Angel is eleven years old. When I first him, eight years ago, I prayed that God would spare his life. Angel was born with a serious heart deformity that required emergency surgery before his first birthday. Even after surgery, the remaining hole in his heart coupled with severe asthma demanded all of his strength and energy. He could not run. Even walking left him winded. Every night for years, his mother slept with Angel draped across her chest. He regularly stopped breathing in his sleep. His mother would wake him and re-position him, forcing his tiny body to reengage its involuntary systems.
One night he fell asleep at our home while we visited with his parents. I saw firsthand his battle for each raspy breath. That night prayed for Angel fervently, but I didn’t have much faith. When the phone rang, I expected to hear that Angel had passed away.
But somehow, Angel did not die. Gradually he became stronger and stronger. His birthdays transformed from an unexpected gift to a normal celebration. Today, someone meeting him for the first time would never guess that he barely survived infancy. The only remaining vestige of his struggle manifests as a preference; Angel is less active than some other kids, preferring indoor games to soccer. But for that, he’s thoughtful and engaging, creative and funny.
When I think back to the night that I was sure Angel would die, I am amazed. I’m amazed at what God can do in eight years. Some miracles happen right away. Those are the miracles that people write stories about and applaud. But other miracles happen so gradually that only the vigilant even notice. Thank you, God, for slow miracles.
Ellen in her own words: My husband Kyle and I live with our three boys in a low-income neighborhood in Mazatlan, Mexico. God’s love and grace brought us here and holds us close through all of life’s crazy ups and downs. I want follow where the Holy Spirit leads and encourage others to do the same.