Sometimes I just stand speechless with the timing of things in my life. Last week, I was literally speechless with words to write. It was my first writer’s block. I was awake early every morning ready to write. Nothing was coming! I mean nothing! I have a whole journal full of stories that I have written down to remember and share but none of them inspired me. I even tried to force a writing about Spring Break and the changes in the season. I was half way through and again, nothing would spring forth (no pun intended). I literally had to surrender to the void. After all, this blog is for HIM and if He is not giving me anything to say then I should remain silent. That’s a hard lesson for this talkative soul. If you know me at all, you know I love to talk. I always have a story.
This time, this blog is not about my story. It’s about a little baby named Liam and his mommy, Samantha, and his daddy, Leonard. Samantha is best friend’s with my first cousin Elissa. I have met Samantha a hand full of times in my life. I first met her at a high school graduation tea my mom hosted for Elissa. I saw her at their graduation, and then she stood as the Maid of Honor at Elissa and Joey’s wedding. Their friendship is a beautiful one. When Elissa was pregnant with their daughter, Avery, we hosted another shower in her honor. Samantha had moved to Florida after marrying her husband, Leonard, who serves in the Air Force and is stationed there. The distance could not keep Samantha from being there for Elissa. She flew in and surprised her for the shower. I will never forget witnessing Elissa’s face when she saw her bestie walk in the door. Tears flowed not only from Elissa and Samantha but from every lady that was present. There love is a deep love.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
This is a well-known verse that you see printed on picture frames and cute decor for the home, but the latter part of the verse is usually left off…“and a brother is born for adversity.” No one likes adversity. What is adversity? Adversity is a difficult situation or condition; misfortune or tragedy. It’s one thing to say a friend loves at all times, but it adds a whole new meaning to the friendship when they stick it out and help their friend walk through the difficult seasons of life.
The footnote of the bible says this for the verse: “What kind of friend are you? There is a vast difference between knowing someone well and being a true friend. The greatest evidence of a genuine friendship is loyalty (loving at ALL times – see 1 Corinthians 13:7) – being available to help in times of distress or personal struggles. Too many people are fair-weather friends. They stick around when the friendship helps them and leaves when they’re not getting anything out of the friendship. Think of your friends and assess your loyalty to them. Be the kind of true friend the Bible encourages.”
I have seen this verse come to life in the last few weeks through Elissa and Sam. Samantha and her husband, Leonard, had their first baby boy on February 20th. Liam Isaacs Kelley was born with a congenital heart defect called Pulmonary Venous Return. Due to his condition, they had to fly him to a hospital with more advanced abilities to care for him. They attempted to fly him to Atlanta but due to the ice they were rerouted from Pensacola to Gainesville, Florida where he was in the NICU at Shands Children’s Hospital. In his short little life he has already undergone open heart surgery and been victorious. PRAISE THE LORD! What a fighter he is and what an amazing God who helped him overcome. He was discharged from the hospital yesterday. Another huge PRAISE! I wish I could end the story with these victories but there’s more.
The doctor’s shared with Leonard and Sam that they have discovered that Liam has Williams Syndrome. It is a genetic condition that is present at birth, and is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities. Williams Syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide and there are 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States. You can read more about Williams Syndrome here. Some of the major struggles include babies having life-threatening cardiovascular problems. They need costly and ongoing medical care and early interventions that may not be covered by insurance or state funding. This breaks my heart for this precious new family of three. I was blown away when I continued to read about the characteristics of Williams Syndrome because they were very similar to Noonan Syndrome which is what our first baby, Taylor Brooke, suffered.
The morning that I read this news on Elissa’s Facebook page left me speechless because the night before I had been blessed to drive 2 fifteen year-old young ladies to a birthday party for a dear friend of mine. While we were driving home from the party we started talking about high school. I told them that it had been 20 years since I had been in high school. One of the girl’s stated, “I don’t think my mom has been out of high school 20 years, but she was really young when she had me.” Of course this statement made me feel really old, but it also made me start thinking. Could I be their mother? Tears surfaced quickly. I asked the girls if they were born in 1999, and they quickly responded yes. Ryan and I had our Taylor in 1999. She would be 15 years old if the Lord had not called her home. I shared with them that I had a daughter in 1999. They both were sweet with their responses. One of them said, “Wow, we could have been friends.” The other said, “Awww, but you have 3 beautiful girls now.” I was touched and moved in a very special way. When I got home I shared with Ryan what I had experienced. The next morning is when I read about little Liam being diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, and I felt God nudging me to do something. I love that in the silence of my week last week He was preparing me to share this story with you today.
Leonard and Samantha’s families have set up a Caring Bridge site and a way where people can help them by “Praying for Liam.” We have already tasted and seen that the Lord is good and is hearing and answering our prayers for this family. What a blessing he is to our world. Please consider praying for this family. If you are feeling led to give and help support them financially please do so by visiting their “Go fund me link”. Their journey is going to be a long one and they are going to need many true and faithful “Proverbs 17:17” friends to walk along side of them.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Liam! Thank you for Samantha and Leonard. Father, there are many prayers going up for this beautiful family and you are hearing each one. You have already seen them through so much and you will continue. Your faithfulness is unending. Thank you for being their strength when they are weak. When Samantha and Leonard do not know what they ought to pray, your word tells us that your Holy Spirit will intercede for them with groans words cannot express. You never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for your promises. Father, stir in the hearts of many that will read this story and penetrate each heart. Help us to realize that these are more than words written on a page, this is a true account of a family in need. Help us to be your hands and feet Lord and provide for them and support them. May all that we say and do bring honor and glory to your name forever and ever! Amen