the only one who can

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I’ve never shared this story in written form and only shared it verbally a handful of times.  It’s almost an unbelievable story, but that’s just God.  An incredible God doing unbelievable things.  Speaking to us through our circumstances that He indeed is there.  Holding our hands, cradling us, carrying us through the dark moments in life.  Know this, God is glorified in our brokenness. 

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” I repeated over and over as the sonographer walked out and we waited for the high risk OB to make his way into the room.  I fought back tears like never before.  I was stronger than this.  God was stronger than this.  We had to be dreaming.  There couldn’t possibly be something wrong with our baby.  As three white coats briskly entered the room, I quickly realized that this indeed was real.  It’s hard to imagine how they must have felt, how they feel, having to look into the eyes of a tearful mama and a fear stricken daddy and tell them that their baby will die.  I mean I have to say, that can’t be a good day or an easy job for anyone.      
The days and weeks after our terminal pregnancy diagnosis were unimaginable.  As much as we could make life normal, it was almost impossible.  We went through Christmas, we were around all of our families, we tried to give our big girls an amazing Holiday, but inside.  Inside was nothing but pain.  I was carrying a baby who was dying in my womb.  Who would never take a breath.  Who would never be ours here on earth. 
While researching treatment options for our diagnosis, I also began rereading stories of miracles in the Bible.  I would force myself to believe that they still happened today.  That they were not just “Bible Stories.”  That they happened to ordinary people, ordinary families…that they happened to people like us.  Although Alli was deemed incompatible with life, I was hell-bent on fixing her.       I think it’s safe to say that Google is my best friend.  We go way back.  But I exhausted all her efforts and all of her advice.  Google, Johns Hopkins, a baby aspirin, oxygen therapy, Viagra, not even an amniofusion was going to fix our daughter.  Submission.  I true lesson in submission was all we could do.  We had to throw our hands and realize we weren't capable of fixing Alli.  We had to submit to the only person that could. 
I prayed daily, sometimes yelling, “God you can take all of this away.  You can fix both of us.  Do it God.  Do it. Please....please.....please.....  On many days I was met with silence.  I heard nothing.  I felt nothing.  This baby that was inside of me, she was dying.  So I began planning her funeral.  I had googled and found the most gorgeous resting gown you could imagine.  After all, I couldn’t imagine burying her in something that wasn’t absolutely fabulous.  And I even had the songs picked out that I would eventually ask two friends to sing.  But just as I was about to submit my order for the resting gown, I closed the page.  Purchasing that gown would have solidified my lack of faith in God.  That I didn’t believe that He is who He says He is.  That I believed miracles were just that, “Bible Stories.”  In that moment, I finally gave all my hurt, all my fears of what was to come, all the brokenness to Him.  To the one who wanted it all despite my struggles.  And the one who wanted to show me that He is indeed who He says He is.  And after that full submission, I finally started to hear Him.  Hear His promises for me.  His promises for our family.  His promises for Alli. 
God didn’t wait long to show me His plans for Alli.  His promise was revealed in what I have since deemed my “Christmas present from God.”  Through a book I Will Carry You by Angie Smith God revealed His promise.  As I devoured the book in almost a day, God used John 11:3 to minister to my broken heart, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”   As I struggled to continue to submit to His promises and belief in what He was going to do I was blown away by the picture of Mary and Martha, crying out to Jesus, the only one who had the power to heal, the only one with true power over life and death.  Jesus.  He raised Lazarus from the dead. Raised him from the dead.  Lazarus’ death to life was my saving grace.  So, I cried out daily, “Jesus, the one you love is sick.” 
I think it’s safe to say, that at every appointment John and I were so high on our belief in God and what He was going to do, that we probably looked like deflated balloons, as we left every.single.appointment.  We always went in expecting to see a miracle before our very eyes on the screen, but with every appointment,  the news grew worse.  I’m certain there are some that saw our faith delusional. 
As the weeks progressed and any prognosis kept getting worse, John and I stayed surprisingly strong.  Our hearts hurt.  We were broken, but at the same time, God gave us an extreme amount peace.  At one point, after a very rough appointment, John said, “You know this whole time I’ve thought the miracle would be for Alli to make it to 40 weeks and we deliver a perfectly healthy full term baby girl.  But really, who would that impress?  A handful of people?  Wouldn’t the bigger miracle come, wouldn’t God get more glory, from seeing a baby who weighed less than a pound with virtually no chance of survival touch more lives?” 
Against all odds, we marched forward to this exact day two years ago today, at about this very same time.  My stomach turns thinking about that final ultrasound where the game changing diagnosis came.  Where John, myself, and my doctors decided that if we were going to let Alli have a chance to breathe in this life, today was the day.  And so we waited.  And while we waited we were prepped for what would happen.  What we would see.  We were asked again to confirm our wishes into how aggressive we wanted Alli treated.  How long did we want them to attempt resuscitation.  How extreme we were willing to go before we would say, “enoughs enough.”  Did we want to hold her after she passed away or did we just want them to take her away.  After all the questions, the confirmations, the reality set in.  And this girl crumbled.   There were so many sweet friends and family members around me, but all I was doing on the inside was dying.  The room was full of nervous chatter and conversations about anything but the reality of the situation.  I watched as the clocked ticked away.  I begged God over and over, “Give me something. Give me something.  Give me that same peace I’ve had.  Where are you??  I can’t feel you.  Where are YOU?  I can’t hear you.  Give me something.  Give me something.”  The clocked continued to tick away and it was almost go time.  And while every inch of body ached to keep Alli in longer, I knew that this was time.  I knew God was going to show up and continue to walk this road with us.  Even though I couldn’t feel or hear him.  Even though for a brief second, my faith dwindled and I feared He had left our side. 
But He was there.  He never for a second abandoned us.  And even though I didn’t deserve a confirmation, He opened His mouth and spoke vowing to walk along side of our family as this journey began.  Promising a miracle and confirming with His word, John 11:3, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”   
“Dr. Lazarus,” I heard John say, “That’s an interesting last name.  The only Lazarus I’ve ever heard is in the Bible.”  I almost fell out of the bed.  My eyes literally became so blurry in that moment; I couldn’t see this doctor’s nametag to confirm what I really just heard.   As I struggled to focus, I double checked, “What did you say your name was again?”  The 20-something anesthesiologist resident cleared his throat and repeated, “Dr. Lazarus.”  Again, I almost fell out of the bed.  As I burst into tears John attempted to comfort me.  Not yet realizing what this meant, he sweetly whispered, “It’s ok, Mama.”  But besides crying with fearful joy, I was attempting to get words out.  Words that seemed so totally unreal, unbelievable, and unimaginable.  Words that could only be confirmation, a promise from my God.  Speaking to me through our circumstances.  Proving He was there and that He hadn’t abandoned us.  “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  He heard my outward and inward cries.  And He gave me something. 
You see, that whole time, when we were minutes away from the death of our daughter, while my faith was crashing around me.  God showed up.  I thought it odd that my cute little blonde nurse’s name was Martha.  That’s just not a common name these days, most especially for her age group.   And now Lazarus was my anesthesiologist?  As I fought back the tears thanking God for His confirmation, for His faithfulness, I also fought to speak the words, “If you’re Lazarus, and you’re Martha, where is Mary??”  The quiet voice of one of the other nurses in the room spoke up and said, “Um, Jackie, she wheeled you in here from Antepartum.” 
Boom.
The only one who can. 
The giver of life.  The comforter.  The healer. 
I say all this because God has worked everything out in my life, my family’s life, in my daughter’s life….even in your life, for good.  For His glory.  Even when it doesn’t seem like it at the time.  Even when I have bouts with doubt.  Even when I wish my daughter never had to suffer.  Because she did.  And even when I wish that things would come easier for her.  Because they don’t.  My heaven’s sakes alive I wish things were easier for her. But He’s working everything out.  I believe, I wholly believe, that everything that has happened these last two years, is just an opportunity to bring glory to God.  Alli was born for His Glory.  Not mine.  Not John’s.  His glory.  If we look for it.  If we wait and listen.  It is there.  Today, I can choose to hold Alli’s disabilities against Him.  I can choose to hold all the uncertainty about her future against Him.  Or I can choose to continue to keep the miracle of Alli alive.  Known.  Heard.  Keep the story of His continued protection, mercy, grace, and healing alive. For His glory.  

And so I will.  I'll keep her story alive and well.  Always.   

 
Happy 2nd Birthday to Alli!! 
(you can click picture for her video) 
Such a BIG miracle in such a little girl. 
 

 

4 comments

  1. Wow. Just WOW! Chills...
    What an amazing story and an amazing little Alli!

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  2. Beautiful, real, and inspiring!

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  3. Wow! That's all I can say! Happy birthday, Alli!

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  4. What an amazing story. I am so glad that you've decided to share it with all of us. <3 wow...I have no words! You have a beautiful girl.

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