Sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. His grace appears to us in the midst of grief, frustration, and disappointment—and always sees us through.
When my husband and I got married in April 2017, we prayed and believed God for a child. We have always wanted our firstborn to be a boy, so during our midyear prayer and fasting week in July 2017, we asked God for a son. The following month, we were beyond thrilled to find out I was already pregnant with Luke, our firstborn.
Luke was unexpectedly born at 23 weeks and one day. Because he was born prematurely, he had a very low chance of survival. Every day, the doctors would prepare us for the worst, but we refused to give up. The first few days were good—Luke was very active and we were hopeful—but on the sixth day, things took a turn for the worse; Luke developed intestinal problems and other complications.
After giving birth for the first time, it was hard to face the possibility of losing our child. While still in the hospital in January 2018, we attended prayer and fasting services via livestream and cried out to God in prayer every night. There was great emotional turmoil inside us, and it was crushing our spirits. But knowing that God was with us, we held on to Him and did everything we could—until the day we finally bid goodbye to our son. Luke passed away 20 days after he was born, leaving us with a glimpse of parenthood and a lot of questions, but a deeper relationship with God.
A few months later, in July 2018, we found ourselves in the midyear prayer and fasting service again. It was bittersweet to be standing there once more, believing God for another child, but we had faith that He would answer our prayer in His perfect time. In September of the same year, I learned that I was pregnant for the second time. I was filled with so much joy, but a big part of me was afraid. Old fears started to resurface—and later became real.
On the 24th week of my pregnancy, I was rushed to the hospital because of bleeding despite all the precautionary measures that we took to prevent preterm labor or miscarriage. I was placed on complete bed rest in the hospital and spent Christmas there with my husband. We did everything we could so our baby could stay in my womb for a few more weeks and develop further. Every day was a battle between succumbing to our fears and fighting one more day.
After months of fighting in faith, waiting, and praying, Jenna Everly, our second child, was born at 27 weeks and 3 days.
Though seeing our daughter filled with tubes, poked with needles, and hooked up to machines inside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) broke my heart in different ways, I knew that each day we were there was a blessing. Yes, I was scared of losing another child, but in the midst of all the questions and fears, God revealed to me that this life is not about me or us. It’s all about Him, His purpose, and His grace.
Every day for almost three months, I would visit Everly in the NICU to provide milk for her, carry her, play worship songs, and pray for every inch of her little body. My husband and I could not have endured those months without God. It was His grace that carried us through.
Finally, on May 12, 2019 (Mother’s Day), Everly was discharged from the hospital. She’s now healthy, happy, thriving, and with no impairments! Celebrating her first Christmas with the whole family was so memorable and meaningful. Her first name Jenna means God’s grace, while her second name Everly means brave. We chose those names because we believe that we can be brave in the midst of trials through God’s grace.
Every time I look back on what we’ve been through for the past two years, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and love. I know He has beautiful plans for Everly and my family, and His unfailing grace will always see us through.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
Jem is one of our Victory group leaders at Victory Fort. She and her husband, Edd, are blessed to share God’s amazing story of grace in their family.
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