Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our Experience With Samaritan Ministries

With the birth of Noah, our sixth child, we were able to experience something we had never experienced before. We received checks from others around the country to completely pay for our midwife assisted home birth. With prior births, we had to pay for the midwife out of pocket since no insurance plan we have ever had actually covered that. We'd like to share what we have learned with you and invite you to check it out for yourself.

About a year ago we decided to finally check out some of the medical expense sharing organizations we had heard about for a few years. We were intrigued with the idea of helping others with their medical bills, and then if we needed help, we could share our needs with others too. When we looked into the details, we were astonished to learn that what we were paying for high deductible (like $5K and $10K) medical insurance was more than we would need to share every month through most of these plans. We also learned that those who participate in a medical expense sharing plan are exempted from the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Encouraged by these discoveries, we went about researching the various options out there.

Samaritan Ministries LogoAfter researching several options we chose to go with Samaritan Ministries and it has been a real blessing. As of June 2012, we are one of about 21,000 families sharing medical expenses around the world. Our total sharing amount is $355 a month (for a family of 8), and we can share any medical expense (there are some limitations) over $300. This encourages us to consider what we choose to spend our medical dollars on, while helping to cover us when we have a larger need.

Here are some other things we really like about Samaritan Ministries:
  • We send our checks directly to someone who has a need every month
  • There are no hidden administrative costs - only one check for $175 a year covers all administrative costs
  • Prayer requests and non-covered needs (like pre-existing conditions, oral surgery, etc) are shared for all to consider
  • Samaritan Ministries is a non-profit charitable organization
  • Their staff has been very helpful and servant-minded every time we have interacted with them
~ Mark

If you would like to learn more you can fill out this very simple form and they will send you a packet of information about the plan. If you do, there is a spot to mention how you heard about them. We kindly ask that you mention us in that spot: Mark & Rebecca Miller.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Noah's Birth Photos


Thank you, Lauren, for taking pictures for us - you have a natural gift!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Naming Noah John

On Wednesday, October 3rd at 3:14 PM, our Noah John was born.  The plan was for Mark to share what his name would be after he was born, but we had a funny thing happen earlier in the week that changed that!  People kept asking me what the name would be, and I kept telling them I didn’t know – Mark would decide.  Mark and I have been joking for a while that the birth would be like when Elizabeth had Jesus’ cousin and Zechariah, the father, asked for a writing tablet and wrote his name after his birth. 

Noah, moments after birth
In the past, I'd come up with names, and Mark would let me know if he didn't like something.  But he didn't typically come up with ideas for names, so one of the names I'd brainstormed would be what we went with.  Based on that pattern, I’d been pondering names for many months.  For most of the pregnancy, the name Levi was at the top of my list.  But as time went on, I felt in my spirit that he was really Noah, which means “rest.”  About the time that transition happened, Mark communicated a new kind of leading in choosing our son's name, which was certainly welcome to me.  Mark wanted to take some time to figure out what the name should be.  In an email, I forwarded my 'list,' comprised of about a dozen names and meanings for him to take into consideration.  Some of my favorite middle names were Shiloh, meaning “tranquil, peaceful” and Jeremiah, meaning “God will set free.”

Sweet joy and relief!
In general, the birth of our children have been good experiences, though never easy for me.  Throughout Noah’s pregnancy, if I started thinking about the birth and the pain involved, I would simply push the thought away.  But, about a month before his birth, the Lord poured out a special peace and expectancy over me that was clearly supernatural.  When thoughts of birth came up, there was nothing to push away – there was just peace.

Unbeknownst to me, Mark didn’t want to be influenced by my list, but rather he just wanted to hear from the Lord what the name should be.  When looking over names that had to do with peace or rest, Mark felt his name was to be Noah..  Looking up names that had to do with ‘grace’ – with the idea of resting in the Lord’s grace – Mark felt that the middle name should be John.  We’ve always tried to avoid common names, however, since our last name is very common.  Mark felt sure that I wouldn’t be happy about going with ‘John.’ 

Sunday, Mark mentioned that he knew what the name would be, but he wasn’t sure I’d be pleased with the middle name because it is common.  I immediately heard from the Lord, ‘John.’  This name had never been one we considered in the past, but I did remember reading the meaning of it before and thinking how great the meaning was.

Monday night after Mark returned home from the church men’s meeting, he mentioned a friend joking that the baby should be named “Steven Mark” (because the friend’s name is Steve  : )  I joked with Mark and said, “or Mark John.”  Now I knew the name "Mark" was not a consideration in Mark’s mind, but I was feeling playful and wanted to see his reaction regarding the middle name.  He was really taken aback and asked how I knew.  He kept laughing and couldn’t get over how cool it was that the Lord spoke the same name to me.  So he shared then that the first name would be Noah, which I was thrilled with – and I was of course thrilled with “John” as well.  Though it's common, how could I not be pleased with a name the Lord led Mark to, which is the name of a disciple Jesus dearly loved, as well as his cousin John the Baptist who lived and died so passionately for him.

It occurred to us at the end of our conversation that the name that Zechariah wrote on his writing tablet was “John!”  How neat that our little joking comments regarding Zechariah actually tied in to this middle name that the Lord gave us for our sweet new baby.  So, we pray that our Noah John will rest in the Lord – rest in His grace.