I mentioned in my last post that we have moved homes six times since we first arrived In Portugal. Well ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that we have moved to our seventh and final home here in Lisbon. Let me explain in further detail.
When the birth of our son took place, we were initially told that there may be a place for us to stay near the hospital. This particular place is known as ‘The Ronald MacDonald House’ (Check Google, it is real, trust me). It is purpose built for parents whose kids are receiving any sort of hospital treatment or care. In a nutshell, it is free accommodation for mothers & fathers with unwell babies.
Now we were so ecstatic when we heard about this place, only to be told, to our disappointment, that it is only for Portuguese Residents. So in a step of faith (although, you could easily file this under panic and sheer desperation), I sent a rather wordy email to the head of the organisation, pleading with them to please make an exception due to our unique circumstance, and guess what…They did.
Although it took just over four weeks, we finally got a place to stay. It was more then we could ask for. Needless to say God came through, right in the nick of time.
I told you that story just to let you know that God is real. That to some might sound very basic & cliche but when you’re faced with an impossible situation, it’s very difficult to see this real God in your real dilemma. We may not always see a physical sign, but tales such as this are evidence that he is working on our behalf.
I wanted to tell you a brief but tragic story about this particular woman I met in this house that is now our permanent abode in Lisbon.
This pleasant woman (We’ll call her Maria) had been trying to bear children for over five years with her husband. They tried all sorts of methods, some very expensive, but unfortunately not one of them was successful. Eventually, to her surprise, she became pregnant, with twins. A joyous occasion indeed.
Originally from France, she decided to take a little trip to Portugal to visit her in-laws. She was 24 weeks pregnant at the time. On the very day she was meant to return home, she went into labour. She gave birth to a baby boy & girl at 24 weeks. Subsequently, the little boy had several health problems, particularly related to his lungs. However, the little girl had severe liver complications and sadly died shortly after birth. Maria has resided in Portugal since early September. Her son survived but has quite a long way to go in terms of recovery.
What surprised me the most about Maria was her outlook on life. She refused to blame the circumstances, in fact she would not let them define her son’s future.
One of the things that plays on your mind at a time like this is ‘What could you have done to prevent this?’ And the answer is…nothing.
Life happens, and Maria’s story in some way teaches us that there are some things that are well and truly out of your control. You can either sit there and wallow in self-pity or you can wipe the tears and play the cards life has dealt. However, you must never forget, regardless of what life dishes out, He will never leave you nor forsake you. A lesson I’m learning, up close and personal.
Written by Daniel (db)