By Doug Hutchcraft
Eighteen years ago, several medical professionals advised my wife and me to terminate the little boy that Anna was carrying. This was suggested to us as early as Anna's first ultrasound, and by other medical professionals along the way.
Imaging and other tests showed that his heart was failing, his brain was hemorrhaging, and he was missing part of a chromosome. We were told that to "go to term" with him was to ask for a life of unending hardship for him and heartbreak for us. He would probably not even make it out of the birth canal alive. If he did, we could expect severe physical handicaps and a life of him being fed through tubes. And because of how they would have to deliver him, Anna was also at risk.
We made the decision to go to term and to pray. A lot. Taylor was delivered in an emergency extraction about a month early. The first nurse that held him said "he must be a fighter, he bopped me on the chin when I picked him up!" The hemorrhaging on his brain had disappeared. His immediate heart condition could be fixed by surgery. There would probably need to be more interventions. There were more hospital stays and therapy sessions ahead.
But God had given us our son.
On paper, Taylor shouldn't be alive. In reality, he is a thriving, funny, kind, intelligent, guitar-loving, family-loving, games-loving, God-loving young man who loves running around with his siblings and cousins. Yes, there have been challenges. Surgeries, therapies, many tests and the like. But there have also been miracles. Actual miracles. Things that could only be the work of an all-powerful, all-knowing God. Events that even the most secular of medical professionals have described as "something or someone beyond me," and yes, in their words, "miracles."
The professionals were right about one thing: our lives have been greatly changed and impacted by Taylor. We have had to learn deep patience and discover reservoirs of love we didn't know we had. We are, 18 years later, still daily learning what it means to completely depend on God and trust Him for our son's and family's future.
We believed whether or not to "keep" Taylor was up to the One who created him. And He told us that regardless of how long Taylor may or may not live, regardless of the challenges his birth might create, that Taylor was "God's masterpiece" (Ephesians 2:10) and "wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).
The fact that Taylor is as healthy as he is doesn't prove that we "made the right decision." If he had only lived an hour or had been born with greater challenges, it still would have been the right decision. God would still have been the same loving, holy, powerful God He is if He had chosen a more difficult path for us and Taylor. I won't pretend to understand why our situation is easier than other families that sincerely love and trust God, but go through much more difficult trials and grief. Only God knows the "why" on those questions. But He does care for and love us and our children so much more than we ever can. And He is glorified in our trust for Him, that He is doing so much more than we can see or grasp in the moment.
I debated whether to share this because I in no way want to accuse or judge those who feel differently than me. Or to point a finger at people who have chosen differently than us when faced with an incredibly difficult decision. We're not trying to make a statement about what's in the headlines recently. And we have no interest or intention to stir up a heated debate or quarrel on social media. We don't intend this as a "pro-life" or "pro-choice" post, but rather a "God can be trusted" post.
Anna and I are sharing this so maybe even one might consider leaving what looks like an impossible choice up to God. Doing so will not guarantee avoiding hardship, but it will give an opportunity for God to be God. To show you His love and power in ways you wouldn't expect, and for Him to lovingly teach you amazing things you wouldn't have known otherwise.
"This is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes." (Psalm 118:2)