I’ll never forget sitting in the dimly lit ultrasound room with our 11 month old daughter, waiting to hear the heartbeat of our second child. As the ultrasound began I asked the technician to please tell me as soon as she found the heartbeat. Within just a few seconds she smiled and said, “there it is!” which she quickly followed with, “and there’s another one!” My excitement and shock were quickly replaced with anxiety as the technician became quiet, and told me she wanted to have a specialist come in and look at something. The specialist came, and after looking for what seemed an eternity, put away the ultrasound equipment and said we needed to talk.
As my heart raced he explained that our twins, although developing normally, were situated in a way that made them extremely high risk, and they only had a 50% chance of making it to a point where they could survive, or 24 weeks, after which I would need to be checked into a hospital to monitor the babies. The best case scenario was that the babies made it 32 weeks, and then would need to be delivered via c-section and likely spend a significant amount of time in the NICU.
The next few months was a roller-coaster of emotions. During this time I thought a lot about the miracles of healing in the scriptures. Of the woman with the issue of blood who was made whole simply by touching the hem of the Savior’s robe, or of the man at the pool of Bethesda. At times I wondered if my faith was sufficient to be healed, or to have my twins be healed if they needed it. But most of the time I thought of something different. What were these peoples’ lives like before they were healed? For the woman with the issue of blood, what had her 12 years of suffering been like, as she hoped for healing but lived as an outcast? I thought of the man waiting at the pool, and his 38 years of waiting before his miracle came.
There are certainly times for healing. But it seems like more often in this life—whether for our education, the education of others, or just because this is mortality—we have to work through hard things. Whether it’s aging or sickness, childbirth or childlessness, it seems that “hard things” are the tuition we pay in this life.
Certainly the Savior came to earth, and eventually died, to heal us. But didn’t He also come to teach us how to show compassion and care for others in their suffering as well?
In my own story this was the case. I wasn’t miraculously healed, but I think I learned more about the Savior through the Christ-like service of others than if our situation would have been taken away. From the day I found out about our twins, to the last day in the hospital, we were flooded with the Christ-like service of others.
My sister gave up 2 months of her life to come take care of our young daughter when I was in the hospital. A friend arranged a calendar of visitors, all of whom had to drive an hour to come see me, so that I didn’t spend that summer alone. Friends sent thoughtful packages, filled with quotes and snacks and encouraging notes. A cousin who lived near by brought meals, and created a book club–full of all her friends–who met in my hospital room and let me be a part. The nurses went out of their way and became dear friends who listened to me talk, and let me cry when I needed to.
While I believe I could have, and maybe should have, been depressed and anxious sitting in a hospital for 2 months worried about the outcome of our twins, because of the prayers and service of so many, I wasn’t. Though being served in this way was humbling, I will be forever grateful for how it brought me hope and peace, and most of made me feel loved.
Those who have been following the Small Seed from the beginning know the outcome, for it was while on bed-rest that this blog really took shape (if you want to read all through my journey see these posts here). Our twins beat the odds, and though requiring 6 weeks in the NICU, they’ve thrived. 3 years later you would never know these healthy girls were once thought not to even make it to birth.
Today as I’ve thought about how I can help heal others as the Savior did, I’ve realized that helping others in their struggles may be the most Christlike thing we can do.
So my challenge to you today is to find someone who may not be healed today, or tomorrow, or maybe in this life, but who you can lift right now.
For those of you looking for something you can do now, I have an invitation for you! I’ve paired up with 3 others moms with stories similar to my own, and we’re going to be creating and delivering care packages to give to these families in the hospital this Christmas. We’re calling it “Deck the Hospital Halls” and you can read more about it here. If you’re looking for a way to help, we have a few easy options, and one of my favorites is to write up a little paragraph of encouragement and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll print out your notes and include them in our packages! If you’ve ever spent time in the hospital, or had a child in the NICU, I know your words of encouragement will mean the world to these families this Christmas!
I can’t wait to see what you do to Light the World, and reach out to lift and heal those around you today.