Leaning on the arms of God 

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Thurma Caldwell is the associate pastor of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO. Hear ye him
Leaning on the arms of God

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the  couple's new daughter, Danae Lu  Blessing.At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she  was perilously  premature.

   Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. I don't think she's  going to make it,he said, as kindly as he could. There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.

   Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as  the doctor  described the devastating problems Danae would likely  face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be  blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions  from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation,  and on and on. 

   No was all Diana could say. She and David, with their  5-year  old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would  have a daughter  to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was  slipping away. Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held  onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep,  growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live - and live to be a healthy, happy young girl.

    But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive,  much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with  the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making  funeral arrangements. Diana remembers I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn't listen, I couldn't listen,

    I said, No, that is not going to happen, no way I don't care what the doctors say, Danae is not going to die One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us As if willed to live by Diana's determination,  Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new  agony  set in for  David and Diana. Because Danae's under-developed nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or  caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny  baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.

    All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the  ultraviolet light in the  tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would  stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment  when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she  did slowly gain an  ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her  in their arms for the  first time. And two months later - though doctors continued  to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less  living any kind of  normal life, were next to zero, Danae went home from  the hospital, just  as her mother had predicted.

     Today, five years later, Danae is a petite  but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows  no signs, what so ever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more - but that happy ending is far from the end of her story! . One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in  Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap  in the bleachers of  a local ballpark where  her brother Dustin's baseball  team was  practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop  with her mother  and  several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly  fell silent. 

     Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, Do you smell  that? Smelling the air and detecting the  approach of a thunderstorm,  Diana replied, Yes, it smells like rain. Danae closed her eyes and again asked, Do you smell that? Once again, her  mother replied, Yes,  I think we're about to get wet, it smells like rain. 

    Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, No, it smells like  Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest. 

   Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to  play  with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family  had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first  two months of her life,  when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest

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