“Ohhhh,” I sighed quietly, yet heavily, as I paged through my calendar on Monday, noting the date – January 18. “Now, that’s why I feel so out of sorts this morning.”
January 18 is an important day to me, although very few people know of it. Sixteen years ago this week, pregnant with my first child, I was working as a Physician Assistant for a busy transplant unit. I loved my job and I was very excited about my baby. In my 6th month of pregnancy, everything was going well. It is funny (not in a “ha-ha” sort of way) how one day can sometimes change your life forever.
That day my water broke prematurely and I spent the following 8 days flat on my back in a hospital bed, unable to get up. It was a difficult time; the doctors hoped that I would make it 3 weeks, but my dear first born did not make it that long. He arrived on January 26 after a difficult labor, sick and compromised. He spent 10 days in the ICU and came home after 3 weeks. Eight months later he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
I often wonder if January 18 would be as significant of a date for me if my son did not have a long lasting result of his early birth. I remember struggling early on with the reality of this and wise, older friends of ours responded, “This, too, did not slip through the hand of God. It is not a mistake. God has special plans.” I do believe it is true. It is hard for me to watch my son struggle, now in his teen years, but I am also very proud of him. He is overcoming much and is confident in His relationship with the Lord. It is beautiful, but difficult.
So, this Monday, January 18th, as I was doing laundry, washing dishes and writing my study for this week, I found myself in familiar territory -- grieving a loss.
I kept thinking to myself, “Who can I call? I really want to talk to someone.” And as I went down the list of people in my mind, no one seemed quite right for this particular situation. “I would really like to talk to a friend who was there,” I said to the Lord, “but I’ll settle for You.” (Not really meaning that I was settling, at all. I did intend to be respectful, despite the way that it came out).
And then the phone rang. I couldn’t get to it, but soon heard a familiar voice, from my distant past, on the answering machine, “Hi Andrea! It’s Kris! I’ve been thinking so much about you and have missed you. Call me!”
I called her back, promptly. You see, Kris was my friend from college that was with me that day, sixteen years ago. I have not talked with her for 2 years. Truthfully, she did not remember that the 18th was important to me, she just felt the urge to call me – and she did.
God really is remarkable, isn’t He? Kris didn’t know but God did and I believe He put the thought in her mind to call me. It was a gift for me that day. I am reminded that God cares for us in such sweet and tender ways. I felt loved by Him that day – and today. I was filled with sorrow, and He came in and brought me comfort through a far away friend who felt His nudge and called. It was just what I needed, when I needed it and my faith is strengthened, because of His love.