By COURTNEY INGLE
“Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
If you read those Garth Brooks lyrics with a “Yeah, right” or an eye roll, then congratulations, we’re in the same boat — or at least we were at one time.
I held an exhausted 2-year-old in my arms and rocked her to sleep in a children’s hospital lobby between appointments and sang an endless loop of “Oh, it’s OK, little girl …”
It was not OK. It was retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the eye.
We prayed for a miracle. Every waking moment, whether it was us or one of the hundreds of other people praying, someone was asking for one of those moments when a shocked doctor says, “The tumor disappeared.”
Did we get our miraculous healing for our little girl? No. But we did get a successful surgery and we have gotten all clean reports since! Our girl is healthy, happy, sassy and thriving. But we didn’t get that miraculous healing.
Many would argue that we had no miracles at all, but I disagree.
Maternal instinct is the first miracle here.
I noticed a white glow in Taylor’s eye when I was changing her diaper. At first I thought, “Well, that’s weird, must be the light,” but then I could not turn off the alarms in my mind. We called first thing that Monday morning to get her into our eye doctor.
Speed was the second miracle.
Dr. Karmen Crawford at Crawford Eye Care could see it but not officially diagnose it. She referred us to Batson.
The next morning, we had the exploratory procedure, and the pediatric eye doctor there, Dr. Hongvan Li, told us it was a mass that appeared to be malignant.
By bedtime that night, we were at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. We had a place to stay, appointments, and nurses navigating us through it all. The next morning, we had another exam under anesthesia and the official diagnosis: retinoblastoma.
The official diagnosis was October 9. Surgery was October 16, and Taylor has been cancer-free since then.
The third miracle was that the cancer had not spread to her brain, despite the evidence of imminent spread in her scans.
The scans revealed a tumor that looked like the seeds of a dandelion after that first soft blow. Had one of those little seeds hit her optic nerve, it would have spread quickly to her brain. Thank God, thank and praise Him, that is not part of our girl’s story.
The final miracle? The people.
When we were too weak to pray, we had people from all over the world (even our neighbor’s family’s church in Peru) interceding on our behalf. Big churches, small churches, friends, neighbors, airport police, doctors and nurses back home, family, the realtor … all of them were praying.
We met so many people who were in the same boat as us. We walked out of the initial consultation, waiting for Taylor to wake up, and a woman walked up to me and asked, “Is it retinoblastoma?” She offered a much-needed hug. God used her in that moment to physically hug me and say that our daughter was in good hands.
I am truly convinced that every doctor who laid their hands on Taylor was a God-ordained person. Dr. Matthew Wilson in Memphis is highly regarded for his work in ophthalmology oncology — and you mean to tell me his availability was by chance? C’mon now.
When you’re praying for a miracle, don’t be so miracle-minded that you miss the message. Don’t miss the “little miracles” just because you’re fixated on the “big miracle.”
There’s a mystery to this life, and the answers to life’s greatest questions we may never find. But remain faithful and surrender.
“I observed all the work of God and concluded that man is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though a man labors hard to explore it, he cannot find it; even if the wise man claims to know it, he is unable to discover it.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17
Courtney Ingle and her husband, Jeremy, live in Crossgates in Brandon. They have a daughter, Taylor Scott, who is 4 years old, and a son, Jacob Leon, who is 6 months old. Courtney is a stay-at-home mom and homemaker and can be emailed at email@example.com.