Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Promise of Springtime

In the past couple of weeks a groove has been worn in my mind by a Christian hit tune from over thirty years ago; the song by Bill & Gloria Gaither is called:  "Thank God for the Promise of Springtime". 
Maybe the unseasonably bleak weather, together with some frightening medical news, pushed my mind's replay button on the words:     
"Though the earth seemed bleak and barren
And the seeds lay brown and dead,
Yet the promise of life throbbed within them,
And I knew spring was just ahead.
Thank God for the promise of springtime,
Once again my heart will sing;
There's a brand new day that is dawning,
Thank God for the promise of spring."
Two weeks ago our daughter and her husband went for a prenatal exam.  The ultra-sonographer and then the perineatologist saw that their 10-week-old baby had a relatively large cystic hygroma.  In the early weeks of pregnancy such a finding indicates very high odds of chromosomal abnormalities which may be incompatible with life.  With heavy hearts we have waited nearly two weeks for a repeat sonogram.  Meanwhile, Rachel and Curt prayed and processed the news.  
Here are Rachel's own words after the first exam:  
"Curt, Will and I wanted to share with you that we are expecting baby #2.  I am sharing the news with you all now, so that you can please be in prayer for our baby.  We had our first ultrasound this week and got to hear the baby's heart beat.  However, the ultrasound revealed extra fluid on the baby's neck.  My OB recommended that I see the perinatalogist and receive genetic testing.  We went the next day to the perinatologist...who said that the baby has a cystic hygroma... 

I know that through suffering we come to know Christ in a more intimate way, and for that I am thankful...But I must say, that humanly we are sad, dissappointed, fearful, while at the same time, grateful that we can trust the Lord in ALL circumstances.  

We are reminded of Romans 8:31 'What then are we to say about these things?  If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not whithold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?' And verses 37-39:  'No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinved that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.'  

God also reminded me...that he 'uses the weak things of the world to shame the wise and the lowly things of the world He will lift up.'  God, our Father, is our ultimate example of loving the weak and helpless.  And at this time when we are feeling weak, we know that He is the one who makes us strong.  And if we have a weak and helpless baby, He will be sufficient in his or her weakness. "

More than a week later, over the weekend, Rachel wrote:
"I just wanted to give you all a little update about how we are doing.  

Emotionally, I am actually doing really well.  God has really done quite a work in my heart.  The first few days after our appointment were really hard for me ... full of fear, sadness, dissappointment, anger, and sorrow. I am sure it doesn't help to have the raging hormones of a pregnant woman and having come off of several weeks of feeling really sick!!!  

But I just kept going to the Lord with my raw emotions...He met me there and has really drawn me into such an inimate relationship with Him.  It's incredible how God's Word becomes so much more real and active in my life, when my faith has been forced to be put into practice.  
It has been a journey, but I have come to realize that it's impossible to fear, when God has promised to give us 'every good and perfect gift from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows' James 1:17. When I truly believe His Words and promises I have no fear... (Now I have the sonogram laying out in the kitchen, and I can look at it without anxiety and thank the Lord for this precious little life). 

What a wonder...this life inside me has taught me more about grace, prayer, joy and thankfulness in suffering, faith, trust/surrender, and intimacy with Christ in the few weeks of its life than all the previous days of my life!   

Finally, I've reflected on this:  'Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised' (Rom 4).   

I just know that God is able to heal this baby if He so chooses, but if that is not His will, He is still good and His plan is still perfect for our family. Anyway, it is such a freeing thing to be completely surrendered and without fear."  

Then after their appointment, Rachel said: 

"Curt and I are just about speechless and in awe of God's answers to our prayers. When the perinatalogist did the ultrasound he said the extra fluid had gone away and the area that had a really significant amount of fluid was completely gone.  It was simply amazing site to behold...because only about two weeks ago the ultrasound looked so different.  We could see our baby moving his/her hands, fingers, legs, and it's cute little nose and profile...It was just incredible.  

The doctor is very happy with these results.  However, he also said that whenever they find a cystic hygroma early in pregnancy, like they did with our baby, (even if it clears up and goes away, like it has) there is still always an increased risk of chromosomal/genetic problems. (So, I had blood work taken today that will hopefully give us even more reassuring news. I should get it back in about 10 days).

So we are very, very, very thankful for these results today!  We just want to give the Lord praise for his answers to our prayers.  Thank you all for being so faithful in your prayers for us and for standing by us through these difficult weeks." 

Today, Rachel got the results of her blood tests. Here is her latest, and hopefully last e-mail update (until the announcement of baby Peteresen #2's arrival.  She writes:

"I just wanted to let you all know that I received my first trimester prenatal screening (which uses the mom's age, baby's ultrasound measurements (including the measurement of the extra fluid they saw early on), and results of a blood test to determine our baby's risk for having chromosomal problems.

Basically, because my blood results were so good our chances actually decreased drastically after this test of having a baby with chromosomal problems...The nurse who shared the results said they were "fantastic" and "extremely reassuring".  We won't need to do an amniocentesis, and we believe and trust that God has totally healed our baby." 
Praising our Lord and Savior,

From our daughter's journal, you can understand our journey.  It is with spilling-over joy that we thank God for the promise of springtime.


  1. Oh Maury, I have goosebumps! Praise God for the healing work He has done and is the baby as well as in Rachel and her husband.
    What a beautiful daughter you have and how proud you must be at her faithfulness. I know God is smiling upon her and upon all of you!
    Thank you also for your sweet words on my post and your constant encouragment. You are a blessing!

  2. Aunt Marcia,
    Beautiful post - to both you and Rachel. I will definitely be praying for Rachel, Curt, Will and the baby! Praise God everything seems to be okay.