“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever”. Psalm 52:8


Eight months walking on the water

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither a son of man, that he should repent. Shall he say and not do? and shall he speak and not make it good?
Numbers 23:19

Last year, one week before I found out I was pregnant, I was alone at home when the phone rang. It was a woman who told me she was calling people to read the Bible. She asked me if she could read it for me, and I accepted. So she read Numbers 23:19:
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither a son of man, that he should repent. Shall he say and not do? and shall he speak and not make it good?

While I was hearing, I realized that God was talking to me through that woman. She told me God had lot of promisses for us, like a new life without pain, death and sadness. She asked me if I believed that. I told her yes, I believed. She didn´t take lot of my time. She only asked me if she could call me again another days for reading Bible and turned off. I felt I should keep that words in my heart.
One week later I discovered I was pregnant and six weeks later we found out our baby had acrania, what would become anencephaly and our so loved and wanted baby would die. It was a very difficult time, but that words from God helped us trust him and believe He could change that death sentence. Of course it wasn´t easy. Our dreams were destroyed and our hearts were broken. We felt we didn´t have forces to go on. We were paralized by fear. But God showed He was with us, and so we should not be afraid.

But now, says the Lord your Maker, O Jacob, and your life-giver, O Israel: have no fear, for I have taken up your cause; naming you by your name, I have made you mine.
When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your saviour; I have given Egypt as a price for you, Ethiopia and Seba for you.
Because of your value in my eyes, you have been honoured, and loved by me; so I will give men for you, and peoples for your life.
Isaiah 43-1-4

I wanted God could tell me what He would do, if He really would heal Vitoria´s malformation and allow her to survive, or if I should prepare myseld to loose her. But He never told me what He would do. He told us it didn´t matter what happened, we would never be alone. And he told us we should walk on the water.

And straight away he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, till he had sent the people away.
And after he had sent the people away, he went up into the mountain by himself for prayer: and when evening was come, he was there by himself.
But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, and was troubled by the waves: for the wind was against them.
And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.
And when they saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they gave cries of fear.
But straight away Jesus said to them, Take heart; it is I, have no fear.
And Peter, answering, said to him, Lord, if it is you, give me the order to come to you on the water.
And he said, Come. And Peter got out of the boat, and walking on the water, went to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind he was in fear and, starting to go down, he gave a cry, saying, Help, Lord.
And straight away Jesus put out his hand and took a grip of him, and said to him, O man of little faith, why were you in doubt?
And when they had got into the boat, the wind went down.
And those who were in the boat gave him worship, saying, Truly you are the Son of God.
Matthew 14:23-33

So during the rest of my pregnancy we walked peacefully on waters of faith, with Jesus in front of us. And we are still walking on waters during these eight months since Vitoria was born.

Thank you so much, Lord, for these eight months of Vitoria´s life. Thank you for sustain us. Without you, we would never had gone ahead. Thank you for always hear us when we asked help. Thank you because you always put out your hand and took us all the many times we were going down. Thank you for Vitoria´s life. Without you, she wouldn´t be with us. We glorify you, Jesus, for your Victory of Christ (Vitoria de Cristo).

The Lord takes care of me as his sheep; I will not be without any good thing.
He makes a resting-place for me in the green fields: he is my guide by the quiet waters.
He gives new life to my soul: he is my guide in the ways of righteousness because of his name.
Yes, though I go through the valley of deep shade, I will have no fear of evil; for you are with me, your rod and your support are my comfort.
You make ready a table for me in front of my haters: you put oil on my head; my cup is overflowing.
Truly, blessing and mercy will be with me all the days of my life; and I will have a place in the house of the Lord all my days.
Psalm 23


Rejoicing Comes In The Morning

"Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:16-17

"Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God."
Matthew 5:4;8

On Friday afternoon, after such a tiresome week, with doctor appointments and Vicky's congested nose, we decided to go for a walk to distract ourselves. The visit with the neuropediatrician, on Wednesday, was very harsh on me. I arrived at the office a bit apprehensive, but expecting to find a doctor who would be interested in Vitoria, willing to get to know her and explore her potential. My enthusiasm started to fade as I was trying to explain myself. I told the doctor that we decided to continue with the pregnancy, despite hearing from many doctors that it would be better to terminate it. He replied me saying such advice was given because it would be too frustrating to follow Vitoria - to me and to him. I interrupted him and said: "No, it is not frustrating. To me, it is a pleasure to be with her. Perhaps you may not understand it because you don't know her, but she is very special, very expressive. She is very strong and she's been through a lot and she has always wanted to live". He interrupted me asking me, politely, to put Vitoria on the bed so that he could examine her. He looked at her quickly and, after a few recommendations, he finished the appointment. When we left, I got in the car with Vitoria in my arms, fighting the tears in my eyes. I think I even let one escape. But I breathed in deep, looked firmly at her and said: "I don't believe in anything this doctor said. You are a joy to me. You will never be a frustration."

During the rest of the day she rested a lot, and Marcelo and I tried to recover. We went through a lot of that kind of reaction during my pregnancy, pessimistic doctors trying to destroy our dreams and our faith. Even though we try not to consider what they say, their words do stir us. It hurts to realize that this child whom we love so much, who is so important to us has no value to other people, to the point they suggest her life was not worth it and therefore, should have been terminated. On Thursday I still had tears stored in my heart. In the morning, while I left Vitoria near the window to feel the sunshine. it was time to share my tears with God. I know He understands everything I feel. I know he wipes away my tears with His own hands.

But soon it was time to prepare Vitoria's lunch - soup of vegetables - make her inhalation, wash her
bottles, prepare her bottles... In the afternoon, with an attempt to move forward, to live, I went outside with her for a stroll around our condo. I still hadn't had the courage to do it all by myself - we live in a building with no elevators, it had been cold for several days, and now that the weather finally got warmer, she got a cold, she could catch too much wind... but today was a day in which a bit of wind was good. When I realized it, there we were, the two of us strolling by the neighborhood during a pleasant end of day. The sun was already setting down in the horizon, which makes the sunshine even prettier, of a whitened yellow, soft and tender, but still radiant.
Its light delicately stressed the contours of the landscape, and its rays softly touched us, as if lying on our skin and making us feel more alive. Yes, there we were, alive and walking outside during the beautiful sunset. Vitoria was very awake and aware of the change of the background around her. She yawned as bit, but made sure to be awake to enjoy the stroll. I told her I loved her. I told her to see what a beautiful day it was. Told her to feel the sun light. I said that she was alive and that it was a huge blessing. I told her I didn't know she liked to go outside so much!
When we went back inside she was very awake. I put her in her crib, imagining she would want to rest after our little trip,but she immediately tried to lift herself up.
She was moving a lot. I quickly grabbed her colored mats and placed them on the living room floor. I had to take advantage of her moment of disposition to move. She was determined to go forward. She would lift her head and put all her strength on her arms to support her trunk. She would try harder and harder, until her arms would tremble. And back there her legs were trying to coordinate to move forward. She would put her head down, from time to time, and soon she would start all over again. She was dragging herself forward. I tried to help her, positioning her arms properly to offer support. When I realized, her legs, which before were on the blue mat had already completely moved to the yellow mat. I think she kept doing it for half an hour, tireless, and persistent. Until I decided it was time for her to have her milk and rest.
The next morning, I put her in her crib to take her morning nap and left the room. After a few minutes, I heard her crying, and when I got back in the room, I found her lying across the crib, with her head on the side, crying because she couldn't get out of there! I was appalled! I grabbed her in my arms, covering her with kisses, and asked her: How did you do this, my love?

A profound joy flooded my heart and took away all sadness and deception from the last days, like a flash flood that goes down the mountains washing the earth and leaving only the plants whose roots are deep. Leaving only what is good.

There is nothing like the pure heart of a child to teach us that, when God is in our lives, we can use words that discourage us as motivation to excel. Such pessimistic words can be used to reaffirm how amazing everything we've been living is! And to serve as an impulse to move forward.

"Weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy"
Psalm 30:5b;11


Tiresome Days and Persistent Faith

But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."

23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Mark 9:22b-24

These past few days have been busy. Since Sunday, Vitoria's nose has gotten worse and she was very congested. Fortunately, she hasn't had any fever; she's just more quiet and sleepy and, sometimes, she has woken up very agitated due to her difficulties to breath through her nose.
We also had a marathon of doctor's appointments. On Monday, we went to her neurosurgeon to see the inflamed stitch on her head. It is a folliculitis, which means the root of her hair is inflamed and we are applying an ointment to see if it gets better. Thank God it isn't anything serious, it is only a superficial inflammation. On Tuesday, we went to her pediatrician on a routine exam. Her doctor prescribed some medicine to help decongest her nose; she also said everything else is fine. Vitoria weighs 6kg and is 58cm long! Despite her many chubby folds of skin, she is doing great, not over or underweight.

And, on Wednesday, we saw a neuropediatrician. Unfortunately, it was disappointing! He just passed his eyes through her exams, said there wasn't much to do, that her malformation was very serious and that it would be frustrating for him and for me to follow her, because Vitoria would respond very little to any stimulus. He examined Vitoria for about 2 minutes, requested some physiotherapy sessions and asked us to return when those were done. All took no longer than 10 minutes. It was frustrating to wait so long for this appointment, spend 3 hours to drive there and come back, all for in 10 minutes hear his superficial words!

Well, if we were to depend on everything the doctors - limited and flawed human beings like all of us - said about Vitoria, we would have killed her with a few weeks of pregnancy, believing she had no senses and that she would live very few hours after being born. But here she is, 7 months-old, at home, living and fighting, going against all predictions. She has many sensations, many preferences, she has her own personality. It is true she has her difficulties, such as motor skills development and interaction. But with love and sensibility, we can see how much she communicates, how much she participates in our lives, how much pleasure she has in living and how much she desires to grow and overcome her difficulties. God made the miracle of allowing her to live, when everybody said she would certainly die, besides many other surprising things we have told you about in this blog. Now that she is alive, how many more things God can make!
Our faith is not in the doctors, in science, or in the exams done. Our faith is in a living and powerful God, who still makes miracles, who has mercy for His sons and daughters, who is near us and who can do it all.

We have sent her exams to AACD a few days ago, requesting a vacancy in their program, so that she can receive all stimulus and accompaniment that is possible. We ask for your prayers so that God may open the doors of this institution to our beloved Vitoria, for we know she has potential and she will surprisingly respond to any treatment.

We also ask prayers for the logistics of so many visits to clinics and doctor offices. It is still very challenging for me to go out alone with her, for I still don't drive well, especially in Sao Paulo, and therefore I have needed the precious help of friends and relatives to take Vitoria to her doctors, since Marcelo's work is at the other side of the city, and he cannot leave work at all times to take her to the doctor. This is also a mountain I need to climb, with faith and effort! :-) It is great to know we have going in front of us the One who loves us so much and helps us remove mountains!
After three exhausting days, we had yesterday to rest, and we even went for a stroll outside and a session of exercise trying to crawl on the living room floor. And it was all breath-taking! We have good news to share and beautiful photos to show! But we will leave you all in suspense, because now I need to wash Vitoria's bottles for her next feeding!
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