Brooke’s Australia Adventure Update – Winter 2015, August 16, 2015
Well… if you are connected with me on social media, this probably won’t be a surprise, but we were very excited to welcome our third child into the world on Monday, the 3rd of August at 9:27 AM – Esther Eleora Filipovski. She, like her sister before her, decided not to wait for the due date, but to make her entrance a few weeks early, with her water breaking the morning of 36 weeks and 5 days (CC’s had broken at 36 weeks and 4 days). Thankfully this time I was at home rather than in Melbourne like I was last time making it much easier for Brendan to join me on the roller coaster ride of birth. This birth was very similar to Christabelle’s becasue while my waters broke naturally, I didn’t have any labour pains. The hospital put me on antibiotics intravenously and since it was a Friday and they wanted to make sure she was 37 weeks before arriving (for her to be full-term), they waited until the Monday to do the c-section. This meant a weekend in hospital of waiting… But oh, is she ever worth waiting to meet! The night before we had our 20 week ultrasound scan that would tell us the gender, Brendan and I were at Connect group praying and Brendan felt that we were going to have a daughter and needed to choose a name with the meaning 'star'. Brendan also felt that our daughter would be like a light in the darkness. After much research and mulling we decided on 'Esther' – which means 'stars in Persian and 'Eleora' – which means “The LORD is my light” in Hebrew. The morning her waters broke, we still had a few names in the running for her middle name, including Eleora, but my devotion that morning guided us to Eleora:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Light rises in the dark places when they are opened to My presence. Light dispels the negative and gloomy thoughts and feelings, and scatters the shadows of night. I am the Daystar, the Light-giver who brings hope and gladness to your soul. Welcome Me, My child, with a wide open door – for I come bearing precious gifts. You are not called to dwell in sadness or to pine for those things that cannot be. Let their absences free you to see their wonders I have to unfold before you, and be fully present to them. Trust Me to guide your way, to guard what you have entrusted to Me, to keep you and your loved ones safe from harm – and let My joy be your strength.”
Esther has been a beautiful delight so far. To be honest, her pregnancy was the most complicated of the three children and I was often saying how glad I’d be if she chose to come early. Apart from carpal tunnel and hypothyroidism, I also developed gestational diabetes in the latter part of her pregnancy and a liver issue at the very end which left me feeling very itchy at nights, often unbearable. Now that she is on the outside these side effects are gone or on the way out the door! Jeremiah and Christabelle have been enjoying being older siblings, as well as learning what it means that mummy has a new priority and the pecking order has shifted. Brendan has been able to be home with us since my waters broke (on paternity leave), so it has been great for the whole family to be together. Brendan and I celebrated 6 years of marriage on Saturday the 15th – 6 years and 3 children – it has certainly been a fruitful and blessed season of togetherness. God has been so faithful and has given us above and beyond what we could have asked or thought! This season of consolidating has given me pause to reflect as I have reviewed old cards and letters and momentos of days gone by. I found a letter I wrote to myself at the end of my year of study for my Masters and it had in it – goals for the next few months, 1 year from that date and 5 years from that date and it is amazing how much has been accomplished. I am so grateful for all God has done. The season I’ve had in Australia this past eight and a half years and even this past six plus at Young Life Australia, even this past year and a half at C3 Silverwater and all that we were able to contribute there with helping start crèche and being on the team with the playgroup and weekly connecting with mums and their children, it has all been so fruitful.
1 Corinthians 2:9
"However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—"
This has been an especially busy season for us as we continue to prepare for our upcoming move to Macedonia. We have our plane tickets and plan on getting on a plane on the 15th of November bound for Macedonia. As we've been praying and preparing, we decided that we would sell our unit rather than rent it out. So, we listed it in the past week and had our first open house on the 15th. It is a property launch campaign that will culminate on the 22nd of August with contracts all needing to be submitted that day (like a silent auction). It has been a serious time of de-cluttering and selling of items in our house, in addition to giving things away and packing up what we might store and of course cleaning and preparing our home. Thankfully it culminated with Brendan being on paternity leave (thanks to Esther's early arrival - her due date originally was the 23rd of August and even had been booked in for a planned c-section on the 17th), and it has been so great to have him help so faithfully around the house and help with the children in this busy time. We've both been seeking to end other parts of our life well also, particularly me as I was preparing for the birth of Esther. One massive finish was going on maternity leave with Young Life and officially finishing up my position as Area Manager for Ryde. Before I finished, we weren't able to hire someone in the position, but we did hire Becki, that great female leader I mentioned in my last update who has been so wonderful on the team, in a Field Staff position. She has been doing brilliantly in that role, helping manage the team of volunteer leaders helping club to happen each week and making sure contact work at our different high schools is happening. The wonderful news is a new Area Manager has now also been appointed since I've been on leave and she is a dear friend of mine, Bek Donders. She's such a remarkable woman with great experience working with young people in a dynamic role at Rising Generations for many years. She has incredible skills with people and I know her heart is in the right place for this role. I'm excited for her to make this position her own and would ask you to pray for her as she transitions and begins to meet everyone and learns the different balls that are juggled in the position.
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, 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."
We've had an Open House goodbye here in Sydney in July and it was wonderful to see so many people from different spheres of our lives gather together in our home for the last time. Our plan is once our house moves, to have some time living in Newcastle with our family and enjoy that proximity and relationship until we head to Skopje. Brendan will continue to work and commute in this season and I will continue to be with the children in this season, relishing maternity leave, and continue to consolidate our possessions. I'll also be working on the necessary fundraising for the role I'll begin next year part-time: Skopje Area Manager in Macedonia. Young Life Ryde is hosting an Afternoon Tea Goodbye for our family on Saturday the 29th of August for those of you in Sydney that would like to say goodbye and want to hear about what exciting opportunity awaits us in Macedonia. It will be held at Llew Morris' home at: 12 Ryedale Rd, Denistone and if you are able to make it, please RSVP to Ryde Committee Chair, Michelle Loxton at: firstname.lastname@example.org for catering purposes. If you are unable to make it, but would like to be added to our prayer support list, please e-mail me back, as you can imagine, any and all support is so valued.
Proverbs 4:18 "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day."
We've also been able to have some goodbyes to some different communities here that have meant so much in our lives including an incredible gathering that happens every month that we originally met at. We don't make it to it monthly, but the folks that are a part of this gathering really do mean so much in our lives and it was very special to share with the group where we are headed and to be prayed for by these folks. I've also wrapped up my time serving with C3 Silverwater and felt so much love as I was sent off by the leaders and fellow servants on both the creche team and with children's ministry and those incredible mum's from the playgroup. We feel so incredibly blessed that we were a part of such a great church family in our early marriage years with C3 City and in this past year and a half at C3 Silverwater. It has meant so much to live close to Silverwater and to be able to be a part of more in the weekly life of the church. One incredible way to be involved this year was to help with the Everywomen day and night events our church has been holding. It has been wonderful to share in the life of the church through praying and planning and serving to see women come together around the theme of "Dream Again" this year.
Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
Thank you for journeying with us and for your prayers for us in this season.
Blessings and love, Brooke