Dear Nicholas Sparks,
I'm writing you this letter about how my relationship with God has changed because of my son being diagnosed with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia or CDH. Please read this with an open heart. What I am about to write is extremely personal and something I don't share openly. Also, please know that this is MY experience. Many others have a completely different experience with faith and hard times. This is just what I went through.
I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons as most people know us. Today is Sunday, our Sabbath day. It causes a lot of reflection on lessons I've learned in the past and life changing experiences I have been through.
My family, we pray. We pray regularly. We are very faithful and believe in praying for things that we are grateful for and things we need help with. When our unborn child was diagnosed with CDH and I started researching everything I could get my hands on, the 50% chance of survival statistic was pretty hard to deal with. IF our child survived birth and was among the 50% that lived, he would possibly live with a lifetime of feeding therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy.... I think you get the idea. We were fine with all of that, we just wanted our baby to live.
So, our prayers started out by praying to our Heavenly Father that our child would live so we would have an opportunity to raise him. We prayed with all of our hearts and souls. We prayed, with faith, like we have never prayed before. Pouring our hearts out to our loving Heavenly Father.
On January 28, 2002, our son was 3 days old and we got the horrifying news that he was extremely critical. We were told that his condition was non-survivable. How could this be? We have been doing everything we are supposed to! How would He take our son away from us? This is when there was a shift. Our prayers changed. We started praying that no matter what our Heavenly Father's plan for Tyler was, life or death, that He would help us through it. "Just give me the strength and direction to get through this situation and all those in the future.... I TRUST THEE."
Putting ALL of my faith in God is nothing I had ever done. Letting go of MY control and letting Him take over. It was not easy, I would be lying if I said it was. In fact, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, to date, but I knew if I would put all of my faith in Him, He would help me through.
Well, Tyler survived day 3, he survived day 4 and on day 5 was his surgery to repair his diaphragm and give him any chance of life. As I walked away from my precious newborn son, I whispered to Tyler, "son, follow Heavenly Father, He will show you the way...." I was speaking those words to my baby, but very much saying them to myself. I was at peace. I knew that things would be fine, whether it be MY way or HIS way, Heavenly Father would teach me the way.
I'm happy to say that Tyler survived his surgery on day 5, he survived another life saving diaphragm repair at 4 1/2 months and somehow has survived 13 years. We still put all of our faith in our Heavenly Father and know that He will guide us, take care of us and carry us when we can not walk another step. I'm grateful that I was able to learn that, by faith, all those years ago.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope it has touched you in some way.
Mom of Tyler Clyde, medical miracle and pretty cool kid!