A Precious Gift

A grandmother's complete faith in God uplifts a very tough situation, when doctors thought the author's mother and sister had died during childbirth.

By Genelle Austin-Lett

Categories: Guidance, Loss, Motherhood, Safety

It was 4:00 AM on a cold Christmas morning in Chicago when the telephone startled our household awake. I ran to my Grandmother's side as she picked up the phone. She answered the caller with her usual loving tone of voice, but firmer than I was accustomed to hearing. She said, "There is only Life. All there is to Life is eternity. Do not accept death." At the time, I didn't know she was referring to my mother and my baby sister. She was talking to my Dad who had just told her that my Mom had died giving birth and that my baby sister was strangled to death by the umbilical cord. My Grandmother insisted that because we believed in Jesus, we must accept his word that we would have eternal life. She knew that no one could pluck her daughter or her new grandchild out of God's hand. They could not perish. On this she was absolutely certain. (John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.)

My Dad asked the doctors to check one more time to see if my Mom was dead. When they examined her, they found a slight pulse. My Dad then noticed the baby squirm on the table. He said, "The baby is alive." The doctors told him, however, that he wouldn't want the baby. The brain damage would be significant. My mother had miscarried this baby's twin at about five months. Since she had had a number of previous miscarriages, the doctors were unaware that another life was still inside her. They gave her drugs to deal with the removal of the miscarried fetus. A few months later when they discovered she was still pregnant, they wanted to take the child for fear of damage from the drugs. My mother refused, believing this child was God's gift.

It wasn't until years later that I found out what a wonderful Christmas gift I had received that night. My mother was still alive, and I had the best gift you could ever hope for, a precious baby sister. What I didn't notice was that she wasn't normal in many ways.

For the next five years of her life, my Grandmother came to visit everyday and sat quietly with my sister and prayed. She read the Bible out loud. Often she would tell my sister about the man with whom she shared the same birthday. She spoke of Jesus' love and compassion. She shared Jesus' healings. Personally, I thought my sister was beautiful. Others spoke about her abnormal strength. Or that her eyes were out of line, her head was a bit misshapen, and she was unusually hairy. She moved in slow motion mentally and physically. But I really never noticed these things. She was my perfect sister.

When it was time for her to start kindergarten, the school didn't want to accept her. My Grandmother persuaded the teacher to give her a trial day in class. From that day on, she stayed in school. In fact she finished a year ahead of her class and went on to model professionally. All the vestiges of the early physical challenges were healed. My Mother had two more children after my sister, Susan - normal in every way. To this day, my sister is radiantly beautiful and intelligent. I shall always be grateful for my Grandmother's absolute faith and trust in God. What a Christmas gift!