Faith & Wellness, Family

Trials That Strengthen Our Hearts: An Update


You might ask me how I can be praising God so intensely when He is the one who allowed us to go through this trial in the first place.


To you I say, it’s very easy.



Life is hard. I don’t believe that this is the world God originally created. It is fallen.

It is through adversity and internal struggle that we are changed.

That our character grows.

That we learn, though we are not in control, we can lean into the One who is.

The reason I shared our current struggle so publicly took a lot of thought. I truly evaluated my motives for opening up during such a vulnerable time. The conclusion I came to was clear in my heart. It’s easy to share God’s goodness after He delivers us from a trial. It’s much more difficult to trust Him before he does.

I wanted our friends, family, and followers of this blog to know where we stand even when walking through a fiery trial with our daughter. We will trust God even when things are hard.

It isn’t easy. And it hurts.

A lesson I knew God was trying to teach me was this:

When we are uncomfortable or in pain, we naturally try to move to a place of comfort. Obviously.

But, let me propose to you that our lives are transformed when, instead of running from the struggle, we embrace the change that it brings within us.

God works on our hearts more easily when we are helpless. It’s just a fact. We can be a little dense otherwise, no?

Moving on to an update on our situation, we couldn’t be more thankful.

Although it was so difficult to be on the receiving end of love and care, it is humbling, overwhelming and beautiful. Our family, our friends, and our community completely surrounded our family and our sweet girl with so much love and prayer that words can’t even express our love and gratitude. It was incredible how God used each specific person to play an important role in carrying us though.

Just to name a few…

Our family and friends who have stood by us and helped with anything that we needed whether it be through words, gifts, or immune boosting supplements and oils.

A cousin who is a nurse at Children’s who answered our crazy questions on-call 24/7 and who arranged our anesthesia team.

A friend who has a daughter with the same first and middle name as our second child – who had surgery for the same condition. I had such a special love for that little girl during her health issues without knowing our future would be similar with our child.

A friend called and prayed with me the night before surgery. Part of her prayer was that we would find laughter during this time. I almost chuckled to myself wondering how something like that was even possible. However, as we know with other times in the Bible, prayer works. We had an evening full of peace and laughter that could only have come from that prayer.

Scriptures and kind words of encouragement sent at just the right times, and constant reminders to remember that, when I had to walk away from my daughter, she would be in the loving hands of Jesus during that procedure and He would care for her.

Teachers and staff at our elementary school (and middle school), lovingly rallying around our family in ways that have truly touched us.

And most beautifully, hundreds and hundreds of people praying for us. I am absolutely in awe at the love of those around us and the power of the prayers of many. 

Our close friends and pastor who rallied our student ministry around our girl and gave her such joy in the midst of trial.

I could go on forever.

Yesterday, early in the morning, we brought our sweet daughter to Children’s Hospital for the device-closure of her PDA. No one slept the night before .

Things were light until it was time to take her back to the cath lab. I can’t say enough good things about the doctors, nurses, and staff at Children’s Hospital. It’s the Disney World of medicine. Hannah was given medication to calm her, but it did not work. I was able to suit up and go into the OR until she was completely asleep. It was so difficult to see our sweet girl totally alert, and afraid as she was wheeled into the room. Through her tears (and choking back mine), I told her not to look around at all of the tools in the room. She focused her eyes on my face. I can’t imagine how she must have felt. She climbed herself onto the table and laid back.

The anesthesiologist made the decision to start anesthesia early because H was so upset. If you were a fly on the wall, you would have seen such bravery. She wasn’t hysterical. She wasn’t screaming or fighting, just quiet tears.

She asked me, “Am I going to wake up in this room?”

I confidently told her no. She would wake up in a much more comfortable room.

I held her hand and reminded her I was there and I that loved her as they put the mask on her face. The nurse anesthetist gently spoke to her and held her head.

Once she was completely asleep, the nurse removed the mask, let me kiss that sweet face, and I had to turn my back and walk away from her. This was, hands down, the most difficult moment of my life.

Once I was out of the OR all bets were off. I didn’t have to be strong anymore and I didn’t have to hold back tears…and I didn’t.

I “un-suited” myself from the scrubs and the nurse walked me out. A beautiful site to see when those doors opened was my Super Hero husband waiting there to catch me as I dissolved. There is no other person on earth I’d want by my side.

We semi pulled ourselves together and hunkered down in the waiting room, facing the doors to the cath lab and preparing to stare at them for the long-haul. We couldn’t eat or drink. We sat.

At one point I walked into the hall at just as the anesthesiologist came out of the cath lab. She was definitely on a mission but stopped to look at me and tell me things were going well. That blessing of a moment sustained us for a while. We were told shortly after that we could ask for an update after a couple of hours.

Once that time approached, Matt and I were completely on edge. I went up to the receptionist and asked if it was too early to check on how things were going. Before I finished the question, she was dialing, and told the nurse on the phone that I needed an update. Matt moved to my side as the nurse told us that they were just finishing up and everything went well. My heart soared.

Later, the cardiologist who performed the procedure came in and told us that everything went perfectly. PERFECTLY. She was also also able to use a material to close the artery in her leg that would reduce her “laying flat” time to 2 hours from 6. Another gift.

When we FINALLY were able to see our little one – I practically mowed down everything in my path to race to her side. She looked just like anyone who has been sedated with general anesthesia for hours – pale and weak, but she was back. She was done. And she was okay.

She was in pain, hallucinating from very strong pain meds, and her throat was sore from the breathing tube. But, she was smiling and repeatedly asking, “Is it really over?” followed by, “I want a slushy.”

Many hours (and 2 slushies, a burger, mashed potatoes, and jello) later. X Rays looked great. HEART MURMUR WAS G-O-N-E. Her I.V. was OUT, and we were sent home. With our girl. Whole and healthy. Completely shocked that hours before, she was on ventilator while they closed a hole in her heart. Going home.

Our daughter is doing well.

God did answer our prayers the way we hoped He would. He was merciful and gracious to us. We are so thankful that no detail of yesterday was beyond His control.

If you are reading this, we love you. We thank you. Prayer is a powerful thing. Prayer not only unites people and knits them together, but as we pray, we see that God moves in every. single. detail. Words can’t express how humbling it is to be on the side of those who are in need. But sometimes, we need to be there, to recognize our humanness, our need for God, and the beauty of humanity.

We trusted God in this trial without knowing the outcome. We will continue to trust him through the recovery and are stronger because of it.

I will never regret leaning into Jesus in my sadness, trails, or in my joy. He is real. He is loving and He is good. I am bursting with gratitude today as I sit here this morning with my beautiful family and healthy children.

Thank you for being on this journey with us.

Thank you for rallying behind us and lifting us up.

Thank you for carrying our burdens.

Thank you.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2




This shows the PDA. The upper left black area shooting off from the vertical black area (the aorta) is the hole. It’s a frozen image. The active image would show blood flowing down from that hole.



This shows the repair! The solid black line on the left is the catheter and the “top hat” pen mark is where the cardiologist who performed the procedure outlined the device that closed the hole!





Heart Encouragement














18 thoughts on “Trials That Strengthen Our Hearts: An Update

  1. So glad everything went great! It is such a terrifying scary moment when you have to walk away after them putting your baby under.. both of my kids had tubes which was only a 5 minute procedure but is still scary when it comes to your babies!

  2. I read with a continuos flow of tears rolling down my cheeks. We went through 3 months of such trials and tribulations with our premie, Lydia almost 16 years ago. God is Great ! I didn’t have FB back then, just emails. I printed every email that I sent to keep as reminder of the power of prayer. I feel so privileged to be a prayer warrior for Hannah and your family. 🙏

  3. Crying tears of joy! Loving your sweet witness of God’s mercy, strength and power! And, oh so thankful Hannah is healed and this is done and God is moving. Love and prayers for you and your family, Melissa!

  4. Melissa, you are not only a gifted writer and communicator but totally transparent and real. I can’t imagine the strength it took to go through this but am so thankful you took the time to share the details. God bless you all. Love you!

  5. We r so happy that everything went well a Melissa. Kk and all of us were worried about her but knew God would take care of her.

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