It was 19 years ago this very month that we received the news: Our twins we were excited to welcome to the world, had little chance of survival. While a senior in college, here at George Fox, I was diagnosed with a rare syndrome, and the first specialist recommended that we go ahead and terminate the pregnancy. My husband and I weren’t about to consider this option, but didn’t know what to do. This began a series of visits to see specialists and make some big decisions. It was a conversation with a perinatologist that forever changed my perspective on parenting.
After a review of my case, and several tests, Dr. Jackson asked me a simple question: “How do you feel?” While I had this unusual syndrome, my pregnancy “felt” completely normal – albeit being a bit larger than even most moms carrying twins. He agreed that things didn’t look very promising, but asked me what I thought about what was going on. What was my gut telling me? I was slightly puzzled by this question because I was just a college student, and though I’d considered medical school, I was just now an undergrad student in a liberal arts college. What did he mean? He then explained: No matter what the statistics are in a case like yours, and no matter what the test results show, as a mom, you have been given instinct. Only you know what that is for your child. He wanted to know what my heart was saying about the situation.
I knew in my heart things were going to be all right. I didn’t know what that meant completely, but I knew that we needed to proceed and do what we could to protect Mark and Tim’s lives. And because of my deep faith in the God of all creation, I knew I could trust him. I could trust God to walk me through whatever was in front of us. Whether these boys would survive was out of my control, but I could trust the future to him. It was my hope, of course, that this was a nightmare I would quickly wake up from. I had no real idea this was a dream and a journey of incredible significance – one that God would use to show me his grace and allow me to be a comfort to others in similar circumstances. (You see, that’s what God does. He uses our lives to bring about his purposes, when we allow him to. We simply need to listen.)
As a parent, you can read all of the books, listen to well-known experts in the area of child psychology, and prepare financially for the little bundles that you dream about and one day welcome to your home. And then you have a moment in your parenting when all that matters is what you know to be true in your heart. You have a gut instinct when it comes to your children. I believe that instinct is most often driven by the Holy Spirit speaking directly to us. We should listen.
Our culture most often encourages us to tell life what you want, tell others what you want … tell, tell and tell. I am learning once again how important it is to listen, listen and listen. The focus in chapel this spring is about listening to God – listening to your life speak – taking in all of the experiences that has brought you to this point – and asking God to show you how he’s using that to shape you. Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit takes time. I encourage you to listen. Listen to the podcasts of chapel, listen to your kids, and listen to the Spirit. Now, what is your heart saying?