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Gracias a Dios!

This Thanksgiving our hearts are full of gratitude to God for the arrival of Maya Analina Clauson.  She was delivered in a water-birth at North Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis, MN on October 15, 2015 at 1:40am, 8 lbs. 13 oz. and 21 3/4 in.

Richard Rohr says we come to know and deeply experience God either through great suffering or great love.  My prayer throughout pregnancy was that in labor and delivery I may experience God and grow in a deeper heart knowledge of His love.  Looking back over my experience in giving birth to Maya, God amazed me by how well He answered my prayer.  Both in the joy and pain of childbirth, my birthing verse remained true…

The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

During Maya’s first month there have been moments when I am aware of God rejoicing with us.  Like when I watch the boys marvel at Maya’s tiny hands and feet, or when they hold her and try to quiet her as she cries, or when the first thing they say when they walk in the door after school is “where’s Maya?”  Or, when I am alone rocking or nursing this precious, beautiful baby girl, or when Nils holds her and sings his own special little song to her, not caring if he’s off-key, tears of gratitude to God for his amazing love overflow.

Her name also has special meaning for us.  Maya comes from the Hebrew word mayim, which means water, which has great significance in the Bible, from the Spirit hovering over the water from the beginning of time, to the power God gives water to heal and bring new life to many different people, to the Living Water offered in Christ, to the gift of baptism by the Spirit.  With these images in mind and to remember her water birth (and because it is pronounced the same in English and Spanish) we chose Maya.  Analina is a combination of two names that are dear to us.  We chose to name her after my closest cousin Anna who suffered from muscular atrophy and was confined to a wheelchair, but lived a joy-filled and Christ-centered life during her short 15 years.  We also named her after the Swedish hymn writer, Lina Sandell, whose hymns Nils and I have fond memories of singing growing up in the church. Nils’s dad still sings Children of the Heavenly Father in Swedish and I sang Day by Day with my dad while mom played the piano.

Finally, this Thanksgiving we want to give thanks to God for you!  Thank you for your many prayers for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.  God has answered our prayers.  Thank you for your cards, gifts, emails and love for our family.  This Thanksgiving we pray that you may know deep in your hearts God’s amazing love for you and that you may be filled with gratitude to your Father who gathers you safely in His bosom, never forsakes you, shows you His grace, knows all of your sorrows and preserves you pure and holy (from Children of the Heavenly Father). Amen.

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