On December 21, 2012 my wife was home from school, which was cancelled due to a big winter storm. She was a couple weeks away from her due date for our third child. That morning she looked at me with those eyes that I had seen twice before – it was time. We rushed through the snowstorm to get to the hospital.
What happened next was indescribable. An exciting moment was instantly crushed as my little girl was born still and lifeless. She was quickly taken from the delivery room to the critical care unit. We wept before God and begged Him for our little girl’s life. An hour went by with little to no news when the doctor stepped in.
He said, “Well, we know that she was not breathing or moving when she was born and we know that she was having a seizure”…then his phone rang and he had to leave the room. The only information that we had received in over an hour since she was born was all in the past tense. Was she dead and the doctor was trying to break the news to us?
She was alive and the staff was working on preparations and transportation to another hospital better equipped to handle her needs. We got to see our little girl for the first time in a plastic box hooked up to all kinds of wires and equipment before she left for the bigger hospital. We had no idea what we were up against. My wife got to leave the hospital the next morning. She was such a trooper. We went home to pack and celebrate Christmas with our boys, trying to keep somethings normal before we checked into our new hospital and home.
We were making the drive down the highway and I can remember almost the exact spot on road when the Holy Spirit brought to my mind these verses:
“My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16
Even though I had no clue what my wife and I were stepping into, I was overcome with God’s peace, because my little girl’s days were already numbered before one of them came to be. God was reminding me that He is in control. I can’t add a day or take a day away from her life. That is freeing.
Like Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” The reality is, as parents we do worry about our kids. We worry about their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We have to take our worries to God though so we can be reminded that He is in control. Our job is trust Him. It is sad reality that we are in fact in control of so little in life. Just ask a mother who just lost her child to a drunk driver, or couple who just lost their home in a storm, or a husband who has lost his job. We are in control of so little.
Christmas morning we got to hold our little girl for the first time. I will remember that day like it was yesterday until I die. Our daughter is now five and lives with Cerebral Palsy. As I write this, she just suffered another seizure a little over a week ago when I was home for lunch. I sometimes wish I could control more. We actively look for opportunities for our daughter or what would be best for our other kids. We do what we can as parents but then we need to submit to God.
Our daughter’s name is Kennedy. We did not realize until two weeks before her birth that Kennedy means “ugly head.” I am praying that one day my daughter will be able to stand up in front of people say, “I could tell you all about my ugly brain that is damaged, but I would rather tell you about God and His great love and mercy.” May you find peace like our family has, knowing that God is in control.
We have also found comfort in this prayer, “God make it count.”