Seeing Through the Eyes of Hope
WHEN LIFE TAKES A TURN
Lacey grew up in a small town in Tennessee. She met Chris and Jesus on the same day in April 2002. She was visiting a church with her friend and gave her life to the Lord that same day. Chris was in the service and Lacey, along with her friend, stared at him. A couple of weeks later, they both were baptized in the creek. “Not only did God save my soul, He also gave me my soul mate,” she says. They dated for six years before getting married. Two years later, right after getting accepted into law school, Lacey found out she was pregnant.
Halfway through her pregnancy, Lacey and Chris went to their doctor’s office for a standard anatomy ultrasound. They had no idea what was wrong when the doctor called to discuss what they found in the routine ultrasound. To get a better look at Christian’s face, the doctor ordered a second ultrasound. The technician poked and prodded, but Christian stubbornly kept the right side of his face hidden. The doctor informed them that Christian would be born with a cleft lip and palate. “We held on to the hope for a miraculous healing,” says Lacey. “We prayed all the things the doctor had seen wouldn’t be there when he was born.”
Doctors were right: Christian was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, one of the worst cases they had ever seen. His condition was caused by amniotic band syndrome (ABS) where the bands in the amniotic sac can attach to a baby, cut off blood flow and even cause loss of a body part. Doctors were not able to see in vitro that the amniotic bands snaked themselves to the right side of Christian’s face, pinning him to the placenta. “We were prepared for a cleft palate, but we had no idea he would be blind,” says Lacey. “A cleft palate we can fix; but we can’t give him vision.” Along with the cleft palate and blindness, Christian was born with a right club foot. Christian was in Neonatal Intensive Care for the first month and endured three surgeries during the first three months of his life (he’s had seven total to date). Less than fifty cases of Christian’s condition have been reported. Lacey and Chris had to go through a period of mourning, loss and questioning God. “All I could think was, God what are you doing?” says Lacey. She felt powerless and one day had a one-sided conversation with God. I demand an answer, God. You need to tell me right now why this is happening! Suddenly, Lacey says, it was as if God pushed the pause button on her life. She felt the Lord say, Christian is My love for you on display. Lacey says the anger melted away. “God shows us His graciousness through Christian every day,” Lacey said.
Chris and Lacey have learned not to worry about what people say or even how they say it. At first Lacey didn’t shield Christian from the whispers and stares. She grew weary of some of the reactions, so she started covering his car seat with a blanket. One day as she rolled Christian away from an inquisitive woman, Lacey felt the Lord tell her, Don’t hide this baby. “Instead of hiding my baby to protect him, I had to show him to the world to strengthen him,” says Lacy. She says Christian is “differently abled.” He uses other senses (touch, smell and sound) to get around this world. When Christian was a year old, Lacey made a video on YouTube to tell his story. Her plan was to create business cards with the link to the video, so when people had questions about Christian she could hand them out. Two days later, the video had received 20,000 hits; a few hours later, it went viral and grew to more than 6 million views. A media storm ensued. Their biggest media appearance was on The Doctors. More important, people have expressed how much Christian has inspired them.
Lacey, who was working and going to law school while she was pregnant, just passed the bar in October 2016. She says Christian, now five, goes to a local school for the blind and is learning to read braille. As a typical boy, he loves Superman, plays the piano and practices karate. “He is learning to navigate the world,” says Lacey. She says he is learning to use a cane. When Christian was 18 months old, Lacey was pregnant with Chandler. The biggest thing Lacey and Chris had to learn was that Christian’s self-image would be rooted in who God said he was; it didn’t matter what Christian looked like on the outside. “Christian is fearfully and wonderfully made,” says Lacey. She says Christian has exactly what he needs to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. “If Christian needed eyes to fulfill God’s purpose, he would have them.”