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!

Go First to God… or How a Chihuahua from SoCal Stole Our Hearts

Last November, I got a FaceTime call from my son who was attending college in California. He and his friends had just picked up a piece of furniture that one of them had bought online. As the music played and the friends drove, he was calling to introduce me to his new dog. What?!

When his friends picked up the piece of furniture, the seller mentioned, “I also have this dog if you know anyone who wants it.” And my son had readily agreed: “I’ll take her.”

Despite my appeals for him to take the dog back—”you have no idea what it will involve, the cost, the care, etc.”—it became clear she was a new member of the family.

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In the Storms

On Monday, August 10, at 3:15 p.m., my mom called and told me a storm was coming with at least 80mph winds. She always pays attention to the weather. I, on the other hand, had no idea. I had been sitting quietly on my sofa doing some work from home that afternoon.

I hung up to call my daughter who had just left to go meet a friend at Starbucks. She didn’t answer, so I called my husband who had been taking the other car for an oil change as I prepared to travel later that week. He was walking the mile back from the shop, having left the car to pick up later. Thankfully, as he neared home, he saw my daughter driving and told her to turn around.

At 3:27 p.m., emergency alerts for a tornado warning came through all of our phones.

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March and April Reflections

One of the commitments I made this year was to try to learn a few Bible verses each month. My January verses I say almost every day to remember who God is, to thank and praise Him, to entrust the cares of my life to the Sovereign One, strong and mighty, who rules over all.

With that commitment to memorize Scripture, I’ve tried to record at the end of each month how things went, as a means of both accountability and of encouragement to keep going. And in so doing, I’ve reviewed the preceding month as a whole, as well.

Yet, how do you begin to review months like March and April 2020, where all of life was changed or impacted in some way by the coronavirus that continues to disrupt the world? Read more

Remember What You Believe

In the summer of 2000, we were living in Virginia for my husband’s PhD program, but visiting my family in Memphis. At 23 weeks, 6 days along in a difficult pregnancy, I was hospitalized with a life-threatening pregnancy complication, one so rare that most doctors will never treat a case of it.

I wasn’t in the hospital long, only a day or two, before the labor started and wasn’t stopping, even with the medication they gave. It was late evening, and I was afraid as my doctors were not there. They moved me back down to labor and delivery, and an anesthesiologist came in and jammed a large size IV into my wrist to prepare for surgery if needed. Things seemed to be moving fast, and I was scared I was going to deliver her. My fear wasn’t helping the situation. Read more