Another year has gone and another year is rolling in. I really did enjoy 2012. I grew a lot in the LORD and I really learned how to depend on Him when things were crumbling down around me. He held me up, sustained me and comforted me as self was being stripped from me. I can see 2013 being still on this spinning top bringing me deeper and deeper into Him. I am very excited to see what my Father has planned for this year.
How about you? What are your expectations for this New Year? I'd love to hear.
I would love to share a miracle story of baby Joy. This is what her mom posted today. This is long and I apologize for it but I really wanted to share the whole story as it is amazing and I am not sure if many of you have Facebook. So here you go!!
As we prepare for Joy's third surgery of 2012 tomorrow, I wanted to share her story with you all. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. I know this is a bit long, but God is doing BIG things with our little girl! :)
David (Daddy) and I (Jennifer, aka Mommy) met in 2002. We fell in love almost instantly and were married two years later. During our time together we have seen high highs and low lows. We have suffered miscarriages and struggled in our married life. However, becoming parents has been our greatest happiness. We adopted Craig in 2007 when he was just 2 years old. In 2010 we decided we wanted to adopt again. We prayed about it and felt led to just tell people we wanted to adopt and see what God would do. Almost two years later we were told about a baby to be born with Deletion 22q syndrome (aka DiGeorge syndrome). We prayed about it and researched the condition. We knew very quickly that we wanted to be presented to the birth family. We were matched very shortly afterwards and began the race to October 2, 2012!
It was a real race to be prepared for Joy’s birthday. We had a lot to do and less than a month to get it done. It was stressful, to say the least, but we had our eyes on the prize, a daughter! We had known what her name would be for years. In 2009, we conceived twins through IVF, but lost them very early. I remember driving home from that appointment, crying my eyes out, searching for God in the pain. A song came on the radio, Beauty Will Rise, by Steven Curtis Chapman. There is a line in the song that says “It will take our breath away to see the beauty that is made out of the ashes” and it talks about Joy coming in the morning. I felt in my spirit that it really was that God was promising that Joy would come in the MOURNING. I knew in that instant that God was going to bring us a daughter someday and her name was to be Joy. I played the song for David and he instantly said the same thing. We knew our Joy was coming. On October 2, we met our Joy for the first time as she was being wheeled from the delivery room. The instant, and I really mean the instant, we saw her face for the first time, everything was worth it. Every miscarriage, every failed adoption attempt, every tear, every sob, every stressful day of preparation was worth it and we would do it a million times over again for our Joy. In that moment God’s promise became flesh in our family.
Joy was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Alabama on October 18th for low oxygen saturations. One week later, on October 25 she had her first open heart surgery. While a large portion of that day is a blur, I do remember specific points. I remember kissing her sweet face before they wheeled her out of the room. I remember just “knowing” that something was wrong about an hour into the procedure. A couple of hours later one of the doctors told us that Joy had two cardiac arrests when they attempted to take her off of bypass. No one knew what had happened, but she would be coming out on the portable, bedside bypass machine (ECMO). She was losing her total blood volume every hour and they were not sure if she would make it. I remember my husband calling people to ask them to pray. I remember when we were finally able to go back to see her, she looked like a plastic doll. Her skin was green and her chest was open. There was a metallic smell all around her and everyone was working quickly. I sat in the rocking chair across the room and just watched, helpless. I remember finally drifting off to sleep for a few minutes and waking to the screen closed and people whispering. We thought she had died and no one had told us yet. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. Finally a sweet nurse told us that it was simply where the doctors were going back in to check the bleeding. Finally we slept, anxious that at any moment she might be gone. By the next morning her bleeding was under control and the initial panic had passed. There were so many people and machines. It was a scary time.
On October 29th, the doctors decided to attempt to wean Joy from ECMO. ECMO can be very dangerous. They have to keep the blood thin and at any moment the device can fail or the person can have a stroke, etc. They still did not know what happened, but it was time. Joy did not tolerate the wean at all. I remember the doctor coming to me and explaining that they had no explanation as to what was wrong but that it would be unwise to continue ECMO indefinitely. They told me to have family come and that they would turn off the ECMO the next day. It would be up to Joy after that. I was heartbroken. I called my husband at work and told him. He was shocked. We were about to have to worst night of our lives.
All night we prayed and cried. In our prayers we never asked for a miracle. We never asked for God to save her or to spare her life. Those prayers seemed too big, too hollow. Instead we prayed over and over for God’s will to be done. We asked for the grace to endure whatever He was bringing us. We prayed for our families and friends. We prayed for each other. In our minds we lay Joy at His feet and surrendered her to Him and His plan. We took turns holding Joy’s hand. We told her over and over “If God is calling your name, you run to Him. He will love you and keep you. Do not worry about Mommy and Daddy. We will see you soon. But, if God doesn’t call your name, you stay and fight!” We talked about how proud we were to be her parents. We even discussed how we still had no regret about adopting her. The chaplain came, at our request, to christen her. We wanted to speak her full name before God. I have my christening gown from when I was a child. David had brought it down and we lay it over her. I will never be able to forget the pain of realizing I had not had time to wash it and it was a bit stained. It felt so wrong for her to wear a stained gown. A few friends came and sat with us, our minister prayed with us. We cried and prayed all night.
The next morning we asked the staff to close the doors at rounds. We did want to hear the details about taking her off of ECMO. Suddenly the doctors came in and said they were NOT taking her off of ECMO. In that moment, we knew God was working a miracle. The doctor wanted Joy to go to the cath lab. He had had a dream. In the dream he saw Joy, off of ECMO, and two of her doctors. The doctors told him it had been a surgical issue. While they made the arrangements, we had the best surprise. A mother, Kristi, from the online support group we had joined upon learning we were a match for Joy came into our room. She had also adopted a daughter with the same genetic condition, Deletion 22q syndrome. We had never met her before and had only spoken with her on the phone a few times. She flew in from Minnesota for 6 hours to be with us that day to let Joy go. Instead she became the first witness of the miracle God was working in Joy’s life! Kristi is Jewish and asked if she could pray over Joy. We welcomed her to pray and she did just that as they came to wheel Joy off to the cath lab. This time I whispered to her “If God calls your name, you run to Him. If He doesn’t, you come running back to me!” While we waited for Joy to return Kristi talked to us about a prayer that the Jewish people have been praying for more than 5000 years. It is a prayer for a sick child. In the prayer there is a covenant made with God that if a child has a new name, they must have a new destiny as well. She told us the Hebrew word for miracle is nis, so for a girl’s name it would be Nissa. It was so powerful- her coming to be with us, the prayer, claiming God’s covenant- that we knew instantly it was to be her third name. Joy Elizabeth Nissa Kelly. We prayed together, two mothers of different faiths but believing in the same God, for Nissa! There are no words to describe what it meant to us, for God to not only be working a miracle for our Joy, but to send His servant to minister to us as her parents! We are forever thankful to Kristi for heading God’s pull on her heart and coming to Alabama to be with us! Not long afterward the doctor came out and said that Joy would be having another open heart surgery the next day- they had found the problem! Joy had a one in a million hole in her heart valve and it could be patched!
Joy had her second open heart surgery on October 31. She came off of ECMO two days later and had her chest closed the following Monday. She has been improving ever since! It has not been an easy road. We have had steps forward, backward, and sideways. She has had ups and downs. However, God has been with us every step of the way. We have never been alone. He has sent just the right doctors, nurses, and staff to minister to us and to care for Joy- everyday! Joy is a real testament to His power and sovereignty. Her testimony is one for the ages, and she is just an infant. We are so incredibly humbled to be her parents. We will remember always how in the absence of hope, our faith found Joy. We are blessed!
Romans 8:26-28 NIV
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Today, I am seeking Father and asking Him what verse will be for me this year. I still haven't heard His voice on this but am waiting patiently for Him to tell me. Do you have a verse this year? If you are willing to share it, I would love to know.
Happy New Year!! Welcome 2013!!!