I had a dream one night. This was what came to me:
God give me this so I can show people your miracle.
The desire of my heart. Give him to me so I can give him back and he can serve you. He will tell the world and show the world the he is the miracle!! To show people to believe.
The Lord spoke to me for the very first time when I was 14 years old. He said, “You are going to be part of something great!” And that was it. That was the first time and the only time that I had ever heard his voice. I didn’t really understand but I took it in. I locked it in my heart and just held onto it.
So when we first heard something was wrong with Matthew, I knew… this was it. This was the great thing. This was the miracle I am going to be a part of. So no matter what happens, no matter what is said, no matter what people do…. this was going to be the miracle. And I just had to hold on. I had to hold onto my faith. I had to hold onto God. I had to hold onto His word. Because this was HIS MIRACLE. And I had to trust Him. Trust Him like I never have before.
It was hard. It was hard to hear doctors tell us how bad matthew was week after week. Test after test. Ultrasound after ultrasound. It was so bad that after about a month of bad news, I told them I didn’t want to hear any updates unless it was good. And we had a few appointments where there were no words said. And I always took that as, no news is good news.
But I trusted in Him. Even on days when I felt like giving up… I trusted in Him. Faith as small as a mustard seed. I would visualize this mustard in the palm of my hand. And I would close my hand, and squeeze it. And feel it. And I would make sure every day that this mustard seed was there. Because if I had this mustard of faith… I knew that God was still in control.
After the twins were born ALIVE… I knew the hard part had just begun. It was difficult to keep him alive while I was pregnant, I knew it was going to be much more difficult to keep him alive out of my belly. This was the game changer. And I was completely out of any control. This felt like a greater level of faith I never realized I had. This was where I was going to learn to be bold in this fight.
I'm not much of a showy showy person. I don’t like the attention that some people do. And for some people, that’s great. They’re good at being a people person and grabbing attention. But me… not so much. I am very private and I go through life quietly and deal with things privately and just get through life. But God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. And whether or not I wanted to let people into my life… He chose me.. He chose us to tell this story. To show people what God can do.
While the twins were in the NICU, we were faced with a lot of struggles. Matthew, in his first 5 months had 9 surgeries. He was the smallest baby at that hospital to be put on dialysis. So all of his care was brand new. Matthew had 4 nurses who primarily took care of him. He was a tough case, but they took on the challenge.
I truly believe that God placed people in our lives for very specific reasons. He knew who to use. He knew who could care for him the best. He knew what He was doing all along. These nurses fought for him. They prayed for him. They held him and took care of him like he was their own son. He knew they could do it.
The first few months of Matthews life, I felt like a zombie. I felt like i was just going through the motions of life. waking, eating, breathing, talking, smiling. Then the next day, i did it again. and again. and again. There were a few times when doctors told us that he wasn’t going to survive the night. Days when they told me to hold him until he passes. There was a time in September 2014 that I was told to start making arrangements for him. And I felt like the enemy was just pacing back and forth behind me. He was waiting for me to fall. He was waiting for me to give up.
I was so exhausted from life. I was physically, mentally, and spiritually just exhausted. And it did feel like I couldn’t go on any more. But I didn’t want to let go because I knew the enemy was there… waiting for me. But my mustard seed wouldn’t let me forget. It was almost like a pebble in your shoe. Its there. I feel it. It’s not going away. I cant give up.
Shortly after one of Matthews many surgeries, I was at church at the altar and I felt like I was in this dark place. I didn’t have the strength to stand anymore. SO I was on the floor. I had my head down. I was tired. I was done. My body was done. My mind was done. I was done. But my spirit wouldn’t let me give up. Through the darkness, I can see there was light there. I could see there was something there. I just had to keep going to get there.
And then all of a sudden a hand came through the darkness. His hand!! I reached out my hand, and he lifted me up. He picked me up, He carried me. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. I could barely breathe. But He gave me breath of life. He heard my words through my tears. He knew my heart. He’s ALWAYS known my heart. He pulled me through on the darkest days of my life. He carried me when I couldn’t walk. He walked in front of me when I needed to be led. He walked beside me so I wont feel alone. He walked behind me to push me when I needed to be pushed. He held my hand when I just didn’t want to be alone. He knew.
The Lord knows. He knows my heart. He knows my mind. He knows my thoughts. He knows my future. I can't help but to trust in Him. I can't help but pray. I can't help but have hope!! THAT is how I got through this journey.
Faith…. and Hope.
Trust YOUR journey.
Angelina Castleberry is a stay at home mom of 6 beautiful children (5 girls, 1 boy). She's an aspiring author and Executive Director of Made For A Miracle, a nonprofit that supports NICU families. She's also blogger over at She Believed She Could Believe, her personal blog that began its conception in 2014 when her son was discharged from the NICU after a 5 month miracle stay. He and his twin sister were born 9 weeks premature, and he was diagnosed with an illness that was considered terminal while pregnant. Her son had two high-risk surgeries in utero to save his life. Angelina and the twin's NICU stay was difficult and incredible. It was filled with amazing miracles. Angelina is also a Patient Advocate and Peer Mentor who loves meeting and talking to people. She's a true believer of miracles, and desires to encourage as many people as she can.
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