Blessings in Abundance
Stephen Simpson (PhD '99) and his wife, Shelley (PhD '02), have learned a lot about growth and abundance this year. In one day their household was increased by four!
In the fall of 2004, Steve and Shelley learned that they would be parents of quadruplets. Facing what they knew would be a difficult pregnancy and some medical complications, Shelley went on bed rest to try to insure a safe delivery for the children. The couple took many safety measures...and prayed a lot.
Steve and Shelley became the proud parents of Hayley Rose, Ella Marie, Jordan Andrew, and Emma Grace on May 3, 2005. Because of the extra precautions Shelley took, the babies were born after 33 weeks, one month longer than a typical quadruplet pregnancy. The babies were then kept in the hospital for another month to grow and learn how to eat. Since that time, the Simpsons have had a lot on their hands.
The challenges have been many: trying to get sleep when they can, spending quality time together as a couple, and stretching their budget to meet the needs of a now six-person family. Through it all, however, the Simpsons have found help when they needed it.
"The Fuller community has overwhelmed us with love and support: offering meals, help with the babies, generous gifts, and, most of all, prayer," he says. Steve, who is also the clinical director at Fuller's Psychological and Family Services (FPFS), has been impressed with the way the Fuller community has reached out to his family.
Steve recounts two experiences especially meaningful to him. "Dr. Ray Anderson counseled us during a time in the pregnancy when we had to wrestle with some tough choices, which was a tremendous blessing. And Dr. Linda Wagener spent several nights helping us care for the kids," he shares. "When the associate dean of the School of Psychology spends the night at your house changing diapers, you start to feel special."
Steve and Shelley have been part of the Fuller community for 10 years, and Steve actively takes part in the mission of the seminary through his work. He teaches two classes, helps manage the daily operations of FPFS, and is responsible for clinical training.
In his own training, Steve says he learned concepts that have helped him in his extraordinary parenting experience. "Nothing can really prepare you, but I'd like to think I learned how to think and feel deeply through trials like this," he observes. "I think both Shelley and I gained some wisdom during our time at Fuller that helped. More than anything, however, the people we've connected with because of Fuller have been the greatest blessing."
And while his practices at work have not changed, Steve says that his perspective on life certainly has. "Many things that used to seem important now don't, and many things I never thought of as important now are. If it has helped my counseling at all, it's through increasing my empathy for parents."
The Simpsons are thankful for the many blessings they have received this year. "God gave us four healthy babies and a healthy mom despite odds in favor of something going wrong," Steve shares. "My initial response to God when we found out about the pregnancy was: 'Have you lost your mind?' Now, all I can say is 'Thank you!'"