I’m writing today to tell you a little story about my adventure with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team…one that took a truly unexpected turn from the time when I first signed on…
Let me start by saying that I have always been passionate about scripture memory. Having grown up in the church, I’ve always been surrounded by God’s Word. I grew up in Sunday School, then Youth Group, and found my way into Chi Omega sorority in college, which was home to many Christian girls who encouraged me in my walk. During my time at the University of Florida, I was chosen to serve as a Program Coordinator for a mission camp in Western North Carolina. Worried that my knowledge of scripture needed to be strengthened to take on such a task, I started a scripture box. I filled a small grey box with index cards featuring verses on one side and their addresses on the other. I used them as flashcards, taping them up everywhere around my apartment and flipping through them whenever I had the opportunity. I wanted to be able to have the right word for the high school students I would be serving without fumbling around and was determined to have as many as I could committed to memory. Over time, while I found that I was using them to help with my scripture memory, they were also managing to help shape my daily choices and behavior. I would often remove cards from my box, fold them up, and carry them around with me when I felt like I needed a constant reminder of something. I can’t tell you how threadbare “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth” is at this point in my life!!
I started participating in your Bible studies shortly after graduate school and grew so much as a result. My involvement in them ultimately led me to Siestaville, where I discovered your precious community of women. You were well into the Scripture Memory Team for that year and I remember being so disappointed that I had missed the boat. I continued to participate in various threads in Siestaville and vowed that I would join the next Scripture Memory Team.
Fast forward to December 2012. I learned that you were hosting another SMT and I was excited, but hesitant, for this time I was 7 months pregnant. My husband and I were expecting our first child and life was a little hectic! I knew that life as a first time mom would be a challenging affair and wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage the deadlines of SMT. Regardless, I sent away for one of the adorable spirals and determined to do my best.
After a strong beginning in January, I soon found myself slipping with my commitment to SMT in February. With my due date just weeks away and feeling like I couldn’t manage the timeframes in Siestaville, I bowed out of the SMT and opted to continue with scripture memory on my own. I took the adorable spiral and decided to fill it with verses that would be beneficial for me during labor. I used beautifully colored pens and prayed about which verses to include. When I had a solid collection, I tucked my spiral into my hospital bag so that it would be there to help me during an unknown and anxious time.
Around midnight on March 3, 2013 my water broke and my husband and I quickly headed to the hospital. Once I was admitted and settled, labor was in full swing and my spiral lay forgotten in the bottom of my bag. After 13 hours of labor followed by 3 hours of pushing, my precious baby boy was delivered into the world. My husband and I were overcome with emotion when he was placed on my chest and flooded with a love we had never before known. Within five minutes of his birth however, I started to feel disconnected and was overtaken by nausea. The doctors and nurses who were tending to me became frantic and it quickly became apparent that something was not right. My boy was fine…placed in the arms of his loving father, while I was whisked quickly into the OR.
I was bleeding. I was bleeding uncontrollably and they were unable to discern from where or how to make it stop. The doctors had determined not to put me under general anesthesia, as that could complicate my delicate situation, so I was left to experience this nightmare awake with only my epidural to keep me from feeling what was happening. I was placed on the operating table and watched and listened as 20 to 30 medical professionals battled to save my life. I was transfused with 11 units of blood and watched my vitals struggle to stabilize. I heard the anesthesiologist yell, “We’re losing her!” and thinking of my precious husband and newborn son, I willed my eyes to open. Hours ticked by and the doctors became more and more desperate. Every attempt to stop the bleeding failed and they were running out of solutions. They called multiple specialists on the phone and asked for ideas…nothing worked. The doctor in charge decided to try one last procedure and it was successful. He declared it a miracle from God and later explained to my husband that they were down to about 5 minutes left before I would be lost.
Incredibly, during the most traumatic experience I had ever known, I found myself completely at peace. A real life nightmare was playing out around me, and yet I was enveloped by God’s calming presence. As the hours wore on and uncertainty reigned in the operating room, He wrapped His arms around me and carried me through the darkness. I didn’t know how everything was going to turn out, but I knew that God had me. It was the most amazing encounter I had ever had with Him. While laying helpless on the operating table, I could clearly picture a page from my SMT spiral…Isaiah 41:10, written in purple pen. God called it to my mind and it became my focus. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God…” Over and over the words scrolled through my mind, fighting back the fear that threatened to well up within me. I breathed. I let my heart beat. I knew God had me. When the bleeding slowed and I was out of danger, the doctors said that if I hadn’t remained calm, I likely would not have lived. God’s word had literally saved my life.
The next day, I had to have a follow-up procedure—one that could put me right back into the peril I had faced not 24 hours prior. When it was time to go I brought my spiral to pre-op and flipped through it as they were preparing me for surgery. Just before they wheeled me back, the nurse explained that I would have to leave the spiral behind. I could tell she felt badly about it, but I was able to smile and assure her that I didn’t need it. I had committed the verses to memory and God had etched them on my heart. All of the years that God had nudged me into Bible study, encouraged me to study His word, and prompted me to commit His truth to memory prepared me for this unexpected and unbelievable time. In the darkest hours of my life, I couldn’t grab a Bible to battle the fear. I couldn’t run to my scripture box to find just the right verse. I couldn’t call a friend to give me a word, but praise be to God… I didn’t need to. He had thoroughly equipped me and planted all of the scriptures I would need in my heart so that when the time came, He could call them to my mind. Wow. Suddenly what I once viewed as a spiritual discipline had taken on a lifesaving quality.
The story ends here. Thanks be to God, I am completely healed and now the VERY proud mama of a beautiful baby boy. I have recounted this story to countless friends and family members and every time, they express how sorry they are that I had to go through such a horrifying experience. I shock them all when I say with a smile that I most certainly am not. Not only do I have a miracle from God to share with the world, I am moving forward with a more profound appreciation for the study of His Word than I ever would have had without this terrifying ordeal. Leave it to Him to take my brokenness and make it my strength. What a mighty God we serve.
Thank you for all of the ways you have held me accountable, encouraged me, and taught me over the last 10 years. I am SO incredibly grateful!!!