Revelation 12:11 says: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; …”. When we tell testimonies of the Lord God’s power and saving grace on our lives, the devil slinks away tail between legs. So, let us share our amazing stories of God’s love in action and shame the evil one.
We look forward to reading your own story of faith in the coming weeks. Your well-written story should be about 1000 words. Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be compiled into an anthology of stories of faith.
Here is today’s story of faith told by Chenai Phiri. Enjoy! Look out for the next story of faith next week.
I was tired. Very pregnant and swollen. Some people only looked at me with furtive glances. Some told me to my face that I was scary to look at. I was on my ninth month and the baby was due soon. When I went to Rutsanana Polyclinic in Lusaka, Highfields for the regular check-up on 1st March 2016, I was told that my blood pressure (BP) was excessively high. I was referred to Harare Hospital and was told I would be booked in for a cesarean section (C-section) the following day. That was unsettling. I remembered my first pregnancy. I had lost my first child, a baby girl because my BP was very high. Was I going to go down the same lane? I broke the news to my husband and also let my Pastor and his wife know. They spoke a lot of encouragement to me and strengthened my inner person.
Rev Johane Ncube took me from my home, Rockview in Glen Norah C to Harare Hospital in his car on 2nd March. That was very helpful as walking had become a task. Since I was not feeling any labour pains, I decided I should go and get some food before they operate on me. I had a good meal from one of the kiosks in the hospital grounds. On my way back to the ward I found a woman sitting under a tree crying. She was on her own. I went closer and said,
“What’s the matter my dear?”
“I am greatly pained. I was operated on and I lost my baby” she said between sobs. I tried to put myself in her shoes and sat with her a little while comforting her and praying for her. Then I went to my ward.
When the nurses came to my bed, my BP was checked, and I saw the concern on their faces. They said it was very high, so I was booked for a C-section. Suddenly, I was engulfed with fear. I had brought my Bible to hospital, but I could not even sit to read it. It seemed as if all faith had gone out the window and fear grew roots and gripped my heart. I do not know whether seeing the woman who had just lost her baby had anything to do with it, but I was not keen to have a C-section. I told the nurses I was not going to be operated on. They asked me to sign a register that I had declined to have an operation, for their records, in case something went wrong. I did so gladly.
“All right Mrs Phiri. Let’s see,” said Doctor when he came. “I see you do not want to undertake a C-section. Maybe we can induce you and see what happens,” he said looking at me. Again, I shook my head and said, “No, thank you Doctor. I shall wait.”
I was then given a bed to rest since my BP was too high. I cannot remember what the reading was each time and the cards remained in hospital. All I remember was that it was written in red pen with lots of + signs. I remember one had four + signs in red. The one reading I remember at the clinic was 199/137. When they left me, I walked around in the maternity ward speaking to women awaiting delivery. They all without exception moaned and complained. This is what I heard,
“All women who go for a C-section lose their babies.”
“The other day, both mother and baby died after the C-section.”
“It is horrible! Even those who are induced lose their babies.”
“It is horrible! I’m so scared!” said one young woman crying.
All these terrible reports perturbed me. The following day, I sent a message to my church ladies’ intercessors forum and let them know about my situation and that I had refused to undergo C-section. They all sent me very encouraging words. Our Deaconess, Mrs Ella Mhako in particular, said words that stayed with me. She said,
“Be strong and courageous Chenai. Look up to Jehovah. He promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a faithful God. Have faith in God.”
As Deaconess Mhako talked to me, I found that fear in me was evaporating. I developed a new resolve. I said to myself,
“Chenai, you are going to have this child. You are going to have a normal delivery. BP or no BP you will give birth normally. Some of the women in the same situation as you have lost their babies. Yes, in some cases both mother and baby have died. Your baby will survive because no weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV). My confidence grew. I was going to lean on my Everlasting Father. I remembered how my husband and I had discussed this baby and prayed as far back as three years before in 2013. We had even agreed on a name for the baby. We prayed for a baby boy and said if God gives us the baby, we would name him Mbongeni which means praise the Lord. “I am a child of God. I am not going to lose Mbongeni. I am going to give birth to him by normal delivery. Yes, I will. Lord God, did you not say that no one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame?” (Psalm 25:3a).
The encouragement I had received from the intercessors made me bold. I started encouraging the women in my ward to pray. There were eight of us in my ward. I also went around sharing the love of God with various ones and we prayed. Even as I did that, I regained my hope, faith and strength. I had to strengthen the other women who were also in fear as I had been. I said, “Bomama (Women), remember that in the families where we were born, there might have been spiritual forces that did not want us to have happy lives and happy marriages. It might also be the same case where we married. There are evil spirits that do not want marriages to survive. There might even be harmful spirits in this very hospital. This continuous losing of babies is spiritual warfare. BoMama, rise up and fight!” We began to pray. More women came to my ward just to pray. We meant serious business. We prayed together and prayed individually. That day, six of the women in my ward went to the labour ward. One by one they delivered their babies. Each live delivery encouraged the rest of us, and it was cause for celebration.
The next day, some nurses testified. One said, “We have been trying to help women deliver, but this past night has been something that we have not seen for a long time. It is miraculous! There was not even one mortality recorded! All went well.”
“It is the hand of God,” I said.
“Are you a pastor?” one of the women asked me.
“No! I am just a child of faith in God.”
When my own BP was taken that morning, it had gone down. This gave me a big boost. I continued encouraging myself. The following day, my BP was normal. I still had no labour pains. So, I was discharged from hospital and went back home. I even went back to teach.
On the night of 14th March, there was this chorus in my mind throughout. I sang it my mind and heart: ‘Wethembekile, wethembekile! Angeke wangiphoxa, wethembekile!’ (God is faithful. He is faithful. He cannot mess me up, He is faithful.) The following day, the song still rang in my mind even while I was at school. Then labour pains began. Without wasting time, I went to the clinic. My blood pressure was high. An ambulance was called, and it took me to Harare Hospital, where I was taken straight to the labour ward. I said to some of the nurses I had seen before,
“Yes, I am back and this time I will deliver my baby normally.” The ‘Wethembekile’ song continued in my mind. Then I do not remember what happened. I remember an emergency bell ringing and there being some hurried movements. I remember hearing as if deep in a sleep some nurse saying, “Oh no, we can’t let this baby die at the last minute….” I must have become unconscious, because when I came to, the ‘Wethembekile’ song was singing from my heart. When I opened my eyes, I saw a doctor and a nurse. The nurse lifted a baby to show me. The doctor said,
“Mrs Phiri, this is very lucky. Your baby had a shoulder dystocia, where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. It can be fatal. God did a miracle.”
When all the cleaning up had been done, I held Mbongeni and I dedicated him to the Lord in tears that rolled and fell on him. This was real. It was not a dream. My BP was checked every four hours and it was normal. God is faithful. Mbongeni is four years old now and he is such a blessing to our family.
Chenai Matume Phiri is a teacher and she is married to Lovemore Phiri. They have two lovely children.