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Guest Blogger Krista Phillips: Until…it is you.

I met Krista Phillips online through ACFW–American Christian Fiction Writers. When I learned of her struggles with her fourth child Annabelle, my heart ached. I loved her transparency in her blog posts. I loved her ability to hold on through the storm. I loved rejoicing with her family’s victories. Now Krista and I are agent mates. Her debut novel, “Sandwich With a Side of Romance,” releases in September (she’ll be back as a guest blogger then too!), and I couldn’t be happier. 

Krista writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at www.kristaphillips.com. Her debut novel, “Sandwich, With a Side of Romance,” releases in September, 2012.

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You hear the stories about those sick babies, see the prayer requests,  and your heart aches. Yet a tiny part of you is relieved. It’s them. It’s not you.

Until… it is you.

This was us when we had an ultrasound at 26 weeks with our 4th child. Our hearts crashed to the floor as the doctor drew us this ultra simple version of our daughter’s very sick heart.

They give us 70% odds of her survival to age 5.

Friends would say, “70%! That’s good, right?”

But all I could think of was that 30% chance. It haunted me for the next 12 weeks.

Nothing could have prepared me for the reality that we’d be faced with. 5 heart surgeries, including a heart transplant, several cardiac arrests, a total of 355 days in the hospital, 308 of them from birth until 10 months of age when Annabelle went home for the first time.

People ask me all the time, “How did you do it?” Or remark, “I could never do that. I’m just not that strong.”

Here’s the thing.

As a mother, there’s no other option. Sure, I get tired. I’ve struggled at times with depression, and have had my fair share of frank discussions with God, giving Him my blunt opinion on the matter.

God gives me strength for each day. No more, no less. Even now that we’re home and working on pushing through the hurdles that 355 days in the hospital creates, most times I’m still living on my own fumes and God’s  limitless strength-supply.

And oh-my-goodness. The rewards for “keeping on” are HUGE. Every snuggle, every smile, every milestone… with all children they are wonderful, but when you’ve fought so hard for those milestones and hugs, they are even that much sweeter.

Annabelle still has a ways to go. She’s 2 now and just learned to walk. She doesn’t talk yet, although her favorite babble is, “Mamamamama!” This Momma doesn’t mind that a bit! She doesn’t eat, is fed by a tube in her belly because she wasn’t stable enough to try food until she was a year old. B y then, she wasn’t very pleased at the thought.  So eating is a big hurdle.

But I have faith that she’s going to leap over that one any day.

And I have faith that through it all, God is cheering her on with us. I can totally see Him up in heaven doing this massive fist pump in the air, shouting, “Go Annabelle!”

Your Turn: Life is full of trials. Share a time when God’s strength was the only way you could get through each day.

Lisa Jordan

15 Comments

  • Lisa, thanks for having me here so I could share a little of Annabelle’s story!!!! Can’t wait to read YOUR book… I read the first chapter you have posted and I’m now itching to read the rest!

  • Beth K. Vogt says:

    Krista,
    I’ve got bits and pieces of your story — Annabelle’s story — the past two years. I’ve even prayed for you and your family.
    But this is the first time I’ve understood all you’ve been through from start to finish … well, in a “let me sum up” kind of way. (Sorry for the “Princess Bride” reference.
    God’s strength is a priceless commodity, isn’t it? And your faith shines through this post.
    I’m leaning into His strength right now as I come out of an unexpected summer … and, once again, finding God is here, now, filling in my weak moments.

    • Beth, you DID have quite a ride this summer didn’t you! SO glad you all came through it okay, and love that God is filling in your weak moments!! He likes to be our filling:-)

  • Such a joy to read about your strong faith. I often pray “this day Your daily bread” for myself and for others. It’s always enough. Thank you Lisa for introducing me to Krista. I’ll add her family to my prayer list.

  • Thanks for your inspiring blog and life. My next to youngest granddtr. is named Annabella. My sons and grandchildren are mostly healthy and I thank God for the dual-chamber pacemakers that have given me quite normal quality life for 28+ years. I’ll be cheering more for your Annabelle now, too, and watching for your continued writing breakthroughs.

    • Annabella is such a pretty name!! Pacemakers are wonderful things, aren’t they? Annabelle doesn’t need a permanent one, but she’s had plenty of pacing wires in her time!

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Hi Krista…your story so makes me think of my sister and brother-in-law and my awesome, awesome nephew Ollie. He was born a couple years ago with multiple heart defects and Down Syndrome and has been through five surgeries now. There were several times in that first year when doctors told our family to prepare to say goodbye to Ollie…and yet, he’s going strong today and is just the cutest, most wonderful little boy.

    Reading your story, thinking of my sister, it makes me admire both of you so much.

    (Oh, and I have to add, Ollie has been struggling with eating as well. He can’t truly eat until his trach is out, but they let him taste things. But his little tummy doesn’t seem to be a fan yet…one day, though!)

    • Aw thanks for sharing Ollie’s story! He sounds like such a little fighter!!

      Trachs are hard re:eating, but heart babies many times have trouble with food and GI issues for undetermined reasons. But there is hope. It’s been such a struggle but this summer, Annabelle’s tummy has decided to stop rejecting her food quite so much, so YEAH!

  • Roxanne Sherwood says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. God sometimes gives us challenges we never expected but the joys are so much sweeter. I love romantic comedies and can’t wait to read your novel.

  • Paula Boire says:

    Hi Krista,
    Such a deep testimony. I’ll be praying for you.

  • Alena T says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your testimony. I cannot imagine how close to God you have to stay.

    Loved the picture of your family!

    Alena T.

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