Momtrends:What inspired you to chronicle your personal experiences in Blessed, Blessed . . . Blessed: The Untold Story of Our Family's Fight to Love Hard, Stay Strong, and Keep the Faith When Life Can't Be Fixed?
Missy: After A&E aired the Duck Dynasty episode, “Stand By Mia”, we were inundated with thousands of cards, gifts, e-mails, and social media posts with concern for Mia and her health. It was overwhelming! We quickly realized that we could shine a light on the condition of cleft lip and palate and give a face to these children. Mia was happy about all of this, even using her own face to encourage others. Watching our daughter not only survive a difficult childhood but actually thrive through all of her ordeals and want to help other children do the same, we knew we could help others. Our own spiritual growth through the last twelve years also inspired Jase and me to share our story with other parents in the hope that they can do the same if they rely on God’s love and steadfastness.
Momtrends:During the difficult times, how did you and your husband Jase learn to lean into God’s love instead of turning away from Him?
Missy: At first, it seemed to me that God might have forgotten about us, that maybe He was distracted for a second and things just got away from Him. When I think back at that now, it seems so silly. But at the moment, I honestly thought that my importance in God’s eyes was somehow diminished and that I didn’t mean as much to Him as I thought I did. But through the last twelve years, I’ve seen just how much He loves me and my child. As I reference in my book, Miss Kay told me soon after the diagnosis that God decided to give this child to Jase and me because He knows we will be the best parents for her. I didn’t want to hear that at that time. I didn’t even agree with her at that time. Now I do. I can’t imagine Mia growing up with any other family. I can’t imagine my family without our Mia! God blessed us with Mia, truly blessed us! What an extraordinary child! And I know now that God never left us. He never even looked away from us, not for one second. He was saying the entire time, “Just trust Me. You’ll see one day.” And we do.
Momtrends:What role have your sons played in helping Mia cope with the fears associated with undergoing multiple surgeries?
Missy: They are physically there for her, which is the most important thing when you are in the hospital about to undergo a scary surgery. Even when Reed has been away at college, he has driven over to make sure she sees that he is there before she goes into the operating room. Since we all have to drive 4½ hours from home for her doctors’ appointments and surgeries, we try to make a fun trip out of it. The night before each surgery, we all go out to eat at the restaurant of Mia’s choice and stay in a hotel. This helps take Mia’s mind off of what will happen the next day. We all gather in her pre-op room and say a family prayer, and then her brothers and cousins will even play cards with her right up until she is wheeled back for surgery. This has pretty much become a tradition that Mia relies on.
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Momtrends:As moms, how can we teach our children to walk with grace during the difficult times?
Missy: Before each surgery, I give Mia an opportunity to express her fears to me and for us to talk about what is going to happen. Each time, I think it is going to be a big deal. Each time, I am mistaken. She always surprises me with how little she thinks about the upcoming surgery. In between surgeries we try to live life as normally as possible and not dwell on any future procedures. With any child, whether he or she has medical issues or not, there are always conflicts with siblings, cousins, schoolmates, and friends. While we are blessed with a wonderful support system, there will always be conflicts with relationships in our lives. It is how we handle them that shows our children if we truly live by what we teach. Mia and I pray each night during our devotional time before bed and talk about any conflicts she may be having. I believe that I, as a godly parent, should teach my child to deal with conflicts herself and to pray about them rather than call or text other moms to gripe about their kids or other people’s kids. This only leads to drama, hurt feelings, and more conflict. Praying and asking God for help in how we react to these situations teaches our children to rely on God and trust Him for guidance rather than rely on our own actions, which are usually emotionally driven.
Momtrends: Please share with us the idea behind the creation of You Are Blessed, Blessed . . . Blessed: A Four-Week Guided Experience for Individuals and Groups.
When Tyndale suggested this project to go along with the book, I was thrilled. I’ve been teaching Bible studies in my home my entire adult life, and I am always looking for teachable moments. From the beginning, I didn’t want my book to just be a “look-at-us” story for entertainment purposes or to make people “feel” inspired. This guided experience is a practical way for people to take that first step in conquering their own challenge, whatever it might be. Instead of reading the last page of Blessed, Blessed . . . Blessed, closing the book, and saying, “Well, that was good. I wish I could do that,” they actually can pick up the guided experience and start their own story of victory! They, too, can thrive through their challenge, no matter how overwhelming it may seem. I am very proud and excited to give hope in such a tangible way. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” With God all things are possible! Just read our story and see.
To learn more about Missy Robertson, please visit her website www.missyrobertson.com.
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