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Best Christmas Present Ever

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Today was the day, November 24, 2014. Cassie Littlejohn and her husband Ricky were going to meet their third son, Levi, via planned C-section. But something in Cassie’s morning devotion had given her pause.

“It said, ‘when you face trials, thank me for them.’ I felt like Jesus was preparing me for something,” says Cassie.

Later that morning, when doctors delivered the baby...

“I’m getting up ready to go with them,” says Ricky. “And they’re like, ‘No, you need to step back over there.’”

“I just saw Ricky’s face and I could tell something was not right,” says Cassie.

The baby wasn't breathing and was having seizures. Doctors intubated him as Cassie was wheeled out of the room into recovery. Moments later, a nurse came in to tell the parents their son needed to be transferred immediately to the NICU at a nearby hospital.

“I’m just sitting there, just still in shock” says Cassie, "and the nurse was like, ‘Can I pray with you?’ 'Yes,'” says Cassie, “as I didn't have words. I was just in that moment of shock.“

Ricky and Cassie saw Levi just before he was transported.

“He’s covered with wires all over,” says Cassie.

“I mean I just-just lost it,” says Ricky. “I just dropped to my knees and was, you know, just weeping and praying.”

“How is this real life?” cries Cassie. “How can my child that I have prayed for every day, be just lying there lifeless?”

Doctors in the NICU, feared the lack of oxygen could cause permanent brain damage. Hoping to reduce the chances, they lowered his body temperature using cooling therapy. More importantly, it could save his life. In the recovery room just a few miles away, Cassie recalled another Scripture she had read that morning.

“'I know you have plans to prosper us and not to harm us,' kept going over and over in my mind," says Cassie. “I was like, I’m standing on your Word because this is not just my child, he’s Yours.”

“My prayer to God was, ‘I don’t understand it, but God, I know you have a plan. And I trust you,'" says Ricky.

But holding onto that trust would be hard, as the only connection Cassie’s had to her newborn son were photos Ricky took on his phone.

“I had to walk down that hall by myself, passing all those rooms with parents with babies, without mine,” cries Cassie. “And that was one of the hardest, lowest times ever.”

By the time Cassie was able to see her son on Thanksgiving Day, he was on the mend, taken off the cooling therapy, and soon, the ventilator as well. But by early December, more complications arose that prompted Cassie to send out constant updates and prayer requests. Levi had contracted a virus, causing his heart and liver to enlarge. And there was still the danger he’d have permanent brain damage, if he survived.

“I was just like, ‘God, what's happening? Where are you?’” cries Cassie. “And I just felt God say, ‘Cassie, do you trust me?’ And I said, ‘Yes, Lord, I trust you. I give you Levi. Whether you save him or not, I will love you and I will trust you.’”

With visiting hours over at 6:30 p.m., Cassie and Ricky went home every night unsure of what the morning would bring.

“There were a few times,” says Ricky, “when the thought entered my mind, you know, ‘what if he doesn't make it?’”

“I would stand by Levi’s bed and I would envision Jesus on the other side and would close my eyes and I would just hand Levi over to him to hold him,” says Cassie.

“And, I would just picture, and I would say, ‘okay, Jesus, he’s yours.’ And he was just nestled there, I had no doubt, and that’s how I had peace.”

One night on the way home, Cassie says God spoke to her.

“I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘He’ll be home for Christmas Eve.’”

“And I was like, ‘But, God, he’s so sick. How is that possible?’ And, God just said, ‘He’ll be home Christmas Eve.’ And that promise, I stood on it and I began to believe it.”

So, on December 11th, Ricky and Cassie put out an urgent call for people to pray at precisely 8 p.m. for a miracle. Thousands joined in, and in the coming days, Levi grew stronger and was even scheduled to come home. But that day, doctors found a blood clot in Levi’s brain. Christmas Eve was only two days away. Again, the family and others rallied in prayer.

“And I just heard the Holy Spirit say again, ‘We’re not done yet. We’ve got one more miracle,'" says Cassie.

After two days of treatment, doctors cleared Levi to go home, expecting the clot to dissolve completely.

“It was Christmas Eve,” cries Cassie, “and so we got to take our boy home on Christmas Eve.”

“That was the best Christmas present ever,” says Ricky. “Just pure joy and excitement."

And even though doctors said Levi had an 80% chance of having cognitive issues, he has since met every developmental milestone, right on time.

“Levi is such a gift,” says Cassie. “Every time I look at Levi, I see the goodness of God, the power of God, the mercy of God.”

Now a healthy 6-year-old, Levi has no trouble keeping up with his older brothers. Mom and Dad know he wouldn't be here without a miracle from God.

“He is a God of miracles,” says Ricky. “He’s a good, good father. He is a God of miracles. And I never forget that.”

“There is something about the power of prayer that turns God's heart and favor towards his children,” says Cassie. ”It CHANGED his story.”

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