Photo: grandparents

I was with my daughter when the doctor who performed emergency surgery to save her life, in a tiny hospital on a tiny Caribbean island, told her she would probably have a lot of difficulty having children. She had been hemorrhaging from a ruptured cyst. The lining of her womb, that which should have been sacred and set apart to nurture new life, was growing throughout her abdomen and damaging other organs like some blasphemous invader.

My heart ached for her. I had difficulty conceiving myself and I remembered weeping month after month, year after year as disappointment flowed out of my body.

Four years later she called me after a fertility specialist delivered his final verdict to her and her wonderful husband. Too many blockages, too many malformations, too much damage from surgery. A baby conceived by natural means was extremely unlikely to happen. The best he could offer was powerful medication that put her into menopause to slow down the course of the disease and gave her respite from the intense pain. Perhaps someday she might be well enough to try in vitro.

I cried.

She didn’t.

Somehow the two of them had faith that God would hear their prayers. In fact they treated the specialist’s report after exploratory surgery as proof positive that when God gave them a child it would be a miracle. It was officially documented.

A few weeks later while at some meetings in Florida, five different men spoke to her over a period of several days and told her God was giving her “the desire of her heart.” One (named Bob) said he saw “sperm meetin’ egg” and another (named Bobby) even nudged her husband and joked in a Texas drawl, “You know faith without works is dead.” These were not the kind of ministers I was used to.

I had heard about people who were supposedly prophetic and seen reports of those said to be endowed by the Holy Spirit with healing gifts from God, but it was all theoretical. I believed God could do it in His sovereign will, but He didn’t seem to want to much. I have been attending a decently-and-in-order mainline church and some of the stuff she was telling me about witnessing was so far out of my comfort zone I ran up to the hills to pray that they would not be hurt by deception. I was the one who needed prayer that I would not allow my own cultural blinders and judgmental attitude to limit faith in the goodness of God.

Within a month she was pregnant.

The fertility specialist was shocked!

So was I!

Our precious, extremely unlikely granddaughter was born almost exactly one year after the doctor’s pronouncement. There is no doubt in our minds that she is a miracle.

My daughter had hoped she was healed, but the old pattern of severe pain and ruptured cysts began again when the baby was weaned. Her doctor cautioned her against getting her hopes up, saying conception again was unlikely, but suggested that they not postpone trying to have another child if that’s what they wanted. Within two weeks she was pregnant. Our precious highly unlikely miracle grandson will be two years old later this summer.

A while ago our daughter had surgery again to routinely “clean out” more patches of endometriosis. They found none.

Today she and her husband officially announced the expected due date of the arrival of their third child – New Year’s Day. She gave me a gift last time I visited — a pregnancy test with a + sign on it. Attached was a note: I guess you could say we’re addicted to miracles!

It’s the best gift I’ve ever received that somebody peed on!

God is good –and He is still in the miracle business.

As our little grandson would say, “ALLAYLLOOLLAH!”

Use your words

I heard a newborn baby crying in church. You know, it was a sweet sound. The mom had a difficult delivery and it was such a blessing to see both of them happy and healthy.

Some of the kids turned around to see what was wrong — or to see how long the baby was going to get away with this. I felt like explaining to them that crying is the only language babies have and it doesn’t always mean they are in pain, or even that something is wrong.

Then the Lord spoke to me in my spirit and said, “Sometimes people cry and whine because it’s the only language they have.”

This came up in the context of praying about how to respond to people I care about, but who cry and whine a lot. (OK, I’m one too). Sometimes I feel like a mom in the kitchen at 5 o’clock with a whimpering baby demanding to be picked up and a whiny toddler demanding immediate satisfaction and an older child groaning about being asked to set the table. I get frustrated and I am so tempted to snap at them using a less than kind tone myself.

If a child is never spoken to she will never learn to use words. If a child is only criticized he will never learn to speak positively. Children learn by hearing, or by watching in the case of sign language, and then by being given opportunities and encouragement to practise their new skills.

Sometimes, like my three toddler grandchildren, we need to be reminded to use the skills we are gaining. Frustration and whining decreased when they learned the signs for milk, please and thank you. Now they are starting to talk, and the oldest one is being actively taught to use kind words by her parents who have instituted a time of blessing every day. Even the 18 month old is learning to say, “Nice, smart, kind, strong.”

I wonder if some people cry and protest a lot because it is the only language they know. I wonder if we need to teach people how to gain new ways of expressing themselves. I wonder if we need to speak more kind words to them.

I wonder if my prayers would be more effective if my first response to Abba’s requests was not a groan. (Although admittedly there are sometimes in prayer when there are no words, and only a primal moan will do.)

I wonder if we need to be very understanding of those who only have the language of crying.

I wonder if we also need to seek the Lord for discernment and wisdom as they grow to recognize the time to start withholding gratification and to say, in as kind and patient a voice as we can manage, “Use your words.”

I wonder if God sometimes withholds gratification until we learn to communicate respectfully with an attitude of trust and appreciation –to help us mature. I hear him say, “Use your words, honey.”

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Phil 4:6