NEONATAL INFANT: PART II_A GLORIOUS OUTCOME
This article was written in the first person narrative by my daughter, Stephanie Black, and edited and expanded by me, Stephen Key.
A Compromised Baby Is Born
My name is Stephanie. But for the grace of God, I shouldn’t be here on earth to tell you my story. The odds were stacked against me when I was born and I am thankful that I am alive and well this very day to share my thoughts with anyone interested in my story.
It all started on the 5th of September, 1976. Ironically it was the same year as the bicentennial celebration of the independence of the United States of America. I can truthfully say that it was also the celebration of the first day of the rest of my life.
As set forth in “Neonatal Infant: Part I”, I was born with a tumor in my throat. I really don’t remember what I went through during those early moments when I first arrived. My skin was discolored, I was told, and I had trouble breathing. It wasn’t until later years that I was able to grasp the meaning of it all.
I know that Mom and Dad were very distraught over the whole ordeal. But my Grandparents added another dimension to the saga. I learned that my Grandfather created his own firestorm when he began fighting with the doctors and demanding that they take remedial action to save my life. Being a former Baptist minister, he pulled no punches when issuing his directives. On a saner note, he also spent time in prayer with my Grandmother to bring the Lord into the mix.
My Pre-Teen Newfound Identity
As a result of all that happened back then, I was very thankful that God did spare my life. The amazing thing was that I enjoyed a pain-free childhood growing up. Other than a minor degree of hearing loss in my left ear due to the surgery, I have not had any serious issues with my health since then.
What I did have was a guarded relationship with 2 very aggressive siblings who competed with each other over everything. Since I was so small, I felt it was safer to sit on the sidelines and just watch them go at it. It was my own way of steering clear of trouble.
As I grew, I became indirectly involved with the ministries that my parents were engaged in. In my own inimitable way, I sort of let myself fit in with the shenanigans that came about when they picked up kids for Sunday School on the church bus. Along with that, I took note of my father’s position as youth director and gained some insights into my own role in serving the Lord at a very young age. With that being said, I still found some clouds hovering over my head.
During those beginning years, I was told I was a very sweet and lovable child. At least up until the day an antagonistic little boy hit me at church and made my eye swell up. Afterwards, my dad had to take me to the hospital. Remindful of that ordeal, the next time he came at me I clobbered him. I think it then became clear I had a very strong temperament and would not be denied recourse against anyone who did me wrong.
Another time I was with my Mom at an old-town style shopping area when some lady gave my mother a dirty look as she passed. Being very protective of her at the time, I followed the woman and bumped her hard as she tried to go through a doorway. Not sure why I did that, but I guess it was just me dealing with my temperament.
This Strong Willed Teenager Gains Spiritual Insights
Moving on from that early childhood, I went through a very cool-clothes look as a young girl before I transitioned into a sort-of all-black dark demeanor during my teenage years. As we moved around a lot from home to home, and state to state, I eventually changed my somber outlook on life. I also got used to a wanderlust state of mind engendered by the fact that my parents did not stay in one place too long.
At one point in my life, I wound up living in a storm-damaged house with my older sister, her first husband, and their 2 kids. It was during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew when my Dad did work as a contractor rebuilding damaged homes. The overall experience was a difficult time for me in more ways than one.
When that period came to an end, I found myself residing in Utah with my grandparents. After a prolonged absence from the pulpit, my grandfather had recently become a Baptist Minister once again in a small church in the southern part of the state. His sermons often referenced the trials of my birth as a basis for some of the messages he foisted on his congregation. It was at this time that my spiritual enlightenment began to take shape.
While residing there, I met a young man who got my attention. This heartthrob named Shaun, along with his parents, was part of a ministry that assisted small churches with their building programs. While he and his father helped the men in the church build a new sanctuary, we connected with each other while going on a date or two. He was 15 years of age at the time and I had turned 17. This sort of lukewarm relationship lasted about 2 years before we eventually moved apart. Even though we followed our parents in different directions, we still stayed in touch.
This period was also a time when I became very interested in inspirational women speakers who based their teachings from the Bible. My favorite, at the time, was Barbara Johnson. She gave impetus to my desire to minister to other women and become a speaker someday myself. I knew that, shortly after I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I would be pursuing more spiritual meaning to my life. A life that God had spared not so long ago.
On Becoming A Woman
I eventually moved, with my parents, back to Florida when I was given notice by the Christian Correspondence high school I took courses with that I could attend graduation ceremonies there. Since they were fed up with living in the Southwestern part of the United States, they decided they would stay in Florida after the event was over with. That decision took us all the way down to the Hollywood area just below Ft. Lauderdale.
While down there, I received a fateful envelope in the mail one day. It contained a letter from Shaun that officially notified me that he was ending our relationship and the devastating news broke my heart.
After that moment, it felt as though I was entering a very destructive part of my life. I dated other boys, but I felt no spark with them. Some time later, Shaun’s sister, Angie, entered the picture. She saw how miserable he was after terminating our relationship and worked her wiles to get us back together. Eventually, her Cupid-inspired tenacity proved itself out. As a result of her incessant prodding, we reconnected and he wound up asking me to marry him.
The impending ceremony was slated to take place in my grandfather’s church, but before the connubial event took place, something terrible happened. Even though he was chosen by me to preside over our wedding, God had something else in mind.
A few weeks before our big day was slated to take place, he was preaching at a funeral service and suddenly collapsed on the pulpit platform. Two paramedics just happened to be there in the audience when it happened and tried to revive him. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so and pronounced him dead on the spot. They then let everyone know that a massive stroke had ended his life.
Saddened by this turn of events, we steadfastly moved forward with the wedding as planned. Another young man named Charles, who had been studying to become a minister himself, presided instead. We then went back to Nevada and lived there for awhile during which time Shaun worked with his dad. At least until the economy in the region tanked and dried up all the construction jobs in our area.
So, we made the decision to move to Florida where my husband could work with my dad. There, we sort of became yuppie style wannabes, only planning to have children after 2 years went by. Little did we know that our decision to hold off raising a family was going to turn into a long period of frustration. Notwithstanding, a full 10 years of elapsed time went by with no babies to call our own.
Rebirth Of Spiritual Longings
During this period, we wound up back in Nevada. Since I was much more spiritually inclined by that time, I sought venues that would feed my insatiable thirst for the word of God. One high point for me in that regards was when I attended a Beth Moore conference in Las Vegas, Nevada with other members of the church we were now a part of.
At the end of her speaking event, she began to mingle with everyone. I was standing in a crowd near her when she came over and asked me if there was anything in my life she could pray for. With a bit of a serious look in my face, I mentioned that I really wanted to have children. So, she honored that request by praying with me for that longing and touched my heart in doing so. It was the year of 2008 and on the very same day as my birthday. I didn’t know if that was a coincidence or not, but I’m inclined to think that it was.
Finally, In May of 2010, I received the startling news that I had finally gotten pregnant, and in the month of January of the year 2011, I gave birth to my first child. A few years later, I had another son. Thankfully, both Joshua and Daniel entered the world with no problems. Certainly nothing to compare with what I went through as a baby. I now had two new reasons to praise the Lord because of what he was doing for me in my life.
The Indomitable Journey
My story has been a convoluted journey with many ups and downs. Repeated financial difficulties, loss of our home, and standing on the threshold of bankruptcy has tested our resolve. Marriage difficulties brought both of us to a near fatal collapse of our relationship together and we did not have much in the way inspirational guidance to help us endure the trials that came our way.
With that said, both Shaun and I managed to embrace a great deal of fortitude and the desire to allow God a chance to guide us going forward. In that regards, we decided we were going to pray our way through all our troubles. In doing so, we prepared ourselves to listen to what the Lord had to tell us. That meant we would begin to allow Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit. To free ourselves up, we decided on a very difficult path.
Recently Shaun and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We definitely needed the Lord’s help to get us this far. Our Creator promised He would give it and He delivered.
The decision to use all our resources to pay off our debtors was a difficult one. But we did it, and now we are debt free. This included living in a converted school bus for a while with our children. I personally feel that this scenario is a narrow road that is not fit for the faint of heart. It is very easy to just give it all up and throw in the towel.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Mark 7:13-14
There are so many Bible verses that would speak to, and comfort, me when I was struggling with all the negative events of my life. The road is still long for us, but we can look back and say that we have been faithful and patient. As a result, God has rewarded us by keeping us in His sights and honoring His commitments to our future endeavors.
The Unquenchable Dream
It is my dream to have our own home, built with our own funds, in a place where we can serve the Lord. It would be a base of operations to help us go out and minister to others, telling them about the Lord Jesus Christ and how He can help them in their own lives. Just like the way He let me survive my ordeals as a new-born infant, get married, and give me the patience to wait for my two beautiful children. Just like He did to save my soul and help me through all the various trials of my life.
You can make dreams come true by yourself with a bit of luck on the way. Or you can climb on the back of the God who created you and follow His direction. If you choose the latter path, you will receive all the blessings that come with that decision as he molds you into the person He wants you to be.
Yes, it is a hard road to follow. But your dream will become the one He wants for you. Maybe not the one you originally want, but His just the same. I can attest to the fact that your joy will soon be there to follow.
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!