I remember when our eldest daughter was born 8 years ago, I cannot describe the sheer joy and exhileration I felt as I ran down the stairs after leaving my wife and newborn together both resting. Seeing my wife, Magi, nursing our baby was one of the most impacting picures I have ever seen. Mother and little girl- perfect! . I remember running down the stairs hollering as loud as I could ” thank you God” not caring who heard me, just full of gratitude and joy. People just laughing and smiling and some saying ” congratulations”. One man asked me “girl or boy” knowing what my joy was about. ” Girl ” I replied as I offered a high five and he smiled back as we smacked hands.
A few days later we knew something was wrong. Our baby was not feeding properly and milk that went into her mouth came immediately out her nose. After further examination we discovered she had a cleft palate.
“After further examination we discovered she had a cleft palate.”
1 in 4000 kids in Ireland have this and need surgery. We were immediately onto a care team and prospects of long term hospitals and rehab. I remember coming out of the hospital that first day, and Magi and I exploded with tears as we both thought, did we do something wrong? Knowing our little girl was going to have to go through at least one serious reconstruction surgery. It was a really tough time. Our perfect little girl for the briefest moment didn’t seem perfect and we felt like we’d let her down. Thank God we had his comfort and love, with the love of family and friends. For every day leading up to her operation at 8 months it was the first thing I thought of as I woke each morning and the last thing I thought of before I lay down each night. In those moments late at night I wrestled with God- telling him it would be to his glory if I could wake in the morning and her little palate would be healed, and how I’d tell the world of HIS love and healing power. Every morning I’d check and every morning I knew this was something we’d have to go through and I’d probably never know why.
As I look at her now, 7 years on, I can’t stop thanking God as I see her brush her teeth every night and look at her beautiful mouth, thinking what had to happen to make it so beautiful. I often ask her to open her mouth just to show me the white scars all across the roof of her mouth. She now laughs as I say ” beautiful- praise God”. She loves her Mum and I telling her about her story.
As we entered CoRSU hospital in Uganda last week, I met a Mum with a beautiful little girl called STELLA who was 8 weeks old. Stella was bron with cleft lip and palate and her young Mum only 21 years old stood over her bed as the nurse worked on Stella, preparing Stella for surgery in a few weeks when her little body would be strong enough. Tears filled my eyes and the eyes of many of our team at such a sorrowful sight. Her Mum could not afford the surgery and had no way of paying for the rehab Stella would need. I can’t imaging how that must have felt. It must of felt for such a financially poor woman that God was far away. Well God stepped in. What were the chances of us being there at that time? We have taken Stella into our Z4K family and we will work with her Mum and ensure Stella gets the best treatment possible. It doesn’t stop the fact that Stella will still have to have surgery and there will be pain and discomfort, but at least we will LOVE her and her MUM as if they are our own family.
“We have taken Stella into our Z4K family”
As we left the hospital I was leaving with mixed emotions- I felt so grateful that we could help and yet so sad that these little kids were in hospital having to go through such tough stuff. It did however make me VERY determined to ” bring light into MORE little lives” .
Thank you for the HUGE part you play in making Z4K work, thanks for the encouragement, dedication and love you bring to the kids we reach. But most especially I thank God for bringing us all together and using a group like us to bring HIS love and light into little lives and the overflow that creates into our family, friends and colleagues.
I’m DETERMINED- I’m GRATEFUL
Be blessed as you bless today.