Standing against popular opinions is a very difficult place to be, but as a Christian Mother it is where I find myself most times, and perhaps it is because of my experience in this position that I refused to disconnect life support on my 13-year-old daughter in October of 2007.
“Your child is brain-dead” or “dead” are words no parent every wants to hear. The reality of these words are painful, overpowering and the trauma to the human spirit is immeasurable. My response, “God did not give me death when I prayed” and I walked away.
When my daughter was declared brain-dead at 13-years-old, I had to not only hold on to my faith, but convince everyone that I was not crazy when we met for the second time and I told the medical team “I expect her to live. I expect God to show up on her behalf.”
While I probably appeared irrational to them, I was expecting God to do what he promised me he would do when I prayed. There were also a few times when I had to convince myself, I was not crazy that it was God’s voice I actually heard.
My family initially thought I was so emotionally overwhelmed with the imminent death of my daughter that I could not accept her fate of death. I was overwhelmed, but it was by what God had promised and having to tell a room full of medical professionals that she was going to live after they consulted all their tests and everything pointed toward her death. There were no prior cases to Robyn’s with the amount of damage to the brain, from the massive stroke, who lived and had any quality of life.
The medical recommendation was to disconnect life support, I refused. I was told by one doctor her spirit had left her body, the Robyn I knew was no longer there. I had many doctors to tell me if she lived, I would be lucky if she could move. She would certainly never walk, talk, or eat on her own, and if she was able to open her eyes that would be a great feat. The only doctor that appeared to listen to me was the Neurosurgeon on the medical team and thank God at that time he was the lead. He asked me what I wanted him to do. I replied, “Give her more time.”
The hospital chaplain was called to counsel with my ex-husband and me. He stated to me, I admire your faith, but do you realize Robyn will be all right even if she dies because she will be with the Lord. I told him I was aware of that, but I had already prayed and God gave me life. After that meeting, he and his team of chaplains began praying with us daily for a miracle.
I learned from my experience to trust the voice within me that directs me and keeps me in moments when I want let go and take a different route. As a Christian, I had to learn to patiently wait and trust what I profess to believe. In waiting I was not obstinate with those who did not believe as I did. As a matter of fact some were rude. I think they were trying to bring me out of what they thought was “denial,” but I stood my ground without yielding my position to the pressures of the situation and the unbelievers.
Here are nine points I want to share about my experience:
- One of the things I learned about myself at times when my faith is challenged and I am mentally overwhelmed, communicating is a challenge. I appreciated those who came and sat and prayed but did not expect conversation from me. Most times I was in silent conversation with God and incessantly telling him, “people don’t believe what you told me.” There were times when I was angry with Him, but it was OK. God can handle anger. When I settled down, He let me know it was Him the people were suspect of.
- It helps to have a relationship with Him before a life situation happens, that way when things become chaotic you can find that place where only you and God meet, and in the midst of the turmoil go to that place in him where peace abides. Fear may find its way in; however, when you have a relationship with the father, you run to him and stay there and those fears will depart.
- I asked the medical team to stop meeting inside Robyn’s room, speaking negatively over her. Consequently I did not engage in conversations with the medial team much because I refused to allow them to disturb my peace with their unbelief. I was not angry or mad, just did not give them the opportunity to affect my faith.
- Many days I would have people ask me, “how are you doing?” I responded,” fine.” One day, one of the social workers responded, “you are not fine.” But, really, I was because I refused to take on the heaviness of the situation. It was in God’s hands and there was nothing I could do. I rejected taking on a spirit of defeat. I was believing for a miracle. I lived as someone anticipating and expecting one.
- Learn to find contentment where you are. This is difficult, but every day that comes there is something to be thankful for. I sat in ICU with Robyn for almost 30 days, I saw children leave with their parents and some who went home to be with the Lord. So every day, I sat there and Robyn did not go into cardiac arrest or have another stroke, I counted it a blessing.
- While in ICU, I met other parents, talked about my faith with them and prayed for them. In these situations I found that encouraging others actually brought hope to my situation too.
- I prayed over every procedure and every hand that touched Robyn, I prayed to God that He would touch it. While this may sound redundant it gave me peace and I wanted God to know that I was trusting Him.
- When Robyn regained consciousness everyone was anxious to see where she was. I had one stipulation to everyone. They could not challenge her faith. She could share her faith but for the social workers and Psychiatrists who wanted to analyze everything and figure out where she was emotionally, her faith was off limits.
- Robyn is alive. We have a long road of rehabilitation and therapy, but she left the hospital eating and breathing on her own. It took her a year to walk again. She graduated high school with her class in 2012. She is now attending a college program for people who have obtained brain injuries.
Everyone handles traumatic life situations differently. Many people will have thoughtful well-meaning suggestions on how to deal with these situations. My suggestion is make sure God is in the midst and stay close to him. It is helpful to listen to others testimonies because we learn about the awesomeness of God, take what you can from others experiences, but do not become discouraged if your situation does not work out the same way. Why do I say this, because the dynamics of our lives are different, our purposes are different, so there is no one shoe that fits all, but there is one who makes the difference for us all, Jesus Christ and He is still working miracles in our lives today.
By: Veverly Edwards
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