RIVERS OF JOY
When I was born, my parents gave me the middle name Anandi which means joy in one of India's many languages. This name has proven to be prophetic in my life. I have always been naturally cheerful and I began to know true joy when I gave my life to Jesus Christ at age 15. I grew up with a wonderful dad and a loving and devoted mom.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a wife and mother. However, I had an extreme fear of the pain of childbirth. I don't really know where I picked that up since my mom gave birth to me at home and always told me it was the best day of her life. She hoped that one day my sister and I would also have homebirths. I used to upset her by telling her I wanted to be completely knocked out when I gave birth. I was so afraid of childbirth; I even tossed around the idea of never having any birth children but only adopting.
However, as I grew in my relationship with God, my thinking began to change. I learned what the Bible had to say about children being a blessing and about God not wanting us to live in fear.
When I was 19, I traveled on a missionary trip to India where I had the privilege of serving in an orphanage and performing dramas about Jesus on the streets. I had given up dating in high school after a painful breakup and vowed to wait for God to bring the man I was to marry into my life. I had even made a list of things I wanted in a husband and prayed over it. I wasn't looking to find him on this mission trip (romantic relationships were not allowed since we were almost all teenagers.) But three days into the trip I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this blond guy from Colorado who loved God and children as much as I did. I also knew it was going to be a long wait since he was only 16. Wow! Two amazing years of friendship and one beautiful year of courtship later, we were married.
During our courtship I began to research different kinds of birth control. Even though I knew I wanted to have children, I was sure I didn't want them right away.
Was I shocked when I found out that the birth control pills I had planned to take had the potential to cause early abortions. I was pro-life; therefore these pills were no longer an option for me. When I shared my concerns with my fiancé, he was amazingly supportive. He always knew he wanted a big family as well.
We took a few classes on Natural Family Planning, but ultimately decided to trust God to plan our family. We were scolded by well meaning family who were afraid we were too young and too poor to have a baby right away. We held our ground.
Lo and behold, a year passed and no baby. We weren't too concerned about it at that point. We enjoyed our first year of marriage and I busied myself caring for babies at a daycare. A year and 1/2 passed. I was sure I would get pregnant soon. We took Bible College classes and went on our second missionary trip to India. Two and a half years passed and still no baby!
Now, family and friends were concerned for a different reason. I politely told people, that yes, we were trying, and no, we didn't feel we were to see a doctor about it. We were simply trusting God. I began to learn more about nutrition and we both started taking better care of ourselves. We took a job as assistant house parents at a Christian ranch for troubled teen girls. I loved living with "my girls" and home schooling them. More than ever I wanted to be a mom.
Three years passed. Now I was starting to get a little concerned. It was during this time I had a dream I will never forget. I was holding an adorable baby I had never seen before. The baby looked me in the eyes and said (even though it should have been too young to talk) that I was soon going to have a baby named Joy.
I woke up and wrote the dream in my journal thinking it was possibly from the Lord. I also began to pray specifically for the Lord to bless us with a baby the following September. Three and 1/2 years passed. We were two weeks away from traveling to Australia to take music classes and play in a missionary band when I found out I was pregnant! I spent my pregnancy traveling in Australia, singing and talking about Jesus in everything from bars to schools to churches. We then came back to the States to prepare for the birth.
On August 16th, after four years of marriage, our first son was born at home! He was perfectly healthy and had lots of red hair. We named him Rivers Chairo which means “rivers full of joy” -- Chairo is Greek for "full of joy, delight, or gladness". He is now eight months old and lives up to his name everyday! He is the joy of our lives. We are now starting the process to adopt a brother for Rivers from Liberia.
KRIYA HERZOG – written 2007.
Helena, Montana, USA