By Cheryl Shepherd
Have you ever received a dream that you knew was from God for the purpose of providing comfort during a particularly desperate time? If you’re a skeptic, based on my studies in Psychology and Sociology, I certainly would have agreed before my mind was changed by a very incredible dream.
I was recently reminded, while listening to a story told by evangelist Perry Stone, of how drastically my mind was changed.
Perry spoke of a dream he had about a child that he and his wife had lost lost due to a miscarriage and that reminded me of my own similar experience. In his dream he had a very vivid picture of this precious little girl waiting to meet him in heaven.
What was especially touching about this story was the fact that years later, he came across someone who had painted a picture of this beautiful little girl, matching the little girl in his dream in complete detail down to the ragged stuffed animal she clung to! There were many more facets of the story that were certainly miraculous and reminded me of a time that brought to life a scripture that has become very dear to me. Psalms 34:18 says, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.
Twenty-one years ago I lost my son Billy’s identical twin brother Brandon, due to a rare condition called twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
While I can’t begin to imagine the grief experienced by a mother who has to say goodbye to a child at any age, the impact of this loss for me was a profound one in a different way, yet devastating just as any mother knows who has experienced never being able to meet or hold her unborn child.
At that time there was very little known about twin to twin transfusion syndrome or TTTS. It was explained to me that this was a rare condition that occurs only in identical twins that share the same placenta and transfuse blood through shared blood vessels.
While the prognosis was ironically slightly better for Brandon than Billy, they explained that there was no cure. While I could try to remove amniotic fluid to “buy some time”, (having done this immediately caused me to go into a premature labor), ultimately there was a 10 to 15% chance at best of either of the twins surviving.
At the time of my diagnosis of this rare condition I was about 5 months along and the prognosis for both twins was clearly very bleak. So much so in fact, it was strongly recommended that I abort both babies and “try again later for a healthy pregnancy”. This was not an option for me, so my husband and I returned home from the hospital feeling completely devastated and totally lost!
After crying out to God, I was contacted by a friend who told me about an experimental surgery that was being performed by only one surgeon in the world at that time. He was a surgeon from Venezuela who had developed a surgery that he was performing in Tampa, Florida. We were on the next plane to Tampa for this experimental laser fetal surgery.
The surgery itself went well however Brandon ultimately did not make it.
While this loss was was devastating, what was even more difficult was looking in the closet and seeing all of the twin outfits hanging side-by-side; wondering how I could ever possibly find the strength to take one of each of these outfits out of the closet to discard.
Even more difficult proved to be the required weekly ultrasounds. It was torture Putting on a happy face each week while we watched Billy growing and developing while seeing the lifeless little form of Brandon become smaller and smaller, slowing shrinking away along with all of the dreams of what life should have held for these precious twin boys.
The remainder of the pregnancy became a blur of anger, resentment, pleading, and bargaining with God for a miracle, followed by utter devastation as I reminded myself it was too late for a miracle!
As Brandon became smaller in the weekly ultrasounds the void in my heart became larger and more encompassing. One day I couldn’t seem to keep from crying all day, I remember my husband sternly saying to me you have to stop this!! You have to be strong for Billy!! You can’t just keep mourning the loss of Brandon you have a healthy baby to think about!
I knew he was right and the guilt I felt was overwhelming! I didn’t know how to stop grieving! I knew I should be celebrating the precious healthy miracle I was carrying inside of me but how could I betray Brandon like that?
At that moment I cried out to God from a place of complete brokenness and asked Him to take away my grief and allow me to experience the joy of this precious miracle He had given me.
This is the moment I knew without a doubt that God was with me and His heart was broken along with mine! I could feel his arms of love around me; comforting me.
I fell into a deep sleep and I had a dream that I know now, was a glimpse into heaven and the heavenly nursery of unborn babies that Perry Stone talked about in his video.
In my dream I looked through a window like you would see in a hospital infant nursery. What I saw brought about a healing that is hard to even put into words. I saw my sister-in-law Betty, who had tragically died years before, in a rocking chair holding Brandon and gently rocking him. When she noticed me there she looked up at me and had the most precious look on her face, I remember it like it was yesterday.
Betty had been the only person I would trust with babysitting my older children. She had such a love for children beyond anyone I have ever known. I woke up with a clear image of the pure joy and pride Betty had in cuddling my little Brandon – a look that said he will be alright, I will take good care of him until you get here.
While it would be easy to argue that there was something subconscious or psychological that caused this dream, I know better! God came to me in my brokenness and my despair and He gave me a glimpse into heaven that I believe was very real and beyond just a simple dream.
On July 5, 1999 I gave birth to my twin boys. Celebrating my five pound healthy baby boy Billy, while saying my final goodbye to Brandon.
It was amazing to me that I had ever wondered if I would be able to look at my precious new little miracle without feeling this deep sorrow over the loss of the brother who looks exactly like him. The truth of the matter is, I don’t believe I could have ever done this on my own.
Is God really there for the brokenhearted? You Bet He Is!!! I am living proof of this promise that he has given us all in His Holy word.
I want you to know that if you are suffering from a loss today, and you feel there is no escape and no way out of your pain, loneliness, and grief, He wants to bring you comfort- all you have to do is cry out to Him. He promises to be there!
Perry Stones’s story title “The unborn in Heaven” can be found at:
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Tony Francis is from the Middle East. He is grounded in the scriptures and has a licensed degree in biblical studies from MTI, the school of ministry, and a certificate in EPL (effective personal leadership) from LMI. He has authored many books and is the founder of Healed Nations Ministries (www.healednations.com). Tony mentors people in the prophetic and served as the prophetic leader of Patricia King’s ministries. Tony is studying to be a mental health coach.
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