We’re Ryan and Kristin Mickey, and this is more on how we’ve been living deeply since our youngest son Deacon’s battle with RSV. Deacon, at just two weeks old, was admitted to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on December 22nd for15 days, during which time he fought the virus on a ventilator in the PICU. God used the wonderful medical team to restore Deacon to good health.
Ryan: “I’m in several Christian men’s groups that meet throughout the week. They all came to the hospital the morning of our fifth day in the hospital. It was really cool because not all of the men know each other well. We walked around the hospital grounds praying silently, then stopped and prayed together. I experienced God deeply in this moment, and I still get chills thinking about it because I felt God’s presence there. I’m not a crier, but I was bawling because I felt His love, His comfort, and His peace as much as I ever have. I needed that. After that time, one of the guys told me, ‘I know this has been hard, but this has also been so good for my marriage and family because it’s gotten us to pray together. We actually sit down and pray for Deacon every night.’ If that’s what this is doing –and I hope it’s doing that for other people- if it’s bringing them closer to the Lord, that’s awesome. I would never wish this on myself again, but to hear that was an encouragement. I felt like I was living Romans 8:28 right there. Prayer matters, and it’s easy to think it doesn’t. One thing I’ve been working at since this is to take prayer more seriously. When I say I’m going to pray for someone, I am doing a better job of writing things down and making sure to pray more consistently and even following up with people about their prayer requests later. This still needs to happen more, but I think that’s a big change for me- actually trying to live out my prayer life more as an integrated part of my life and relationships.”
Kristin: “The whole time we were in the hospital, I felt like I didn’t know what to pray. It was just ‘Please let him live’ over and over. I was begging the Lord to save Deacon, and that was all I could come up with. A couple different friends gave me a verse early on in the hospital: Exodus 14:14, which says, ‘The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.’ Every time I read it – and we had it hung on the wall of our hospital room along with other verses – it gave me a sense of peace. I didn’t need to have all these words to pray. I didn’t need to be saying or doing something specific. I just needed to be still and know that He is there and He’s got this. Most people’s response, including mine, to seeing Deacon make it through everything was, ‘God is so good and faithful!’ While that is very true, it’s also made me think every day since about whether I would be saying that if Deacon did not live. God is still good and still faithful whether Deacon made it through everything or not. Our story has really made me evaluate my heart and whether I’m living for the Lord, trusting Him, and truly believing that He’s good and faithful whatever comes our way. One other thing I thought a lot about coming out of the hospital was Deacon’s name. We chose it because we like the meaning behind it. It means to be a servant, and the role that a deacon plays in the Church is to serve and minister to those in need. My prayer for Deacon has always been that he’ll grow up knowing how to serve and take care of other people. It was really amazing for me to see so many people serving us in our time of need, and I got to witness firsthand all the great examples of servant leaders that Deacon’s going to have around him as he grows up.”
Ryan: “There’s another aspect to all this that most people probably don’t know. Our oldest son Silas, who is 8 years old, has Chronic Kidney Disease. We found that out when we took him to the ER as a 10-month-old.”
Kristin: “Silas was really, really sick from the time he was born, throwing up the majority of what he ate. For months doctors said, ‘He just has really bad reflux.’ Ultimately, it got to the point where he wasn’t growing and was actually losing weight. By 10 months, he’d gone downhill so much, and so rapidly the week we ended up in the ER, that he wasn’t really functioning. We finally got the diagnosis when we took him to the ER. Silas will live with his kidney disease for the rest of his life. He’ll eventually need a kidney transplant, but for now, we’re trying to make his kidneys last as long as possible through medications and some diet restrictions, as well as a surgery he had about a year ago. He’s had many ups and downs, but for the most part, he has been fairly stable for the past year or so. His health struggles have definitely tested and molded our faith. Right before we learned about his kidney disease, the doctors were doing tests to rule out brain tumors and brain bleeds. As a first-time mom, I just needed someone to tell me that my baby was not going to die. When they were able to rule out some of those more major concerns, I feel like God used it to shape my mindset going forward. I was able to step back and view it differently. Chronic Kidney Disease was a far from ideal diagnosis that has greatly impacted our lives, but I have always recognized that it could be worse. I am grateful that for 7 years now, I have consistently been able to trust that the Lord is holding Silas in His hands, and I think having that be such a huge part of our lives really prepared us for our trial with Deacon years later as well.”