{Answered Prayer} Sophia’s Story.

Written by: Nathan Hill

My wife has referred to the birth story of our daughter Sophia many times throughout her posts on this blog. Our precious “princess” was born on December 24th, 2009, almost a full eight weeks early! Her early arrival was as much a surprise as the date—I never wanted to have a child born at Christmastime because of the competition between birthday and Christmas that would take place. Nevertheless, we have had to navigate this every year since 2009.

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To say that the hand of God has protected my daughter’s life time and time again may very well be an understatement. While many people could argue that she is a tough fighter and the blessings of modern medicine alone have brought her to where she is today, I debunk at least a portion of that myth in a previous post called {PRAYER & COINCIDENCES}. While we have certainly been heir to the blessings of modern medicine, we have also experienced its limits and have time and time again seen our little girl emerge better and stronger than expected.

I am always reminded about how doctors told us in her first weeks of life that she may suffer from learning delays because of infection and inadequate oxygenation—yet she is performing above expectations academically and is currently reading the books that her big brother brings home from his class, one full grade above. (Ben does not appreciate this, and so we tend to downplay her reading prowess in our home, at least for now). I also remember the “prayers for pee” in a hospital room in November 2013—her kidneys had shut down post-surgery due to infection and she needed to start making pee again that night or else she would begin dialysis the next day. It was never more exciting to watch urine flow down a catheter tube and into the bag!

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Despite all of the blessings that I could speak of, there is one answered prayer in particular I want to share here. It took place when Sophia was just 6 months old at about 1AM. Sophia came home from the hospital while still experiencing decelerations of her heart rate while she slept. Therefore, she wore a heart monitor to bed each night that would alert us if she experienced such a deceleration. Usually a light tap on the bum would return things to normal.

After 6 months of this we had seen so many victories and were so confident that we were through the worst of Sophia’s medical struggles that I went back to work (after taking several months parental leave) and the pace of life began to fall into a new normal. The night in question, however, Mandy and I awoke to a sound that we had not heard in months—Sophia’s heart monitor. The crisis was quickly resolved just like all the others, but its lingering effects on my mental state at that moment were strong. How could we be going into another season of struggle? What was wrong with Sophia now? Why did we have relative peace for so long only to be broken by the sound of this obnoxious heart monitor? I had already returned to work and was not in a position to take more time off. I was experiencing a crisis that was larger than I felt I could handle.

Mandy and I made a wise and determined decision at 1AM that morning. We picked up little Sophia along with her heart monitor (with all of its cords and parts) and placed it all in bed with us. We put our hands on her head and I prayed simply that God would heal this condition now because we did not have the strength to handle another drawn out crisis. (Did I mention Ben was only 18 months at the time!)

From that night in June 2010 to the present day Sophia has never again had an issue with her heart.

Sometimes the answers to prayer are immediate, instantaneous, and right in the moment. Other times answers to prayer are a process where we learn a greater lesson of faith and reliance on God. No matter the situation we pray and we keep on praying. There are some life callings that we just do not retreat from simply because we encounter difficulty—parenthood and marriage are just two of these. Rather, we stand our ground and proclaim God’s promises in the face of situations that need to be brought into alignment with God. When we do this we find that God journeys with us and brings us to a place where we never would have arrived on our own. And when we get there we continue to stand strong.

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Therefore put on the full amour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

(Ephesians 6:13).

About Nathan:

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Nathan is a husband to Mandy, and Daddy to Ben (6) Sophia (5), Spencer (2) and Grayson (infant). Nathan grew up in Nova Scotia but currently resides in Southern Ontario where he is the youth pastor at a local church. He has a B.Sc with first class hours in Microbiology and Immunology from Dalhousie University and a M.Div from Acadia University where he obtained the silver medal in theology. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching and watching legal/crime dramas with his wife on Netflix.

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