God Took Me by the Hand. One of the things I took away from that book is the need to tell life stories. I'm not pretending to be Jerry Bridges or that anyone would want to hear my life story. But I thought if I do not write these things down (at least for my kids), I'll forget about them. They may not hear them. And so today I'm starting a series of stories that I'm going to write to show how God has been active in my life throughout my life. I'm writing these stories for my children, you just get to look through the window of our storytime (if you want).
I thought I would start with my birth story. I know I was there, but do not remember much about it. Several years ago, I asked my mom to write down some of the details of my birth so I would have them. These are her words as she recalls the events of the beginning of my life.
"On October 31, 1973, I went to the hospital, trusting to have a baby that night because our insurance ran out that day. When I had not given birth by the next morning, the doctor took an x-ray to see how many babies I was carrying: 'One big one' was the report. (There were no ultrasounds back then.) Labor was induced and at 4:44 that afternoon, Thad was born. Then on Saturday night, November 3, as we were celebrating with my sister the birth of our 9 pound 1 ounce baby boy, the doctor entered our room and said, 'Mr. and Mrs. Bergmeier, you have a very sick son.'
He then proceeded to tell how Thad had a blood infection, which caused him to be very lethargic and to run a temperature, was jaundice, had a collapsed lung, and had an enlarged heart, which probably meant a congenital heart disease. Thad had already been put under the lights for the jaundice, and a heart specialist had been called in. At first I thought God was punishing me because I really did not want two babies so close together. That night God showed me again Romans 8:28-29. I studied it and read it over and over again. All this was to be for God's glory. Later that night a young nurse started to witness to me. God had everything lined up just the way He designed it to be. The next day, Sunday, I went home without my baby.
Because we lived about thirty minutes from the hospital and I had a child not quite a year old at home, I did not get to see Thad everyday. On Monday we talked to the heart specialist. He said that he would call us back the next day because he was running all kinds of tests on Thad and would not have the results until the next afternoon. Tuesday afternoon he called and asked us to meet him that night outside the nursery so he could talk to us about Thad. We went, expecting to hear how we were going to have to deal with an invalid. The doctor then said that if he had not personally examined Thad Saturday night, he would have thought that someone had switched babies. Thad's blood infection was clear, he was no longer lethargic, and he did not have a fever. His lung was working properly. His heart was still large but probably just to fill his large chest cavity. (Several doctors had told us that Thad had the broadest shoulders and largest chest cavity they had ever seen.) The doctor referred to Thad as the miracle baby. We verbally gave God the credit. When the doctor asked if we had any questions, Gary had one: 'Will he be able to play sports?'
'Will he be able to play football?'
'With the size of those shoulders and chest cavity, he better.'
Since there had been so many things wrong with Thad, the doctor wanted to keep him in the hospital until the next Sunday, just for observation. Finally, when he was ten days old, we brought home a healthy baby boy, knowing that God had something very special planned for him."
I never played football, but I did play futbol. Maybe my dad just mispronounced it back in the day.
I would ask my mom to tell me this story often as a child. She would always end the story the same way: "God has something special for you someday." I don't know why I used to ask her to tell the story. Maybe it was simply that I longed to be considered special. Maybe it was because there was something inside of me that was curious as to what that "something special" was that God would have for me someday.
I used to love having my mom tell that story. I don't share it much these days. I don't know why. I don't know why I was born so sick and then healed so quickly. I don't know why me and not the countless other children who are born with illnesses. Maybe I don't share it so much today because of fear that I won't live up to that "God's got something special for you" feeling. That can be a lot of pressure.
One thing is for sure. God began to take me by the hand (to borrow Bridge's verbage) while I was still in the womb. He began to work in my heart back then (physically and spiritually). And for that I'm thankful.