Fab-a-rooney!!!!!!

I can't wait. I get to spend that whole time with 2 of the most important men in my life - my hubby and God! Time to relax, laugh, share, chat, hold hands, worship, listen, pray, hear amazing speakers and hopefully meet with God in a new way!
I feel so on fire at the moment as it is, but think ... know, great things are going to happen for us & through us by attending the conference this year!

I'm so thankful to be having this special away.....BUT.... for now, it's bath times for the boys, followed by homework, feeding the baby, getting them to bed, hoovering, writing out their routine for my mummy..... Then Sparklers tomorrow morning with the youngest two men before coming home, grabbing bags and hubby and zooming onto the m4!

So, have a great few days everyone. I cannot wait to blog all about it when we get home.

God bless and lots of Stacey love coming your way! xxx

Monday, 5 October 2009

Somewhere over the Rainbow....

In my first blog I mentioned my only sibling Lisa.
Well my 2nd blog is dedicated to her.
We're often told that every life is special, that each person is created in Gods perfect image and has a purpose to fulfill. I believe this to be true in every case of life, even in a person such as Lisa.
Let me explain......
Lisa was born on the 25th August 1979 to a newly married young couple named Calvin & Tracy Beckham. They had the whole world at their feet. She a successful nurse, him enjoying providing for his growing family with dreams of the big things to come. The icing on the cake for this couple was their first pregnancy - slightly sooner than planned, but nonetheless, very welcomed and much anticipated!
So, when Lisa was born the colour of the average pair of jeans, suddenly things didn't seem quite so straightforward. However, the doctors gave her oxygen, and she responded well. Lisa continued to grow into a very bonny and healthy baby!
When she was 14 months old, my mum started to become concerned that Lisa wasn't developing how she should be. She didn't really speak, made no attempts to walk and generally seemed "behind" compared to other young children her age. My mum visited her GP and was told on several occasions she was "a typical first time mother, who needed to relax, as children develop and grow at their own pace!" I'm quite sure being the intelligent woman my mother is, she knew this, especially having worked on childrens wards, etc for her job. She persisted with the GP and was eventually referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where Lisa had her tongue tie corrected and underwent some genetical testing. These results came back fine, and the diagnosis was that Lisa was just a slow developer and would perhaps have slight learning difficulties as she grew up.
I was born a year later and so with her dream fulfilled of having two little girls, family life truely began in the Beckham household. Apparently Lisa began to communicate more, started to walk and was besotted with her baby sister. I remember as a toddler and young child being the only one who could understand what Lisa was saying and would so, act as her interpretor.
It's amazing how children bond and understand eachother don't you think?
In my memory, my parents may be able to offer a different story, things started to become particularly difficult when Lisa was around 8 years old and I was 6. She would have terrible temper tantrums, and break things. She would often lash out at me and break my toys. This was heartbreaking for me as I have always taken pride in my possessions and was always very particular with my things as a child. My parents constantly asked for support and further tests to be done on Lisa, as it was obvious to them that Lisa didn't just have slight learning difficulties. This was added to because Lisa's facial appearance began to change. Her chin started to become more protrudent, and her hands and fingers seemed stubby.
Life was an emotional rollercoaster over the coming years. I was Lisa's biggest defence, but also started to resent this "thing" they called my sister. She was quite violent by now and family days out were often cut short due to her behaviour. She attended a school for children with learning difficulties as in Slough there wasnt much choice. Social services treated my parents like dirt, stating in reports that my mother was "being over the top" and that Lisa was how she was because she must come from an abusive household. It was a terrible time for my mum and dad, and the fact they got through those days and are still together is a miracle in my opinion!
Then when Lisa was 16, at her wits end, my mum demanded a meeting with Lisa's headmaster. Lisas behaviour was uncontrollable by now. She would try to jump out of moving cars, run away from school or try to escape from the house - go into the street and scream her head off. My mum told the school they needed to help our family, and they suggested Lisa have the genetic testing redone. A teacher at the school had heard of a syndrome called Smith Magenis and had immediately thought of Lisa. The tests were completed and lo and behold came back positive for Smith Magenis syndrome - a very rare mental handicap, that at that time had only around 70 sufferers worldwide.
At last, after 16 years of being called "a slow developer", my parents being called "over the top and deluded" Lisa's behaviour had a name. To think for 16 years my family had struggled through so much, my parents hadn't received any financial/emotional/physical support from anyone and now they were told "your daughter is actually mentally handicapped".
They were never given an apology, just told that when Lisa had the first lot of genetical tests done as a baby, medical science wasnt as advanced. How cold hearted "professionals" can be!
As life at home had become so difficult my parents decided it best that Lisa went to live in residential care with other handicapped teenagers. I think they knew Slough, even Berkshire didn't have much to offer Lisa, and they were also aware that their youngest daughter, who often just plodded along with things, was now becoming abit rebellious and needed their full attention.
And so 6 months after being diagnosed Lisa moved to Brighton, to a fantastic place called St.Johns College. There was, surprisingly another girl there called Janine who also had Smith Magenis. We had never seen anyone else like Lisa before in our lives, so to meet Janine was a bittersweet revelation for us.
Brighton was the making of Lisa. The team there were amazing, and she slowly calmed down, and began to blossom into a young woman. She was there for 2 years, and then moved onto another home in Gloucester, where she still is today.
She is now in "independant living", meaning she has her own bedsit flat (with live in carers), attends college one day a week to learn basic living skills, rides a horse (very well), has lots of friends, and a boyfriend too.
At times I cry for my parents, especially my mum. Now I'm a parent myself to 4 very healthy children, I can't imagine what it must of been like for her, what it still is like for her. Her perfect dream of her two girls, not living out quite how she expected it too. My mum is my very best friend. My encourager, my inspiration as a mother myself. My mum is the strongest woman I know. My parents and I often call ourselves the 3 musketeers, and we truely are!
Lisa has achieved so much more than she was ever expected too, but she will always have the mental age of perhaps, a 7 yr old child with learning difficulties. Lisa will never drive, have a full time job, have children, own a house, go and do her weekly grocery shop unattended. Lisa will never get to travel the world with just her boyfriend, Lisa will never be able to invite me over for a girlie pampering night, where we laugh at funny films and share a bottle of wine, Lisa will never be the sister I can phone and tell her just how bad my day is going and have her give me some good ole sisterly advice. Sometimes when I think of her, I just sob. I cry for all those missed opportunities, for the fact that some ignorant people out there still stare at her and make fun, for the fact that I will never get to hold her babies. Lisa will never be the sister I really could do with in my life at times....
....but you know, deep down that doesn't really matter. Lisa is Lisa. Simple really. She has in many ways been my inspiration in life, the one who I look at and think "sod the lot of you, I can do this". Lisa is loving, funny, kind, and creative. She loves drawing pictures for us all and making us gifts. Lisa loves animals and often says she would love to be a vet. Lisa is also a great aunty! My four boys adore her, and have so much compassion for other diasbled and handicapped children and adults. Nothing fazes my boys, and I thank Lisa for being that great example to them.
Lisa is made in Gods perfect image. She does have a purpose in this life. She touches the hearts of everyone she meets. She brightens the day with her random comments, and gorgeous smile.
Lisa is my sister. I am at last very proud to say that. I thank God that I have been privledged to know this amazing young woman, who recently celebrated her 30th birthday. One of Lisa favourite songs is "Somewhere over the Rainbow".... she likes it because rainbows are pretty and she likes the mystery of not knowing what really lies at the end of them. I think Lise, somewhere over the rainbow, there really is that pot of gold....but until that day my sweet, you carry on striving to be the very best you can. I love you, I admire you, and most of all I can't wait to see you and have a big hug!
God bless you always lovely girl xxx

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Let the introductions begin.....

Hello! Wow, welcome to what is going to be the start of very exciting venture for me. I truely love reading & writing. I always have ever since I was at pre-school and learnt to write my name and read the alphabet. So after a very lovely lady who I'm blessed to call my friend and God-mother of son number 3 inspired me by starting her own blog, I thought "okay, lets have a go!" I feel I can express what I'm truely feeling and thinking when I write it down, so.....

I guess a good place to start is by telling you abit more about myself. My full name is Stacey Lee Omokaro. I used to be a Beckham, but my married name is so much more exotic dont you think?!

I was born at the Canadian Redcross Hospital in Taplow at 2.55am on the 23rd December weighing in at a very nice 6lb 14oz. It was a white christmas in England that year - very rare - and ever since it's been my favourite time of the year. I love everything about winter, yes, even the cold! I would much rather wrap up warm and go for a wintery stroll in the woods, than sunbathe on a scorching beach all day.
I've always been asked if it's horrible having my birthday right on top of christmas, but for me it's an added bonus! Lots of celebrations in one hit! Having the christmas tree and decs up on my birthday is the best thing ever.... almost magical.... well that's how it felt as a child. :o)
I was a nice child mostly, I think. I'm sure my parents would vouch for that. Growing up there was just them, myself and my older sister Lisa. We had our fair share of ups and downs with life, but always pulled through together. I will tell you more about my parents and my sister in a later blog post!
I left school in 1998, with 12 GCSE's, and studied for a Business & Marketing GNVQ and a French A'level at College. I was accepted into the Buckinghamshire Chilterns University in Chalfont St.Peters to study a BA in Marketing but decided to defer for a year and gain some work experience in a Marketing firm. Needless to say I enjoyed the hussle and bussle of work life .... okay, stop! ...I enjoyed the MONEY from work life ... so much that I never did go and study for that Marketing degree. But today I'm pleased to say I graduated in October 2008 with a BA Hons in English Literature and Language. I hope to study Journalism next year. Lets just say life took another path...again that's for a later post!
Right now, I'm lucky enough to be a stay at home mummy to my 4 gorgeous children -4 boys (yes, I know!) - Josh, who's 6, Adam who's 5, Isaac who's 2 and lil Samuel who's nearly 9months.
Im married (as you know) to my fantastic hubby Robert. He's the love of my life, my knight in shining armour, my Robert! I will tell you more about him in a later post also!
So, you know I love reading and writing. Let me share a few other things I love doing with my life: I also love cooking (good job with 5 males to feed), swimming, family days out, seeing my friends, watching Lost/Masterchef/Strictly/The Apprentice on tv, and Organising events! I love being creative, visualising an event and then seeing it slowly come together until BHAM! the event itself. I dream of one day owning my own Events company.
One other thing about me, well probably the biggest, most important thing about me -which makes me, me is that I have the pleasure of knowing and loving Jesus. He is a huge part of my life and has been since I first met him when I was 16. He has done amazing, and I mean truely amazing things to and in my life, which I will share with you over the coming weeks.
One thing I can tell you right now is that He makes life so much easier to live!
Okay, so for this moment in time ( mainly because it's 7pm on a sunday and the boys need to go to bed) I'm going to say goodbye.
I really hope you log back into my blog. I talk so much and have loads to share, so I'm sure it'll open up emotions and feelings within you too.
See you later xxx