Peace that Surpasses
It’s hard to relive this story in my mind without getting emotional. To think of the day when we could have lost our new born brings up so many feelings. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Sometimes, when he rolls his eyes at me in a certain way, I can still see that tiny 7 lb. 14 oz. chubby face as he stared straight into the ceiling while the rest of his body laid limp.
“Levi!!! Levi, wake up”.
“Come on, buddy it’s time to eat.”
Instincts began to kick in, well, because, I’ve never been through anything like this before, so how could I rely on knowledge? I stripped him down to his diaper, praying he was just too warm and cozy to eat. Nothing. Not a whimper, not a cry. I touched his body with a cold rag, hoping a jolt of uncomfort may wake him. Still nothing. I whistled, I clapped, I hollered out his name, “Levi”. Again, nothing.
I called my husband, who was a children’s pastor at the time. It was a Sunday morning in mid-August. He answered, and I told him that Levi wasn’t waking up to eat and that his eyes were fixed straight on the ceiling. He told me that when he tried to wake him before church that he ate about half a bottle but was not interested to finish the rest. He told me how hard it was to get him to eat then, and I explained how it was impossible now to get him to even open his eyes. Something was wrong. But what?
We agreed he needed to get to the hospital right away. So, Stormy left church, and I threw on some clothes. We had Levi to the hospital within the next few minutes. I carried his lifeless body into the emergency room, and met a nurse at the door. I told her, “He’s not waking to eat, his eyes just stare straight into the ceiling, if he even opens them at all.” She assured me everything was fine, and told me his sugar was probably just low. So as I was holding him, she pricked his heal. Nothing. Not one cry. Not one whimper. I could almost see the fear come into her eyes as she scooped him from my arms and walked him carefully yet speedily into the trauma room. We followed her down and watched as they made attempts to draw blood from several places in his tiny- less than 8 pound body. They did a catheter but got nothing. They did 2 spinal taps, unsuccessfully. They called in a second doctor to attempt the third time. Each prick took Levi’s oxygen down to dangerous levels. He couldn’t keep up with breathing on his own, so they helped him what they could. Still, through each poke, that sound that I would have given my own life to hear, was not present. No whimpers, no tears, not even a moan. The doctor was still unsuccessful, but saw enough of Levi’s spinal fluid to make a decision on what medicines to start him on. This doctor was a God-send. You know when they show those videos of a street in fast-forward motion, and all the cars are zooming by and there’s a person standing on the sidewalk still as can be? That’s what it felt like, so many doctors and nurses rushing around trying to help my son, but it just felt like chaos. However, this doctor, as soon as he saw the fluid, began to just harness the chaos. Calling orders, making sense, stopping the fast-forward motion.
I remember at certain times, Stormy would have me step out of the room. I don’t know how he watched everything, but he was so present, an energy source that I needed. I was still healing from having a baby just 10 days before, I was so weak and exhausted from having a new born, it was very much like being on auto-pilot.
I remember at some point, them taking Levi to get scans of his body. As we watched from behind the glass screen, I could hear the song the radiologist was listening to. The words still well up warm tears in my eyes,
“ The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures”.
I don’t know if he knows it, but Chris Tomlin wrote that song for me. For that specific moment. Any other song could have been on the radio. But it wasn’t. It was those lyrics, at that point of the song. God knew.
After what seemed like an eternity, they told us they had a room ready in PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). He was young enough for the NICU for newborns, but since we had already been home for several days, they don’t allow for re-entry to the NICU as to not bring germs in to the smaller babies. This was a blessing, because it meant we could stay the night with him, and wouldn’t have to leave him in the hospital.
The doctor soon came in and told us of the plan for the next few days. He explained that they were not able to get a successful spinal tap, but he was able to see enough of the fluid to start treatment. He wasn’t sure, but he was treating Levi for Meningitis, which attacks your blood and your brain. He did also run a test for it, but it takes a culture three days to come back, and we did not have that kind of time. He put Levi on two different medicines to combat the meningitis. He said that in a few more days we could run another spinal tap, but at that time it would be too much on his body to do it now. The doctor explained that Levi would not wake up for a few days, so not to expect anything to change right away. I remember asking the doctor if this was something that babies come back from, not wanting to use the word “death” in any form. The doctors words made no sense to me then, and they still don’t now. He said, “The horse is out of the barn, that’s all I can say”. (They don’t make an emoji that would have described my face). What can I have faith in here? What is there for me to hold on to? I thought to myself. Feeling hopeless, lost, and kinda mad. What does that even mean? The doctor spent little time with us, and made his way to other patients.
The next few days were exhausting, some of it, sliding out of my memory. They didn’t feed him at all over the next two days, other than an IV. That was hard for a mom to understand, especially when you’re so used to feeding your baby every few hours.
After a few days, he began to arouse. They said he would be in pain from the meningitis attacking his brain, like a severe headache. The first cry he let out was amazing. I wasn’t happy he was hurting, but I was happy he could tell me he was hurting, and I was there for him. I would often just lay my head beside his, and I knew he knew I was there.
Day after day he got stronger. His color returned, his eyes opened. It wasn’t some big crescendo, it was just tenderly and miraculously. My husband shared with me how God showed him the verse Philippians 4:7 in real time the first day we took Levi in. The verse says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Stormy said that as they were working on Levi that God showed him a race, where his peace passed up his understanding and got to Stormy before he even knew it. God’s peace was in that room that day, and every other day we were in that hospital.
I couldn’t rely on the doctor to give me peace, because like I said, he told me the “horse was out of the barn”. I couldn’t rely on what I was seeing, because what I saw was a baby who was on the brink of ____. (I can’t even bring myself to say it). I could only rely on the peace that passed my understanding. I could only rely on Jesus. I could only rely on my father, God, who rushed in like a flood. Who saw me in my deepest need, and showed up. He never for one second left me, or Levi alone.
Levi came home a few weeks later, as perfect as can be. Today he is more than above average in stature and milestones. He is a perfect little almost 3 year old boy.
God gave him back to me before he was even a month old, and I don’t take that lightly. Every time I think back on this story, Levi’s story, I feel so many emotions, but the one feeling I still get now, the same one that I had then, is peace. Peace that surpasses.
If you’re in a moment now, where you need peace that passes your understanding, because maybe you’re going through a season you don’t understand, let me pray this over you…
“Father God, you are so faithful to us. Your love exceeds every obstacle that is in front of us right now. There is no where we can go, and nothing we can do that could take us away from your love. Lord, in this moment, please surround the person reading this with your peace. Let them see how you are with them even when the thing they are up against seems impossible. Let them get the same revelation Stormy got of your peace passing their understanding. Thank you God, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.”
If you have any questions, or have faced anything similar, leave a comment below, and let’s chat!