The day started out with expectation. This would be the day for our final scan. My wife was three weeks away from her due date and she was definitely ready to give birth.
We joked as we drove to the hospital about the scan. Angie had not wanted to know the sex of our child, and I , the one who always tried to find Christmas presents early, wanted to confirm what my heart knew, that it was a girl.
I had become a Christian two years previous and life was good. We did not have much money, but our lives were totally different. Angie and I had met when we were 14. We both came from very violent and dysfunctional backgrounds. We sought comfort in each other and were very much in love.
Angie fell pregnant when she was 16. We married shortly after our 17th birthdays. Four months later Stephen was born 3 months premature, the cord had got wrapped around his neck and the Drs. estimated that he had went at least 6 minutes without oxygen. He lived for a day, and then, following the Doctors advice, we turned the machine of and he died shortly after that.
Our second son was born about a year and a half later. Christopher was a beautiful child, very happy and contented. When he was two, while the baby-sitter was watching him, a full kettle of boiling water was dropped on him. He received 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body. Christopher survived, but had to suffer horrendous treatments of salt baths and skin grafts. He also wore a special skin tight vest for the next two years.
When I was 26, I came to Christ. I left years of destructive behavior behind, including drugs and alcoholism. Most importantly, I left a stony heart behind. The Lord had given me a heart of flesh. For the first time in my life, I could take my son in my arms and tell him I loved him, so simple to so many, so beyond what I had been previously capable of.
Now two years later, everything was falling into place. I was a young, excited Christian and everything was falling into place. The Lord was giving me the desires of my heart and that is why I knew that this was the little girl I had always longed for.
As the lady scanned, she was not her usual self and seemed unusually preoccupied with what she was doing. Our previous visits with the same lady had always been light hearted and she knew how Angie and I differed on knowing the sex of the baby. I even tried bribing her, but to no avail:)
Five times she scanned the baby and measured. She asked us if we would mind waiting for five minutes because she had to speak to the Doctor. She assured us that there was nothing to worry about.I immediately started worrying.
We were ushered over to the Doctor, a very pleasant and kind lady. She said that there seemed to be a problem with the fluid and it was her best opinion that we should go ahead and deliver the baby that day. We were scheduled for a section, which would be Angies third and last and also a tubal.
We rushed home to get some things for Angie. We didnt really speak much. An icy chill was rising up in me, starting at my toes and heading towards my heart. I prayed like crazy.
Two hours later we were in surgery and I held Angies hand while sitting at the safe end, behind the sheet.
Another defining moment in our lives had arrived. I looked up just in time to catch a look that the Doctor gave the nurse. This look was frozen in time.
I knew something was not right. The Doctor very gently asked me to come to the back of the room. There she showed me my son. I had been wrong. She then very quietly and with a lot of compassion told me that my son had all the classic signs of Down Syndrome.
I had hit an emotional brick wall that almost took my legs away from me. It was hard for me to think. "Do you still want the Tubal ," I heard the Doctor say in the mist.
An hour later the poor Doctor came back and told me that my son was seriously ill and had to be rushed to the nearest Childrens hospital. I was really too numb to take this all in. I felt no connection to this child, no compassion, I was truly numb, my heart frozen in time. I held my wives hand and told her I would have to leave her and go to the other hospital.
I spent the night in intensive care with this child, still feeling nothing. How could the Lord let such a thing happen? I had been betrayed by the One I trusted more than life itself. It was hard for me to even think that thought, but it was there and trying to push itself to the front of my mind.
I got home about 7.00 Saturday morning, exhausted. As I took my wallet and loose change out of my pants I came across a piece of paper. It was a long list of telephone numbers to call about the happy event. I crumpled that paper in my hand and threw it across the room. I crawled into bed, pulled the covers over my head, and was not sure I cared if I woke up again.
Of course I did wake up, it was not a bad dream, it was all too real. The thing about a crisis in our lives is that the world keeps turning. Perhaps if it stopped then it would make more sense. Yet as I looked out of my window, there they were, the world, people, going about their business, didnt they realize that the world has stopped spinning, why was I the only one falling?
I cried out to God and told Him that if He did not help me I was lost. In my Spirit I felt sure He would speak to me the following day at Church during worship which I loved. I arrived at Church right on time, so as not to talk to anyone.
The worship time started and the first song that was sung was God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. This was a promising start. Then the music stopped, which was unusual as we normally worship for at least 20 minutes if not more.
Then I realized what was going on. Twice a year they would have baby dedications. I could not believe the irony of this. Of all mornings, I would now have to sit and watch perfect little babies being dedicated to the sounds of Ooohs and ahhs from the congregation and loving family members. I thought, how cruel Lord, this was rubbing salt in my wounds. The worship started soon after and the tears were just rolling down my face.
The person next to me nudged me and handed me a note and pointed to a young woman of about 19 or 20 at the end of the row. The note read I could not help but notice that you were crying, is there anything I can pray with you about. I beckoned her over.
She asked what was wrong. I told her my son had just been born and he had Down Syndrome. She looked at me with confusion, the same look you get when you give a kid the right change at McDonalds.
I was mometarily irked by this kid, how was I suppose to explain Down Syndrome, I had no real idea what it was myself. In this one second as I was looking into her confused face I was suddenly looking into the face of the Lord, He also had the same confused look. He spoke into my Spirit and said to me "Frank, I do not know what Down Syndrome is either, all I know is that I have given you a perfect gift from the treasures of heaven."
My icy heart melted in the presence of the Lord.Warm waters of love came flooding into my heart.The cry of my heart had been (Psalm 69)"Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Do not let the flood of waters overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut its mouth on me.Hear me, O Jehovah, for Your loving-kindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. And hide not Your face from Your servant; for I am in trouble; hear me quickly.
The irony is, the Lord used a flood to deliver me. He flooded my soul with love and understanding. And in that flood the enemy was drowned and I was delivered
Daniel, our son, has been through many trials and surgeries. Daniel is the light of our lives. The joy and the peace that he has brought to our house cannot be measured. He touches lives everywhere he goes and at the age on 15 continues to be a mighty source of blessing to all who come in contact with him.
I never saw that young girl again. I have often wondered if I had truly entertained an "Angel unawares."