Favourite Food: Mexican. // Dream Job: Too many to decide! All creative & epic. // Current Season: Wife to a Creative (enough said!) Mama, Dreamer, humbled by the mercy & grace of Jesus more & more each day. // Met Jesus: At a very young age, but made many refreshers in various seasons! // Favourite Verse: Luke 1:45 – Blessed is she who has believed that The Lord would fulfill His promises to her. // Website: www.thelukasband.com // Instagram: @christinamunns
‘Congratulations Mr Munns, you’ve WON!!!’
We have been joking about how we should buy lottery tickets for the amount of things we’ve experienced over the past few months defined by statistics such as ‘one in 5,000 chance’ or… ‘A very small percentage of people may find…’
So playfully one night I entered my husband into a competition on TV… and wouldn’t you know it, we won the consolation prize!
It wasn’t the $250,000 main prize, but the consolation prize is something to be excited about! Instantly a feed of grand ideas ran through my mind. How exciting, how much could it be?! $15k? $10k? With a young family, new business & many dreams (& uncertainties) of the future, maybe this was God’s way of turning things around for a refreshing change!
You can imagine my excitement as I opened the letterbox to see an envelope containing a cheque. I opened it up and finished the sentence.‘Congratulations Mr Munns, you’ve WON!!! Please find your cheque for $25 & be sure to keep tuning in for more chances to win!
Twenty. Five. Dollars.
T w e n t y f i v e d o l l a r s.
Is this a joke?
My heart sunk. Needless to say I was slightly underwhelmed.
Actually, I was mad.
It wasn’t about the money. It was the fact that I was receiving another blow to my heart on the most intense ride of hope and disappointment it had been on for the last 9 months. It represented something that I was trying to resolve with God, and I wasn’t quite there yet.
One in 5,000 babies are born with a condition called Hirschprungs disease. It’s even less likely to be a girl who has it (one in 20,000) and in which case, it’s a lot more severe. Surgery can be successful to remove the affected part of the bowel missing essential nerves, but a very small percentage of babies will still have complications after.
Our baby girl was born 9mths ago after a perfect pregnancy. She fell chronically ill & they finally discovered she had long segment HD. Longer than they’d ever seen without removing it completely. They surgically removed almost half of her bowel & it was successful, although there have been some complications (so that’s a jackpot for us!)
The months following have been a blur of confusion & uncertainty of her specific case, ambulances, emergency departments & long hospital stays. The list is endless of procedures we’ve had to learn to keep her alive, sleepless nights of comforting her through intense pain & days on end of throwing up.
The kicker for me was this… From the minute I knew I was pregnant I fervently prayed for this little person. I spoke the Word, I believed God for the wildest things, even a pain-free birth! Crazy hey! But I have friends who have & I decided that I could too because I would have a God-glorifying birth. I imagined sharing my testimony to other girls to ‘just declare the Word & you TOO can have a pain-free, God-glorifying birth!’
The birth hurt.
I prayed through the surgery. There were complications.
I prayed in the turbulent months to come.
And God’s answer in the highs & the lows… ‘Trust Me. I’m with you’.
…The T word.
So I’ll admit I’m still learning to nail this one.
I love Jesus with all my heart & I truly believe that I trust Him. I trust our Heavenly Father. But it’s amazing how much I still find myself walking around with anxiety & fear & questioning everything. Why, God? Why does this have to be such a struggle? And where are You? Didn’t you hear me talk about God-glorifying? And what if… what about…? and so on.
It’s also amazing how God finds ways of answering those questions I don’t even realise I’m asking.
Recently while feeling especially exhausted in this season, my husband and I went away for our anniversary. Away to a little country town in the middle of nowhere. Running ridiculously late we checked into our hotel, the receptionist helped me set up a cot for Olivia & we talked about nothing in particular. I said goodnight & that was that. However I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a reason I was meeting this woman.
A while later Luke had to organise details at the front desk. He hurried back with a message from the woman to come see her and talk!
Turns out her daughter had the exact same condition as Olivia, and not just long segment, but her whole large intestine removed. There were complications but they were eventually solved, & today she is gorgeous and 21, married and living in New York with no trace of the struggles from her first few years of life.
So… I sat with her. I asked her to share her story. I asked her so many questions that surgeons didn’t have time for. She enlarged her world to include us on this journey so at any time I can draw from her 21 years of experience with this rare condition. She cried for me, she totally understood.
Most importantly, she told me answers to questions I was too scared to ask & hadn’t spoken out loud yet, not even to God. I didn’t even have to ask specifics, she just shared about so many things that were silently weighing heavy on my heart. I knew this was God’s way of providing answers for my questions that in reality only time could have told. Finally some hope was breathed upon the places where our future felt so insecure.
It was like our magnificent God who is not bound by our time, stretched open my vision & showed me glimpses of what’s to come. He showed me our God-glorifying story. The story in a world with an enemy who invades, steals, kills & destroys, that God’s hand is not short & is on every detail; that what the enemy means for evil He will turn it for our good. The surgeons might be unsure sometimes, but God is not. He is awake to our hearts’ cry, & He is forging a way forward as we trust in Him.
In the faith gap, He can also hook up a meeting for me in the middle of nowhere to speak into my completely random one-in-20,000 case to give my heart peace. He’s not off on a coffee break. He cares about these things.
Although there’s still a journey ahead, & some days feel nearly impossible to get through, we have seen the faithfulness of God at every turn as His story of hope & healing through Olivia unfolds, which is glorious, whole & complete, in Jesus’ name.
What Olivia lacks in some nerve cells in her bowel, she sure makes up for in personality. It’s like God has given her a double portion of joy. She has the happiest spirit I’ve ever encountered. Her laugh is wild and contagious & most people wouldn’t have a clue as to what she’s gone through. This girl is the most God-glorifying creation I could have imagined.
On the journey there’s much to be thankful for, and evidence of God’s daily provision. We are positioned amongst such loving & generous family & church family, our Specialists are near, and we’re surrounded by the most authentic friendships that we’ve ever known who constantly remind us we’re not alone. God is faithful.
As for that $25 cheque, it didn’t take long for some perspective to set in. After all, in primary school that would’ve bought 2,500 of my favourite carob buds! Or more importantly, to remember that $25 can feed a family elsewhere for a month… So we have set ourselves a challenge to make it the best $25 we’ve ever spent. Not sure exactly how yet, but open to ideas!