Happy Birthday Sarah!

I wrote this post 7 years ago, just one month into my blogging journey. Many people here in Texas only knew us once Sarah was older and don’t realize the journey we went on to get to the place that we are. I have been considering writing more about the lessons the Lord has taught me through her and hope to start doing so in the next couple of weeks. I hope that the testimony of the Lord’s goodness and mercy will in some way bless you.

September 10th was our daughter Sarah’s 18th birthday. That’s a special day in anyone’s life, but for Sarah it was doubly special. When Sarah was born, she seemed like every other girl baby, though she was especially happy and easy going. She began reaching all of the normal milestones a mother looks for, such as rolling over, smiling at her parents and sister. At 6 months old we began to notice that she wasn’t trying to sit like she should. When it was time for her 6 month check up I shared some of my concerns with my pediatrician. Everything was going great until he measured her head. I will remember the next thing he said for the rest of my life. He looked at me with a great deal of concern in his eyes and said, “Mrs. Keeth, for some reason Sarah’s head isn’t growing like it should. She has microcephaly.” Microcephaly just means, small head. He was unsure of the reason behind the problem and wanted her to see a neurologist. He told us to watch for seizures, but that it would take up to 3 months to see a neurologist.

This news sent me into the deepest pit of dispair that I have ever been in. It seemed as if it was all a dream. As the days went by, I found out that some children who have microcephaly slowly die as their brains grow but not their heads. To me this was an unthinkable situation to be in, to slowly watch my baby die was more than I could bear. I began to pray that she would die in her sleep from SIDS. In my thinking this would be easier on everyone. She wouldn’t suffer and neither would we. I thought I had figured out the best solution for everyone, if I could only make God see it my way.

The weeks went by, we finally were able to see the neurologist. During those weeks, Gene had switched jobs and we didn’t have any insurance. We ended up seeing a neurologist at LSU Med Center in Shreveport. We waited 5 hours in a waiting room and when we finally saw her it was a horrible experience. This was a teaching hospital and they treated Sarah like a specimen, not a person. They acted as if nothing they were saying should affect us emtionally. The doctor told us in no uncertain terms that, “She will never walk, talk or do anything. You need to institutionalize her and get on with your life.” The results of her exam were that she had Cerbral Palsy,Developemental Delay and Epilepsy.

I don’t know what I would have done without Gene at that time. He was so strong always reminding me that God was in control and had a plan.

A few weeks later, I noticed that Sarah didn’t react when I vaccuumed under her baby bed. She just laid there laughing and smiling at me. I took her in for some testing and we suspected she was deaf. It wouldn’t be until she was nearly two that we had the confirmation that she was.

Time went on, and Sarah was a light into my life, and into everyone’s she met. She was always happy and joyful. I can remember going to see a neurologist at Texas Scottish Rites Hospital in Dallas. He was the first one to give me hope. Sarah was 18 months old and couldn’t sit or even support her upper body weight. He examined her and when he was finished he said, “I can’t tell you why medically, but I believe Sarah will be able to do whatever you allow her to do. I can look into her eyes and see that there is more to her than what you have been told.” That was all this mother needed to hear! A week or so later I went to see her pediatrician again and told him what the neurologist had said. His answer was, “I don’t believe that. There is nothing to show me that.” His words didn’t deter me though, I had been given hope. God knew that’s what I needed.

Within a few months Sarah began to sit. And then she learned to pull herself up onto things with her one good arm. She had this funny frog hop that she did instead of crawling, but it didn’t slow her down at all. She didn’t learn to walk and wasn’t potty trained until she was 4, but at 18 that doesn’t really matter.

Sarah is still a light in our lives and in the lives of many others. You will usually find her smiling or laughing, especially if you do something embarassing, like tripping, in front of her. We have so many stories about her that it would take hundreds of pages to tell them. Most of them would have you in tears from laughter.

There are still difficulties with Sarah. There are many things she is unable to do. She can’t ride a bike, scooter, skate or drive though she thinks she should be able to. She can’t walk long distances without a wheelchair because she tires out. She also can’t imagine saying hurtful words to someone on purpose. She can’t understand not trusting in God or denying His existance. She can’t understand that there are people who judge her because she’s different. Or that people wouldn’t love her as she loves them.

Lately Sarah’s emotions have been a roller coaster, and we’re all along for the ride. At times I get discouraged, wanting to fix things (I’m famous for wanting to be able to fix things and getting frustrated when it isn’t fixed instantly). I can remember being in a Bible study right after I got saved, I was 19. We were studying Job and discussing the trust that God had in him to know that Job would never deny God. I remember praying, you guessed it, that God would trust me like that. I joke about it and say be careful what you pray for because you might get it. But ya know, I wouldn’t change a thing. If it hadn’t been for Sarah I would probably be one of the most shallow Christians around, depending on myself and not on God. I learned that as long as I think I’m in control, I don’t depend on Him, I depend on myself. Today I know that God only gives me the grace to handle what comes at me, not for today, but for this minute. It’s not a day by day walk with Him, but a minute by minute walk.

In whom are you trusting? What if something happened to one of your children or your parents? Would you trust that God would sustain you? That He will carry you through? I pray that you will examine yourself and see exactly in whom you are trusting.

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