Five days ago—had it really been so short a time?—my husband and I, taking a last look at our empty house, left for one of the few joy-filled journeys one makes to a hospital: to bring home our first child.
What had been a normal birth suddenly changed into a struggle for life as our baby girl’s lungs weren’t able to take their first breaths outside the womb. There was no crying in the birth room, only a baby’s silence and hurried-but-hushed voices of determined medical staff.
What seemed like hours later, we were informed that our beautiful, pink-cheeked, blue-eyed baby girl, who looked so perfect, was, in fact, entirely broken on the inside. Sometime during gestation her diaphragm had formed a hole, allowing her stomach, intestines and liver to migrate into her chest, crushing her right lung.
If she survived a plane flight to Denver and if they could stabilize her blood pressure and if she was healthy enough to survive the surgery, then she just might live.
The agony and shock of those moments continues to bring me to tears even many years later. Our family, extended family, church family and countless unnamed individuals fell on their knees, bringing forth heartfelt petitions to Jehovah-Rophe (“The Lord Heals”) to save our little girl.
So, on the night of June 8, 2000, her father and I kissed the soft, tiny cheek of our precious one and left her in the sure hands of both her surgeon and her Savior.
We quietly walked the hallway to the waiting room, whose too-cheerful walls mocked our pain. Yes, we were certainly in pain, but we were not without hope. We knew that our God was worthy of the trust we placed in Him, no matter the outcome of this moment.
Both of our parents were in the waiting room, along with family friends who lived in the area. Only one other woman was in the room that evening, the grandmother of another sick baby in the ward. She watched at a distance as we sat together, a tiny portion of the body of Christ, and prayed.
Surprising even ourselves during that hour we waited, we also laughed. The strength we were given for that moment was strength borne of hope. So while we carried burdens almost too great for ourselves, we were also gifted a perfect measure of peace to carry us through.
And finally, when the surgeon came out to tell us our daughter had survived the surgery and even though she had a long way before she was healed, we were vindicated in our hope. Before we left the room, the woman came up to us and said, “I think I’ve just seen something amazing.”
Years later, when I questioned God as to why this had to happen to us, He gently reminded me of that moment. I do not think I will ever know all of the ways that her illness shared the faith with others, but I feel this situation is much like the story of the blind man Jesus healed with dirt and spittle. When Jesus was asked why the man had been born blind, He answered, “…it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3b NASB)
Psalm 56:13 – “For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living.”
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Today my daughter is a bright, loving, amazing, seven-and-a-half year old who knows that the time will come for her to take this story as her own. But until then, I will continue to tell it myself. To God be all glory.
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