My 1st experience with grace was waiting for me the day I was born. Grace came to me in the form of a very foundational mother figure in my life, my grandmother, rightfully named my Mamaw Grace. She showed me a life full of her grace, until she went to be with Jesus May 1, 1997, 3 months before my son was born. The day she died, so did a piece of my “grace”.
I’m not sure if I ever truly understood the grace that the Bible speaks about. Often times growing up, there was a whole lotta talking about these things & not a lot of living by it. So needless to say, my walk was a very long, lonely, confusing one, to find a relational God; the grace filled God.
Most who know me, know the journey of my daughter, ironically, yep …..Grace. For those that do not, let me catch you up to speed Cliff Notes style. In 09 I got pregnant. I was pregnant a week. Found out baby was growing in my left tube. Rushed to emergency surgery. Woke up, no more baby, no left tube, etc. Was told by Dr a week later with my age, history of miscarriage & 1 tube & ovary, the likelihood of my having a baby was pretty much non existent. There was like a minuscule percentage. 2mnths later, bam, pregnant with her. I named my son Chase 13 yrs prior because it rhymed with Grace, but told my husband when we didn’t lose her to miscarriage, I would name the baby if we were having a girl. She would be my Grace. Long story even longer, my entire pregnancy was a nightmare. I had something wrong every week. From gushing blood unexplainably to carpal tunnel, to everything under the sun; it was non stop. I jokingly said to my husband midway, God must have spectacular plans for this baby because the devil won’t leave her alone. Little did I know how true that statement was to be.
July 2010, I had taken my son shopping for school supplies. I was 5wks from being due, but for “some reason” had nested really early & felt prompted to shore up all details that would or could, come up when she was born. We got home from Target, I cooked a pizza & went out by the pool to relax. My husband got home soon after. I got up to go inside to greet him. Upon standing up my water broke ALL OVER the place. My 1st reaction was shock. Then my 2nd reaction was horror. I grabbed my towel & diapered myself. Screaming, I
waddled ran into the house & frantically prompted the guys to grab me anything they could because we had to go to the hospital. Pretty much horrific. 7 hrs later Grace was born & God’s grace re-entered my life.
Her cord had to be cut from her neck. She was an odd grey color & no crying. She stopped breathing & had to be resuscitated. I never even got to hold her, not for FOUR days & my 1st moment lasted 15min. She went straight to the NICU, where we lived, for a month. Leaving her there was the worst experience of my entire life. She was intubated & given oxygen for 10days. We were met daily by specialists & neurologists. We found out she was born with no thyroid. Her condition is rare & the only treatable form of mental retardation. We were told by age 2 we would know how severe her IQ damage was. She had an enlarged liver. She had choking & projectile spitting up issues for almost a year & still has bouts with it. Our 1st year was spent at least 3-4 times a month in somebody’s office being poked on & diagnosed with another issue. We were told she would be developmentally delayed as well. I could continue, because there is more, however I will stop there. There is nothing worse than teams of specialists telling you she can’t/she won’t/prepare for….. But, here’s part 2 of this story, it’s about my God & they didn’t know Him. He said she can & she will.
Grace’s life changed ours. I cannot place into words the miracles & testimonies & changes over the past, almost 3 yrs, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, It’s ALL God. You just don’t get this many “coincidences”. We were released from all specialists except her endocrinologist by age 1. By age 1-1 1/2 she knew all of her colors, numbers 1-10, identified all alphabet letters & shapes. She was ahead of the curve on everything. By age 2 & currently, she knows numbers up into the hundreds, can actually read you books & will read from things like magazines, my Bible or other materials that she isn’t familiar with. She is ahead in speech & motor skills/development. She is very musically & sports talented. The curve she is on isn’t just advanced for her condition, she’s ahead of normal for her AGE group. And every time we go to those Drs they are amazed. They will bring other Drs to look at her & evaluate her. Her life is & always will be an example, fittingly, of God’s grace. Through her life my son & my husband found a relationship with Christ & within 3 mnths of one another, were saved & baptized. During the interim of those 3 mnths, I rededicated my life & was re-baptized You see, despite what you think about God & what He allows to happen in tragedy’s dept, God is love. In my case, running away from Him so many times, He will or can use an extreme situation to get your attention in order to place you in a life that you didn’t even know you were missing.
The greek word used in original Bible text is charis. It means showing kindness. It’s often referred back to God as His basic relationship of favor & kindness to us, His children. You see God doesn’t allow you to experience miracles, where you can’t give Him the glory. My favorite, current day, grace definition came in the form of the following acronym:
G– God’s R– Riches A– At C– Christ’s E– Expense
I am still faced with the humility of this experience. We revisit it with every blood draw, every mild sensory issue because of all the needles, every sleep issue, etc is a reminder that we never stop praising Him for Grace…… and grace. I have a box for her, inside are reminders of her journey. I also printed her every Facebook & Email I received during her journey regarding prayer. I always want her to know the love & faith associated with the body of Christ; complete strangers called to pray & believe on her behalf. Still to this day I meet people in ironic ways, that share how they prayed for us. Recently, having the nurse who resuscitated Grace join the Women’s Ministry Class I lead.
I do want to say something to my daughter & to anyone who’s experienced any journey of faith through their babies. It’s ok to be hurt & be sorry on behalf of what they’ve gone through, but it’s never ok to stay there. I want G to know I am sorry her daddy & I had DNA that mixed & caused her no thyroid. I am sorry that EVERY morning of her life & throughout her life, she starts the day taking a pill & can’t eat or drink for 30 min. & I’ve held her many times unable to explain why she’s starving & I can’t feed her. I am sorry her hands & feet have scars from needles. I am sorry she doesn’t like for people to approach her because she’s scared they’ll poke or stick her & that comes off as rude & unloving to grown ups who should act more grown up. I am sorry I still have to break her crackers in half & cut up her food, while the other kids mom’s look at me bizarre like, because they don’t know she’s a choking risk. I am sorry I couldn’t paint your nails until you were 2. I am sorry that cutting your toe nails ruins an entire day for us. I am sorry you have such a hard time transitioning from one place to the next, I decline play dates. I am sorry that people don’t know loud noises horrify you so I don’t into groups or parties often, because I don’t want you to be “different” or “that kid”. I am sorry some days I can’t help you with your anger & all I can do is hold you & cry with you. I am sorry for what they tell us you are to experience in your teen years with your development & as a woman what they say you will face with fertility, because we already know they aren’t right, but they will still say it to you & plant that seed & I am truly sorry. I am sorry we don’t have more friends to spend time with, but I promise that too will change. I am sorry that I have made you do stuff on your own & not backed down because I want you to never be enabled. I am sorry you get mad at me because of it & call me “the angry king & the grumpy ole troll” <—-after King Herod & the troll from Dora). I am sorry lab work makes us both a crying, hysterical, nauseated mess of nerves. Sweet child, some days I am just SO SORRY. But, in the same moment I am sorry, God will use you to do something so precious or so hysterical, that the sorry gets snuffed out with praise & thanksgiving.
I am already proud of you. You’ve endured quite the load for almost 3. I think it’s cool that you’re so tough & not the least bit princessy. I think your knock knock jokes are the best, even though you don’t understand punch lines & lose your breathe laughing because you think you said something hilarious. I think it’s only fitting your fave Bible character for the past 3+ months is Queen Esther (pronounced Keen Esstay) what a woman of courage & bravery, like you will be. I think the twinkle in your eyes must be the same as being face to face with an angel. I will never forget how unique your smell is or the shape of your sweet mouth. I think it’s precious that you gave your daddy a piece of time where he can finally know what it feels to look like someone & have the same quirks to identify with. I think watching Chase love on you, protect you & stroke your hair when he thinks no one is looking is THE single most precious thing I have ever seen, ever. I think you are amazing; Our Amazing Grace. God has so much to offer you, never let go of His hand.
(scroll down to enjoy the pics below)
Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 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.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.