I'm going to launch a series of stories that ultimately explain how Caitlin came to be. It's a great story, so enjoy!
...Every man goes through a time of testing, a time of trying. A time when his back is against the wall and there is nowhere else to go. It is a time of deep soul searching, a time of reflection. It is a time of harsh reality, when purification of the heart is the only real solution, but the one that seems furthest away.
This is Caitlin's story, a little girl born with a miracle and a story that must be told. She is a girl whose smile has captured everyone’s heart. Truly, she has found favor in the eyes of God and of man, and when you meet her, you will see what I mean.
In order to tell her story, I must tell mine, and I must start well before her birth, even before her conception. Any great story begins in Texas, so does this one...
We had been struggling for years. My wife, Sarah, and I never held jobs at the same time, so we were surviving on one salary, but spending two in bills. We had just emerged from a business called JF Profit Marketing, a whole sale marketing company for small time manufacturers. We represented homemade gift products, and managed sales for several small mom and pop manufactures. It was a great business idea—one that would work as long as you didn’t start it in the middle of an economic recession, but hey, who’s pointing fingers?
Certainly not us. For it was a job that my in-laws, Mike and George Anne Brown, and I believed in enough to quit our jobs and take the bull by the horns. Things started with a bang; the Lord sent plenty of business our way and we began moving forward with our best efforts. Ours was a marvelous job! We traveled to gift markets all over the world. Well, all over the US. Okay, all over the continental US. We saw things and ate at places we will never forget. Sometimes we slept in luxury, and sometimes in places where a twenty-dollar bill would be too much compensation. We had great food, and great company, but not great money.
We were suffering an economic collapse in the nineties which left a devastating blow that effected everyone. I would like to place the blame on some politician, but truth be known, it was just the way things were, and we had to live with it. JF Profit managed to stay alive for several years, but few of our clients were able to pay their bills, and our marketing firm suffered. When we closed shop, there were thousands of dollars owed to us, but it was money we would never receive.
It is probably too late to make a long story short, but my wife and I left our portion of the business to Mike and George Anne, and sought a new life. Well, that’s enough background; let’s start the story, shall we?
Sarah became sick. One day, she began experiencing terrific pain in her abdomen that would come and go. She thought she probably had bad indigestion, but time would prove otherwise. We ignored her condition for as long as we could.
Frankly, we couldn’t afford for her to be sick. In fact, we were being hounded by a collection agency for medical bills I incurred in Seattle when I decided to experience kidney stones, so we couldn’t afford any more bills than we already had. I was working as a waiter in a local restaurant, and you can imagine how hard it is to make a living on tips, especially with my good looks! In short, Sarah did not have the option of being sick.
Never the less, sick she became. She would call her work, take time off, and lie in her bed crying from the pain. I felt totally useless as a provider and spiritual covering. The more we prayed about her condition, the worse it became, and it seemed that even praying wasn’t working. Without her working, we were so far behind on our bills that we ended up leaving Snyder and moved to Colorado City to my parent’s ranch, where we lived with them. This was in November 1996.
By December, we were running tests on Sarah’s worsening condition. Our local physician, Dr. Roach, kept saying, “Hey, it’s her gall bladder acting up,” but there was no evidence. So we scheduled a test that would conclusively eliminate her gall bladder, and the results came back indicating she was suffering another ailment, one yet to be discovered. I began to grow furious with desperation, as Dr. Roach would insist that it was her gall bladder, but tests would repeatedly indicate otherwise. Slowly, the evidence began to point to her pancreas. I remember praying that if God didn’t choose to heal her out right, then He would allow her to have gall bladder problems, as the other solutions were grim. In the mean time, Sarah’s medical bills were growing, and our work time was waning.
Finally, we found a specialist in Lubbock that charged us $150.00 to tell us without doubt that her problem was a defective gall bladder, most likely stones. We geared up for surgery. I was proud of Dr. Roach for having called the problem long before the specialist did, and we had full confidence that he could solve the problem. In just a few days, we were wheeling Sarah into surgery for gall bladder removal. Within a few hours, the surgeons came to me and said, “Well, the problem wasn’t gall stones.” I nearly fell apart. What more could be happening to us? Why had God chosen to leave us stranded in the desert without so much as a drink of water?