13: Divine Engineering

13: Divine Engineering

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Divine Engineering

Family is the most important thing in the world.

~Princess Diana

My husband and I were driving to Los Angeles when I received a call from my sister. Bev and I had been playing telephone tag for several days. That wasn’t uncommon. We were both very busy, and there was a three-hour time difference between us.

But this time she was calling with news so devastating that I motioned for my husband to pull the car over to the side of the road, so I could concentrate on what she was saying and not lose her call. I felt kicked in the gut as Bev informed me that she had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. As she shared her diagnosis and prognosis, I tried to subdue my sobs so that I could be there for her.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” I thought to myself. Bev wasn’t just my sister; she was my identical twin. Those stories you hear about twins reading each other’s minds and feeling each other’s feelings are true. But we didn’t just share the twin connection. Our parents divorced when we were five years old, and life got pretty crazy at our house. The only constant we had was each other. We watched each other’s backs through some pretty tough times growing up.

Between the two of us Bev and I were blessed to have five beautiful kids. Our kids were close even though distance separated them. When they would get together, it was like no time had passed since they had seen each other. I read an article many years earlier saying that because identical twins have the same DNA, their children have the same DNA as half-siblings. Our kids thought that was great, and they told it to anyone who would listen. They became delightful distractions when Bev got busy with her treatment. But worry about my sister’s health was always lurking in the back of my mind.

“Help her, Lord. I still need her,” I prayed often in the quiet of my mind.

My older daughter, Sarah was in the middle of her doctoral studies in psychology when she decided to join the military. Her husband, Shaun, served two terms in Iraq in the Air Force, and my daughter wanted to do her part to help soldiers returning from war with post traumatic stress disorder. After officer training, she was stationed in Ohio for an internship for a year.

When it came time for her to be assigned a base, I prayed hard that she would be stationed closer to home in California. After years of education, I knew my daughter planned to start a family. I didn’t want to be that far away from my pregnant daughter, not to mention my new grandchild. My heart sank when I found out that Sarah had received orders to report to a base 2,800 miles away.

With all of the bases on the West Coast that need psychologists, my daughter got stationed in North Carolina. It didn’t seem quite fair. I comforted myself with the fact that Sarah would only be two hours away from Bev. If I couldn’t be close to my grandchild, at least there would be a wonderful aunt to spoil the tyke.

My kids weren’t the only busy ones. Bev’s younger daughter Nicole was getting married in Colorado. Not only was Bev busy planning a wedding, she had to travel back and forth from Charlotte to Denver to do it. During that time, she let her visits to the doctor go by the wayside. “Quite honestly,” she told me, “I wanted to enjoy my daughter’s wedding and not even think about cancer while I was doing that.” I understood. He doctor wasn’t quite as understanding.

After the wedding, she went in for her check-up. “Your blood numbers look terrible,” the doctor scolded. “I told you that we have to keep them under control to keep this cancer under control,” he chided. “What have you been doing?”

When Bev told him about the wedding, his comment was, “Too bad that daughter of yours isn’t pregnant. You could use the blood from her umbilical chord to create new, healthy blood cells should your numbers get any worse than they already are.”

“Doctor,” Bev responded. “You know that I have an identical twin sister, right? And her daughter is pregnant and living two hours from me.”

“You are one incredibly blessed woman,” the doctor offered. “Genetics will make that blood a match for yours. We can harvest the cord-blood from your niece’s child, and we will have stem cells for a blood transfusion that can turn your condition around.”

During the birth of my granddaughter, my daughter Sarah assigned me the job of monitoring the amazing team that came in to harvest Eva’s umbilical cord and save it in case my sister needed it.

I had no idea why God moved my daughter so far away from me. But he had a plan all along. I couldn’t imagine in a million years that God was planning on using the granddaughter that wasn’t even born at the time to save the life of the sister that I couldn’t live without.

Today, my sister is still going strong, and I am grateful for the amazing divinely engineered back-up plan that is in place should all of that change. God answered my prayer in a way I could never have imagined. I don’t always know what is best, but he does and he comes through.

~Linda Newton

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