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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holy Ghost Story #1

To read Miriam's miraculous birth story in its entirety, please follow this link.

Each year during Advent, our church has a series of all-family Wednesday night gatherings. One of the pastors has all the children (from toddlers to whatever age is too "cool" to go forward as a "kid" for story-telling and game-playing) gather around him down front. Advent candles are lit, and then, before an activity of some sort designed to light-heartedly explain the evening's theme, someone tells a "Holy Ghost" story in the dark.

A "Holy Ghost" story has to be a real event which happened to the individual speaking, or to a very close friend or relative. The best Holy Ghost stories are eye-witness accounts. The story recounts some unusual--some might call "coincidental"--event with a surprise at the end that makes us all go, "Oooooooo!" The idea is to show evidence of God working to orchestrate events in our lives. It's not to be disrespectful or flippant, as if to suggest that "God makes small talk." However, it is to point out possible examples of his involvement.

This year, I've been invited to tell one so far. I'm going to share that one with you here now. Tomorrow night, unless something more amazing and as-of-yet unknown is brought to mind, I will be sharing another. Then there's one more Advent gathering before Christmas. It is possible I'll get to share a third at that meeting too. As I do each, I will enter a new post here with the closest thing to a transcript I can provide.

This is how the story was told to the children around me, and the rest of the congregation in the pews.

Here is "Holy Ghost Story #1":

Miriam and Mrs. Weber

Some will remember how God blessed us by preserving the life of our little Miriam, now 7 years old, at her birth in July 2005. Something went wrong during delivery and she had to be born by an emergency surgery. The doctors and nurses thought they were too late. Miriam didn’t breathe and they had to put her on special equipment to make her lungs work.

The doctors at first said she wouldn’t live, but she did. God made her better and better every day. Soon she was breathing on her own, but the doctors thought she had gone too long without oxygen. They said her brain would never be right. They said she would be very sick and have trouble learning to do things other kids do easily.

When she was a baby, we had to take her to see special doctors every few weeks or months. The doctors would check her over and watch to see what she could do. Did she sit up on time? Could she use her hands correctly to pick up toys? Did she smile? Was her hearing good? They expected things to be wrong with her, so they wanted to watch her very closely.

We wanted what was best for her. If she needed a doctor’s help, we wanted her to have it. But all those doctor’s appointments were very, very expensive. We were running out of money to pay all the bills. But of course we wanted what was best for our little girl. So we took her to the first appointment. And then to the second.

At that second appointment, she was just beginning to sit up by herself. Three doctors sat in the room near her. They watched Miriam for 20 minutes. They watched her sit up by herself and eat Cheerios which were placed in front of her one at a time. And then they sent us home.

A week or two after that, I got a bill in the mail. It was for the appointment with three different doctors in the same room. It was for more than a THOUSAND dollars. Now we had been told that she should be seen every two months for about two years. Who can do good math here? How many times would we have to take her to the doctor? About 24 times. So how much money are we talking about? Right. About 24 Thousand Dollars.

Well, we decided we had to try something different to help our little girl. So I called my cousin in Alabama. She works with children who have special needs. I wanted to know what she thought we should do. She told me that there were services available through the government for Buncombe County. There were people who could watch Miriam and tell us if they saw anything wrong. Then we could find the kind of treatment she needed—if she needed anything at all. That was on a Friday. The office was closed, but my cousin even looked up the phone number for me. I was going to call them for an appointment on Monday.

That Sunday, we went to church. I was still wondering about our baby. "Miriam could sit up. She could reach for toys. She seemed normal to us. But how could we know for sure?" 

That Sunday was an elder group Sunday. That means we would meet in small groups after church to share a meal together. When we went to dinner at someone’s house that day, there was another family there. We had met the husband, Mr. Weber, before. But his wife and son had just moved to Asheville. It was the first time we had met them. I sat down at the table across from Mrs. Weber (or Katie). She was very nice. I introduced myself and asked her, “Katie, what do you do?” (That’s what grown-ups always say to each other when they meet: “What do you do?”) She said, “I work for Buncombe County. I do in-home visits to watch children who are at risk for developmental delays. I help their parents know if their children need a doctor to help them.”

I was shocked! I said, “I have your number in my purse! I was going to call you tomorrow about our baby Miriam!” But God knew better than that. He knew before I even made that phone call that he was going to send Katie Weber to our church, to our own elder group, and that she was going to sit across the table from me and tell me she would watch our Miriam for us. 

We never again had to have those expensive bills for people to tell us Miriam was OK. Every month, Mrs. Weber held Miriam and talked to her and watched her. She told me over and over again, “There’s nothing wrong with your baby. She is healthy.”

And she was right! God knew JUST WHAT WE NEEDED, and he gave it to us at just the right time! And that’s also what we call a “HOLY GHOST STORY!”


To read Miriam's birth story in its entirety, please follow this link.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some people might say, "Ooooh", but I just got choked up with tears.