It was a steamy summer before I entered eighth grade that I came to know Jesus. Church camp had inspired me. And I remember one night deciding that I needed to be saved. I really enjoyed that time at camp, and I came home with a belief in God that has never dissipated.
Many times in my life… I reached out to God. I guess you could say I was a fair-weathered Christian. While I completely believed in Him, I did not seek a relationship. My family was not active in church so my teachings were limited. Through the next fifteen years, I would say that I prayed and sought Him out when my life was a mess. When I needed help, I definitely let Him know it. And to my surprise, He was always there… helping me through crisis after crisis. And once my life was smooth sailing, I went back to business as usual. I didn’t understand there was so much more to truly living a faith-filled life until three years ago.
I married my amazing husband in April 2006. I was 35 years old and starting a family was priority one! God seemed to agree because six months after we married, I became pregnant. Before we could settle in and enjoy what was going on in our lives, I suffered a miscarriage. Even though we were both in shock, the stark reality of this experience made us appreciate just how much we actually wanted a child.
Over the next three years… we would loose four more babies. Through this time, the light had gone out of my eyes. I was noticing newborns and pregnant bellies, and I felt like I was drowning. I began to feel extreme guilt for my failure to give my husband a child. I would cry at the drop of a hat. I was damaged. I was depressed because I was not pregnant again. And I was mad at God.
My eyes would be opened to the truth in July 2008. I was having my haircut at Moutons Salon in Grapevine, Texas. I was complaining to my hairdresser how unfair it was that we couldn’t have kids. I sounded desperate and sad. In some way, I believe I was crying out for help. And, as fate would have it, I got it.
I got up from my chair and standing before me was a tall, blonde man saying he needed to speak to me. He explained to me that the Lord asked him to tell me that I was going to have a child. I stood there frozen, barely able to speak. I didn’t cry right then, but I was overflowing on the inside. Who was this man? Why did God send him to reach out to me? After all, I blamed Him for what was happening in my life, but the quiet-spoken gentleman continued to speak. He asked if he could pray for me. I managed to utter yes. And before I knew what was happening, this stranger had placed his hands on my left arm. He was praying for me! He was praying for my healing. He was praying for my child to come. Every bit of depression I had been feeling seemed to lift out of me through this man’s hands. When he finished, he simply smiled at me and introduced himself as Robert Morris, the senior pastor of Gateway Church. I thanked him and then silently walked away.
Only a few moments passed before I realized the profound impact that God had on my life. I kept replaying what happened in my mind. I felt amazing. I was no longer angry with God. I was at peace for the first time in what seemed like years. I was hopeful!
It was around this time that my OB felt like I needed a series of tests to explain the miscarriages. After blood work, a Clomid challenge test and having dye injected into my uterus, we were given the news that in the doctor’s opinion, I would not be able to have a natural child. I was termed infertile!
During this time all I kept thinking about was Pastor Robert telling me a child was coming. I started to believe it despite what the doctors had said! I decided to press into the Lord and for the first time let go and handed the reigns of my life and my fertility totally over to God. I felt complete and whole. I identified with the Bible Verse Luke 1:45. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” I clung to it like a baby clings to a blanket. I believed that I would have a baby even though past experience and medical experts said otherwise!
I saw the work God was doing in my life, and I began to realize that with God all things are possible. I spent a lot of time in prayer and wrote to Him in my journal thanking Him for the child to come. It was Easter Sunday 2009 that I celebrated with my family that I was indeed pregnant. All glory to God. This was a miracle.
What quickly became evident was just how badly the enemy did not want me to have a baby. Early on I lost another twin and this loss affected me emotionally and physically the first three months. By the fifth month I was losing weight, tired all the time and generally did not look healthy. Blood work revealed some strange blood antibodies, and I was sent to specialists for further testing. I was told that my pregnancy was very high risk, my red blood cells were dying and that I might be having some clotting issues. Later in my pregnancy, the weeks were long and hard as I went to have biophysical profiles twice a week to see if the baby was growing. She was in distress and not gaining weight as expected. I was being told they might take her at any time. I continued to pray for her safe arrival. With God’s help I had peace. Somehow I knew He was protecting this special baby. I never doubted that she was going to be born. November 19, 2009, our daughter, Averey Grace Slater, came into this world. She was three weeks early, a little more than four and a half pounds and was considered “failure to thrive”.
After 10 days in the NICU we joyously brought Averey home. And God continued to bless her. She instantly began to gain weight and grow. She flourished every month… every check up. Now Averey is an active and bright two year old, and I have a relationship with God that is solid and strong. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thanking God in my prayers for her and for setting me free. And the phrase “For this child I have prayed,” means so much more now.
Two years later, I am hopeful that God will bless us once again with another baby. I can move forward through the bumps knowing God has a plan. To date, there have been two more confirmed miscarriages. But the way I cope, deal with my emotions and handle the pain is very different this time around. I find my strength to go on trying to conceive through the power of prayer, and I continue to thank Him for what blessings we have and for those to come.