empowering women on a quest for more

Miracles and Memorials

Joyce and KaylaWe read about many miracles in the Bible. For example, there’s the miracle which the Israelites experienced on their way to the Promised Land at the Jordan River in Joshua chapter 3. As soon as the priests, who were carrying the ark of the covenant, set foot in the flood-level waters of the Jordan River, the water stopped flowing. All of Israel was able to pass by until the whole nation has crossed on dry ground. What a miraculous provision!

Miracles, however, aren’t limited to the Bible as many of us may think. I experienced one that saved my life as a new mom. One weekday morning, my baby Kayla wasn’t feeling well, so I hastily drove her to the pediatrician and then, dropped her to daycare as soon as possible. I was rushing and flustered knowing that I was running late and that the time would be unpaid.

As I entered the parking lot, I felt a painful sensation on the right side of my head, but ignored it as I dashed up to the office. I began checking my emails, when my co-worker greeted me and I responded to him. However, he looked bewildered by my response and asked me what I said. I answered him again, knowing the words I was saying, but realizing that only sounds were coming from my mouth. I was frightened and began to tear up, wondering what was happening to me. I returned to responding to an email and stopped in my tracks shortly. As I reread what I wrote, nothing made sense. Words didn’t flow together and I panicked. I printed out the email, told my supervisor what happened, and she insisted I go to the ER. A co-worker drove me to the hospital where my husband met me. Having only this email in my hand and no other visible symptoms, the ER staff ran a series of excruciating tests and eventually sent me home without any findings.

Distressed to not have an answer, I shared with a friend what had happened, only to discover that she worked for one of the best neurologists in our area. She was able to secure an appointment quickly and when I met the doctor, all I had were my story and the email. The neurologist listened, asked questions and then, sent me to have a picture of my heart taken. Puzzled, I agreed and soon found out that I had a hole in my heart which normally closes up for each of us at birth. It turned out that a blood clot had passed through that hole and caused me to have a mini stroke, when I was under a great deal of stress that terrible morning. Immediately, I was sent to a cardiac surgeon and the hole in my heart had finally been closed off.

Some time later, when I shared what had happened with my OB/GYN, she looked at me and said, “Joyce, it is a miracle you were able to deliver your firstborn naturally without any complications from the unsealed hole.” Those words made me realize I can never thank my Father enough for protecting me all of my life, especially during childbirth, and even in that car ride from what could have been so much worse. That was my miracle!

Being that this happened almost 14 years ago, it is easy to forget about as life goes on. That’s when I am reminded of memorials as found in Joshua chapter 4. Joshua instructed a man from each of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the Jordan River which they just crossed. When asked why, he explained that they would serve as a sign that they were able to to cross the Jordan River on dry land. Verse 7 says, “These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.

I have a framed picture of my newborn Kayla and I on my nightstand, which is my memorial. When I look at this picture, it reminds me that I was able to give birth safely and live in good health to enjoy the miracle of life God gifted me with. When I look at this picture, it reminds me that even as I was stressed from rushing her around town, God protected both of us in that car ride. When I look at this picture, it reminds me that I only experienced the first symptom as I parked the car and there were witnesses to the other symptoms. This framed picture will be a memorial to my family forever of God’s miraculous, wonder-working power.

As you reflect on your life, think about the miracles you have experienced. The reality is that it’s easy to lose sight of their value without a memorial. Make sure you have one, if you don’t already, so “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these … mean?'” (v.6), you can tell them what the Lord has done.

To God be the glory for the things He has done!

~Joyce

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