18 years ago, when she was born on this day, Christmas Eve, at 10:04 in the morning, she was not breathing. Thankfully, the hospital had a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and an emergency team ready- and she was intubated. After I awoke from general anesthesia (she required an emergency c-section), I did not know if she was dead or alive. Then I was told she is alive, but she is on a breathing machine, and they said they do not know how long she will survive, or if or when she will even breathe on her own. Her Apgar score was a zero. Zero! The few people I know in town are praying (We were newcomers to the city and attending a very tiny church – about 20-30, or fewer, people came on a Sunday, and most of them were older).

After 24 hours, she was breathing on her own.  Then they said, she is alive, but she was without oxygen for too long. She was acidotic based on testing her blood pH levels, and they feared oxygen loss to the brain for 10 minutes. 10 minutes!  So they said even though she is breathing on her own, they do not know what kind of quality of life she will have. (Translation:  severely impaired mental and physical capacities- degree unknown). And the few people I know in town are still praying.

During the week, she improves, and experiences a miraculous recovery. She is acting as a normal baby would, with the ability to swallow, nurse, and cry. Even those who don’t usually acknowledge God or miracles—said it then- it was a miracle, and gave credit to God. Even some medical professionals said it.

We go home after just one week. I am told to follow-up with a pediatric neurologist, which I do.

When she is almost 3, I receive a call from the NICU: every child with her experience needs an evaluation by a physical, speech and occupational therapist before they turn 3. I did not know.

I take her to the appointment, and find out she has so many delays and will require therapy in each area. Thus begin some years of therapy: speech, occupational, and physical.

Fast forward now 18 years:  College freshman on nearly full scholarship. Top 1% of graduating high school seniors.  Qualified to Speech and Debate National tournament twice. Camped in the CO Wilderness and hiked a 14,000 foot mountain. Spent the summer in India in a language immersion program. And so much more. This was the child that was born dead, then started breathing, then they said might survive but have a low quality of life… this is that child.

I have been so humbled. I myself could not have written that list above, if you had asked me what the future years would hold. My imaginings were so small, so constrained, so limited. I remember thinking to myself we should forget speech and debate. I never expected her to make it to even the regional level.  I remember saying that (to myself).  But she asked to join, she is the one who practically begged me to join debate. It wasn’t driven by me. Thankfully so. I learned how I limited myself, limited her, and limited God. These were good and necessary lessons that I needed.

And she has persevered in other things. She started piano lessons at age 5. Then, she added cello at age 10, and it took 2-3 years- I am not exaggerating,  2-3 years of simply learning how to correctly hold the bow. It might take others a year or less. We worked on posture, bow hold, etc., ad nauseam. And then of course it took time to learn how to play the instrument, which is a challenge all its own. It was painstaking, slow progress. But once she got it, she continued and played for 6 years and eventually no one said anything about her bow hold anymore.

She has a heart for God and for other people.  She is an amazing young lady, who inspires me. This is a true story, and it isn’t even the full and complete story, with all the details filled in. These are just highlights.

And this story, her story, is really just beginning.

Who doesn’t believe in the power of prayer? I surely do.

Who doesn’t believe in miracles?!  I surely do.

When “they” say it’s impossible, God says, “It’s possible.”

Are you waiting for a miracle?

I need to remind myself of this regularly: that miracles are possible. Miracles do happen– in small and big ways. What seems impossible, can be possible. I have my own way of doing things, but God’s plan is way, way better than I can imagine. I’m thankful for that. Aren’t you?
{preaching to myself…}


 (Though I’ve thought about this year after year, reflecting on it now, 18 years later, with her in college, was more difficult than I thought it would be. I’m extremely grateful and thankful, but I had no idea it would still impact me as it did while I was writing. It’s overwhelming and awesome at the same time.)