The Table Connection – Week 8


A Small Miracle Named Layla

By Shannon Laning

Matthew 9 NASB

Do you know how often we miss a miracle or explain it away just as the religious leaders and sceptics did? Jesus is called a blasphemer (Matthew 9:3), idiot (Matthew 9:25), and a ruler of demons (Matthew 9:34). But I wonder how many others explained it away with saying that the blind men weren’t completely blind to begin with, the man was only pretending to be demon-possessed, the girl wasn’t fully dead, or the paralytic was only showboating.

I know these sceptical explanations existed to undermine Jesus authority in His day because they continue to exist today But dear friend, I am here to tell you that miracles are real. If you are a doubter that miracles are alive and well and Jesus still heals in supernatural ways… listen up. 

On February 14 at 9:30 PM my second daughter, Layla, entered the world at just 4 lb 5 ounces. She was born early because I had preeclampsia and was a seizure risk. Her last ultrasounds had shown a stalemate in her growth, but, other than a smaller abdomen, she had passed every available medical test with flying colors. I prepared for a few days in the NICU, ordered preemie clothes, and waited in the hospital to have her. Nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for what the doctor and my husband came to tell me at 10:25 PM. 

“Layla’s going to be okay,” Dr. Bowman said. My heart started racing as I learned that Layla was born was a condition called Esophageal Atresia with a Tracheoesophagael Fistula. Her esophagus was not connected to her stomach and had instead fused into the trachea. 

“She needs immediate surgery and has to be flown to either Lubbock, Dallas or Houston tonight,” Dr. Bowman said. “Where do you want to fly her?” 

Where do I want to fly her?? Nowhere. I want my one-hour-old baby girl to stay with me. I want her to be whole. I want her to go home with me from THIS hospital. 

Dr. Bowman recommended Lubbock, and so I placed my daughter’s life in the hands of a man I had met an hour earlier. I prayed silently. I prayed for wisdom, healing, and for my baby to live. And then I prayed specifically that Zack and his mother would hop in his truck and drive to Lubbock right then. I would be fine. The nurses were eager to fill me with pain meds and Xanax anyways. 

A minute later Zack looked at me and said, “Is it okay with you if I go to Lubbock tonight? And my mom can go with me, too.” I nodded quickly and knew a miracle happened right then and there. Some of you know that Zack and I struggled greatly in our marriage with our first-born. We didn’t agree on much. God healed us so much over the years leading up to the moment in the hospital room with Layla, and it was as if God audibly spoke saying, “I’ve got this.”

Layla underwent major surgery at 36 HOURS old. In a hospital that has only seen a handful of these patients, with a doctor who is a pediatric general surgeon, in Lubbock, Texas, my angel baby girl’s esophagus and trachea were miraculously repaired. It’s easy to medically explain it all away. But God used science to perform a miracle. Here are some more of the miracles we witnessed while in the NICU and over the past 8 months…

Several NICU nurses were Christians, and I was able to talk openly about my faith (which I’ve always struggled with because I don’t want to offend people). Layla’s gap between her esophagus and stomach connection was short, which is not always the case. Layla never needed oxygen other than coming off her major surgery. Layla never got an infection in the NICU. We met people who were nurses at Covenant, had family who worked there, or had children who had been in the NICU when we were out to dinner, lunch, on Facebook, in grocery stores, and at urgent care clinics. Layla has no major genetic problems (50% of all kids born with esophageal atresia do). Although Layla had a feeding tube, she was never 100% tube fed, which is an anomaly. God kept away PPD, which was a big problem for me with my firstborn. I could go on. 

To some those might not seem like miracles. I want to challenge you with this: don’t explain away God’s power just because it is delivered in a package that might seem trite and trivial. God works in big ways. But He also performs daily miracles that we too easily miss because they don’t seem big enough. I had the privilege of living in a miracle all year. It has been the hardest year of my life, and I’ve never seen God move as much as I have this year. 

As you read Matthew 9, be awed by the miracles of Jesus. As you walk through your days, be aware that God is working and moving. And if you ever doubt it, come meet my girl Layla because she is much like the girl who was dead (because 100 years ago she would have died) and God made alive again. He just used a little doctor to do it.


Further Reading

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