Today’s story comes from a beautiful (in every sense of the word) young wife, mother, sister, auntie, friend whom you would never know has been to the grave and back. Her life and her family radiate the kind of beauty that makes you want to pull in closer and discover their secret. They literally ooze grace from their pores, it seems!
For years, I watched their family from a distance, admiring what I saw. Often, the portraits which etched themselves into my memory were those of their entire family at the altar, standing before God in response to His Word. I had no idea of the things they brought to that altar. I had no idea that the secret to the grace they walked in was a surrender so deep, few would ever truly understand. I had no idea that the unwavering stance she has today was born out of her determination to stand through the wind and waves of the storms that raged against her then. I had no idea that God was weaving a story in her, in them, that would one day tell the world of His amazing grace.
Her story is one of loss and grief, of letting go and letting God take her where no mother ever wants to go. But go she did, and what she has gained in that place, she now brings back to share with us. It is truly a testimony that will challenge you to not only believe in God, but to trust Him as you never thought you could…or wanted to have to.
I am still walking beside this woman today, as she faces more graves in her path. Often, I marvel at her strength and, which is really a gentle weakness that has learned to draw from God’s strength. Not knowing the details of this story, I have wondered how she faces what she does with such amazing grit, and such deep trust. Now I understand: she has already been here, at death’s door, and she has seen what the hand of her gracious God can do. She has witnessed His power to bring life out of death, and she has learned to trust His goodness in tending to the life that survives the grave.
She daily inspires me toward two things: greater, deeper trust in God; and deeper connection with other women – that I might catch some of what they carry, and that we might inspire each other to press in and press on for the breakthroughs God has promised. I hope you will be inspired today with the same – or more!
“My name is Yvette, and this is my resurrection story…”
At the age of 22 years, I was not prepared for the miraculous journey that I would set out to embark on for most of my remaining life.
On October 2, 2003, I gave birth to a baby girl, Angelique. She weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Unbeknownst to me or to the medical staff, she was born with numerous medical anomalies. As her complications were discovered, I was catapulted into a whirlwind of mixed emotions, thoughts, and uncertainties. Being a first time mom, this was overwhelming, but I used my medical knowledge to help me do what I knew was best, which was to control and understand her condition. However, God would take me through an amazing journey of faith and surrender as I committed myself to raising this baby girl the best I knew how.
It was because of my daughter’s birth that I would come to know Jesus. Angelique has had many close calls, meaning she has been on death’s doorstep numerous times. She has had two open heart surgeries, a stomach tube placement, an eye surgery (ptosis repair) and other minor medical procedures throughout her life. I was told she wouldn’t live past the age of one, and that she would be deaf, blind, mute, and unable to walk due to hip dysplasia. But God chose to have His say, and she is neither blind, deaf, nor mute; she walks and she’s alive and well at 14 years old, thus leaving doctors in amazement.
It was her first open heart surgery, at only 30 days old, that brought me to Jesus. Angelique literally died on the surgery table. But, through a prayer of desperation from someone that I hardly knew, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit for first time. I know that God heard our cries that day. It was such an emotional day, but it ended in joy and relief, because she was revived. Shortly after, I found myself at my future husband’s church, in awe of God, and ultimately surrendered my life to Him.
This, however, was only the beginning. As time went on, Angelique was diagnosed with more medical issues that threatened her life, and she had to endure many more tests and anesthetic procedures. Nevertheless, I tried to gain a sense of peace through prayer, and by still trying to control and understand her developing condition. It wasn’t until November of 2011 that God would teach me true surrender.
Earlier that year, Angelique had been having issues swallowing, and would end up gagging and vomiting. It wasn’t until an MRI was done that we discovered Angelique would need another open heart surgery. I was so scared and nervous because because of what had occurred during her first one. All kinds of thoughts rushed through my mind. Of course the fears of losing her resurfaced, and the traumatic memory replayed itself in my mind over and over again. I didn’t want my daughter to go through that again, and I certainly never wanted to go through anything like that again, either. At this point, the only hope I had was prayer.
Around that time, I was invited to go to a small Spanish church where they prayed over my daughter and God spoke. He said we would see be healing of all her issues and she would never need heart surgery again. I held onto that promise as we prepared for the upcoming procedure. The day came, and the operation went perfectly. But during her recovery and healing, the stage was set for God to make good on His promise.
Almost 2 weeks post surgery, we were preparing to be released from the hospital and take Angelique home, when she suddenly began to have breathing problems.
She had previously been diagnosed with a condition called trachea malacia, which means she has a soft, flexible wind pipe. During the open heart surgery, she had to be intubated, and we discovered that the breathing tube had caused a huge problem. Her trachea was so inflamed and soft that it was collapsing on itself, thus making it extremely hard for her to breathe. In fact, Angelique was working so hard to push air into her lungs that all the pressure from her ribs retracting so violently with her efforts was causing the sutures and staples in her chest to tear apart. She was visibly in so much pain and distress. I hated seeing her like that.
Doctors said there wasn’t anything they could do, that either her body would recover and heal on its own, or she would eventually tire out from breathing so forcefully and need to be on a respirator, which and would end up being a perpetual cycle for her. It was horrifying to watch my precious child lay there so helplessly, with a terrified look upon her face and her eyes screaming out to me for some glimmer of hope that I could make it all better.
I was gutted. I was helpless. I was angry. All I could do was pray. I prayed so hard that I realized there was absolutely nothing in this situation that was within my control. I remembered the promise of her healing, and I focused my heart like a laser on it. Once I started to believe and trust God, I began to notice a change in myself, and ultimately in my daughter. I layed it all down at the altar, because I didn’t know what else I could do. I remember the journey of my prayers and how they went from begging for what I wanted God to do for my daughter to a place of surrender that could say, ‘God, it is your will, and whatever Your will is, let it be done.’
Eventually, Angelique’s breathing began to slow down. She went from the brink of a complete respiratory collapse to breathing normally in one day. The Doctors were left in awe. They even asked me if I had any idea why she recovered so quickly. Without hesitation I said, ‘I believe in God. I’m not the doctor, you are.’ He just gave me a confused look and mosied on to the rest of his business.
Angelique made a full recovery and she is still doing well. From that moment, Angelique’s health has been on an upward climb. All of her major health problems have become non-existent. I am watching a promise being fulfilled everyday as she lives and breathes before my once unbelieving, but now fully convinced eyes.”