Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hidden Blessings - Dawn's Story


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God can bring blessing and growth into our lives through seemingly impossible and heartbreaking circumstances. Today's testimony is from Dawn. I know that some of you will be able to identify with Dawn and the health issues surrounding her 4th pregnancy. My prayer is that you will be encouraged by the blessings she received through these valleys. 
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I heard the phone ring one sunny August afternoon and, like usual, I was halfway across the house and had to scramble to get to it in time.  I nearly collided with one of my three children as I ran down the hall to catch it before it went to voicemail.
It was one of those everyday moments that would normally pass by without notice, except that this one began a journey that our family never expected to take.
I picked up the phone, somewhat breathless, and the voice on the other end of the line was the nurse from my doctor’s office.  “The doctor needs you to come in to the office first thing tomorrow.”
We had been in town just that morning for a routine ultrasound for our fourth child – our older kids had come along and were thrilled to see the ‘movie’ of their little sibling, and everything was looking good.  Or so we thought.
“No, I’m sorry, we can’t give any details on the phone,” the nurse continued.  “The doctor just needs to speak with you in the morning.
I had no illusions that he was calling me in for a friendly chat…I knew instantly that something was wrong.  And being a glass half-empty kind of person, in the presence of the unknown I immediately assumed the worst.
I was shocked…after three healthy, uneventful pregnancies before this one, it honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind that there could be anything wrong with this one.  My husband and I prayed together on our way into the doctor’s office (my husband called and sweet-talked them into squeezing us in that day) and then sat waiting for the news…
There’s something wrong with your baby’s heart,” the doctor began, turning to face us.  “We can’t tell with our equipment what it is…it may be relatively minor, or it’s possible that your baby may not survive.  We won’t know forsure until we send you for more tests.
Again, the unknown. Somehow I had thought these things only happened to other people!  We were referred to a neonatal cardiologist in the big city, and tried to carry on as usual while we waited two weeks for our appointment.  During that time, I happened to come across a note I had scribbled on a scrap of paper months earlier.  “Lamentations 3:21-23” was all it said.  I could vaguely remember having seen those verses on someone’s email signature and thinking they would be good verses to memorize someday.
Someday had come.
I looked up the passage and was awed by what I read: Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord knew we would be facing questions and doubt and I felt He had graciously provided those verses ahead of time to comfort and strengthen us.  I clung to the words:
Yet…”  Jeremiah was writing during one of the most miserable times in Israel’s existence – Jerusalem had just been destroyed, left in ruins.  He spends the first two and a half chapters of the book of Lamentations describing the devastation they have just experienced.  But verse 21 is a turning point: YET!  Yes, Jerusalem was destroyed and the people taken into captivity…but in spite of all that…YET!  There is still hope!
“…call to mind…”  Even the prophet Jeremiah had to make the decision to call to mind the love and faithfulness of God – it didn’t necessarily come naturally.  It was okay that I was scared about the health of my baby, okay that I sometimes had to force myself to speak words of truth.  I could choose to call to my mind Scriptures that spoke of God’s faithfulness and love for His people.
“…we are not consumed…”  Yes, we were in a difficult situation.  It was overwhelming and frightening and I felt like our safe little world was shaken.  But we were not consumed.  No matter what we face, we have God’s promise that we will not be consumed.  Hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed!  (II Cor. 4:8-9) Thank you Lord!!
The next few months continued to be filled with uncertainty…the initial specialist’s appointment revealed only that our baby’s heart was ‘a mystery’ to the doctors.  I continued to see the specialists every month throughout my pregnancy, never really getting any concrete answers except that baby would ‘probably’ be okay to be born at our local hospital, as long as she saw the specialists soon after birth.
We had one more surprise in store for us when I went into a labor five weeks early…due to what we found out later was a placental abruption (not discovered until the c-section was already underway).  Our precious daughter was born just before Christmas, 2009, weighing only five pounds but with no major problems.  Praise God!



Our daughter has had a stay in the NICU, a further hospitalization for observation on her heart, and some other issues with gaining weight and low iron…but she is growing and developing and we are so thankful for her presence in our family.  Her current treatment plan is open heart surgery once she is three or four years old, but we continue to pray that God would heal her before then if it is His will.  Having a health scare with a child is not a pleasant experience, but His mercies are indeed new every morning – Great IS His faithfulness!
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Amen! He IS faithful! Can you identify with Dawn and her journey?