As with many things, I enjoy hearing (and learning from) my child’s perspective. I explained to my son, John, that I had been tasked with writing a statement about my faith and why I believe in God. I asked him what he thought about this, and his instant response was “That’s easy mom. We believe in God because of all his miracles.” I asked him what he thought a miracle was and he responded without hesitation, “Why, you and me mom. We are miracles from God.” In reflecting upon the profound simplicity of John’s statement, I have come to realize that this really is the essence of faith for me. Each of us is a miracle of God. All of our life experiences and the way God moves and shapes us within these experiences work in concert to shape our faith, and to make us into the individuals that we are.
There are many experiences that have had a profound impact on my faith. One such experience revolves around the journey on which my husband Jeff and I were led in our struggle to become parents. After many years of experiencing “unexplained infertility,” we decided to seek medical assistance in conceiving a child. Because we were in our mid-30’s, the specialists agreed that In-vitro fertilization (IVF) was our best option. Our first IVF attempt brought no result. Armed with the knowledge that this is frequently the case, we decided to attempt the process again. We were delighted to learn that the procedure was successful and that I was carrying fraternal twins—a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, this was not to be, as I suffered a late-term miscarriage at 20 weeks gestation (the week after 9/11/2001). After much prayer and contemplation we decided to attempt a third IVF. This final attempt yielded a boy, and we were cautiously optimistic that it was finally time for our dream of being parents to be realized! There were complications with the pregnancy and I was hospitalized for 28 long days before giving birth to little Jacob Emmanuel. Jacob was born with a fatal genetic condition known as Trisomy 13. When Jacob was 7 days old, Jeff and I made the difficult decision to have him taken off of life-support, and for four of the most heart-wrenching yet amazingly spiritual hours of my life, we took turns rocking and singing Jacob to heaven. This period in our lives brought much sadness and many questions that I know will never be completely resolved for me on this side of heaven. With broken hearts, we continued to hold fast to our faith, confident that God had other plans for us. As Jacob’s first birthday approached in February 2004, and the flood of emotions was rekindled, we started discussing what we would do to honor him. On the day of Jacob’s first birthday, we discovered that at age 40, I was pregnant for the first time in my life with no medical intervention! Two days later, the European Adoption Agency to which we had sent a rather large non-refundable deposit, called to say that they had received our packet, but that our check for the deposit was missing. This check was never found. The pregnancy progressed with only minor complications, and our son John, who is now 8 years old, is absolutely the biggest miracle in our lives—just like he told me.
I believe that faith is not a fixed or static thing. It is something that changes, grows, and deepens as God directs the pathways of our lives. God works through our experiences to teach us and to bring us to greater levels of perception, awareness, and understanding of His mission for us during our life-journeys. I believe that God uses each of us as an instrument to share His good news in the world around us. Each of us is fitted with different gifts, talents, and experiences, which we are then commissioned by God to share and to use to His glory in all that we do.