It is hard to believe an entire year has gone by since our most difficult season ever as a family. But it was a full year ago, and God has blessed us immeasurably. The timeless lesson here is to trust God fully, and use every ounce of your strength to honor that trust in every way possible. Whatever the circumstances, trust God completely, and use all your resources to back up that trust, and you’ll sleep well and rest in God’s peace no matter what you face.
One year ago, our daughter had surgery on her back to cut through the protective sheath on her spinal cord and remove some tissue that didn’t belong there. I can look back and see how our faith was tested and what we learned. We trusted God and His purposes fully. And we honored that trust by using every asset available on our end to put our daughter in the best possible hands.
My wife was seven months pregnant at the time. There are many places a pregnant woman in her final trimester can be, but sleeping on a pull out bed in a hospital while her daughter has surgery is not one of the favorites. This was SO not what I wanted and yet it was completely unavoidable for us.
When we first realized she had an anomaly on her skin that needed an explanation, we flew down to Texas to meet with a doctor who wrote extensively on the subject at Harvard University. We spent some money, but got her to the best doctor we could find in the entire world networking and researching online. He then properly diagnosed her with a more serious condition that was outside the realm of his expertise. God blessed us, as this doctor in Texas made some calls and got us to a pediatric neurosurgeon who spent his time at Johns Hopkins establishing himself as the expert on the type of condition our daughter had. We were able to personally meet with this doctor, who by now was the head of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, widely accepted as the very best Children’s Hospital there is. Again, as you could imagine this cost us more money, and in fact would end up costing us the rest of the money we didn’t lose when we sold our house. But we could care less about money when our daughter had a possibility of being paralyzed, or worse.
We did everything we could. We did. Mornings, days, nights, weeks, and months of research and networking, money, and it was worth it. God was in every part of it. My entrepreneurial mind kept working, as I considered scenario after scenario of what else I or others could be doing to make my daughter well. We committed to doing everything we could possibly imagine to attain full success: a healed and healthy daughter. And we prayed every day as a family.
Once we realized we’d gotten as far up the medical food chain to the best doctor there was (I couldn’t find anyone better on Google in any city or country anywhere, and I looked), we searched for more ways to work. Trusting God, praying, and encouraging others was all I had left to do. So I resolved that no matter what, I would do whatever it takes to go to bed the night before the surgery knowing that there was not one more prayer to be prayed, dollar to be spent, or phone call to be made that I could ever look back and regret not doing. I created a blog post about the surgery here, which ended up my most liked (and also viewed) post ever. I asked everyone I knew to pray for my daughter. I asked them to share my daughter’s story with others, this one time, because it was in my strength to do so.
People prayed for my daughter. A lot of people. A guy from the Ticket (a huge radio station 1400 miles away in Dallas) tweeted out my prayer request and a link to my blog (thanks to my man Reuben, I didn’t forget that) and as a result even strangers prayed for my daughter. The closer the surgery came the more our phones started ringing. Good friends as well as voices I had almost forgotten started contacting us to tell us they were praying. Former coworkers and colleagues called to encourage us. Our friends Bill & Chris were with us every step of the way from miles away. Even my wife’s former boss (and mine, come to think of it) who I will not mention by name since he’ll find a way to kill me called or texted us every day even though he was on vacation in Rosemary Beach… just to encourage us and check on our daughter. All my former leaders checked in on us. Pastors I didn’t even know sent me email and connected privately through Social Media. My father drove down by himself from Buffalo while my mother had to endure a day full of flight delays and long connections to leave the out of town business she was conducting to sit around in the hospital with us. My wife’s side of the family took care of our son and made it easier for us. Almost everyone we ever knew came through and reached out to us. And prayed with us. So many people made time for us and encouraged us. We learned a lot about so many people, and about God in this.
The night before the surgery, my wife and I slept well, and slept soundly, because we trusted God and knew we had fully leveraged everything we could imagine to help our daughter. We did all there was to do on our end.
The head of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh personally performed the surgery. We wouldn’t have ever got to him if it wasn’t for the doctor in Texas. We only connected with the doctor in Texas because of a doctor we “met by accident” before our daughter was even born. God came through for us.
We were blessed by the outpouring of kind words and encouragement, which my wife blogged about here. She’s a good writer.
The surgery was a complete success on every measurable level. My daughter has since made a full recovery.
The timeless lesson here is to trust God fully, and use every ounce of your strength to honor that trust in every way possible. Whatever the circumstances, trust God completely, and use all your resources to back up that trust, and you’ll sleep well and rest in God’s peace no matter what you face.