I don't usually post on Saturdays but today I had to make an exception. My husband has started a blog called The Red Letter Man and he is a fantastic writer. He is starting by posting about situations in his life that have shaped him and his post today was so wonderful that I just had to share it with all of my wonderful readers. So please enjoy and welcome my husband, Colby.
The day my daughter (almost) died.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Standing in the triage room at BSA hospital on a Sunday night as the doctor explained that my 6 month old daughter needed to be admitted. She had a urinary tract infection that had spread throughout her entire body. She was also severely dehydrated. The next five days were to be some of the hardest in my life. You never know how much you care about someone until you are looking at loosing them. As they lead us into the room that she would be staying in, the uncertainty was almost to much to take. I will never forget seeing the steel cage that they called a crib for the first time. I felt like I was living out a scene from the movie "Saw". I remember being speechless when they asked if we wanted her to be an organ donor if she didn't make it. But the thing I remember above anything else is the way God reached down in our greatest moment of despair and literally saved her life.
It was late Monday night when the nightmare reached its worst point. Her temperature had been over 104 degrees several times over the course of the last few days. We had given her cool baths and Tylenol and had managed to tame it each time. But now the problem was reversed. My wife held her close to her body and she was wrapped in several warm blankets fresh out of the dryer. But despite this her temperature was at 95 degrees and dropping. The reality started sinking in that I was very possibly watching her die. After taking her temperature and seeing this number, the nurse told us that they were going to start preparing the ICU. As she walked out of the room, our current children's pastor walked in. We had called him a few minutes before to see if he could pray for us over the phone, but instead (even though it was 11pm and he was on his way home when we called) he insisted on coming to the hospital. He started talking about how mad he was at the devil for messing with God's people. This statement blew my mind. Growing up in church you always hear that when bad things happen, God must have a reason for doing it to you. I never considered that maybe, just maybe, God isn't the one doing the bad things to you at all! As we listened with a lump in our throats he claimed a promise over her that neither of us would dare to hope for. As he told us "She will live and not die" (Psalms 118:17) I began to sob. Then he prayed a prayer for her full of confidence and scriptural promises about healing. He prayed for strength for me and my wife, and he ended with Jeremiah 29:11. As he turned to leave, the nurse returned to check her temperature one more time before they moved her to the ICU. We could barely believe it when we saw the reading on the thermometer: 99.2.
For the next 4 days it was an uphill battle, until we finally left the hospital that Friday afternoon. But I believe the hold of the enemy on her that almost claimed her life was beaten that night. She will turn 5 this November. She is healthy, happy, and the light of my life. Every time I look at her I'm reminded that, no matter how dark things look, there is no darkness that cannot be expelled by the power of God.
I learned a lot of things from this experience, but I would briefly like to share just two of them.
1. The bible says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). As men, especially fathers, one of our primary responsibilities is to protect our family. We all know if a physical enemy were to assail our wife or children, it would be our job to protect them at all costs, even your own life. However this is not the only danger. There are spiritual forces mounted against your family that are subtler, put infinitely more potent. Like many other Christians, I thought that, simply put, God was going to kill her and I just had to deal with that. The bible says very plainly that this is not how God operates. Sickness and death are from the devil, but God gives us healing and life (John 10:10, Acts 10:38). But I had all but given up. In my lack of knowledge I stood by and did nothing as I watched her life slip away. After this experience I purposed to gain all the knowledge I could for the protection of my family. Never again would Satan be allowed to have the upper hand over my family. Since then I have done extensive study into spiritual warfare, healing, and our authority over demonic forces, and I would encourage all men (especially fathers) to do the same.
2. Life is precious. In that moment when I thought I was watching her die, I realized I didn't really know my daughter. I waited my entire adult life to have a daughter, and yet at six months old I had never really spent any quality time with her. I had sat around waiting for her to "develop a personality", and now I had lost my chance. Even more than that, I didn't know my 2 year old son any better. Now, almost 4 years later, I take every opportunity I can find to spend time with my kids. Even running down to the convenience store to grab a bag of ice, I rotate taking one of the three of them with me for some one on one time. Anything they become interested in, I take the time to learn about it. I tell them regularly how special they are to me. Sadly, it took my baby girl almost dying to realize I should have been doing these things all along.
People have often asked why we didn't take any pictures while she was in the hospital and we usually answer with something like, "Oh, we just didn't think about." However, the truth is that I did not then nor have I ever since wanted to recall the horror that filled the majority of those five days. And the good things that took place, the things that shaped me, I will never forget nor could any photo capture. I know without doubt that her life was not spared for no reason. She will grow to be an amazing woman of God and live out the words of Jeremiah 29:11 with style and grace. So here's to my amazing Lexi. The keeper of my heart, daughter of the king, and my continuous joy in a cynical world.