Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham, mollymaid.com/birmingham
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
My mother memorized this Scripture when she was in elementary school – years before coming to faith in Christ, meeting her husband, or giving birth to her child – yet providentially placed in her heart. Even after memorizing the passage, the words would also be brought to her mind through the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds in 1965.
My mom and dad married in 1976. As newlyweds, having children was a high priority for them. For seven years, my parents attempted to have a child. At a particularly difficult moment in that time, as my mother wrestled with her desire for a child and their thus-far unfruitful efforts, the Lord brought Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 back to her mind. It was the divine, earthly unexplainable peace that comes only from the illumination of the Holy Spirit. As unexplainable as the peace was, it was also clear: there is an appointed season and time for life to be formed, and my mom and dad were to trust in that.
It was in that peace that my parents walked in faith, until the Lord answered their prayers in 1982, with an August 1983 due date for me. However, an emergency visit in mid May of 1983 revealed very unexpected news: my mother was in labor, and I was on the way – ready or not!
Then came a whirlwind of information: doctors realized that my mother had a partitioned uterus, giving me approximately half of the normal room to grow. My mother’s body was triggering labor, as I had reached the limits of the space I was in. I was positioned to be a “breech” baby; turned around the opposite direction for delivery through the birth canal. The result was that her baby would be born within the next 24 hours, via Caesarean section, and approximately three months premature.
Understandably, while my parents had a peace about God’s timing in my birth, but there were still concerns, and their hearts were fearful. Survival rates for preterm babies in 1983 were encouraging, but they knew there could be many problems. I was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. My mother was in good health, but exhausted. All family and friends had been contacted. Prayer chains were activated.
Doctors enumerated a list of possible complications: underdeveloped lungs, vision problems, patent ductus arteriosus (a critical heart valve that closes upon normal birth), and various neurological issues. As my family and friends prayed for my health, they offered prayers in faithful thanksgiving, understanding that the Lord was in control and held both life and death in His hands. I was in NICU for two months, and my parents visited every day. As they got to know other families with babies whose situations were like mine, they learned many of these problems could be fatal or result in lifelong health issues. Miraculously, the Lord protected me from all of them!
In the coming months and years my mother looked back on those months in the NICU and was again reminded of the passage she had memorized in Ecclesiastes. Had my parents conceived and had me years earlier, as my mother had desired, the medical advances so critical to preterm birth survival rates would not have been in place. This was the season of my birth ordained by God. This was part of His plan, and His purpose.
I write this now as a healthy 36-year-old man. As God would have it, I was born May 14, 1983 and weighed in at 2 lbs.7 oz. and I left the hospital about a month ahead of my due date. My nickname my entire life has been “Speedy”, given to me by my mother’s father (who nicknamed everyone). He determined the day I was born that if I was male and born that day, I should be called Speedy, since I was in such a hurry. As cartoonish as the nickname sounds, it provides me opportunity to retell this story you’ve read, and recount one amazing example that God is indeed in control and ordains a season for all things, even those that seem “premature.”
-Tom “Speedy” Jones, McCalla, Ala.
Brought to you by: Molly Maids of Birmingham
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