After my son was born, I began to pray for the one man that God had prepared for me. I started to tell God all the qualities that I wanted in a husband and as a father figure for Gabe to look up to. I wanted him to be a good Christian man who loved God, I wanted him to come from a stable home, I wanted him to love kids, I wanted him to love our nation and I wanted him to be close to his Mom. I know that compared to all the traits that God can give someone these seemed trivial, but they were important to me.
On June 20, 2008, I went on a blind date to meet a man that was born and raised here in our hometown of Elkin, yet someone I had never before met. As we sat at our booth in the dimly lit restaurant, we talked of our likes and dislikes, our families and our faith. Turned out that Clint was a born again Christian, raise in a Christian home, and unlike so many other families, his parents were still married. He had been divorced for two years, and since his wife had left him three years before, he had been praying for the woman that God had prepared for him. He loved kids, as he had two small children, that he was raising alone as a single Dad. Clint was also a US ARMY veteran, as he was wounded during night maneuvers and sustained a permanent spinal injury. I felt like my checklist to God was being checked off one item at a time, all except for one. Was he close to his Mom? Turns out that Clint was close to his Mom…they were next door neighbors. ( I think that God has a good sense of humor.)
Two months after our first date, Clint proposed and I accepted. On April 25, 2009, I walked down the aisle as a single girl on her father’s arm and came back up the aisle a married woman with her husband. We had a small intimate wedding in a small country church surrounded by our friends and family. A perfect beginning to our new life. Being a newlywed with three small children was something that I knew nothing about. My life was made up of meetings for school, homework time, crockpot meals and long days at work out of town. But I came to love my new role and my new family. One month before our first anniversary, we expanded our family by a new member, as I gave birth to our son, Eli. Now, our family was complete.
After Eli’s birth, I began to battle depression, something that I had never known about before. As my workload became heavier and my days longer, I felt like I was becoming completely overwhelmed. I also felt like I was all alone. I soon began taking anti-depressants and started seeing a therapist. As my depression deepened, our marriage began to suffer. I was in such a dark place, that I was starting to consider ending our two year marriage. I have learned during my life, that if you earnestly pray to God to help you, to show you the way, to save your marriage, He will. But, when he does it, it will be in God’s way, in His time and with His wisdom.
In the Summer of 2011, in the height of our marital turmoil, I decided to accompany my Mom, two sisters and two small boys on a trip to Florida. We were going to visit with my Grandma who had been in the hospital, battling cancer. I knew that I needed to go see her, but more than anything, I looked at the trip as an excuse to get away from my marriage. As days turned into weeks, the hospital halls became more navigable and we began to know the staff by name. During those long days, sitting in that small hospital room, I made some of my sweetest memories. As I spent time next to her bedside, I witnessed my Grandma become a different person. She no longer knew where she was, but she knew that the Lord was with her. As she ended her long journey, our family grew closer together and the real importance of life made itself known to me. The last day of Grandma’s life here on Earth, my husband came to Florida to be with me and through the grief and sadness of Grandma’s passing, our marriage began a new life. We realized the importance of forgiveness and loving each other. I miss Grandma everyday, but I truly believe that God used her illness and passing as a way to save my marriage.
God is always working, even when you don’t realize that He is. He restores marriages and gives new life to families that have experienced loss. Two days after Eli’s second birthday party, I discovered that our family was not, in fact, complete like we thought it was. After four positive pregnancy tests, we told our families that we were going to be welcoming a new member. God knew what I didn’t, that I needed a daughter.
During my pregnancy, during a routine ultrasound, we discovered that our daughter had a cyst in her brain and a short nasal bone; both are soft markers for Down syndrome. My prayer life began to grow, right along with my daughter. I never prayed that our daughter would be born without Down syndrome; I just prayed that His will be done. It is amazing the amount of peace that comes when you accept His will in your life. On a follow up visit and an additional ultrasound, the ultrasound technician was unable to find the cyst in her brain. As she explained that the cyst was simply not there, I breathed a prayer of thank to God. He is so good.
On November 2, 2012, Scarlett was born. After being checked out by the nurses, they told us there was no evidence of Down syndrome and that she had passed the APGAR with a ten, the highest score a baby can receive. Scarlett just turned two years old last weekend and she is the sweetest and most talkative little girl. She is such a source of joy for our family, must have been God’s plan all along.
To end my testimony, I would like to quote Christian musician, Matthew West, who once said, “Everyone has a story, but where God is concerned, mine is far from being over.”