I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about faith. About fear. About what it means to trust God when everything and everyone says that it’s hopeless. It’s a story about a family that chose prayer over defeat. That chose joy over sorrow. That chose life over death. And in those choices they discovered what it really means to have faith in the midst of the storm and what it looks like to see beauty in ashes.
I met Julie and Dennis about 4 years ago. Their oldest daughter was just a few months old and my first impression of her all stemmed from how tiny she seemed. You see, Julie’s daughter Kaitlyn was born at 32 weeks gestation. By the time I met them, Kaitlyn was home from the NICU and doing just fine, but as I heard Julie recount the harrowing tale of Kaitlyn’s birth, I remember thinking how hard it would be to give birth to a precious baby and then have to leave her in the hands of strangers at a hospital. (Shout out to NICU/Maternity Ward nurses! You rock!!)
As our friendship grew and our families because friends, I heard Dennis and Julie speak often about their desire for a second child. I watched as they prayed and longed for another baby. I listened to Julie cry as she shared with our small group how much she longed for another baby. For three long years, Dennis and Julie brought their desire for another child before the Lord. It’s funny sometimes how we think we know what we want. What we need. We feel like the big picture is in our hands, but really “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” After three years of waiting, wanting, and trying, Dennis and Julie felt the Lord calling them to adopt. I saw their faces light up with excitement and anticipation when they talked about the child who would soon be a part of their family. God had other plans.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Julie’s surprise. Dennis’ elation. Everyone’s shared joy in their miraculous news. JULIE WAS PREGNANT!!!! Against all odds and completely against the grain of their own timing, God, in His perfect knowledge had granted them their deepest desire and greatest hope. I wrote a message to Julie the day she shared her news (excerpt to follow), “Seriously, though, Julie, I am so so happy for you. I could only guess that there might be fears about all the “what-ifs” associated with a second pregnancy, especially since your first was so abnormal. I am going to be praying specifically that God will guard your heart from all fears and will give you a peace and faith that it will all work out perfectly in accord with his plan for your family. Love you guys!”
I had no idea as I typed those words that a storm was brewing. A furious storm that would expose and bring to surface the very fears that I was praying against. A storm that would leave this precious family with a choice: fear or faith. Life or death. Despair or hope.
The first ultrasound came. A heartbeat. A life. Alive. Very much alive. But something was wrong. Something serious. The doctor told them the baby had Turner Syndrome. And a heart defect. And a very large cystic hygroma. Her chances of survival? 1-5%. But HE had a plan. A bigger plan. A plan for hope. And a future. A plan for Beatrix.
The doctor advised Dennis and Julie to terminate the pregnancy. Try again. It’s hopeless he said. These babies, they die. Spare yourself the heartache. But HE had a plan.
So, they decided to wait. And to pray. They asked everyone to pray. All around the world voices were being lifted up to heaven begging for healing and for life for this precious little girl who was already so love and so wanted and so cherished in her parents eyes and in the eyes of God. So we prayed. We cried. We asked “why?” We prayed some more. HE had a plan.
The second ultrasound. The hygroma was shrinking. It was a miracle. We kept praying. Praying without ceasing. HE had a plan.
The third ultrasound. The fourth. The fifth. It kept shrinking. The heart defect was gone. By 16 weeks the doctor gave Dennis and Julie the news that their hearts dared to hope for. Their baby was going to make it. It was possible that the Turners Syndrome was still an issue, but they knew that God doesn’t just heal half way. He makes ALL THINGS NEW. WHOLE. COMPLETE. BEAUTIFUL.
Finally, against all odds Julie’s due date arrived. Her own words follow, “On October 8th, after 32 hours of labor, Beatrix Abigail made her long awaited arrival via c-section. We were so scared. We didn’t know what to expect for her health to be. We didn’t know if she have Turner’s or Downs. Just having had the hygroma meant she had a 60% chance of having some kind of chromosome abnormality. We heard the sweetest cry ever and the doctor smiled. She was perfect, scoring an 8 and 9 on her apgar test. In the awesome way that God works, the doctor who had originally counseled me to terminate my pregnancy ended up being the same doctor who delivered my sweet baby girl. The only two times I’ve ever talked to him. God is so good! He timed everything out perfectly!”
I share this story because 1) it’s amazing. 2) it’s all about God. And, 3) it’s all about life. Did you know that 55+million babies have been aborted in the US. That’s more than the population of any state in our country. It’s murder. It’s genocide. It’s evil. This is what happens, though, when a child of God chooses to uphold the value of life. When we choose to say that life is worth protecting no matter the cost. I hope that this story will remind you, the reader, that each one of us is created in the image of God and that each one of us has a purpose. A plan. A divine destiny knitted together before we ever took our first breath. I believe that God has BIG BIG BIG things in store for this little girl. Join me in celebrating a life that was saved and, in so, saved the faith of a family, a church, and a community.