Miracle Babies

Story by Kelsey Boyd

In June of 2006, twelve women of different Christian faiths began a Bible study that would ultimately change their lives. Over a period of six months, the women grew closer to their families, each other and God through miraculous events that unfolded during their time together. 

Last year, Leigh Barborek, Rosalind Carlton, Chrissy Clayton, Paula Evans, Karen Fairbanks, Sara Gordon, Bethany Hood, Sheri Larkin, Jennifer Smith, Chandra Stevens, Carman Stump and Jenny Williams began a Bible study by Beth Moore entitled Believing God. The women experienced God in many ways during their journey together, but the most celebrated way was through the birth and adoption of nine babies during the course of a few months. Perhaps the most amazing part of the miracle story, however, comes from the knowledge that five of the eight women had experienced past or present fertility issues. By December, eight mothers- to-be had announced their exciting news.

The women began their study in June of last year and met once every two weeks at one of the women’s homes to watch Beth Moore’s videos, discuss their “homework” from their workbooks, pray and simply share with one another.

During their first meeting, the women watched Beth Moore’s introductory video. Leigh Barborek remembered her excitement during the very first meeting when hearing a bold statement from Beth Moore.

“Beth said, ‘Something miraculous is going to happen in your life,’” Leigh recalled. “I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what that’s going to be?”

It wasn’t long before the women found out.

During the very first meeting, Jenny Williams announcedthenewsofherpregnancy.Little did the women know, Jenny’s pregnancy wouldn’t be the only one.

In the weeks to follow Paula, Chandra, Carman, Bethany and Leigh informed the group they also had babies on the way.

“Every time we’d get together, someone would go, ‘I’m pregnant!’” Leigh said.

Though there was much excitement over the news of children, the group faced tough times, too. Sheri and Rosalind experienced individual hardships in their desire for their own children. Sheri and her husband Burke had tried to adopt their second child for over a year. The Larkins received a promising phone call from the adoption agency the day the women were to meet for the first time. Sheri and Burke’s excitement was soon oppressed by the stress from the difficult adoption process.

“Over the next four weeks we went on a roller-coaster adoption ride of lots of ups and downs,” Sheri said.

“Because of God’s mercy and grace to our family, Sara Grace came to join us just two days after her birth on June 22, 2006.”

Rosalind was also confronted with adversity. She and her husband, Jeff had spent four years hoping for a child of their own. They scheduled an appointment with a fertility specialist in October, but after much discussion, decided to postpone the meeting until January.

During the women’s final Bible study in December, Leigh announced her pregnancy, and Rosalind rejoiced alongside her. Although Rosalind had received no news of a pregnancy of her own, she was inexplicably happy for Leigh and the other mothers-to-be.

Rosalind received the surprise of her life two days later—she, too, had a child on the way.

“The last Bible study meeting I was pregnant and did not know it,” Rosalind recalled. “It was just awesome the way it turned out.”

Spring of 2007 was an exciting time for the twelve women as they anticipated and experienced the arrival of the newborns. After the first baby of the group, Rosalind Claire Williams, was born, Leigh received a humorous, urgent message on her answering machine from Carman, who reported in one breath, “Jenny just had her baby, Paula’s on the way to the hospital, we’re dropping like flies and I’m next!” And she was absolutely right.

Rosalind Claire was born Feb. 8, 2007, to Jenny and Clay Williams, and Karson Edward was born the following day to Paula and Steve Evans. Chandra and Bobby Stevens welcomed twins, Colin Don and Addison Elaine on March 20, and William Lancaster was born to Carman and Heath Stump on April 4. Arden Olivia was born to Bethany and Kyle Hood on April 24, Samuel Henry was born to Leigh and Greg Barborek on July 5, and Jack William was born to Rosalind and Jeff Carlton on August 13.

While the uplifting reports from the mothers-to-be were a highlight of the Bible study, that’s not all the women were blessed with. In recalling their experience with the Bible study, the women each learned something different.

Carman learned to acknowledge God’s intervention in every day life through what Beth Moore referred to as “God Stops,” or “any means by which God seems to go out of His way to make Himself known.”

“I know now that I need to, as Beth would say, ‘take notice of His invisible prints of His invisible hands’ and recognize God in our midst,” Carman said.

Jennifer Smith’s experience with the group increased her personal faith and friendships.

“After joining the girls, I realized how dynamic this group was … I could talk to them, and I learned so much about God during our time together.”

Jennifer and her family have since moved from the River Valley, but she still keeps in touch with several women from the group. Jennifer’s daughter, Anna Smith, who was born before the women formed Bible study, turns two this month.

Chandra was challenged by Beth Moore’s question, “Do you believe God or merely believe in Him?” Chandra learned to trust that God is sovereign.

“We must completely trust God and never question why things are going on in our life. Sometimes that is hard to do, but nothing He does is coincidental … we must always believe Him.”

Karen said her experience with the Bible study gave her “clarity of God’s plan” for her life. She cares for her special-needs son and learned that “caring for a special- needs child is a gift that comes with so many blessings.” She added, “The study strengthened my faith and gave me hope for the future.”

The most important thing Sheri learned from the study was to trust God in the midst of trials.

“Though sometimes it’s hard I must continue to believe God, not because of what I might receive but because of who He is,” Sheri said. “He is worth believing.”

In reflecting on the Bible study, all the women hold one similar thought—a sisterly bond created by God.

“I thought it was awesome how God brought together so many girls from different denominations for one great purpose—to see that God’s grace is truly sufficient for everyone,” recalled Sara.

Chrissy also noted the diversity of the group.

“It was amazing and even emotional, at times, to see how God put so many women from different churches and denominations together,” she said. “The friendships I made and the prayers that were answered will stay with me throughout my lifetime.”

According to Leigh, the Bible study wasn’t merely a time to get together, but was about “being Christian and praying together and learning about God together.”

Paula echoed, “We all were either laughing, crying or praying! There is a precious bond between us girls thanks to Beth Moore’s Believing God study.”

Although the Bible study has since ended, the women still share in each other’s encouraging news.

“The miracles keep happening,” Carman reported. “Both Sara Gordon and Chrissy Clayton are now expecting in May.”

Throughout the six month Bible study, the 12 women laughed, cried, rejoiced and experienced life with one another. Their bonds of friendship run deep and are based in their unmoving faith in God.

“Each person received a very special blessing from God,” Karen said, “something we will all cherish for life.”

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