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Winding Roads

Meant To Make Us Grow

Sis. Angeli Cruz

 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble...  Psalm 46

“She was only five days young when our daughter Daniela Marie was diagnosed of a congenital heart defect called Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Her heart has a hole and the possibility of a surgery to close it is high.”

Our hearts were crushed upon hearing this from the doctors. At first we cannot believe it; it feels like a bad dream that you want to wake up from. How could this thing be happening to such a tiny innocent human? We had a lot of questions in mind but we chose to trust God for a miracle to happen. Together with our loved ones and church family, we plead to God for His healing power upon the condition of Daniela.

 

Raising a newborn baby in itself is a lot of hard work, all parents know about it, and it is extra challenging to tend a baby with special needs. Some of our days were filled with doubts and worries and fear for the life of our daughter. Weekly trips to the hospital, twice she was admitted at the ICU, a lot of laboratory tests, a scare that she might end up in a life support with just a simple cough or cold; all of this Daniela has to endure in the early months of her life. We feel sorry for her and are helpless at times. But God is good, He kept Daniela and made her strong.

 

As we waited for God‘s answer, there are days that our faith is being shaken. We begin to blame ourselves and question God for what has happened to our daughter. And just as we start to weaken God is gracious to send someone to encourage us and remind us to keep our anchor on Jesus.

 

Time is precious in the condition of Daniela. During her 4th month check up with her pedia-cardio he advised us that the likelihood of her hole to close up in its own is very little. We need to make a decision as soon as possible to avoid any complications since Daniela is now suffering from heart failure and other symptoms like fast breathing and slow weight gain begin to show.

 

Hard decisions have to be made. Having operation done in Dubai means shelling out a huge amount of money and a whole lot of considerations with regards to doctors, medical facilities, procedure, recovery and all. How can one make such a quick and tough decision like this to your child where her life is at stake? We realized that we cannot do this without faith in God. Faith was the answer in our prayers. God was with us from the start, guiding every step of the way. We just need to trust Him fully and acknowledge that He is in control in this entire ordeal.

 

God blessed us with a kind-hearted cardiologist in Dubai who looked after the welfare of our daughter and even recommended a good doctor in Manila because he knows fully well the financial burden of a surgery in Dubai. After much prayer, hearing counsels and considering the condition of Daniela, we have decided to go back to Manila to proceed with the operation. We met the pedia-cardio who will handle the case of our daughter. After two meetings with him, he confirmed the heart defect of Daniela and another possible problem that would arise. In a week‘s time, he was able to schedule Daniela‘s surgery at the Philippine Heart Center. March 8, 2017 was the day. At six in the evening, we handed our little heart warrior to the doctors. As a parent this is the toughest part in this whole journey, giving our precious baby to the hand of doctors, not seeing her for the next hours, unsure of what will happen after, and you got no choice but to be strong and pray harder that everything will turn out well.

At the Operating Room waiting area, we met a couple who‘s child was also inside the OR. We see the mother crying inconsolably and the father hugging her. We learned afterwards that they just received news from the surgeon that their child‘s heart stopped beating during the procedure and they are reviving her. After a while, they were again called in and this time the doctors told them that they had revived the child. Tears flow again from the mother and the father keeps on praying and praising God. We joined them in praying for the successful operation of our children. They are Christians from the province of Abra. During the whole duration of our waiting time, we busied ourselves sharing testimonies of the goodness of God. This couple was a blessing to us! It‘s as if God was saying that we are not alone in this journey and provided us with someone to share our burden with and who are in the same boat as we are and therefore, understands what exactly we are going through.

After the longest six hours of our lives, we were called in by the surgeon to announce that the surgery was a success and Daniela is in stable condition. She was immediately transferred in the ICU, where we cannot go inside to be with her but rather just looking at her from a far. While Daniela was there, we stayed in a room designated for the guardians of patients. There, we met a lot of parents from all walks of life. All of us in the same situation, constantly worrying for the lives of our dear children and at the same time, hoping and praying for their healing and quick recovery. Sometimes, it is so hard to comfort someone, when you yourself is in dire need of it. But, thanks be to God because we know that we have the greatest Comforter abiding in us. We had an opportunity to pray for some of the parents and their sick children, telling them that we are not alone in this battle and there is always hope in God.

Daniela stayed for almost 7 days in the ICU because of some setbacks along the way. Nonetheless, she was transferred to us in a regular room to continue her recovery. Some of the tubes and wires are still attached to our poor little baby but we are more than glad that she is finally back in our arms. It was also the first time that we see her stitches at her chest. It was long. It is her battles‘ scars. Scars that will forever be a reminder of God‘s special plan for her and our family.

Sharing this testimonies brings back some of painful memories, but they are now all just those, memories. Five months post-operation, Daniela Marie is now on her way to full recovery. Her recent 2D echo says that her heart is adjusting and functioning well. She is turning one year old on October 10 and growing to be a happy baby. Praise God!

In this testing of faith, we now see the ever present constant hand of God. It is true, when the Psalmist says that,

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" 

We just need to ask from Him and acknowledge Him, have faith and trust Him.

Let us conclude with these words from JC Ryle, which speaks to us, as parents enduring a trial of faith;

"Sicknesses and losses and crosses and anxieties and disappointments seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritually minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine and the refiner‘s furnace to the gold.

 

They are not pleasant to flesh and blood. We do not like them and often do not see their meaning...

 

We shall find that all worked for our good when we reach heaven. Let these thoughts abide in our minds, if we love growth in grace. When days of darkness come upon us, let us not count it a strange thing. Rather let us remember that lessons are learned on such days, which would never have been learned in sunshine.

 

Let us say to ourselves, "This also is for my profit, that I may be partaker of God‘s holiness. It is sent in love. I am in God‘s best school. Correction is instruction. This is meant to make me grow.‘" – John Charles Ryle, Holiness (Moscow, Idaho: Charles Nolan, 1877/2002)

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