Few times have I stopped to talk much about my family, but I feel so very thankful for each one and would like to ask permission to share about Bear. Every child is important and when I talk about my youngest son, Matthew Stephen McAfee, I am reminded of the miracle he was in our lives because his beginning was horrific. My wife and I had gone through three horrible and strenuous miscarriages, which truly damaged us to the core. Any time you lose a child, it is a traumatic and difficult time in the life of family, but when we got the news our second child who was not embedded in the right place and was considered a "tubal pregnancy", there was nothing left to do but have the worst surgery.
There is nothing more horrible than the thought of going through something like this in your life, especially in light of the precious life of a baby being taken which we had prayed for through so much loss. It was a horrible time when the doctor as kindly as possible, gave us the news that an abortion of the fetus was the only answer because the child would not survive. They scheduled the procedure because it was a "tubal pregnancy" and the child would not live as we reluctantly had a couple days to process this impossible end.
Have you ever been faced with an impossible situation and you decided to pray with real boldness that somehow, some way, you would not have to endure it? Very seldom in my life have I ever felt that God was doing something to change the direction like I did during these hours. I was not willing to give up this baby, but inside my own spiritual journey, I was not going to accept this "medical diagnosis", even though our doctor had never been wrong about something so very precious as "life". For whatever reason, I could not let go of a promise God had given us.
The night before the "end of life" procedure I called three close friends of mine. Dr. Matthew Britt, one of my best friends from Oklahoma, Duncan Dodds from Houston and Rick Stanley, Elvis Presley's brother to talk about my dilemma. When on the phone, I shared with each of them my true conviction that I believed my wife would not have to go through the procedure. Telling them all, I believe that our child is going to live, they were all affirming, but realistic. Rick and Duncan were quick to say, "All things are possible and we will pray with you Kevin in boldness.". However, Dr. Britt was probably more pragmatic and said he would pray too, but the reality of a tubal pregnancy is devastating to young couples and he was very sorry. Medical science knows why this tubal thing would not work.
Early in the morning we left for the doctor and I will never forget going into the waiting room as I saw the tears coming from both of our faces. About thirty minutes into the process a nurse came and got me and took me back and I tried to gather my emotions to be strong. The doctor was meeting with both of us in his office, "Mr. and Mrs. McAfee, I cannot tell you why, but I was preparing to go through this D&C process and wanted to take one final look at the location of the tubal pregnancy and miraculously, the baby has completely moved and is in the right spot, you do not have to go through this procedure. While I know this is impossible, the baby is not in the same place it was when we took our first test, inside the fallopian tube. This has never happened in my practice and I just wanted to give you the news we all wanted, your pregnancy actually now appears to be perfectly normal and congratulations.
We can all say what we want, but here was my take. I believed God was going to do something that man could not do. I told my three friends I believed it so strongly, I just knew God would show up and show off. There was no reason for our doctor to be wrong, but God knows and hears the effective servant prayers of righteous men. These three men have and will always remain an important part of our lives. Their prayers with the prayers of our family and so many friends were heard and answered. Our child was born months later and he is our pride and joy with a special Bible name of Matthew. However, I always liked nick names and was wondering if he could have one?
When this little baby was still growing in the womb, I was working on an assignment for EPCOT at Disney Studios on THE LAND in Orlando. This was a special project related to "aviation" and I remember leaving the park one evening and as I was stopping by and looking at the "Winnie the Pooh" "doll hanging in the window, there was a thought. I said, "I believe Bear would love to have a "Pooh" in his crib, so I am going to get this for him". When I took the stuffed Disney toy home, I laid the present in the empty crib where Bear would soon sleep. From that point on, I kept calling him the simple name of...Bear.
This September 16, Bear and Clytee are getting married and next month is going to be another miracle and wonderful celebration adding Clytee Burchett to the McAfee clan! There is nothing more special than thinking he is now serving as the Young Adult Minister at Council Road Baptist Church on the same staff where I began my own ministry under Dr. Wendell Estep. Clytee is also serving in the Children's Department there taking care of kids and they both have such an amazing heart to serve others.
What is funny to think is that the name BEAR stuck with my son and when he graduated from high school, when he graduated from college and when he is getting married, the invitations say, "Bear and Clytee" and it all began with a miracle of faith. Don't ever think that God doesn't want to begin a new miracle in you. Don't ever believe the negative talk of others when they cast darkness and shadows instead of spreading joy and light.
Even when the doctors bring bad news or when things seem impossible. Don't just agree, but instead go ahead and stop to see if God has other news for you. Many people in our lives have shown us the importance of faith and truly believing Jesus can heal. Our heavenly father is the creator, the master of the universe and He is big enough to handle every problem we face.
He is even big enough to handle your challenges, trials and difficulties. Are you facing some things in front of you that just seem to be overwhelming today? Are you ready to throw in the towel and say, "I give up" or even "I quit" because the news appears to be so negative and so bad?
Don't buy into "stinking thinking". Just because you go through some bad news, don't fly into the Murphy's Law and continue to propagate negativity. Daddy always said, "We killed old CAN'T and run old COULDN'T out of town". Are you doing this and are you believing God can do the impossible and He can really do "ALL THINGS"?
God is faithful and He gave us a son named BEAR and a new daughter in law on the way. We praise him for Clytee and for her wonderful parents. We thank the Lord for their raising a beautiful daughter who loves Him, has an amazing joy in her life and honors her parents. She has embraced us and we are thrilled beyond measure to have a new daughter in law in September.
Take time to love your children and let them know how much they mean to you.
I love you son,
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.