On the morning of my birthday, I woke up with a sharp pain in my back. I'd had these sharp pains before, but something about this time was different. I went into the guest room and told my mother I had to go to the ER. That morning, I didn't know I would spend the next year living in the hospital.
My husband dropped me off at the emergency room and ran home to get a few things. The perinatal specialist came into the room and told me I wouldn't be going home again; I panicked. "You need to get here, right now!" I yelled through the phone.
My sweet husband tried to hold it together for our family while I went completely ballistic. We told our closest friends and pastors what was happening, and they faithfully stopped by to wish us well. Then came the neonatologist. I was perplexed. What is a neonatologist, and why were they here?! The woman told me she was the doctor on call. While they didn't know when our babies were coming, they knew they were coming soon and would spend a significant amount of time in the NICU, if they survived at all.
My husband and I had a decision to make. We looked at each other and knew there was no way we were agreeing to any of the offered procedures to terminate the pregnancy. Funny enough, years prior I'd fallen in love with Travis Greene's album, The Hill. In his album, he talked about almost losing his son to prematurity and how he and his wife put their trust in Christ - "and by his stripes, we're healed", was my favorite line in the song. His testimony echoed in my heart.
If God could do it for them, he would make a way for us.
The battle was far beyond us, but I knew I served a mighty God.
I gave birth two days later in the dead of night via emergency c-section. Amidst the pain, all I wanted to do was see my babies. I met the first of many doctors we would meet during the course of our NICU journey. As they handed me their card it read, "MANA--Midatlantic Neonatal Associates". The only thing I could think of at the moment was about the MANNA (or sometimes spelled MANA) that came from heaven when the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness. My gut told me that we were entering a wilderness. While I didn't know how long it would last, I knew this was God's way of telling me to buckle down.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from the heavens for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law or not." The house of Israel called the bread manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey. Exodus 16:4,31 (AMPC)
I learned from prior experience that no matter what I went through, if I put my trust in him, God would always provide. We learned that lesson in our last storm as a couple. What I did not know was all of the other aspects of my character and life that would be challenged in this process. It was a painful, eye-opening experience. I learned things about myself and those around me that I never would have understood if it weren't for the journey. People we thought would always be there, weren't. Our help came from the unusual and most unexpected places. Just like Jesus, I learned that in your greatest hour of need it would likely end up being just you and God. He hand selected my help.
The most unusual help came through a pastor I met through Facebook.
Dr. Addy didn't know me from a can of paint, but the moment I told him my story, he and his entire congregation prayed for us day in and day out. I never encountered a church that committed itself to perfect strangers. I believe God used Maranatha to teach me the true purpose of the church - to love, support, and pray for one another. I learned that God's divine provision went far beyond money, shelter, or food. He sent comfort when I was lonely, encouragement when I was down, help when I was overwhelmed, and a covering when I felt naked and afraid. Mana, or divine provision, came to us in so many shades, shapes, forms, and sizes. It came through people from all walks of life. When we walked out of that NICU experience we had a new meaning of Jehovah Jirah, the Lord will provide. He never failed us then, and most certainly won't fail us now. If you are experiencing a sense of lack or despair, look to the source for your help. Forget about your friends and loved ones for a moment, look to Jesus. He is the author and finisher of fate.