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Waters and FlameWaters and Flame
by Julie Allwhite


    In 1994, Michael and I found out we were expecting our first child. We were so excited. After 5 years of marriage, we thought it was the right time to start a family. The next nine months were filled with excitement, anticipation, and spreading the news to family and friends. When we found out our baby was a girl, I was on top of the world. I couldn’t wait to hold her and to love her.

    As the time drew closer to the arrival of our new addition we began to wonder who our baby girl would look like. Would she have a dark complexion like her daddy? What color hair would she have? Whose eyes would she have? Many nights I dreamed of our baby girl and how beautiful she would be.

    When the big day arrived, I was scared to death. Could I really do this? Was I really ready to be a mom?

    Well ready or not, I was about to find out...

    Something happened in the delivery room that was never in my dreams. It never came up in any conversation. It wasn’t part of my plan.

    “Call NICU Stat!” the doctor said. Those words forever changed the design I had made for our family. I will never forget them. In what seemed like only seconds, a whole team of nurses from NICU (Neo-Natal ICU) began to fill the room with equipment. The doctor briefly showed me my little girl, and then nurses began working on her.

    The doctor explained that Bailey had a birth defect. She was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate. She would need surgery soon to begin reconstruction. He told us about a specialist in Shreveport that did great work with cleft patients, and that she was already on her way to the hospital.

    All of a sudden, they whisked Bailey to NICU. I held her for only a minute before they took her... Was this my baby with these big brown eyes, a flat little nose, and only a bottom lip? I was totally overwhelmed. Michael went with her to NICU. He hardly ever left her side. My mom went out to the waiting room to tell our family and friends.

    I was suddenly totally alone in the room.

    No nurses, no doctors, no one...

    I think I was in shock...

    What are you thinking God? I can’t handle this! What did I do wrong? I was careful! I didn’t smoke or drink or do drugs. Why is this happening to me? Why does my baby girl have to go through this?

Why is this happening to me? Why does my baby girl have to go through this?
    People called and came by. I had Michael do all the talking. I remember saying over the phone, “Yes it’s a girl! Bailey! 7lbs 11oz and she’s just beautiful!”

    Lord, Lord — how will I do this? The bottles they want me to use... it seems really hard to feed her... I don’t think I can do it... and how will I care for her when she has surgery? Oh Lord How !?!

    Someone gave me a book to read. I came across Isaiah 43:2:

“When you pass through the waters I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned the flames will not set you ablaze for I am the Lord your God.”

    The Lord spoke to me through this scripture. “You aren’t alone”, He told me. “I am always with you.”

    He always has been.
Through learning the details and the severity of Bailey’s condition...
Through finding out that she was missing her entire frontal facial bone supporting the nose...
Through learning she was deaf in one ear...
Through every surgery...
Through every step of the way...
...for the past 7 years, the Lord God has walked with me.

    I had made a design. It was a plan for my perfect life, my perfect family, with all I had dreamed coming true. That design was changed. One thing, however, hasn’t changed: the Lord’s presence. He was there when I passed through the waters and when the fire tested me. He helped me find His way through. He can do the same as well, for you. In fact, He longs to help you through!

      © 2002, Julie Allwhite. Used by permission.

      Title: "Waters and Flame"
      Author: Julie Allwhite
      Publication Date: May 11, 2002


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