The Lord provided hope in a family crisis

“We went to Pastor’s office, and he stopped what he was doing, and he just came out and laid hands on us and started praying and quoting scripture and encouraging us that God is still good and you will get through this and lean into Him, and it was like the Holy Spirit just knew what we needed to hear from Pastor.”

Video Transcript

Justin Neal:

Courtney and I had been married for about a year when we had decided that we wanted God to grow our family.

Courtney Neal:

About nine months after we were married we learned that we were pregnant with our first, and it was just the best news that we had in a long time and we were so excited about that, and we started planning and coming up with names and telling our friends and family.

We did some testing because I was a little older. We learned that there was something terribly wrong with the baby. We were called to go to a genetic counselor so that she could read us the test results. She laid out everything that was wrong with the baby, our very first baby, our very first pregnancy, and it was pretty hard to hear that this baby probably had a 98% of death rate before the baby was born and if the baby was born then she, because they knew it was a girl at that point, would probably only live a week, and if she did live a week that there were going to be tremendous things that she would struggle with.

Nine months into marriage we got this news and we were just in shock. We both just immediately started crying and asking the Lord, “Do you know why?” and in that moment it was a huge crisis in our life and it was the first hard thing that we had been through in our marriage, and all we knew to do was to go to prayer. We had no control over what was going on with the baby or how to fix it, and we just submitted to God in that moment.

Justin was in tears asking, “Can we eat better? Can we work out more? Can we change something in our lifestyle that would help the baby be more healthy?” and the genetic counselor just had this morbid look on her face of, “There’s nothing you can do. This just happens.” She has only seen one baby out of the past six years live from this. She would just have really no hope.“

At that moment I felt the Lord say to me, “This is going to be a testimony,” and I was stopped in my tracks for a minute and I thought, “How can this crisis be a testimony?” I thought I never want to be pregnant again after getting this news, and I am so sad for this child and just already grieving, so at that moment I said, “We actually don’t want this claimed on our baby and I really want to ask you to stand in the gap with us to believe for a miracle for this child,” and it was definitely the Holy Spirit speaking through me, because I felt just as hopeless as probably she felt after she gave us all of the results of what was wrong with the baby, and I just said, “We’re going to pray. We’re going to pray that the Lord heals her or that he takes her, because she will be made new and perfect and she will have a perfect body in heaven and be healthy and thriving.”

They gave us about an hour to collect our thoughts, and then they suggested that we had another ultrasound just to check on the baby and see if she was growing. When they called us back to do the ultrasound the nurse that was doing it said, “I actually need to grab the doctor,” and she left the room abruptly and came back in. The doctor started doing the ultrasound onto my abdomen and he said, “I’m really sorry guys, but I can’t find her heartbeat. There’s no heartbeat,” and at that moment I felt some relief and I feel guilty saying that, but I just felt a relief that this baby was with God already and she’s healed and she’s in heaven. I remember Justin started crying really hard and he said, “This is answered prayer.” He said that to the doctor because, “We asked the Lord right before we came in here for him to take her or heal her, and he decided to take her.”

Justin Neal:

Our baby had gone to heaven, so it was a blessing and it was also something that we will never forget, as a scar that God left us with, but it’s not a scar that we want to keep hidden in our hearts. We want people to know. It was challenging. It was challenging, and it was trying for our faith. It was trying for our marriage, but we’re so grateful that Pastor came alongside of us during that time. He called us into his office and opened up his Bible and shared his life experiences to be able to help cope with some of the emotions that we were experiencing and incorporated scripture into that too.

Courtney Neal:

When Justin says it was trying on our marriage, I couldn’t get out of bed for probably two weeks after that. I don’t know. I’ve never felt that way before. It was depression, it was despair, it was… I really didn’t want to live after that, and I thought I gave it to the Lord when He told me there was a testimony, that he saw Justin’s faith, but then it was almost like the enemy came back to see if this would bring me out of my faith or doubt God again.

We went to Pastor’s office and he stopped what he was doing and he just came out and laid hands on us and started praying and quoting scripture and encouraging us that God is still good and you will get through this and lean into Him, and it was like the Holy Spirit just knew what we needed to hear from Pastor.