“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened.”
Lately I have been hearing a lot of buzz about real life accounts of people dying, seeing heaven or hell, and then being resuscitated. Obviously I don’t believe everything I hear or read, but I find these accounts interesting and sometimes I think it’s okay to trust that people are actually telling the truth. There’s a really popular book that I recently bought and is on my “to-read” list called Heaven is for Real.
My pastor also recently preached an amazing sermon about Heaven, and how amazing it is really going to be as he read accounts in the Bible and then of course he mentioned more real-life stories that seem to really match the same image that the Bible depicts. Sometimes in life we start feeling a little too immortal…a little too proud, and a little too untouchable…while pushing the fact that we all do die someday to the back of our minds. Most people feel very scared of death, and coming to a place of peace when losing someone we love is always a battle. All of this talk about Heaven really made me appreciate the song “In Christ Alone” a little bit more than I had previously…especially the line “no guilt in life, no fear in death – this is the power of Christ in me.” I really felt it was time to let go of the fear and anxiety I would normally feel when thinking about death. The bottom line is that every breath I breathe is a gift from God for HIS purposes and whenever He wants to bring me into a place of complete wholeness and peace (in Heaven), I’m okay with that! And I trust Him too that He has the same love for the people that I care about and knows the best for them as well.
Well, as with all lessons in life, you never really know what you believe until it’s put to the test.
Last Thursday evening my cousin on Scott’s side went into labor. You may remember her and her husband as the last maternity shoot that I had published to the blog. We were ecstatic when she went into labor and were just waiting for the call of good news.
I woke up periodically throughout the night excited for the call…checking my phone to make sure I didn’t sleep through it. Well, the call we were expecting didn’t come. We were hoping for an excited call from the father or one of the grandparents…telling us all the beautiful details of baby Adalyn. Instead, we received a call around 6:30am from Scott’s mom, crying hysterically saying, “you need to pray for Antonia, she is hemorrhaging and you need to pray that she makes it.” Not exactly the call we were expecting. In the 21st century, I was not at all in my wildest imagination expecting that Toni could be at risk. I don’t want to go into too much detail but I will say that she lost 4 pints of blood, and had to be rushed into surgery. The next call came saying, “she is having a hysterectomy…pray that it goes okay…she is still not out of danger as the bleeding has not stopped.” This is when I really broke down in prayer and got control of my emotions. There comes a point in our grieving and worry where we need to put our trust in the Lord and this was that point for me. I always think the best thing you can do is to speak life into a situation that seems hopeless. A quote I love is “pray as if it all depends on you.” Sometimes we don’t always get the outcome we think is fair or right, but sometimes we do and I do believe that in every situation, whether we like the outcome or not, that God is good. I said to Scott “absolutely not…this isn’t happening…she isn’t having this surgery. She is 22…this isn’t right.” I recalled a few dreams Toni had had about seeing me pregnant in the future, and I recalled our fun conversations about being pregnant together at some point down the road. I focused on these memories and these dreams that Toni had and I asked God to give the doctors wisdom, and that the surgery would not need to be performed, and of course, that Toni would be okay. During those few hours I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had placed my trust in God’s hands and then came the waiting game. Scott had to get up and go to work and I was at home alone staring at walls. I felt it was important to keep declaring truth and so I continued praying for everyone involved. The song “Our God” by Chris Tomlin was what I kept singing over and over whenever I would feel the urge to worry or stress about the situation. This song is a declaration of who God is, and this was what was on my heart. I don’t want to post the lyrics because this post is already so long, but the song talks about how God is “for” us and that nothing can come against us that He can’t win victory over. One of my fav. Bible verses (Exodus 14:14) was also on my mind: “The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be still.”
I finally received the news after a few hours of waiting that the doctor’s were able to stop the bleeding without having to remove her uterus, Antonia was safe, and that the baby was perfectly healthy. When we were able to go visit Antonia in the hospital, I walked in the room to see her lying in the bed holding her little girl. She looked up at me and said, “isn’t she perfect?”
I think I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story : )