Thursday, December 26, 2013


Just this morning my friend, Trudy, and I Face-Timed (it must be a verb by now) and one of us said, "God's hand is in the details." Both of our families asked for prayer recently and saw God work His plan in His timing in His way.  Witnessing that "lamp unto my feet and light unto my path" is an honor to God's children.  Me included!

Last week's blog highlighted the recent birth of our miracle grandson, James. (Also be sure to see the video at the end of this one.)  He was not expected to survive his birth because of a medical problem.  I flew to Canada to be with our daughter, Katy, and her hubby, Dave-the Nut. (We get along exceptionally well, for obvious reasons. Today's his birthday--happy birthday, Nut!)  I packed for both a birth and a death. My wedding day prepared me for such extreme contrasts, because my grandfather died the same morning I was married.  

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD." We were all trusting in His sovereignty for this baby, knowing His will might not be our choice.

The family of 7, about to become 8, met my plane.  We got stuck in traffic between Detroit and the Canadian border crossing.  The lively conversation and van full of children filled our time and minds.  

Looming, however, was the next day when Kate would be induced in Toronto (3 1/2 hours from their home.)   The morbidity rate for babies with AVM (a vein malformation) was 77%. Traffic crawled then Dave spotted a Texas tag on the SUV to our front left.

Then we read three things on the back of that vehicle.  A sticker on the window that said

You'll get through THIS.
Below that were metal letters 
Under that was the sign of the fish. 

Dave grabbed his camera, leaned out the window and shot a picture.

And we did!  You may call this a coincidence.  We believe God spoke to us in various but personal ways that whole week in Toronto.  This was the first of many times we knew God was in the details, ordering our steps, whether we faced life or death.

He assured us in very intimate ways, like when we met the first nurse in the hospital, "I'll be taking care of you, Mrs. VanKestern.  My name is Kathy."

From her bed, Katy, asked, "Are you a Kathryn?"

"Yes," she smiled.

"Me too," Katy smiled back.

"Me too," I grinned.

Katy added, "My daughter at home is Kathryn too but we call her Kate."

I chimed in, "My mother's name was Kathryn.  She's in heaven. But we're to the fourth generation now on that name.

The nurse spelled it the same way. "Correctly!" as she put it.

I'd actually prayed, "Lord, if this baby boy dies, please have Mama ready to hold him.  Either way, he'll be in the arms of a Kathryn who loves him."

But God knew the plans he had for James.  After his amazing birth, one doctor exclaimed, "You DO know your baby is defying all the odds, don't you?"  

Next day after James' birth in NICU, a doctor came and introduced herself, "My name is. . ."  You guessed it, Kathryn. It happened 3 or 4 times. Dave found familiar connection and comfort as he repeatedly met other Dutchmen on our medical team.

He knows my name!

A friend made a quilt before James was born. On it were his name and Psalm 139:14 

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

This video captures our week beautifully.  We came expecting to enter a valley but found ourselves lifted to a mountain top.

Mother and miracle child right after birth

UPDATE: James' vein of Galen in his brain has shrunk some. They want to wait until he's about four months old for surgery to reduce it.  Sometimes it goes down in size enough on its own not to need surgery.  He's suffered no brain damage nor heart damage so far. In fact, cardio said, "We don't need to see him again for follow-up. Neuro has it from here." That is amazing grace for a baby with an aneurysm.  But our God's never been limited by odds or percentages!  So continue to pray God will keep him safe and in His will.  Whether God heals James through His natural plans or via medicine, we praise Him for the miracle of healing and life every day He's given us!

Dave, Katy and I spent that first week at Ronald McDonald House while James was in NICU.  By our room there, we Face-Timed Doug, Papa, back in America and found a creative way to include him in the picture!  Face-Time is most definitely a verb!

1 comment:

  1. Kathy, we thank you so dearly for ministering to us through your grandson. His birth has become a blessing not only to you and your family but to all of us who've come to know James through his grandparents. He's definitely a miracle baby and we'll continue in our daily prayers to ask for God's sustaining grace and peace to cover James and his family throughout his life.
    Ugo and Alecia.