It was on a Tuesday, the 85th day, that I walked through the glass doors to hear the alarm flashing, to see the doctors and nurses working frantically over her body as she went limp and gray. Lifted up and carried out, flailing against the arms of the strangers removing me from the scene, I didn’t realize I was screaming until they gently told me to stop.
It was on a Tuesday that I discovered the whole of my relationship with the Lord could be condensed down to a thin, flat red line pulsing across a small black screen.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…
Nine months prior I had stared down at a positive pregnancy test and whispered an age old prayer of thanks. I was Hannah, grieved in my infertility and rejoicing at the long awaited promise of a child.
You count your pregnancy by weeks and I was at twenty five when the doctor laid her hand on my shoulder. “We’re taking the baby” she said. I breathed deep of the oxygen mask, gripping hard to the cold hospital bed rail and the place where not seeing becomes believing as they cut my daughter from me.
And in that moment the once indefinable weight of glory was spelled out across the scale they laid her bare on.
One pound, eight point six ounces.
156 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
People often ask me how my faith was tested during that time. “Not tested,” I answer.
I had thought myself knowledgeable. Former Vice President of the FCA, answers were what I had. I studied the Bible. I knew stuff. And around my heart I amassed a collection of religious tokens that began to cast a shadow over the genuinely important.
In my most desolate of moments everything else I had wrapped around my faith fell away and left exposed the single most defining truth: He is who He says He is.
In a fit of incompatible emotions I both raged at Him and begged Him to heal her here on this earth. Either way I would be forever changed, marked by this shift where my faith became intangible. That was where I was that Tuesday, with my face pressed against the glass, suspended between hope and desperation and clinging to the same answer regardless of the outcome:
Jesus Is Lord
Scarlette purses her lips when she is concentrating on something, her brow furrows as she gingerly flips the cardboard page of a rhyming book. “God loves you more than the deepest sea…” I read to her. She is curious about my tears, tracing the path they’ve made down my cheek with her finger. “Mommy is crying because she’s happy” I tell her. She’s not even two so I can’t explain to her that these simple rhyming words in her favorite book are just a portion of the mercies that are new every morning.
One day I’ll give her a bigger book with a soft, leather cover and tell her it’s a love story.
The truth is, I did nothing. I didn’t live well or believe well or stay strong in my faith. I laid with my face on the floor in the darkness and just let the small, inextinguishable flame of truth do what it is meant for. No one will write my name in history books as a woman of great faith nor will I pen studies giving guidance on overcoming adversity. They’ll simply reference an ancient text and see where in one life, it was true:
For where I am weak, He is strong
Written by Kayla Aimee of Only Slighty Neurotic
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Christan Perona says
This is beautiful. Thank you, Kayla. Your words are so counter-cultural to religiosity. It’s all about Him, isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder. God’s blessings and radical grace to you and yours…
The Weight Of Glory, If You Held It In Your Hands says
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Southern Gal says
Beautiful. it’s beautiful because it’s real. Going through the hard times is just that – hard. He knows. He has experienced the anguish, too.
This is one of the most beautiful posts i’ve ever read. Thank you for the gift of your faith. “Faith” doesn’t mean “easy.” “Faith” doesn’t mean “if you believe He’ll take care of it all.” “Faith” doesn’t mean “you’ll never doubt or question.”
“Faith” means, well, “faith.”
There are no words – but you’ve found a few…
Truly wonderful…thank you for sharing.
There are no words for how much your story and your honesty touch my heart. Thank you, as always, for sharing. I have no doubt that someone, somewhere will be strengthened by your heart.
Oh, KA, you made me cry into my coffee this morning. He is so faithful. SO faithful. Thank you.
Beautiful and honest. 🙂
So very beautiful, KA. 🙂
This is so beautiful. KA thank you for sharing your honesty with all of us.
Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation says
I love this!
Oh friend…yes. I remember those days and still, I think about the miracle that your girl is. And a beautiful miracle, too. 🙂
“I didn’t live well or believe well or stay strong in my faith.” Words of truth vulnerabilty and real life. This year God has been telling me faith is messy you reminded me messy can be beautiful. May you be blessed for your willingness to be seen imperfect
I read this and felt lead to comment and say thank you. I’ve been in a hard season for a while now, and this spring when asked by my bible study how I was, I told them the truth. That I was doing pretty lousy, that my faith had been taken to one simple statement – God is GOD. And that’s the heart of it, isn’t it? He IS. I was feeling horrid about it, but they told me that this was actually good – that I had the heart I needed. I’ve felt better about myself since then. Things are still hard, but I know that my faith is built on a solid foundation, one that can never be shaken.
Thanks for writing.
Kayla Aimee says
I’m sorry you are in a hard season. I remember telling my BFF after Scarlette’s roommate in the NICU passed away “the ONLY thing I have is that I still believe Jesus is Lord. I don’t understand anything else” and she said “I’m pretty sure believing that is only thing that matters” – I’m glad you have a solid foundation for these tough times. “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand” – all my love!
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama says
I wanted to choose a line to highlight – to point to and say, “This touched me the most.” But I couldn’t choose just one. This is one of the most powerful things I’ve read in a long time.
Rejoicing with you for daughters!
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Kayla Miller says
As a pre-me baby myself (born three months early, 2 pounds 4 oz.), this post really touched me. You gave me some more insight into how my mom must have felt during the three months in the NICU. She passed away almost ten years ago, and about five years into that loss I found a journal of hers that she kept just after I was born, detailing my progress and her worries about my set backs. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about your struggles, and for getting to the heart of our faith in even the most trying of circumstances. You have blessed me today, and I pray that you and your precious little girl are blessed ten-fold!
our God is an awesome God.
as Scarlette must be an awesome little girl.
Beautifully told…thank you.
So well said……so much left unsaid but felt in your words, thank you again for sharing
I completely understand your story. When my daughter was 3 weeks old, I was sent to the hospital with retained placenta and an e.coli infection. 2 days later, my daughter was sent to another hospital for Bacterial Spinal Meningitis. I wasn’t strong in my faith either. But thank God the people I surrounded myself with were. And they lifted me up in the darkest times. Thank you for sharing your story.
Kayla Aimee says
I know what you mean, I have never known true community as much as I did when Scarlette was ill. The body of believers is a beautiful thing!
Beth Williams says
What a powerful testimony of faith you have! It would be hard for most moms & moms to be to be that brave and acknowledge God in such a situation!
It was soo surprising, yet wonderfully happy to hear that God healed your little girl!
Kayla Aimee says
Thanks for your sweet words! You know, I originally wrote this for my own blog where I knew my readers and friends already knew a bit about that time and that Scarlette was okay- I never intended for it to be cliffhanger-ish – I didn’t totally think that through! XOXO!
Janis@Open My Ears Lord says
Kayla, you have described what happens to our faith in the midst of fire-burning trials. Like you, I have fallen apart, not able to make the Word of God real in my life or able to pull me out of my fears and anxieties. It is so wonderful to know that even in this mess, God gets the glory~because it’s not about how we performed in the trial but that He carried us through.
Thank you for the real interpretation of
“When I am weak, then He is strong”
Beautifully written! God bless you and your precious gift from God!
Chris K says
Beautiful and honest! Thanks for sharing.
Faith is never strong until it’s gone through the fire…God then reflects through the shine from the polishing of the vessel He made us to be. Though I have not been tried through child birth but through loss He forever is the only one there when no one else can be. Thankful for your happy ending..God bless <3
Kayla Aimee says
I’m so sorry for your loss. Watching our friends in the NICU leave without their babies forever altered my heart. I will never understand that sort of loss, or know why one mother gets her happy ending and another does not. I am so thankful for a faith that provides peace.
Diana Trautwein says
I’m with Lisa-Jo. This IS one of the most powerful things I’ve read in a while. Of course, you did nothing. That’s all you could do. Wow, this is amazing. Thank you so much.
Amen! Your way with words is truly artful. Just beautiful.
jan b says
Beautiful. Honest. Heartfelt. Thank you again for sharing. You truly honor God. 🙂
Having walked a similar path, I completely understand the complexity of feelings this struggle brings… I’ve read this several times today and each time, it brought tears to my eyes. You captured it perfectly.
Scarlette has an amazing testimony… and so do you.
I read your blog every day during those long days and still do. But this? Powerful and stunningly beautiful. This only comes through bring tried by fire. Rejoicing in the healing and that amazing little girl.
Brooke Burger says
AMEN! I am lived something very similar and I agree whole heartedly!
marie krum says
I was once in the same sort of position. Stripped. The Savior’s answer to my less than eloquent, perpetual prayer of “PLEASE don’t take my daughter” was “If you trust me for her eternity, won’t you trust me with her life, on whichever side of Eternity that may be?” His lesson was one He’s been trying to teach me all my life: “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” Thank you Kayla.
I have been struggling to tell my friends what I am going through after the loss of my sister, but this right here, puts it into words. Im going to send them here. Thanks
Kayla Aimee says
I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I know words can’t possibly ease that pain but I do pray that there is peace for you. All my love, KA
Addie Zierman says
Love that. Stripped. Yes, THAT is the right word, and this is beautiful. Thank you.
Amy Hunt says
Powerful worship in your writing, in your telling of His Grace and His Mercies and His Trust-worthy-ness. And most of all, His sustenance.
When nothing seems to go our way, He helps us through. Not around, but through. And He is glorified and we are forever changed.
Rich blessings as He uses your story, sweet friend.
I don’t know what else to say….so simply amazing.
Such a powerful story and so beautifully written. I followed Scarlettes journey on your blog and so, this is not the first time her story has brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you so much for sharing
Thanks Kayla. It reminds me of a devotion that I heard on one of our christian radio stations in NZ this morning. Whether we are going through good times or hard times, God is still God. He never changes and is always there. All powerful. Dependable. Never changing. – Kellie 🙂
Riana Brink says
This is beautiful and it made me cry.
“Doen slegs U will, Heer” is one of my favorite songs of praise. I don’t know if this translation will do justice to the Afrikaans version:
Do only Thy will, Lord, your will with me.
You, the Potter, with me the clay.
Mold me and make me, just as You wish.
Upon You I wait, Lord, humble and meek.
Do only Thy will, Lord, your will with me.
Test and search me, although, I might suffer.
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me today.
Close to thy feet, Lord, I want to stay.
When my son (now 16 months old) was born at only 24 weeks, I realized that it was much more difficult to live this out when your biggest dream seems to be slipping away. One of the greatest obstacles that I had to overcome was to make peace with the course life took. I felt so very disappointed and dissatisfied with what God planned for us.
But at the same time my only consolation was that God was still in control and that I could pray and hope for a miracle. And such a big miracle leaves one humble and thankful.
I love reading your blog.
Very glad that Scarlette is doing so well!
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Gosh, I love these posts.
Thank you for sharing the truth.
tara pollard pakosta says
oh my gosh girl, you made me cry.
scarlett’es life is an amazing gift and I am so happy that God
let her be here on Earth with her mama!
your story is more touching, more faith filled than you think, just by being honest and real, you can bring people to Him!
Susan Byrd says
Beautiful and so true.
Beautiful KA, I have followed your journey with Sweet Scarlette, and whether or not they ever write it in the history books, YOU ARE a great woman of faith. You may not pen any studies about overcoming adversity, but you have shown us all what it is to LIVE IT, by sharing in places like your blog and here. Women of all ages are inspired by you, and celebrate life’s victories with you. NEVER underestimate what you have done by sharing your story. Hugs! ~Sally
Melissa D says
This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I just realized that you posted on June 12, which is my own 1 pound, 8 ounce preemie’s birthday.
This is so beautiful. I’m choking back the tears at work. Our stories are so different, but the truth is the same. I came to the same place when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, at 45. I became a widow at 37. I know that place between hope and desperation. And I know the same truth you arrived at. He is who He says He is and He is Lord.
Bless you and your family as you truly are a blessing to others!
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