“In May of 1998, life was really coming together for our family with a new level of abundance materially, relationally, and even spiritually. Our third daughter was due to be born any moment and we had just moved into a brand new home large enough for home offices and raising children.
During the previous three years we had been working hard to establish our consulting business and had weathered a crisis that had shaken our marriage to its core. We were in the midst of feeling humbled and amazed that God was providing for our needs in ways beyond what we had asked or imagined. There was a peacefulness and excitement in the house. We unpacked and hung pictures while our two little girls explored new places to play.
It was into this “heaven” that Carly was born. And from the beginning, it was of a new “heaven” that Carly would begin teaching us because on that day, our life got very very noisy and entirely more complicated.
At first, Carly cried and cried. It was an unusual, persistent, stress-inducing scream. She couldn’t nurse, couldn’t sleep, and was experiencing chronic pain. Weeks grew into months of heartbreaking exhaustion. We felt powerless to soothe our troubled baby and our business was deteriorating from neglect.
By the time Carly was 18 months old, she still wasn’t rolling over or crawling. For over a year we’d been consumed with therapies but Carly was falling farther and farther behind. So with inspiring information from Carly’s grandma and our friend’s challenge to “step into the river” (Joshua 3), we plunged into a different approach and a new layer of faith.
First, Larry built a special piece of equipment we believed would get Carly crawling. Next, we took the scary step of asking others for help. For the next three years God overwhelmed us with help. Sixty people — friends, neighbors, home-schooled kids, Lisa’s womens’ Bible Study group, church members, and even some strangers — streamed in and out of our home helping us with an intensive therapy program that rocked everybody’s world. God used that program, the profound support of a community, and lots of prayer to trigger significant developmental progress in Carly every day during that remarkable season of her life. Lisa could hardly send email updates to family and friends quickly enough. Our gracious community of helpers and prayer partners celebrated every fragment of progress for the miraculous milestone that it was. The day Carly leaned over from her bench to pick up a small bell still rings out in our hearts.
Those first exciting months of progress grew, however, into more monotonous days of therapies and worry. We learned that Carly was actually missing a portion of her 15th maternal chromosome. She was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome suggesting that her future developmental prognosis was overwhelmingly grim. We needed a miracle that would demand far more than the embrace of a loving community.
For the most part, we dug in our heels and pressed on believing God would choose to display His glory through a healing “process” in Carly rather than through a single spontaneous miraculous event. We could see ways that Carly was benefiting from the challenges of others (Judd, Nathan, Lois, etc.), but it was increasingly obvious that a ripple effect of healing was flowing out into the lives of many people she encountered as well. So just as we were facing our deepest heartache and greatest test of surrender, God was filling us with a sense of His presence, purposes and peace. Even as Carly was experiencing a journey of healing, so were we.
Carly is now 15 years old and continues to amaze us with her potential but progress is slow. We live every hour with the reality of her need for assistance and supervision in everything. Each of us in the family experiences doubts, loneliness, anger, envy, resentment, fear, and uncertainty. Still, we are grateful that Carly is now walking, cuddly, having fun, and even approximating a few meaningful words. She’s an absolutely delightful girl who keeps stretching us to be our best! Her bear hugs and snuggles, her persistence and hard work during therapies, her rascally sense of humor, and the sheer joy of her smiles remind us that we have been given an astounding gift.
Our story, like yours, isn’t finished yet. Life is a journey. Healing is often a process. And sometimes the question is, “WHO really needs the healing here anyway?” Each day is an opportunity to see God’s mercies and goodness anew. We are so grateful that our stories can be shared because, like ripples on the water, God wants the intersections of our lives (the thorny parts most of all) to create a beautiful picture of transformation.
Almighty and Sufficient God, continue your holy and powerful work in and through each and every one of our stories!”
This is an excerpt from the Finding Glory Group Discussion Guide: Bible-Based Support in Life’s Unexpected Turns by Larry and Lisa Jamieson. Copyright 2010 (updated 2013). All rights reserved. For more information or to purchase the original story Finding Glory in the Thorns, visit www.WalkRightIn.org.