When Ansley was born, the pediatrician in the hospital informed us that her head circumference was "off the charts" small. He said it could indicate that the sutre lines in her skull had closed prematurely and she would need surgery to open them so that her brain could grow. When she was five days old, we headed to Children's Hospital for a CT scan. We never could have imagined or prepared for the news that day. As we were talking with the tech, he mentioned the radiologists name and said he would get the results to us in a few days. .
We told him we had been in a Bible Study with the radiologists daughter and her husband, and the tech told us to hang out in the waiting room for a minute. Our friends dad was kind enough to stop what he was doing to look at Ansley's scan for us. I knew when he came out into the waiting room that something wasn't right. He led us back to a dark room and started explaining these x-ray-like pictures of Ansley's brain. He immediately showed us that the sutre lines were open, but I could tell by the look on his face that there was something wrong. He proceeded to inform us that the sulci lines and gyrial patterns of Ansley's brain were underdeveloped. (Basically that the surface of her brain was smoother than it should have been) He couldn't give us any answers at that point and told us we needed to see a pediatric neurologist. We called our wonderful pediatrician on the way home and she informed us we had to be on the lookout for seizures. It was indescribable. Everything just stopped. The pain was so overwhelming and the fear of the unknown was just unbearable. Immediately upon arriving home, there was such an overwhelming numbness and feeling that this could not possibly be happening. I sat down to feed Ansley and the Lord immediately and as clear as day, spoke Job 1:21.. "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." He gave me a gentle, but firm command to rise up and praise His name. To call him Blessed and praise His name in spite of the pain. Well, neurology appointments don't come quickly, so our doctor scheduled one for us for four months down the road. Over the next few days, a specific pediatric neurologists name kept coming up from everyone we talked to, but our pediatrician told us his waiting list was five+ months. Three days later Rob was working on an Ansley update email about the passage in Luke 18 about the Lord not delaying long to answer the cries of His people, my phone rang. It was the neurologist everyone had recommendeds nurse informing us we had an appointment with him the next morning at nine o clock.
We were absolutely floored. This was just the beginning in the Lord showing His faithfulness . Her first appointment went well and was very encouraging. The doctor scheduled and MRI for Ansley when she was three months old to better determine the state of her brain. We prayed fervently for a divine healing and for peace during this waiting period. The spiritual battle was constant and the struggle to allow the Lord to fight the battle for us was difficult. The day finally came to get the results from her MRI and it wasn't exactly what we were hoping for. The doctor informed us that the neuropathways in Ansley's brain had gone to the wrong spots at some point during her development in the womb and they were irreversible. He told us normal was "impossible" for Ansley and that she would indeed be mentally and maybe even physically handicapped. .We had so many questions that he just couldn't give us answers to. The spectrum he gave us was anywhere from a walking, talking, highly functioning handicap, to basically a wheelchair and inability to speak or do anything for herself. We had prayed for months that the day would be a day we always remembered as a day of celebration for our family. There was some time of deep grief and sadness, but slowly over the course of the day, the Lord again put it strongly on my heart to rise up and PRAISE! That the day was made for celebrating Ansley, for celebrating the joy and the precious gift that she is, and for celebrating and praising the name of the Lord. The next few days, as we sought the Lord for peace He led us to one scripture after another of His promises.
"My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay your hands on her, so that she may get well and live.. Jesus, overheard what was being spoken and said, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe"..And they began laughing at him..and taking the child by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha kum! (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!") And immediately the girl rose and began to walk. And immediately they were completely astounded.
"Truly I say to you, whoever says to his mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea', and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him.
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe you have received them, and they shall be granted you."
We ask you to join us in boldly praying with faith that our daughter will shock, amaze, astound, and confound her Doctors-leaving them speechless, that we have opportunity to testify of the power of prayers offered up in faith. After all, she is already able to do things that she shouldn’t be able to do yet, because of her condition! We believe this is because of the prayers offered up for her.
We have a vision of her growing up and marching through milestone after developmental milestone. We have a vision of dropping Ansley off at kindergarten 5 years from now to the amazement of all who have prayed so fervently for her. At this point, I just lost half of you (that is, if the percentages of my last 10 or so conversations hold true.) We have been disheartened and discouraged by several (though certainly not all) conversations we have had with mature, Bible-believing Christians. In a sense, some people have looked at us like we are crazy or at least in some form of denial. We share our vision and dreams and get a response something like, “That is awesome. I will pray for that, and if that is not God’s plan for her…” “Yeah, but if she doesn’t develop normally I know her parents will love her just the same...” Such conversations always set us back a bit and make us wonder if we really are crazy. But the more time we spend in the Word, and the more time we spend in prayer, the more we realize that the “And ifs” and the “Yeah buts” never got healed. It was always those who were willing to take a chance on Christ’s power. The more time I take to think through all the reasons we should be more “realistic” the more we see that, 9 times out of 10, doubt and fear are the motivation behind being realistic. It is either a doubt that God is still in the business of working miracles or a fear of being disappointed.. This is surely not the life of faith the scripture commands. After all, it’s GOD we are talking about! The only scriptural justification for such “realism” is an acceptance of God’s will. In this regard, even Christ Himself prayed for the cup to pass: “And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but Thou wilt.” (Mark 14:35-36) We submit to the Father’s will for Ansley’s life wholeheartedly, but does that mean that we should stop falling to the ground and pleading with our Abba Father –Him in whom All things are possible—that He work a miracle in Ansley’s life?
So, our “official” stance is this: We believe that God’s word is true. We believe the miracles of faith belong only to those willing to take a “risk” on God’s power. We refuse to hide behind being “realistic” in order to prevent ourselves from being hurt or disappointed. We long for believers to surround us who are willing to “wear God out” with prayer after prayer for our daughter as Jesus Himself taught: “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart…[parable]…now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
Many people have sent us such encouraging and life-giving emails telling us how Ansley’s story has challenging, inspired, encouraged, and changed their lives. We will continue to tell her story. We are not motivated by fear of a special needs child (we have accepted this possibility months ago). Instead, we are motivated to show the world that God’s Word is true and His power is real.
If you desire to join with us, here is how you can pray:
- Pray that we will learn how to “pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)
- Pray that we will believe and pray against our unbelief: “All things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24)
- We are publicly risking our hearts and putting our daughter on a stage to show God’s power and glory. This is not well received by our enemy. We have had awful thoughts, nightmares, etc. Pray for our spiritual protection.
- Right now, specifically pray for Ansley: to continue to not have seizures and to continue to amaze every doctor, specialist and therapist the she comes in contact with at her abilities and normal development
- Pray for Zachary to get the love and attention he needs.
To date, the work of the Lord is undeniable in Ansley. Everything she does is because the Lord spoke it to be. She has already amazed every specialist and doctor that are on "her team". We pray that will be the story of the rest of her life.