#159 Posture of Dependency

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

My wife and I married in December of 1996. Having a family was very important to us and we both desired to have multiple children. I got a new job around the time we got married. Toward the end of 1997 we started trying to have a child. We tried for seven to eight months but couldn’t get pregnant. After several tests the doctor told my wife, “I think you are infertile and won’t be able to get pregnant without some help.” We weren’t sure how we felt about that. We decided to pray and seek the Lord’s counsel. We had received this news from the doctor on Friday, and on Sunday the church elders prayed for us. We prayed and fasted our first meal of the day for a week. The next Sunday the elders prayed with us again. Monday morning my wife took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We got another pregnancy test and it was positive! We called the doctor and he said, “You all need to come in. This is strange.” He pulled out her chart and said in his 20-plus years in practice, my wife was the first person he had not given a pregnancy test to. He did a pregnancy test then and she was seven weeks pregnant! She had actually been pregnant at our last visit with him when he told us he thought she was infertile and needed help getting pregnant! We didn’t see this as the doctor’s error. We saw this as God taking us through a journey of faith. He wanted us to decide if we could trust Him with our decisions.

Around this time, I was starting my work as a minister and we had little funds. During the summer when my wife was pregnant, we had two cars and one broke down. It was not fixable and my job required travel. We knew having just one car was not going to work but we didn’t have the money to buy a car. My mom had access to the Federal Credit Union and we secured a loan there. We had 30 days to get the car. But I was uneasy about it. I felt like we needed to trust God. I asked, “Lord, is this another opportunity to trust you?” On the last day for us to buy the car under the terms of the loan, my mom called and asked if we were going to get the loan. I told her no. This was August.

Our baby was born November 13 and still no car. Three days after she was born, I received a phone call saying there was a car available if I wanted it. The only stipulation was that I had to drive to Birmingham, Alabama and play a round of golf with the man who was donating the car. It was a Ford Taurus, and we had it for years. That was in 1998. We moved in 2003, and one day when I was driving home from work I had a wreck and totaled the car. That car had been used by missionaries and had been used to lead several guys to Christ. I sent a message letting people know the car was totaled and telling the story of the car—how we got it and how the car had been used for ministry. Within 30 minutes we had two offers to replace the car!

Getting the car was another way for us to see God and trust Him. We were starting a new ministry and I think God was fostering in those early experiences a posture of dependency of being able to trust Him. This has helped us to trust Him in other things over the years. Those experiences were foundational for us. We know that God is trustworthy and we are so thankful for His continued care throughout the years.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#119 Let Go and Let God

Photo by Lynnesy Catron Photography

Right after we got married, my husband and I began trying to have a baby. I got pregnant but had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. My husband and I prayed often about our desire to have a child and we continued to try, but after 18 months we sought a fertility specialist. For six months I was on fertility medicines, hormone injections, and for three months we tried intrauterine fertilization. Nothing was successful. We decided to let go and let God handle it. We knew He had a plan for us.

Three months later, with no fertility intervention, I became pregnant. My pregnancy was normal, with no complications or sickness. It was truly a joyful experience. Close to my due date I went into labor and was admitted to the hospital. I was hooked up to a monitor and the doctor began to go over what to expect. Then she just stood there and watched the monitor. She told us every time I had a contraction the baby’s heart rate dropped drastically. After about one minute she said, “We need to do a C-section NOW!”

They rolled me down the hall and the anesthesiologist came up behind me, put his hands on either side of my face, and told me to just look at him as he gently explained to me what was happening. I believe that God sent him to me in that moment of uncertainty, as his words were so comforting to me. There was no time for an epidural. They gave me general anesthesia and I was out.

I thought once our baby was born, he would be okay, but when I woke up I saw that the nurses around me had on royal blue scrubs. I work at the hospital and I knew that royal blue scrubs meant they worked at the Children’s Hospital. The neonatologist confirmed this. “Your son is very sick.” Our son, Henry, had a bowel movement (meconium) while he was in utero and had inhaled a large amount of this. His lungs were coated and he had no lung function. The doctor said he had never seen a baby survive with that amount of meconium in the lungs.

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) they struggled to intubate him, trying three times. The doctors tried standard treatments but all failed. That night we saw him for the first time in the NICU. I took pictures of him and talked to him but I have no memory of it. God protected me from seeing him that sick. It would have been too much for me to handle.

When we got back to my room that night, my husband I prayed out loud that God would save him. We knew it would take a miracle. The last resort was to put Henry on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. This is the machine that people are put on when they have a heart transplant. They pump the blood out of the body, put oxygen in it, and then pump it back into the body. This comes with the risk of the brain bleeding and permanent brain damage, but Henry’s chance of survival was very low without this treatment. We prayed about what to do and with God’s guidance decided to proceed with ECMO.

At 2 a.m., the surgeon placed a cannula in Henry’s neck and hooked up the ECMO machine. Henry improved immediately. After seven days, he had improved so much that they were able to discontinue the treatment. After one month in the NICU, Henry had recovered and we took him home. Henry is now two years old and has no developmental delays. Everything is perfect physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Throughout this whole experience, I never felt scared or hopeless. I felt very peaceful. I knew that God had brought us to that point and there was no way He would abandon us. God’s peace and hope transcended the fear. 

Looking back now, it is clear how God worked in advance to save Henry. In December 2013, I was offered and accepted a job in administration at a large university medical center. This was just six months before Henry was born. This allowed me to have new insurance that would cover the care. The total cost was $500,000 and my out of pocket cost was only $200. More importantly, because I switched jobs and insurance plans, Henry was delivered at the university hospital where there was a team of highly trained medical providers, with experience and training in the very procedures that were needed to save Henry’s life. The neonatologist was very experienced in lung problems in newborns. There was a surgeon available who was experienced with ECMO at the very time Henry needed him. There was an ECMO technologist available to ensure the machine worked properly. Because the ECMO treatment is so expensive and risky for newborns, a leadership team from the university hospital has to vote on whether or not to allow the treatment. This team was available to vote and they voted yes. The ECMO treatment itself was not even offered at the hospital where I would have delivered had I not changed jobs. In fact, I believe that there is only one other hospital in the state that offers ECMO. Everything fell into place for Henry to receive life-saving care. God gave us Henry and then God saved Henry. He is a pure joy and blessing to us.

Our second child was born a few months ago—a healthy baby girl. May God be glorified for everything He has done and continues to do for our family.  

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.