One year ago our baby was born. A miracle, clearly. We can make the best of plans – water birth, healthy diet, more exercise, lots of pregnancy tea. Still it is out of our control. I needed that lesson, I still need that lesson.

Every time I really stop to look at that little face I remember those 20 minutes. My blood pressure dropping, my very calm midwife panicked, no heartbeat in my belly, my husband’s prayers. I couldn’t tell you how that baby was born on our bed that day. I vaguely remember it happening, but I know I didn’t do it. After 19 hours he was suddenly there with me, almost 9 pounds of him in my shaking arms.

Every day I see it. Where I see his smile there could be nothing. And yet here he is, teaching me daily what it means to give thanks. I ask “What did I do to deserve these little boys?” The answer has never been more clear.

Nothing. It is only grace, mercy.


One year and one week ago a very pregnant me waddled to the phone. “Little brother has fallen off a roof. Brain injury. Critical condition. Broken this, broken that. He shouldn’t be alive.” Should any of us?

He now runs, works, returns to school. Nothing more than scars are a reminder of that day. How is this possible?

It is only grace, mercy.

Saturday, in a cold small room, we waited to find out the condition of my beloved’s heart. A heart that took mine four years ago. Could it really be broken already? Thoughts of me and the boys with no papa flooded my mind. Prayer is all that calms me. After all, I am reminded, the real problem with the heart is not one that will show up on their EKG.

The doctor returns with the news: “His heart is strong.” He’s still here with us. Why?

Grace, mercy.


I think of how these situations could have ended differently. The baby and/or I could not have made it. My brother could be paralyzed, mentally handicapped or completely gone. Our little family of four could have become a family of three with no papa over a mid-August weekend. Just like that. God would have been just as gracious and merciful. Our life is but a vapor.

After the events of the weekend I wondered: is our generation that much more distanced from eternal truths because we are distanced from death? At the age of 26 I have yet to see a close loved one pass into eternity, yet those who lived just 100 years before me may have seen 1 out of 4 or 5 children die before adulthood.

What would have been normal then would today be tragic.

Have we “progressed” to the point of forgetting our own fate?


20 Responses to Something a Little More Personal

  1. Courtney says:

    i think either way than or now losing a child is still tragic. Maybe I say that as a mother who held her lifeless child and I don’t get to say that I got grace or mercy. I just have to say grace held me through the rough spots and I guess Praise God I am still here.


  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks for sharing your blessings with us, and Happy Birthday to your little guy!


  3. Amy Ellen says:

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

    By grace and mercy,
    amy ellen


  4. Denise says:

    Shannon, I assume that all is okay. You are right. Anyone of us could go at anytime. I guess that is why I don’t want to take anything for granted and thank God for my every day.


  5. Diana says:

    His mercies and grace are new and ABOUND to us every day. I am new to your site and really enjoy it! Lord continue to give you strength to give us inspiration and guidance! :-)


  6. Grandma Barbie Ann says:

    You are so wise for your few years on this earth. You have learned about the grace of God. What a true treasure He has given you along with your family. He gives the gift of a thankful heart.


  7. Thanks for taking a break from the kitchen to share a striking story with us, written in a powerful way. It’s good to be reminded of the important things in life. Well done, good and faithful servant!


  8. I often think of these things, too. Of how somehow our “easy” everyday lives can lull us into thinking that death is so foreign, when it has never NOT been a part of the human existence!

    These are powerful reminders of God’s mercy, but when I read these stories of answered prayers, I always think of those who have prayers that weren’t answered in the same ways. Those who are without their baby, their brother, their husband. These are things we won’t understand for a while yet, but we know by faith that God is still good and still full of mercy, and some mysteries aren’t to be known until later. In the meantime we also know Him during the hard times better than we ever could in the good times – and learn that He *really* never will leave us alone.

    Thanks for sharing, and I’m shooting up a prayer of thanks for your safe and healthy family of 4! :)



  9. Emma J says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My own beloved’s going in for a biopsy next week. Good to be reminded again (and again) of God’s grace and mercy. Thanks for being part of that grace and mercy for me in this post.


  10. Deanna says:

    Thank you for the sweet reminder of God’s mercy and blessings.
    My 4 daughters were in a serious car accident and by the grace of God, all survived. I should be down on my knees everyday thanking Him because it could have turned out much different. Thank God they are all alive and well!


  11. Beautiful thoughts on incredible mystery.


  12. Amanda says:

    Happy one year to your sweet boy! Thank God your hubby is well. Thank you for your eloquent and graceful writing. Your blog is always very centering. xoxo


  13. Casey says:

    Wow, this was beautiful and what a great remind that God is in control.


  14. I”ve been meaning for ages to comment and say “good stuff”. You are blessed, as am I. I need to remind myself of this all the time when I feel irritated by the little things.


  15. Amy says:

    A beautiful post! Loved the pictures. (Is that a mother-ease diaper cover; we use them too!) A wonderful reminder.


  16. Lori says:

    I too had a homebirth that went well but was filled with lots of fervent prayers, especially at the end as the baby’s heart rate dropped and my husband scurried to get the car keys. What a way our little girl entered the world, amid many prayers for her health and the realiziation over again that our times are in God’s hands.


  17. [...] this heartfelt post from Shannon about a recent health scare in her family. In the comments I shared my thoughts and I hope you [...]

  18. Shannon says:

    Deanna – Praise God, indeed.


  19. Shannon says:

    Courtney – I am sorry to hear of your loss, that must have been very difficult. It is hard for anyone to empathize when we have not experienced that pain ourselves. I just want to say that I don’t believe that I am any more deserving of these blessings than anyone else. The truth is I am not deserving of any of them. I pray for healing for you and your family.


  20. Shannon says:

    Amy – Yes, mother-ease. Love them!


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