By Jessi Huenink
I have plans. So many plans. Some big, some small. I’ve always been a planner with long to-do lists and a plethora of goals. When I found out I was pregnant in March of 2017, we began to make new plans for the rest of our year. We joked about how tight I was holding the reigns and about how God was probably trying to send me messages to just chill out, but hey, what else does a new mom-to-be do? You plan and shop and research, right?
With early warnings of high blood pressure, my husband urged me to relax. I did the best I could, but I don’t “take it easy” well. At 24 weeks, concerns increased and I landed myself in the hospital at 25 weeks 1 day. The doctors did their best to control my blood pressure and give our babe more time to grow on the inside. We made it to the 26-week mark, and she came screeching into the world via an emergency c-section at 8:15 pm. It saved both our lives; she wasn’t getting what she needed in the womb, and my liver was failing.
Over the next few days and weeks I stood over the isolette day after day, staring at the little 1lb 1oz being that was still supposed to be inside of me. I let the nurses teach me how to be a mom and listened to the doctors as we continued to cross things-to-be worried-about off the list. I’m thankful I was fairly numb to it all those early days, but as I drove home each night, without my daughter, I’d shout at God.
Why us?? Why me?? Why is she here? Why couldn’t I keep her safe like you created me to do?
As the weeks passed and she continued to grow stronger, I felt some gratitude. I started to feel more like a mom. But on my drives home, the questions continued to pour out.
Why do we get to be so lucky? When do we get to bring her home? Why can’t you heal her lungs? What do you want me to learn from this?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
This verse out of Jeremiah has always been a favorite. I first learned it early in my sobriety – December 2008. I clung to those words in some of the hardest times of my life. So it shouldn’t have been surprising to me that He’d bring them back to me now, during such an intense and scary time of my life, yet again.
But here is the crazy part. This verse was not just for me this time. It was for my daughter. He wanted me to share this with her, so she knew all of this wasn’t for nothing. She needed to know as she fought for her life every single day that He has a plan and purpose for her. So each day, as I held her on my chest in the NICU, surrounded by machines and covered in wires, I whispered this verse. I’ve memorized very little scripture in my life, but I learned this quickly.
I still remind my sassy toddler of this verse every night as I put her to sleep. And I remind myself too. He has a plan for each of us, and it’s not to harm us. When we hear those scary voices or have those nightmares, that’s not from Him. He brings hope and the promise of a future. I don’t know what that future looks like for either of us, but for now I will cling to this promise.
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