Today’s guest post comes from Debbie Haltom. It’s been my honor to have some online interactions with Debbie over the course of the past several months, and every time, her words– sometimes startlingly honest, always grace-filled– have blessed me. I hope they’ll do the same for you here. –Tamára
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14
Last night my 17-year-old daughter called me because she was lost. She was supposed to babysit for one of our church’s community groups and had been given the address but could not find the house.
Bear in mind that my daughter has an iPhone with the Google Maps app, and she also has an actual Garvin GPS unit in her truck– she still gets lost, because God formed her with no sense of direction. When it was time for her to make her way out of the womb and into the world, she was looking for the birth canal under my ribcage, and so the search and rescue party had to go in and get her via c-section.
I found out years after her birth that I had Hepatitis C and that my daughter did not have it. I was told that the way a mother passes it to her child is during the baby’s passage through the birth canal, and the way to prevent that from happening is to perform a c-section.
Every time she gets lost, I thank God for forming her without the directional sense to even find her way out of the womb.
I was a single mom who didn’t know anything about babies, and I had a lot of really crappy baggage I was dragging around that I had yet to deal with. When she was 2 months old, she woke me at 2am crying for her feeding (a.k.a. screaming at the top of her lungs), and the stress of sleep deprivation, anxiety, and postpartum hormones tapped into the stores of rage inside me from all my un-dealt-with crap. I lay beside her with fists and teeth clenched, wanting to shake her until she shut up. It took me a good 15 minutes to get my rage under control enough to safely touch her, and I uttered a desperate cry: “I can’t do this one more night, God. I will kill her.”
The very next night, my 2-month-old baby slept from 7pm until 7am. And the next night, and the next, and every night after that until she was 3 years old. She also took 4-hour naps during the day.
Not until my daughter was 6 months old did I find out the reason she slept so much– God had formed her with an atrial septal defect, a hole in her heart, and that made her more tired than a “normal” baby.
I thank God for forming that hole. The hole that, when she was 2-and-a-half, forced me to completely trust in him, to experience for the first time in my life the peace that surpasses all understanding as I handed her over to be cut open, have her heart stopped, and be placed on a machine while the “defect” was repaired.
He is sovereign, he is good, his ways are not our ways– and we can trust him with it all.
Debbie Haltom is a 47-year-old single mom living outside Baton Rouge. She’s been through a lot of crap and has come out of it believing all that matters is that she loves God and she does her best to love everyone around her.