Last year I was contacted by someone who had been listening to our daily radio show on GraceFM. He had heard a sermon of mine in which I talked about the miracle that God worked in the life of my daughter Felicia (you can read that story here: I Believe in Miracles; Here’s Why).
This man, Nic, shared with me the story of his daughter, Anna, who is now 3 and who has significant disabilities. Over the past year I have kept in touch with Nic and his family; I read their updates and pray for them. I must tell you how incredibly impressed I am with Nic and his wife and their love dedication to their daughter, as well as their faith in God.
I have been so blessed by them that I wanted to introduce this family to you and give you a chance to be encouraged by them and what God has done in their hearts through this incredibly difficult situation, so I asked Nic to write a guest post for those who follow this site. I encourage you to pray for them and to follow their updates online: Blog & Anna Unlimited Facebook Page
My daughter, Anna, was born in adversity much like Pastor Cady’s daughter, Felicia. Both were born without making a sound, looking lifeless due to a lack of oxygen to the brain while in utero. Felicia’s initial diagnoses were worse than Anna’s. We saw answers to prayers as Anna overcame low blood pressure, blood toxicity, and respiratory distress fairly quickly during her two month stay in the NICU. Even though she left with a good heart and good lungs, she left severely disabled and shunted. Today Anna is 3 and the adversity continues. She is unable to walk and talk; she is unable to sit, roll, or hold her head up. For the most part, she cannot command her arms and legs the way she wants to. Anna is mostly tube fed and has severe reflux as well as a severe visual impairment. Despite all this, she is a privilege to be around. Anna can manifest excitement better than any words can. Her smiles and coos are year-round, even amid physical pain. She smiles to appreciate our nearness and giggles to appreciate our touch. I know of nobody more patient than Anna. Even in her therapies, Anna tries hard -showing effort rather than complaint.
Felicia, on the other hand, is a hiker, runner, talker, and eater. She is blessed with much ability. All glory and fame to our Lord because of His healing hand. The Cadys received a special, exceptional, supernatural healing from God upon their daughter Felicia within her first year of life. Given God’s limitlessness, it was a very little thing for Him to bestow full healing on Felicia. I’ve never met the Cadys, but I know their God. I ponder the mysterious fact that nobody knows why Felicia was fully healed and Anna was not. Did the Cadys have more prayer warriors? Did they capitalize on their missionary credentials to turn God’s ear? Nonsense! It happened as the Lord willed to bring forth His Kingdom. Instead of me stomping my feet, being a jealous little brother in Christ, demanding God to exhibit fairness, I dwell humbly – amazed in the Lord of all Possibilities. Felicia received the miracle I long to see for Anna! Knowing Felicia is out there is a total affirmation of my grandest hope of healing for my daughter. In faith I say, “What God can do for them, He can do for us in His perfect timing!”
In truth, Anna isn’t the girl we wanted to parent. But God gave her to us. Therefore, God is growing us through this. God uses our engulfing storms of caring for Anna as a way to mature us in Christ. My wife and I are constantly reminded that the life we would want for ourselves is dead (it died the day we took on Christ). But we comprehend this death more fully thanks to Anna. In times of our “wits-end,” when our inadequacy is apparent, or when medical intervention proves useless, we just have to stop and surrender. God is in control; He hears our prayers; He miraculously keeps us on course as time passes and we relent. I have learned to press into God and to depend on Him.
We’ve already talked to God about how others stare at Anna, or that we may be changing diapers until the day we die. My wife and I admit that Anna’s disability and prognosis draws from within us heaviness, fears, and tears at times. Sometimes we have to drop off those burdens and fears repeatedly in prayer, remembering the cross of Christ, and exchanging our afflictions for His righteousness. That righteousness from God is a yoke easy to carry and a covering that prohibits fear.
“If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Corinthians 15:19. This verse pushes me to dwell on the eternal things that Christ will bring. Anna’s suffering is temporary; her restoration and salvation even with little cognition; are secure in Jesus. Drawing near to God always proves productive. It is a blessing to have Him as He shows us His glory when we can’t see anything but hardship. We praise the Lord for loving us, for miracles, and for the promises in His Word. His eternality is our gaze, not the temporary suffering. Anna brings me to the Lord because her needs surpass me and what grander purpose is there for living than to draw people into conversations with Jesus Christ?