Sometimes when God speaks to you, itís a quiet whisper in your spirit. At other times itís a barely audible voice that has you checking to see who else is in the room. And sometimes itís a disquiet so profound that only in hindsight do you recognize the Masterís voice.
I lay in bed that night, replaying the scene at the doctorís office over and over in my mind. Nikki, my 14-year-old daughter, was having headaches and dizzy spells, and after an MRI her doctor had diagnosed Chiari malformation, a genetic anomaly of the skull and brain stem. The neurosurgeon we went to said there was no concern. We could wait a year and then recheck her.
My husband was relieved.
However, when I voiced my misgivings he grew angry with me. I knew it was his fear speaking - that gut-wrenching fear of a parent for a sick child when thereís nothing you can do. He was happy with the doctorís decision, and told me to leave it alone.
I canít explain the feeling inside that insisted I absolutely had to take her to another doctor. I wondered if my own fears were playing havoc with me, and if my husband wasnít right after all.
But that silent voice would not be quieted.
I made an appointment with the Childrenís Hospital in Birmingham and two days later was navigating a labyrinth of corridors that seemed to go on forever and in no particular direction.
I filled out insurance forms, medical history forms, and all types of paperwork, and then my daughter and I sat and waited for what seemed an eternity. The receptionist called our name, asked for the MRIs I was carrying, and told us it would be a while before the doctor could see us.
We sat and made plans for the rest of the day Ė lunch, shopping, and the bookstore. The next forty-five minutes was spent discussing the newest fashions, how hungry we were, and the latest guy she was head over heels for.
Mothers with children in wheelchairs and obvious neurological problems surrounded me, and I breathed several prayers of blessings for these people, as well as a prayer of thanksgiving for the health of my family.
I felt foolish for insisting we come here.
My daughter didnít belong in this place.
Our name was called, and we were ushered into a room. A round of residents and interns came in and spoke with Nikki, asking dozens of questions. They assured me the doctor would be in shortly.
After about twenty minutes, Dr. Oakes strode into the room. He was a professor at UAB and in charge of pediatric neurosurgery. He was a no-nonsense type of man, slightly imperious in nature, and obviously competent.
He jammed the MRIs into the light box, and sat down on a roll-around stool. He grabbed a long swab, told Nikki to open her mouth, and proceeded to poke her tongue, the roof of her mouth, and the back of her throat. He looked at the x-rays one more time then turned to me.
ďYour daughter needs surgery, and she needs it today.Ē
I stared at him, my mouth gaping. Nikki and I glanced at each other, and I turned with a puzzled frown back to the doctor.
ďYour daughter will be dead in six months, Mrs. Moon.Ē He pointed out the areas of compression on her brain stem, how her gag reflex was non-existent, and that her breathing would be the next thing to go.
ďIíll clear my schedule and weíll do the surgery in the morning.Ē With that, he walked out of the room, leaving me with a stream of nurses and receptionists as we made arrangements to admit Nikki to the hospital.
I donít remember much of the next twenty-four hours. Itís a blur.
Despite dire predictions of paralysis and possible brain damage, Nikki recovered one hundred percent.
She is healthy and active, and in her junior year of college.
Two days after the surgery my husband found me and, with tears in his eyes, thanked me for saving our little girlís life.
I shook my head. I knew who really needed to be thanked.
Sometimes our Fatherís voice is a whisper on the wind, or clarity of thought when reading a passage of scripture.
Sometimes itís a prodding, insistent reverberation deep in our souls, compelling us to obey.
I never want to be in a position to mistake that Voice again.
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