When I was in my early teens I loved a song by the Christian band Sierra called No Higher Place. I listened to that song dozens of times and had made up my mind that when I had a little girl I would name her Sierra. Sierra means long chain of jagged mountains. Whenever I heard the name Sierra, I would think of sitting on the Mountain of God.
I was told in 2006 that I would not be able to have children due to some health issues. So you can imagine my husband’s and my surprise when we found out four weeks after getting married that we were expecting a baby. After an ultrasound we were told that our child would be born May 9th 2011, exactly nine months and three days after our wedding.
The pregnancy was hard, but I was thankful for the gift of life within me. One morning, during my devotions, God gave me Psalm 139 as Sierra’s life verses. I felt deep within my being that these verses were hers, written just for her and her life. I prayed that scripture over her many times while she was in my womb and in her early weeks of life. My parents had a special bracelet made for her with the engraving Psalm 139. I felt so strongly that this passage was knitted into her life.
Our lives were forever changed when she was born and we LOVED her with every heartbeat. I don’t think I was a natural-born-mother, as some are, but Sierra was the perfect teacher for me. I had a fierce fiery protection over her. Although I must admit I would spend too many hours mulling over the “what-ifs.” I was afraid something would happen to my little girl and out of that fear hatched a need to be in control.
When Sierra was three months old, we noticed a leg size discrepancy which we brushed off as nothing.
At her one year check up we had some real concerns about the way she would tippy toe walk and how her left leg was much smaller than her right. We asked our family doctor about it and after further examination and he decided to refer us to a pediatrician.
The pediatrician was not sure what to make of it so he had us sent to a Neurologist. The neurologist tested her brain with everything coming back normal.
Shortly after, her Neurologist retired and sent us on to an Orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon decided they would MRI her spine and pelvis.
We went in for the routine test and went home thinking nothing of it. We got a call two hours later to come back in a few days later for another MRI. They noticed something on the MRI and wanted to do one more MRI. Not five minutes after getting home from the second MRI we got a call from a Neurosurgeon who wanted us to come in the next day.
That day, at two-and-a-half-years-old, Sierra was diagnosed with a Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor in her spine.
I can’t explain the feeling I felt in the Neurosurgeons office. I felt like all the blood left my body. I went into shock. All I could do is sit and try to make out what he was trying to tell me… blah blah blah, chemo, blah blah blah, tumor, blah blah blah cancer care…On and on until he stood up shook my hand and we walked out.
I was sick, I have never felt like that in all my life. I was in complete shock, unable to process.
As we were walking to our vehicle, God spoke so swiftly and clearly into my heart: “My child, I am here,” Psalm 139.
As soon as I had a quiet moment I went back to Psalm 139 and immediately dialed into verses 13 to 18. And I knew immediately that God had been preparing me for this for many years.
This truly was her life scripture. God knew her first. He knew her in my womb, even before I knew she even existed, He knew her. He saw the tumor and has always known about it. It was no surprise to Him. He knew it was there. All her days have been planned for her. Every. Single. Breath. He knit her together. She is PERFECTLY made.
And in all of this, He prepared me for her diagnosis. He prepared me to let her go. He has called me to disciple her to look to Jesus even when the doctor appointments, tests, and pain have no end. And in Jesus’s arms we have found rest from our anxious thoughts, rest from our fears, and HOPE!!
There was a time when Sierra would get upset about the tumor. “Why do I have a tumor mommy? Why did Jesus let me have a tumor?” Those questions hurt my mommy heart so much. But God always takes me back to Psalm 139. And I read that to her. I am honest with her and say, “I don’t have the answers honey, I don’t know why you have it, but I know God knows, and He has a good good plan for you.”
Over the past few months God has faithfully met her in her questions. Her response has changed from “WHY ME?” To “When will Jesus Come back?” and “I am so excited to be with Jesus” and “He will take my tumor away and I will be with Him.” She is excited to meet her Saviour! Seriously, how many 7-year-olds long for Jesus??? That is the hope I wanted for her life and that is the hope she is living with at her tender age - EXCITED for JESUS to come back, to sit on the Mountain of God.
When we first got the diagnosis, I was devastated to say the least. I was upset at myself because I thought I had done something wrong to cause the tumor. But God has gently loosened the lies from my heart. He has taught me to let go of my children and trust God with their lives.
Where I used to want to control, I have discovered trust in my Lord. Trust for His plan, His purpose, and the path He has for my family. He is a good good Father to me, and to my daughter and He has a beautiful life planned for us in eternity!
And that is the hope we look forward to!
Me and my beautiful Psalm 139 Baby.
About the Author:
Naomi is the mother of three beautiful children that she also homeschools. She loves spending time with her family and close friends and is passionate about building community within the church body and in her neighbourhood. She is especially loves helping children find belonging and does so through volunteer work and hosting other families in her home.
If you would like to send Naomi a message, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Naomi” in the subject line.