How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don’t take time to thank God for them.
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Have you ever read the Old Testament and wondered how in the world the Jews could see so many miracles and keep turning away from God?
I know I do.
Especially shocking is the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt after all the plagues and the angel of death passing over the Israelite homes. God leads them as pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Despite witnessing God’s CLEAR, miraculous intervention, at the Red Sea, they cursed God and Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die.
A few days after God parted the sea, they’re complaining about the lack of water and food. God provides water FROM ROCKS, then manna and quail. They still doubt and complain. They had God walking with them and still forgot the miracles He had done.
So how does this relate to my life?
Because sometimes I forget what a miracle it is that I’m even here. My miracle birth story is pretty amazing. I’m truly appalled sometimes at how often I forget what a miracle God wrought in my life from the very beginning.
Back in 1971, when a couple went to the hospital to have a baby, they didn’t know what they were going to have: boy or girl, one or two, healthy or not. And I was not.
I was born with a fairly rare birth defect called gastroschisis, in which the abdominal wall does not form properly. All my abdominal organs were outside of my body. My abdominal muscles and skin did not close.
My dad says I came with assembly required.My dad says I came with assembly required, but I really needed a miracle. I got several! Click To Tweet
While he jokes now, in 1971, babies with gastroschisis didn’t live. Only about 18% even survived initially.
But this is where the story gets good!
The best part of my miracle birth story started before my conception.
The doctor, obviously taken aback, was not sure what to do with this seriously damaged, tiny infant. In this moment, God’s hand had been so evidently working things for my good years before I was born, because my mother’s obstetrician was the father of a young man my father had befriended in college.
Jeremiah 1:5 ESV / “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
As the doctor contemplated what to do, whether the kindest act was to let me die, he said he couldn’t bear to write his son that evening and tell him that he hadn’t done everything possible to save Bill’s daughter.
I love that God planted a relationship between my father and this young man years before I was even a possibility.
Once the doctor had a plan, things moved pretty quickly. They decided to transport me 30 miles to Children’s Memorial in Chicago.
Then, I almost died in the ambulance because I had ingested so much air. With exposed organs and without stomach muscles, I had no way to expel gas. My stomach expanded frighteningly.
However, the doctor had absentmindedly stuck the nasal bulb in his lab coat pocket. He said it was something he had never done before. He used it to save my life.
When we arrived, the emergency team couldn’t get an IV into my tiny body. My father’s army medic training kicked in. He told the nurses to use a cutdown. And they did it! I actually have three tiny scars from that procedure.
At this point, the nurses realized they didn’t recognize my father as a doctor. He laughingly recalls saying, “I’m not a doctor. I’m the kid’s father!” They promptly escorted him from the OR.
Again, God’s hand is in the details.
The number one expert in the world in gastroschisis was on call that day. He was able to close up my abdominal skin with one surgery and I lived pretty much consequence free until I was in college and developed some scar tissue that was causing issues.
I grew up hearing this story, but only as an adult did I realize how truly miraculous my birth really was and how many steps reflect God’s hand in all the details.
When my own daughter was in the NICU, her doctor was amazed that I lived and was so healthy.
God wanted me here.
Of course God plans all of our lives, but because of my miracle birth, I am more aware God has a plan and purpose for me.
This story has really been on my mind this week, as today is my birthday, but also because my daughter’s memory verse reminded me to consider truly how wonderful my life has been, despite my body’s failings and the difficulties I have faced.
Psalm 139:14 ESV / I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
I just have to stop and praise God for saving me that day. My body isn’t perfect. I’ve had my share of challenges, but God has always used them for my good. And now I just bask in His patient grace, waiting so many years for me to recognize His presence in my life, to wake up to His miracles.
Which takes me back to Moses. God was also evident in Moses’ life from his birth. The Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him from the reed basket in the Nile, saving him from her father’s orders to eradicate all Israelite male infants. Raised Egyptian, Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace, making him the perfect intercessory for the Israelites.
Yet, before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he spent 40 years in hiding for killing a vicious slave driver. Despite God’s miracles in his life, when God called him, he felt unqualified.
Due to Satan’s manipulation of those around me and my own resultant sins, I had turned away from God. I lived like hell off and on for 20 years.
But God never let me go.