I was reminded this morning of a promise I made to God 17 months ago while driving home from Tampa General Hospital during those dark days after Judah’s brain bleed. I promised Him I’d be willing to give Him the glory and share our story even if it made me feel uncomfortable.
It’s taken until now to muster up the courage to publicly share more of the painful details of our story. I’ve shared bits and pieces, many times through tears, in occasional one-on-one conversations. I’m not much of a writer. In fact, it’s quite intimidating to sit down and write. But I want to give glory where it’s due! And share a story of the way God showed up in my darkest moment.
It was around midnight when Chad followed the ambulance out of our neighborhood. I closed the front door, turned around to our peaceful home. The kids were sound asleep, unaware of anything that had happened. Over the next few hours I received numerous calls from Chad of the different tests they were performing. When he called to let me know they were doing a spinal tap it began to sink in that this was more serious than we had first imagined. I crumbled to the floor and cried out, “Oh God, save our son!”
His next call was even more of a shock…
“Honey, I need you to get up and get dressed. They’re transferring Judah to Tampa General Hospital. I’m not following them. I’m coming home…. I was stopped and questioned by cops. They think we hurt Judah. Police and DCF are on their way to our home right now to question you and the kids. I’ll be there soon to be with you. Tampa General will hold off on surgery until we get there…”
I quickly got dressed and started gathering some things to take to the hospital. Then began texting to find a friend to come watch our children for us. When the garage door opened I went out to find Chad…not just Chad, but a police car parked outside our home…
Soon I found myself in what felt like a dream. We sat down at our dining room table with a very nice female police officer (whom I later found out attends our church) and a man from DCF. Recorders rolling, notebooks and pens in hand, they began asking questions.
Next, we were asked to wake our sleeping children one by one. (It was approximately 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning at this time) We weren’t allowed to say much. Just bring them out to be questioned. Our children were so confused. Who were these strangers? And what were these questions?
After this “appointment” Chad and I rushed out to Tampa as our sweet friends arrived to take care of our children. We could tell by the tone and looks from the staff at the hospital that we were considered guilty. Guilty of a crime we never committed.
Nothing made sense. Nothing added up. I felt as if I was walking through two nightmares at once. Watching my son fight for his life…and discovering that in the minds of these doctors we were guilty until proven innocent.
That first day is a bit of a blur to me…lots of doctors, surgeons, a surgery to place a temporary shunt in Judah’s brain…friends, calls to family, prayers, tears, and lots of questions.
That evening Chad returned home and I stayed alone in Judah’s hospital room. I prayed over Judah then crawled into “bed” to finally try to sleep. It had been at least 36 hours since I had slept. I had just closed my eyes when the lyrics of a song began to play in my heart. My hands raised to the ceiling as if He was the one lifting them for me. I knew others were praying for me as I somehow found the strength to sing in my heart these lyrics from a old Point of Grace song…
“When it’s dark and it’s cold and I can’t feel my soul
You are still good
When the world has gone gray and the rain’s here to stay
You are still good
With every breath I take in
I’ll tell you I’m grateful again
And the storm may swell even then it is well
You are good
So how can I thank You
And what can I bring
What can a poor man lay at the feet of a king
So I’ll sing you a love song
It’s all that I have
To tell You I’m grateful
For holding my life in Your hands”
…I fell asleep….a miracle!
The next morning started off in a hurry. Many came in and out that morning running tests, asking questions, checking Judah. A pediatric neurosurgeon came in. She introduced herself, looked at Judah, then turned to me to say, “They’ll probably be taking your children away.”
My heart sank. I was alone. Hurting. There before me was my baby fighting for his life. Tubes everywhere. His eyes hadn’t opened. He hadn’t moved. I wasn’t allowed to touch him for fear of causing a seizure. I began to sob as a sweet nurse tried to comfort me with the information that at least the children would go to friends.
She stepped out of the room to give me a moment alone.
“Lord!!!! What is going on?!!!!”
It couldn’t have been a minute later a kind lady came into my room and asked if she could clean it. I pasted on a smile, wiped my tears and apologized for crying. She stopped, looked me square in the eyes, and said, “Don’t cry. Just pray.”
She proceeded to empty the trash and mop the floors. While she did so she prayed softly under her breath. The peace of God filled the room. My tears stopped and I sat in silence in awe of the way God showed up in that hospital room.
Before she left the room she came back to me, looked me in the eyes again, and reminded me, “Don’t cry. Just pray. If you believe in Him, and you trust in Him, nothing is impossible.”
Then she left…
It would be a few days, a few questions, a few doctors later that we received Judah’s official diagnosis “Late Onset Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn.” Our case was eventually closed. Praise The Lord!!
I often think back to that sweet hospital janitor. Out of all of the hospital employees we met (doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc.) a janitor, what some may consider to be a less significant position, made the biggest impact and left the most lasting memory. I pray I can make so great an impact as I go about my daily duties as well.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”