18th Day of Lent
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I was shocked and afraid beyond measure when the doctor said that my son had to be delivered at 30 weeks or both of us would die in short order. I selfishly wanted the beautiful new baby experience you see in the movies, but God had his own plans. Instead I had a hasty emergency C-section for which I was under general anesthesia, didn’t get to meet my son for almost two days and he then spent nearly 8 weeks in the NICU.
I was deeply immersed in the corporate world and focused almost solely on worldly treasures. I felt like I was a good person and I considered myself a Christian. However, that was not my central focus. The NICU experience stopped me on a dime. It was terrifying and heart-wrenching and left me feeling abandoned: by all the people who didn’t know what to say, by the colleagues who I thought loved me but who barely cared about this struggle and even by God. The NICU doctor kept saying “God is good” day in and day out as we faced challenge after challenge, but I didn’t feel so sure. What did I do to deserve this?! Why does my son have to pay this price?!
My husband and I weren’t worshipping regularly at the time, but in our season of trouble we wanted prayers! God sent us many blessings through those prayers. He showed his presence through the words and hugs of support from the nurses and doctors, through family and friends who stood by my side and also through the Church. For all of those blessings and the gift of my beautiful boy, I could not be more thankful. Many of you know my handsome, healthy, big, strong boy and you would never guess that he was a three pound NICU preemie for the first two months of his life!
God had a phase two for this plan though; he sent for my heart through the Mom’s Group. The moms brought us dinners when we were in NICU and when we came home. They contacted me just to check in. They tried to understand. For TWO YEARS they regularly reached out and asked me to join them at meetings. I couldn’t feel alone. They wouldn’t LEAVE me alone! I did eventually join the Mom’s group, found my faith and from there became more active in the church. My relationship with God has continued to grow stronger and more focused since.
I often ask myself if I would be the mom or the Christian I am today if I hadn’t endured this trial. God had to knock me down hard in order to pull me back up and closer to Him. I will never know the reasons for everything in my life or in this world, but I push myself to remember that God is in control. If I trust in Him, even the challenges that I think I will never survive may end up unfolding like the petals of a rose to reveal God’s perfect, beautiful plan.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the babies you bless us with through NICU, having been born in your perfect timing. Thank you for the doctors and nurses who provide their earthly care. Please bring comfort to families with a baby in NICU and also to families whose babies come home to you instead of with their parents. May all of your children hear your call for their hearts. Amen.