The past few weeks I’ve been continually reminded of this time in my life. 22 months ago my darling niece was born in a truly miraculous way. What occurred during her birth could have ended her life and is an extremely rare occurrence. Seeing her daddy and her grandmother huddled together, the rest of the family standing in shock, confusion and fear was a terrible thing. My heart still hurts when I think of the look on her Daddy’s face. At the time, I was 7 months pregnant and I was faced with a choice. I remember looking down holding my belly and thinking “this could happen to us. Something could go terribly wrong.” How do you choose to find joy in chaos? How do you not let fear take over? The thoughts rolled through me and I let them go. I let them go because God showed me the joy. The traumatized look on her Daddy’s face reflected the love he has for my sister and their child who came too early and too fast. The prayer my momma passionately prayed with determination in the hospital room joined everyone together and changed the perspective. Then thinking about the previous moments. . .there was the nurse who ran in the room and realized the problem just in time. The doctor who loved my sister and kept Cora alive until they could get her out. The doctor, who forgot to sign a form, happened to walk in after his shift as the hospital announced an emergency in labor and delivery. That same doctor rushed to help and the two, with their amazing teams, saved her life. The nurse, who ran in after, splattered in blood saying baby and momma were alive and doing well. The seven minutes from “oh we have a major problem” to “she’s here and okay.” The watching Cody as he touched his sweet baby for the first time. I remember sitting there holding this darling little miracle, feeling my own miracle move inside me, watching her momma rest as her body adjusted to these changes that happened too fast and too hard and thinking to myself “There is only joy. Only life. Only love. Only God could do something so big for a group of people in a little hospital in northeastern North Carolina. We didn’t deserve His mercy or His miraculous timing. But He orchestrated a miracle for us. We are blessed beyond reason or ability to understand.” And those days and thoughts have strengthened me. As I’ve faced many obstacles, situations and choices in the 22 months since, I’m brought back to this moment in their hospital room. To the quiet hours holding this human being so full of life. To the choice of joy or fear. And I’m thankful. For the opportunity to grow and for the memories that strengthen me and help me find the joy in hard situations.
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 14-19 (Message)
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. Isaiah 43:1-4 (Message)