Lessons from the NICU

Twenty-one years ago, after 23 days in the hospital, I gave birth to my daughter three months early. I’m reflecting today on the kindness of God, the many answered prayers, the love of family and friends who helped us through those many months, and a few lessons I took away.

Remember What You Believe.

When I first was admitted to the hospital, labor started and couldn’t be stopped, even with the drugs, and I was going to deliver her around 24 weeks when she likely wouldn’t survive. They rushed in prepping me for surgery that night. It scared me. A sweet nurse came over and basically said in a kind way, “I know you are a Christian. You need to remember what you believe.” With that, I was able to calm down, to pray, to breathe, and the contractions started to slow. We got three more weeks.

Just for Today.

Every day, the chaplain would come in my hospital room and say, “You made it another day. Just for today.” And she’d encourage me to go one day at a time, waiting on and trusting in the Lord. That chaplain was so kind. When I finally had the surgery, she stood in the operating room and prayed over me.

God is involved in all life’s details. 

I’ve written about this before here, but this was such a key time in my life of seeing how intimately God was involved in all the details. It convicts me again: why should we fear?

God works miracles.

We saw many miracles, too many to list here, some of which I’ve likely written about before. The situation was rare and life-threatening, one most doctors never treat a case of. The high risk doctor told me after everything was safely over, “Your daughter is a miracle. People don’t believe in miracles today, but she is a miracle.” 

God can use suffering.

God can use suffering and the events of our lives so uniquely to draw us to Himself, to know Him in ways we never would have known Him otherwise, as we turn to Him.

After my son’s birth two years prior, I had been very sick, and my response at that time was to be angry about it, at one point to literally shake my fist, and to feel as though this wasn’t fair because I deserved to be “enjoying my baby” like everyone said. When my heart was rebellious toward God, I didn’t learn much and in fact grew in bitterness of heart.

But in this next incident with my daughter, as I faced my own mortality, I turned to God, realizing I didn’t want to repeat that same response of a hard heart. I came to know God more and find that HE was the gift that I was looking for all along, not just the gifts He could give me. I praise Him and rejoice in Him, our miracle-working, personal, loving God who is writing stories with our names on them, for our good and His glory. He is so worthy of our praise and trust!

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