Amanda Walters: Overcoming Unexpected Circumstances
I want to introduce my wonderful friend Amanda Walters. She is the wife of an amazing husband and a homeschool mom to 3 precious kids. She loves laughing, finding adventures with her family, reading a good book, and enjoying a cup of coffee with friends. She is passionate about seeing every child of God walking in the freedom of all God has for them and living in fullness of joy.
A little over 6 years ago, I gave birth to my first child. I still remember the anticipation I felt of holding him against my chest after he was born. I had played that moment in my mind for weeks leading up to this moment, but all that was stripped away when they pulled him away from me as he gasped for air. All my courage and strength left me when I heard them call for NICU. Waiting is never easy, and the numb feeling can feel so heavy in times like these. Finally, we got the news that our baby boy, Jeremiah, was diagnosed with CDH, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, and needed to be flown to Duke for surgery. CDH occurs when the diaphragm doesn’t fully develop in the baby, and this had allowed Jeremiah’s intestines to come up through the hole and sit on top of one of his lungs. As much as I wanted to hold him and fix it all, I had to let him go. I had no control, no way to fix it except to just let go…to trust God’s hands to hold him and get him safely to Duke. The questions that flooded my mind hit like the waves of the ocean that night. The one blaring question that I couldn’t shake, “How did this happen when I prayed over my child? God’s Word says that if I pray and believe, it shall be done.” My mom understood my questions, but continually pointed to the goodness of God, and the fact that in life, we just won’t have all the answers to our whys, but that God had a plan. We clung to Jeremiah 29:11 that night and throughout our journey, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
At 5 days old, Jeremiah had the surgery to move his intestines off his lung to their proper location and put in a mesh to cover the hole. Amazingly, I slept the most peaceful sleep in the waiting room during his surgery, and I know that was God’s peace embracing me. I know that was the result of lots of prayers of family and friends for us. His surgery was successful, and the next day, we finally got to hold him for the first time. Can I be honest? It was wonderful and sad at the same time. I was thankful to have him in my arms, but it was not the way I had expected to hold him for the first time. The wires and tubes made me nervous, and I grieved not holding him the way I had wanted to. That might seem ungrateful, but it’s truly how I felt. My heart was still hurt and disappointed. My question of why still remained, and I felt let down by God. Even with those emotions present, I still felt peace and rested in that peace of knowing God had only good planned. I knew that only the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and that God, my faithful, Heavenly Father, was only going to bring good out of this situation. (John 10:10) My family and friends constantly spoke of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and His plans for us. They always pointed me back to God. That was a catalyst of strength for me and my faith and helped me to keep my eyes open to His goodness. Allowing these close people, battle buddies, to speak into my life, to remind me of God’s truth, to encourage my faith, and to pray for my child was a great help to me during that chapter of my life.
There were still many tough moments during the next 4 weeks before we could bring him home. It was a struggle for Jeremiah to learn to eat, and he was diagnosed with acid reflux that caused him to throw up after almost every feeding. He had to gain weight to leave the hospital so this made every feeding important. I felt like a failure many times, but what gave me hope was speaking by faith to Jeremiah. I would tell him that he was going home soon and that God was healing him and giving the doctors wisdom to take care of him. Sometimes, I could only get it out in a whisper in his ear, but I said it anyways. This I know was healing and encouragement for me too. I had nothing else that I could do. I couldn’t fix it on my own; my complete trust was in God handling every good day and every set back.
One day shy of 5 weeks old, we loaded him in the car and packed the truck with our stuff to make the trip home. Our baby was going home, but our journey wasn’t over. There was medicine and throwing up, but my baby was home! He could rest and grow while God continued to heal and make us all whole again. So much growth happened for my husband and me through this. We have experienced the good in many different ways that has come on the other side of the mountain we had to climb. The doctors told us that Jeremiah would be delayed developmentally because of his time spent in the hospital. I knew they were giving me information from their knowledge, but my husband and I decided to stand, to agree, and to pray over his development. At every doctor’s appointment, he exceeded their expectations! He was even off a lot of his medicines a month or two after coming home! Jeremiah is now 6 years old and in great health! Praise God!
Looking back, I still don’t have answers as to why this happened. There are no genetic answers or medical reasons why, but I know with all certainty that God has used it for our good and for His glory! My faith is stronger. My trust that God is truly right with me through every step of any situation is much stronger! I now know how to be aware of His hand in situations that can be so disappointing. I also walk with great confidence knowing that God desires us to be in relationship with each other to hold each other up and speak truth into each others’ lives during difficult times. We have to allow those battle buddies in our lives to hold on to us when we can‘t quite stand. Although this was difficult, what God did in me, propelled me into who I am now, and provided me an amazing testimony of God’s grace, strength, healing, and faithfulness.
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Facebook: Amanda Walters