Two by Two by Two…

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To say we were carried through the week by angels on high and cradled under the wings of the almighty is an understatement. It was Super Bowl Sunday and my five year old daughter was to be checked into the children’s hospital north of Atlanta at 6 AM the following morning for surgery. She had suffered with progressive renal reflux since birth and the damage to her kidneys had worsened. Her latest check up revealed she was not thriving as other five year olds thrive. Her weight and height had not moved in almost a year. I could see it in the dark circles under her eyes and in the pasty white color of her otherwise olive skin-tone. We had spent many weeks in the hospital on IV antibiotics fighting urinary tract infections caused by her increasing inability to void. She now she needed intervention.

That same night during the football game my nine-month old son had to be rushed to the hospital on the opposite side of town of where we needed to be in just a few short hours. He had become dangerously dehydrated from a violent stomach virus. It was a virus his pediatrician had told us could last for up to 10 days and to “wait it out.” The problem with waiting it out was that my son also suffered from Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. His case was advanced. In other words… he was not your typical baby spitting up from an overfull belly. Though he had not yet failed to thrive like his sister, he was not well either and his status was about to change.

The night was harsh but by four o’clock in the morning our baby was stable again and we knew the time had come to split up. As two parents with two children suffering from two disease processes wreaking havoc on their little bodies, we had no choice. We needed to be in two places at one time. Even though it appeared as if we were losing our battles we were not, we were fighting them. Though we were temporarily without the comfort of the other’s hand to hold or shoulder to rest upon we were not alone. God provided help during our time of need.

For seven days friends and family also split up to comfort and care for us. During our most unpredictable and worrisome hours they prayed with us. They cleaned our house, washed our laundry, cooked our meals and held our hands. By the end of the week we had been relieved of the burdens we had been shouldering for years. The people in our lives loved us through the darkest moments until we reached the light of day. 

The first week home we noticed was our son was holding his food down, something we had never before experienced. During our second week home we noticed our daughter’s temperature charts had maintained readings between 98.4 and 98.6. That’s a normal we had not experienced consistently during the past year when I learned to drink coffee by the pot instead of the cup.

A few weeks later my son’s gastroenterologist held in his hands the test results before the virus along with the ones after the virus. He was weighing them in the balances. “It’s a medical impossibility that an intestinal virus could correct such a complex condition,” he said before adding, “But it did.”

Then a year later my daughter’s urologist did something similar when in his hands he waved the results of her most recent renal scans. He said, “though we can correct renal reflux disease through reconstructive surgery we cannot reverse the damage it causes to the kidneys beforehand; however, according to these results there is no trace of the previous damage.” 

Unlike their pediatric specialists my husband and I were not scratching our heads; we were lifting our arms and praising our God for the healing He had brought to our family: two children healed from two disease processes while in two hospitals located miles apart.

In the period of one week’s time two battles were fought and two were won and two children were healed and two parents relieved. And for this reason, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2 (NKJV)

A Family Kind of Love

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I’m so excited to introduce my mom and guest blogger Brenda Deese.

Today, Brenda shares a glimpse into her journey when at sixteen years of age she found herself fleeing the place where love came at too high a price to pay. That place was home and she ran from it in search of refuge. What she discovered was much more than a safe place; she discovered love:

A  safe kind of love,

A forever kind of love,

A Family Kind of Love!

She discovered the love that would change her from the inside out and work within her the capacity to break the chains of destructive generational cycles forever!

Meet Brenda Deese

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“As a little girl, I deeply yearned to feel unconditionally loved and protected but I felt neither. My parents were married young and Dad was in the Air Force. Four months into their marriage they were expecting my brother and a year later they were expecting me. My dad was shipped overseas and my mom returned home to her parents, to a less than perfect situation. She arrived with my three month old brother cradled in her arms and me growing inside her. Needless to say, times were difficult for our small family.

Many years later my father returned from the war and we resumed life as a family. Ours was a strict and rule-laden home and though I know my parents did the very best they knew to do, we often felt that their love was conditional upon our behavior. That message burned so intensely in my heart that I likewise thought of God’s love in the same manner, conditional upon my behavior.

For a lifetime I longed to know and feel a forever kind of love and mercy, the kind that despite my flaws would be a place of refuge and safety, a place where I could be accepted just as I am.

As I grew in my knowledge of Christ, I recognized that the message of God’s love being conditional on my behavior was completely false; in fact it couldn’t be farther from the truth. God’s word says He chose us to be the object of His love even before the earth was formed; He adopted us into His family. This truly was incredible news to me because not only had I been selected and saved, I would be forever safe and protected in His care.

God’s love is fiercely protective and has worked in my heart to heal my deepest wounds and diminish my strongest fears. God has taken my childhood scars and transformed them into a thing of beauty. He has even worked the most difficult of times together for good by making me aware of His unconditional love, which impacted the choices I would make for how to love my own family. 

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“When I became a mother I knew I didn’t want to raise my children in the same way that I was raised. I felt so deeply blessed by God to have been entrusted with each child and I loved them with all of my heart. I also loved God’s word and within its pages I found the wisdom, comfort and guidance I sought for how to raise my family.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It does not envy,

it does not boast,

it is not proud. 

It does not dishonor others,

it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

always trusts,

always hopes,

always perseveres.

I believe 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the perfect example for how to treat your children, especially since it is the way God chooses to treat His children, loving them unconditionally. Our Heavenly Father’s example of love is the strongest and healthiest kind of love on earth, A Family Kind of Love.”

That’s not the end of Brenda’s story. Growing up I remember watching her take what she had learned about God’s love (1 Corinthians 13) and use it as she journeyed down the path of forgiveness and transformation, hers and eventually her parents. Now that’s A Family Kind of Love!

COMMENT- How about you, do you have a transformation story via God’s love? Were you running away from something too? We’d love to hear your story here on TWENTY-TWENTY, Seeing God’s Grace through the Lenses of Hindsight.

You can visit Brenda at Brenda Deese.com Claim Every Promise