I had planned on sharing a different post today, but I have had this one written for some time with the intention to eventually share it. I received an email from a fellow mother with an infant son who had a rough start to begin with and has had a number of procedures already in his little life so far. She shared something that just hit home for me and I really was led to share this post today instead of the other one. Praying for an incredible miracle for my friend's son!
When our son was about a month old, he became very ill in a matter of just a few hours. By the end of what had started out as a seemingly normal day, he was terribly lethargic, not nursing well and his stool was bloody (among other things that I won't gross you out with). We took him to the ER. They did a few tests, even a spinal tap checking for meningitis, but no answers came. They admitted him and put him on antibiotics. I stayed with him since I was nursing him.
I don't remember a lot from that time. Just little pieces. It was one of those awful experiences that I guess my brain blocked out a lot of remembrance of. I can't remember if we stayed there for seven days or ten. It was one of the two. I don't remember seeing our oldest daughter at all during that time. From what I hear, she stayed with my parents during the day and my husband would take her home with him after work to sleep at home. I don't remember what I ate or if I ate regularly.
I do remember the interruptions at night with nurses coming in to check on our son. I remember it was the one year anniversary of 9/11, because they were showing all that stuff on the television. I do remember a visit or two from family and a friend. I remember my husband giving me a break for a few hours so I could go home and get a shower at least once (it had to have been more than that). The most vivid memory, however, was the overwhelming sense of oppression over that situation. It was very dark. It was not just a normal thing.
After the seven (or ten) days on the antibiotics, Jacob was doing so much better and was declared ready to leave the hospital. His symptoms were gone, so they took him off the antibiotics and sent us home.
And then a few days later, it all came back again. We caught it this time with enough time to get in to see the pediatrician. This time, they sent us home with a stool sample collection kit. (Sorry for the gross details.) We collected the necessary samples and dropped those off at the lab and waited a couple of days. The results that came back were shocking. Our son had salmonella poisoning, but not just any kind. Reptilian salmonella poisoning. WHAT?! We didn't own any pets, we'd hardly gone anywhere with the kid. We just don't venture out all that much when they're that little. It was a puzzle to us.
So back on the antibiotics he went, this time for the full round. Little did we know that the time he had been on the antibiotics in the hospital had been just long enough to get rid of the symptoms, but not long enough to eliminate the bacteria from his system. Instead, the shorter amount of time on the antibiotics had led to the bacteria building up an immunity to the treatment.
He got better for a little while, but the symptoms continued to return with full vengeance. The poor little guy was getting weaker and weaker. He was in a lot of discomfort. I remember my husband holding him on the couch just so our son could sleep. Somehow, having that presence of his daddy and the comfort it brought helped give our little baby boy the rest he needed.
Back and forth we went. Antibiotics. Symptoms returning. Stool sample. Wait for positive result from lab. Get another prescription for antibiotics. Administer for two weeks. And the cycle continued. I forget how many times we went through this.
I had a person from the city call me asking me questions regarding bottles and water. That's how odd (and serious) this case was. The city was wondering if it was their problem. If perhaps the water supply was contaminated. Yeah.
It came to light that the pediatrician's office had seen two other reptilian salmonella cases right around the same time we had taken Jacob in for his checkup previous to him getting sick. These kids actually did have pets carrying this bacteria in their homes. And when I thought about it, I never remember the nurses washing their hands before they handled my baby. So I'm pretty sure that is how all that began. Bad hygiene.
But back to our little baby. He'd been through round after round of antibiotics that were clearly not eliminating the bacteria entirely. He was slowly declining. I remember my husband telling me one day as we were dealing with this that while he had been holding Jacob, God had asked him, "If I take your son, will you still love Me?" That hit my heart so hard, like a punch in the stomach. But the answer for both of us was, "Yes".
The situation became critical to the point that the pediatrician called us after months of this ongoing cycle. He ordered us to get Jacob admitted into the hospital immediately for (I think) two weeks of IV antibiotics. But it just didn't sit right with us and when my husband said, "I'm not sure if we're going to do that", the pediatrician minced no words in saying, "Then whatever happens to your son is not my responsibility." It was at this point that it really was obvious that even the doctor recognized how critical it was, enough to indirectly say that if Jacob died, it was not his responsibility.
What do you do? We had a tough decision to make. The IV antibiotics weren't guaranteed to work and there was the possibility of more harm from them to Jacob's body in addition to what had already occurred. And in our gut, deep down, although logically it seemed like the most reasonable thing to do was take him to the hospital, it didn't sit right.
My husband called one of the elders of the church we attended at the time and explained the situation to him. The day he called happened to be Wednesday, which was when they had evening prayer. The elder suggested we bring Jacob to the prayer meeting so that he could be lifted up in prayer.
We went. We thought we should at least give God the opportunity before rushing to the hospital. It wasn't that we hadn't been praying for him on our own. But the suggestion of corporate prayer drew us.
I don't remember very much from that prayer meeting either. I don't remember if they anointed Jacob with oil or who prayed what, but I remember my brother, who was around 11 at the time, coming up to me afterward and saying to me, "I believe Jacob is healed!" I think I answered with a non-committed "maybe". I remember scoffing in my mind, being skeptical and I remember God being very firm with me about my attitude later that evening and rebuking me in a sense for not having faith like a child and for having the gall to snuff out my brother's childlike faith with a skeptical response. I decided to dare to believe that my son had been healed.
The next day, there were still some very slight symptoms and I found my heart doubting. But I pushed the doubt away and resolutely believed my son was healed. The rest of that day and afterward, Jacob was fine. God completely healed him, not only eliminating the bacteria and the symptoms entirely, but also healing the damage internally to his system. He was absolutely fine!! Even the stool samples I had taken when he was obviously symptomatic a day or so before prayer ended up coming back negative for salmonella! God even took care of that little detail in the lab. It was a miracle and when God does a miracle, He doesn't leave any loose ends!
To be frank and honest, I do not believe in naming and claiming it and it will be so. I am in no place to be ordering God around. "I claim by faith that God is going to give me a new car" or whatever our brains think up. That's not what this was. When God moves your heart to ask for something and dares you to stand and believe that it will be so, that is a matter of true faith.
The thing is, I can't say my faith was really all that great or much at the time. It really was pretty puny. Pathetic, even. But for whatever reason, God wanted to heal our son miraculously, and He did, not because we were people of great faith, but because He is a great God and wanted to show His power to us in that way. I can't tell you how much this encouraged people who had been praying for our son. And in addition, this was something we were able to share with Jacob as he got older, especially when he went through a time of wrestling with surrendering his life to Christ.
This song I'm sharing today, God gave to me during that time of our son being sick. I wondered if he'd make it. And in light of the question God had asked my husband regarding taking our son, I knew I had to hold on to God. I didn't know how our story with Jacob would end when I wrote this. It was right in the middle of that whole ordeal. When I go through hard things, I find writing therapeutic. I write what's on my heart and mind. I write the things that I can't seem to express out loud. Like I've said before, hard times make for busy writing seasons! =)
It is extra special to me to be sharing this song with you, not only because my son is alive and well, but also because my husband sang this song with me. It's special to sing a song about this situation with him. It's an old recording and it's not the best quality, but I hope that it encourages you to hold on in the middle of whatever you are facing at this moment in your life. There is hope and it's not in your circumstance changing, it is in Jesus Christ! God bless you!
Click here for Part 2!