My Story of Tragedy … And Hope

It’s easy to go through the day feeling like nothing special or out of the ordinary can happen. As a Lipreading Mom with progressive hearing loss for almost 12 years, I often have my moments of feeling unsure about the future. But when I’m tempted to wallow in self-pity, I think about the surprise that came into my life at Christmastime five years ago.

This is the story of how my youngest son, affectionately nicknamed JoJo, became part of Lipreading Mom’s life.

In early 2007, I was grieving the unexpected loss of my sister. I kept thinking how I wished I had hugged her more and told her how much she meant to me. I pleaded for God’s help.

My husband and I were shocked to learn a month later that I was expecting a child. We were excited at something so miraculous taking place after the cruel blow of an unexpected death. My husband and I, though, felt we were on the older side as parents. Our two children (God love them) took an enormous amount of love and energy to parent. How could we spread ourselves even further as a mommy and daddy?

Even more surprising about the pregnancy was the baby’s due date: December 25.

As the months continued, we learned more things about our baby-to-be. Baby would be a boy. Later ultrasounds measured his length and weight measurements as bigger than his brother’s and sister’s had been, so he’d probably be a good-sized baby. When my husband and I chose first and middle names for our boy, I later discovered these names had significant meaning. The first name meant “peacemaker,” and the middle name meant “honoring God.”

So our surprise baby boy would possibly be born on Christmas day, weigh a half-ton, measure off-the-charts in length, and have powerfully symbolic names.

In the last month of pregnancy, I attended a weekend writing conference. My blouses barely covered my bulging stomach, and convention-goers did their best not to stare at it in horror.

On the conference’s last day, one of the registration ladies, who I knew, asked if she could pray for my unborn child. I nodded, expecting her to go home and add me and my baby to her prayer list. Instead, she placed her hands on my stomach and prayed the most beautiful prayer for my boy. That God would allow this child to bring peace into his family.

A few days later, this sweet lady e-mailed a follow-up to her prayer. She sensed after praying that my baby had a signficant reason for being born and would serve God in an amazing way as an adult.

Christmas day came and went with presents for our older two kids, a well-deserved day off from work for my busy husband… and no baby.

Two days later (10 months and 18 days after the loss of my sister), the surprise baby finally arrived. Here is the letter I sent to friends and family:

Joy to the World! Our Baby Has Come

The Lord has blessed us this Christmas season with a beautiful baby boy! JoJo was born at 2:06p.m. on December 27, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and measuring 20-1/2 inches long. Big brother and sister think he is the best!

A special thank you to all of you who prayed for JoJo and our family. He was born with few complications, just a small knot in his umbilical cord that happened sometime during the labor/delivery. A special thanks to our doctor and our good Lord for JoJo not being harmed in any way by this.

Also, for those of you praying for how my hearing loss would be affected by the labor/delivery: I am pleased to report that I’ve experienced few if little changes in my hearing. What a wonderful God we have!

Most of you know how challenging the year 2007 has been for our extended family. The Christmas arrival of JoJo has brought immense peace and joy for all of us. His first name means ‘peacemaker’ in Hebrew. When we think of him, we’ll always be reminded of the peace and inspiration he has and will bring our family.

Praise be to God and friends like you for your love and prayers.

Lipreading Mom and Family

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11


13 thoughts on “My Story of Tragedy … And Hope

  1. Every person experiences trials. Some of us experience blessings as well in the course of life. The most special seem to be in the birth of a beautiful child. Merry Christmas, Shanna.

  2. Shanna,
    It is amazing how God uses such little people to perform such big roles. Sometime if you are interested I would be happy to share my and my sons story and the incredible miracle that God did during my pregnancy and his birth and why he too has a very special meaning to his name

  3. This is a precious post, Shanna. Thank you ever so much for mentioning this. Too often I slip into the pity-party mindset, but God is good, even in the midst of complications. In all things God does work for the good of those who love Him, those who are called … (Romans 8:28).

    Psalm 18:28– God lights our candle, even if we have no way to do it ourselves, to dispel the darkness around us.

    Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (Isaiah 9:6)… the miracle of Christmas, where heaven could first kiss Earth. This child was given a precious name.

    Names are a beautiful thing, and do portend great things to come. Samuel truly “heard God” and was a great leader. Abraham was named because he became a father to a nation, only on promise, but it happened because he believed. Your son may be the same: God will make it happen.

    We do have a wonderful God. In light of God’s goodness, all of the rest of the troubles of life will be resolved.

    I’m thankful for that wonderful lady who prayed for your son, and I’m thankful for the wonderful plans God has laid. God is good, so good.

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