We all look for some little miracle during the Christmas season. Even if it’s the miracle of our spouse remembering what we really wanted under the tree, or just remembering again the miracle of Jesus’s birth in a stable manger. We want to see a miracle. It’s the season for miracles.
Well, would you like to hear about my Christmas miracle this year? It’s quite a story of brokenness and redemption. The gift of miracles when it seemed all hope was lost.
As I’ve reminisced and revisited memories of this past year in two letters written to two different women who have also tragically lost, I’ve shared my heart about the events of 2015 and how we ended up surviving & arriving at Christmas this year. In these excerpts you’ll see the miracle of this Christmas….
A few days or weeks, time was a blur, after Heidi’s sudden death I was able to visualize the whole event in my mind. For a while I blocked it, which is a common response to trauma. I don’t know how it became possible for me to review the whole series of events that night: waking up startled at 3am, looking down at Heidi soundly asleep in my left arm, realizing it was time to nurse, sitting up with her in my arms, kissing her softly, feeling a sudden sense of panic and fear, screaming out to my husband who lay next to me, watching him grab Heidi and start CPR, asking him if he could save her, dialing 911, hearing the town siren blaring, pacing back and forth in the nursery, calling out “please give her back to us. Please give us our baby back. But if you don’t we will still praise you. You give and you take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”, hearing my husband scream “I can’t believe this is happening to me! I need support! I need another medic!”, watching him push drugs into her little body, hearing him say “it doesn’t look good, babe. I don’t think she’s going to make it.”, choosing to sing hymns from my childhood in the ER, choosing not to hold Heidi’s lifeless earthly body, hearing my husband scream out in terror “NOOOOOOO! My little girl!”, leaving the hospital with only memories, opening the front door of our little home to haunted rooms…..
When I allowed myself to remember ALL that, I had what I call a vision. I’m not charismatic. I’m a good ol’ Presbyterian. But I think the Lord revealed Himself clearly to me in this way: I could literally see the silhouette of Jesus in our bedroom, standing at the edge of our bed from the moment I woke with Heidi to the moment we walked back into that house without her; He was holding her alive in His arms, watching over us in our horror, and He was weeping; He went to Manly’s side as he performed CPR and He laid His pierced hand on my husband’s shoulder and interceded on his behalf.
I struggled to accept that we would have another daughter within the same year of having Heidi. Not only was it a physical toll, it was an emotional toll. The details were eerie – our second daughter was conceived almost exactly to the day within a month of Heidi’s conception the previous year; our second daughter’s due date was exactly a month to the day of Heidi’s due date last year (October 15, 2015/November 15, 2014).
At 31 weeks I experienced some unusual bleeding and was kept in the hospital for two days of observation. We had planned another home birth, since I’d had such an incredibly beautiful experience giving birth to Heidi, so working with doctors and nurses in a medical facility definitely wasn’t my comfort zone. There were no serious signs for alarm, so they sent me home to rest and wait. Two days later I felt horrible, was in a great deal of pain off and on, could feel the baby moving, and started bleeding again. I prayed on my way back to the hospital for God to be with me there and to provide excellent care and medical discernment. They still could find nothing wrong but gave me a room for the night since I didn’t want to go home; two hours later I woke up in a pool of blood due to a placental abruption and was hemorrhaging. Miraculously, the Lord’s peace was upon me, and I coasted through the chaos and emergency procedures with a calm confidence.
Everley Marie was delivered at 32 weeks on August 21st, healthy and squawking, punching the air with fists and a red face. Her names mean “Faithful” and “Consoled.”
I have not shared this detail openly as it’s too intimate, but I will share it with you since I know you understand in such a deep way the meaning of these things: when I woke in the middle of the night on November 4, 2014 to nurse Heidi she looked like any sleeping baby, but when I kissed her cheek her eyes did not flutter and she felt chilled; when I saw Everley for the first time August 21, 2015 she was tiny and fragile, but when I kissed her cheek her eyes opened wide for the first time. That will forever have tremendous spiritual meaning to me.
When I think of the holidays last year without Heidi Lee and the darkness that had set in on me and my husband… the hours of agony; the pitiful envy of other families; the forced fake holiday cheer; the gut wrenching sobs, swollen eyes, sleepless nights, and the inability to breath as there was no relief….. I am in awe of where we stand now a year later and how gratefully we have accepted the Lord’s sovereignty and gracious gift.
Only a God who gave up His only Son to suffer far more severely than any of us for us who are utterly undeserving would COMFORT and ASSURE in the deepest darkest place that He is there and that there is eternal life with Him and those we love.
Did you notice my Christmas miracle? There are several miracles in fact!
- my husband received effective treatment, has maintained his job with strength and dignity, and he does not need medications to function
- our second daughter was born safely and is a healthy growing baby
- our family is strong, united, knit together with love from above
- we still trust in the Lord and His word and have found Him to be faithful
Last year I would never have dared to dream that I would see these Christmas miracles in my life! I would never have dared to dream that God’s mercy would sustain me to survive and arrive at Christmas 2015! Truly, the miracle is that God’s grace is sufficient.
Maybe this year you don’t see many miracles in your life. Maybe this year the miracle is simply that you’re alive and surviving. Maybe this year the miracle is that Jesus loves you. Maybe the miracle in your life is just that profound: when all is despair, the world a lifeless and cheerless place, Jesus is all you need and He will be with you on the darkest of nights.
May you be swept up in the gift, the miracle of Immanuel, God with us, this Christmas.
Merry Christmas & Many Blessings,