Thank you for joining our priority notification list for the book, Birthin' Babies. This life-challenging work will be published in August, 2014. Below, is the book's introduction.
“I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!” Prissy (Butterly McQueen) stated to Scarlet +O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in the 1939 movie classic “Gone With the Wind.” Although the line made her a household name, the truth is, it could have been uttered by millions of people worldwide who are not trained as family physicians, obstetricians, osteopaths, midwives, or who have never assisted in bringing babies into the world. Yet, the same can be said about birthing a vision, which is described by leadership expert Burt Nanus as being “that realistic, credible, attractive future for an individual or organization.”
The vast majority of people have never participated in the launching of something that can be remotely considered a labor of love, or a God-ordained vision and therefore if they were to be honest when pressed concerning why their childhood dreams or even more mature ideas haven't come to pass, they too, can only answer with all sincerity, “I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!” It's nothing to be ashamed of because procreation, although a natural part of the life cycle, is perhaps the most misunderstood and unappreciated component of man's reason for being on earth. And I say this from my own very personal experience which as it turns out was not at all uncommon. When my wife and I were married in 1982, we were told by doctors that our chance of having children were something like 1 in a billion. In fact, we were told not to waste our money on birth-control.
We exhausted all possibilities and had resigned ourselves to adopting … we had so much love to share and we knew that there were children who needed a caring home. However, before we made inquiry into any local agencies, we found ourselves pregnant, and our very own flesh and blood daughter is now 25-years-old.
I often pondered the doctors' assessment and wondered how could they have been so wrong? Especially in light of the fact that we conceived eight months after we wed. Were they quacks? Not hardly. These were some of Houston's top physicians who worked out of the world-famous Texas Women's Hospital.
However, and I know this sounds like an oxymoron, they lacked in knowledge. Not the knowledge of medical science, but knowledge of things in which they really didn't have control of. Their diagnosis and prognosis were based on years of experience, text book criterion and actual case studies of couples in our particular predicament. However, they were ignorant when it came to the things of God, the Creator of all mankind and the Giver and Sustainer of life.
I point this out because even before you launch your vision, there will be naysayers, those who tell you that “it can't be done,” and “don't waste your money.” Many will quote you statistics, those cold, hard numbers that matter-of-factly lay out your chances for failure. Many times, people, even so-call experts and other professionals will stop you from moving forward with your vision based on their belief system. But guess what? They could be as wrong as two left shoes.
As a consultant, I pride myself on giving the best advice and I would never intentionally rain on anyone's parade. Yet, when it comes down to it, the best of us can only share our real-world knowledge and experience, based on the facts as we see them or know them. The world is full of stories of failures that came about because they were written by people who stopped mining “three feet from gold.”
The world is also full of success stories of thousands of people who didn't give up trying even after 10 times, 100 times or 1000 times. These people tapped into a higher power, found a reason for implementing their vision regardless of barriers and are living lives full of the benefits, blessings and benevolences of God. Where would they be had they just given up? What would they lives be like if they had chosen an alternative path? Of course if we had followed through with our plans for adoption, I'm sure we would have worked just as hard in our roles as parents. However, as natural parents, we did not miss out on the rigors of pregnancy and the pains of labor nor did we miss the inherent joy of the miracle of birth.
What does this mean for you? Simply put, whenever people miss out on the miracle of birth, it is usually due to a physical, emotional, or spiritual precondition. Remove the barriers that causes barrenness and pregnancy comes naturally. Now in life, that's easier said than done, and many couples, through no choice of their own, never have children.
I cannot think of a greater sorrow than to be a committed couple but childless. Perfect strangers have no qualms about asking you about your children although other questions such as “How much do you make?”would be taboo. Even well-meaning relatives will start calling a couple of months after the honeymoon wanting to know “have you heard anything yet?” The years do not become kinder as time ticks away and the barren couple's agony is further increased by nagging suspicions of inadequacy which then become a self-fulfilled prophecy.
However the record is replete with couples who had given up and once they stopped “trying,” found themselves on the positive side of the testing stick. Others have found joy, not in the actual pregnancy itself, but in being more than happy to let someone else act as the incubator or surrogate. Their fulfillment came after the proverbial “passing of the baton,” and although they weren't birth parents, they shouldered the responsibility, and the child or children completed their dream of a family.
I summit to you that as far as your vision is concerned, you can either become pregnant with a vision that is entirely your own, or you can take on an existing idea and embrace it as your own.
Yet, still there is a third category of people, those who don't want children nor care about them. These are the ones who miss out and settle for a life that is good enough. I won't argue with them about their position because having children you don't want leads to all kinds of abuse. The same as being endowed with a vision, implementing it, and not giving it the rightful care that it needs to mature and therefore become a benefit to the community in general and the world as a whole. However, the problem with a good enough life is that there is always something lacking, there is always a thirst that is never quenched or a hunger that is never properly fed.
Modern technology and gains in the medical field have made it possible for previously barren individuals to have a better chance at child-bearing. The birth of the first “test-tube-baby” made international headlines. On July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the first successful test-tube baby was born in Great Britain. The technology that allowed her to become conceived was publicized as a medicine and science victory, but it never would have happened if Dr. Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologist at Oldham General Hospital, and Dr. Robert Edwards, a physiologist at Cambridge University, had not been actively working on finding an alternative solution for conception.
Although they began their work in 1966, all of the previous 80 pregnancies lasted only a few weeks—until Leslie Brown who had be unable to conceive for nine years walked into Steptoe's office and the rest as they say is history.
I too, have searched for an alternative solution for people who live unbarren lives, who do just enough to get by, or like the crippled man in the Bible who lay by the healing pool for 38 years waiting for the waters to be disturbed said to Jesus, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” He was asked a question, “Do you want to be healed?” but instead he gave excuses—as accurate as they were about the conditions surrounding him. Does that sound familiar? If so, you need to know that being crippled, barren or vision-less, is a condition and not a character trait.
It has absolutely noting to do with you from the standpoint of who you are and what you can do with your life. How else can you explain a Stephen Hawking, considered to be the smartest man in the world although he suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and is now almost completely paralyzed? Or Yoo Ye-eun from South Korea, a blind five-year-old pianist who is being hailed as the new Mozart, who has stunned the music world after a video of her performance received more than 27million hits. Born blind and adopted in 2002, she has never had formal piano lessons, yet, she can play any song after listening to it once.
Think that these two examples are abnormal? There are millions of examples of people who have overcome odds to do the seemingly impossible and in the process touch the lives of countless individuals. People like Karen Eubanks Jackson, founder of the Sister Network, Inc. Jackson is a 14-year breast cancer survivor who founded an organization that many people questioned its viability and need. Since its inception in 1994, Sister Network has grown to 40 affiliate chapters nationwide and some 4000 members.
Or how about Millard Fuller who founded Habitat for Humanity International in 1976 and served in executive roles for nearly 30 years? Reconciling their marriage and renewing their Christian commitment, The Fullers were drawn to Exodus 22:25 which states, “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” They chose to build houses on a no-profit, no-interest basis, thus making homes affordable to families with low incomes. Today, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses around the world.
Your vision may not be as dramatic as theirs, however does it not deserve to come to pass? Do you really want to continue life with a hollow place in your heart that comes from being barren? Do you really want to do something about that nagging feeling that you have in the pit of your stomach that you were put on earth to do more (you were) and to be more? I contend that you owe it to yourself, your family and the world at large, to not die and have your vision buried alongside with you.
My pastor Dr. James E. Lightfoot of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, recently shared a story that so aptly captures this scenario. He recently went to Dallas, Texas to reside over the funeral services for a nephew. The man who by all accounts was endowed with artistic abilities, was in his 60s, had spent a great amount of time in prison and had quietly returned to society, not really doing much with his life except going to work and back home. At the funeral home, Dr. Lightfoot noticed that among the floral arrangements which incidentally were prepared by the man's brother, there was a framed piece of artwork. This puzzled the pastor who did not recognize it as being a painting of prominence and after the services he inquired about its presence. “That's a painting that my brother was doing for his niece,” the man's sister replied. “He never finished it, but she had it framed anyway. Just like his life … never completed.”
Unfortunately many of us get started on life's canvas and after applying a rough sketch of what we hope for our future, we put our paint brush down, never to work again on what could become a masterpiece.
The number one question I get from people seeking to conceive a vision is, “How do I find my purpose?” That's a good question and although vision and purpose are intertwined, they are not one and the same. It is often through having and pursuing a vision that your purpose becomes clear. For example, you might have a vision of building a free hospital and out of that vision becomes your purpose of say, providing top level health care for people worldwide.
There are many excellent books that one can read and courses that one can take in order to help find their purpose. And just like the many and varied methods available for conceiving children, sometimes you must try different ones until you find the one that works for you.
I wish that I could tell you that I invented the nine principles found in “Birthin' Babies: Principles for Conceiving, Delivering and Maintaining a Healthy and Prosperous Vision.” If only I were that smart.
The energizing principles which I lay out in this book are common to every woman who have given birth and since I have not, (at least not in the physical sense) I became a student of obstetrics and found in that study an answer to a quagmire that beset me—namely, why do some people lead a life of vision and others are content sitting aimlessly, under the neighborhood tree day in and day out? What you hold in your hands is my heart-felt attempt to share my spiritual education, because if it can change the life of someone like myself, it can definitely be of assistance to others who find themselves for all intents and purposes … stuck.
Like so many other books of this genre, it is written to give practical methods and to give examples which demonstrate that you do not need to settle in life, that you can have everything you dream of and more. It is not to be confused with a “get rich” book, although riches, be that as they may seem to follow visionaries. But I'm not talking necessarily about riches as in silver and gold. Rather, I'm speaking about an overabundance of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance—for which no price can be paid.
In other words, when you birth a vision, your life can be overflowing with the joy and satisfaction that comes from a life full of promise, purpose and passion. How can I be so sure? The principles therein are rooted in the beauty of childbirth as described in Psalm 139:13-18, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”
There is no complicated purpose behind the publishing of this book. I don't have a long list of letters behind my name that will lend credence to a particular field of study, and I have no delusions of grandeur that it will rival literary classics. I have simply put together a practical, how-to guide, written with the exclusive idea that others might find the steps to creating and maintaining a life-changing vision. I have no doubt that the reader will find the steps to to be sound, after all, they were created by the One who said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Therefore I believe that if you apply these steps, the end result will be a life of victory and a vision fulfilled.