In Todd’s sermon on Nov 4th, he spoke of a few situations in which one might deem it reasonable to consider termination (abortion). However, he challenged us to not yield to the world’s thinking, but to trust God. God knows what he’s doing.
I had the blessing of this reality just over a year ago. Some times tricky situations are the most beautiful of all, when we trust. This is the story of Alyssa Grace, my third niece.
My sister-in-law found out she was pregnant about three months in. She actually found out because she was leaking amniotic fluid. We were told the baby likely had spina bifida and would be disabled. We were also told that it had a heart abnormality and only one kidney. If the child survived, it would be a difficult life at best. The doctor’s asked if they’d like to consider terminating the pregnancy. Trusting God, Brooke and Ken quickly declined. This was their child, for better or for worse.
As time progressed, the medical complications seemed to grow, until mysteriously another test, showed it all to be wrong. The baby didn’t have spina bifida. The heart was fine. Both kidneys were there. It had all been a mistake caused by a bad image, a result of lack of fluid in the uterus. However, this lack of fluid was keeping the lungs from developing and the baby from growing. We were told this probably would not likely reverse itself. The doctors gave no hope and asked the question again about termination. Problem was, this time my sister in law was at risk if the pregnancy were to continue. With much hesitation, they scheduled the termination.
Though it seemed the right thing to do medically, none of us had any peace about it. My brother was almost sick over it. Ken and Brooke decided to wait one week. We all begged God to intervene. If this little baby were to make it, we needed God to do a miracle. But if this baby was not to be, we just wanted him to take it. We didn’t want them to have to decide.
The termination was scheduled for Thursday, but God would surprise us Monday, when at only 22 weeks, Brooke went into labor. We were told to expect a stillborn. But God is amazingly gracious and promises to deliver more than we can ever ask or imagine. Alyssa Grace entered this world alive. To tiny to save, they handed her to her parents. Ken and Brooke got 45 minutes to be with their beautiful little girl, before she went to be with Jesus.
Her middle name is all so perfect to describe what God did. God not only answered our prayers, but he delivered a more beautiful outcome than we ever could have hoped. But isn't that the reality of God? Just when we think all is lost, he blows our mind. Just when we think he's not paying attention, he shows us his love more vividly than the most beautiful sunset, clearer than the sunniest of days. Our God is so big, and yet he holds us each in the palm of his hand. I so often think God is slow, but he delivers on our prayers so perfectly, just at the right time.
The next few months after that would be difficult for all of us, for various reasons (few actually having to do with the loss of Alyssa). But God had taught us something great through Alyssa. Alyssa had taught us something great in her determination.
I often envision that when I get to heaven, aside from Jesus, one of the first people I’ll meet is my beautiful niece Alyssa. I can’t wait to meet her. I can’t wait to thank her for all she taught me, in just 45 minutes of life.
You see, Alyssa was a person… not a thing. She was my niece… not just tissue to be discarded. I know how hard the decisions were for my brother and his wife and I empathize. We told them we’d support them in whatever decision they’d make. But I pray for all who read this that you see God’s masterful plan and don’t decide too quickly should you be in a similar situation. My other sister is now having some difficulties in her pregnancy. She declined amniocentesis. She doesn’t need to know if her baby is sick. She’s already in love with it no matter what.
About two months after Alyssa died, a friend confided in me that she had been in the exact situation just a few weeks before and had terminated. She was devastated with sadness and guilt. I consoled her and reminded her of God’s love and grace. I assured her too, that God in his beauty would allow her to meet her child in heaven. I encouraged her to pray for healing.
If you too have been through this, or termination for another reason, I offer you the same. God is a god of second chances and he always loves us and forgives us. Acknowledge God’s sovereignty today and confess to him. God is an amazing God of grace and he does forgive. Then go forward and let him take that ache from you. I pray for your healing. He loves you so much.