What Were We To Do?
-- Daily Word - Dec.12.2018 - Pastor Sheliah --
“My foes have trampled upon me all day long, for they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Psalm 56:2-4 NASB)
It was June of 1972, and I can remember that well, because two weeks before, we had celebrated our third daughter’s, Tiffani’s, first birthday. We spent the day on the lake and my husband, Aaron, was badly burned and blistered from the hot Louisiana sun. Then we had a week of Vacation Bible School, with him driving the church bus down the country roads in our rural farm area, picking up 75-80 kids, and everyone of them slapped him on the back - to “thank him” - as they exited the bus. “Ouch!”
The following week, I checked into St. Francis Hospital, my mother watching my children, and surgeons once again - for the 3rd time now - removed a tumor from the left side of my face! And the day after the surgery, the doctors wanted to visit with me and my husband, but we could not find Aaron! He was out evangelizing our little community, as usual, and of course, there were no cell phones at that times. (As a matter of fact, where we were living, we were still on a “party-line,” sharing lines with two different neighbors. Not a good thing for a pastor’s home!)
When we finally got a message for him to come to the hospital, the doctors told us that the cancer was more extensive, covering the entire inside area of my mouth, and not contained in a tumor this time. However, in 1972, there were not a lot of options, so they decided to cauterize the inside of my mouth - basically, to “burn the cancer out!”
For the fourth time, doctors once again took me to surgery, but this time to cauterize my mouth, which left me sore and not able to eat for weeks.
OH NO! NOT AGAIN?
By September of that same year, there was another tumor in my mouth and the surgeon again decided to attempt to remove it. That morning, as doctors began antheses, I started vomiting, and could not stop! After several attempts to stop my throwing up, doctors decided they could not do the surgery, so they sent me home to get over the flu.
But, I was back in the hospital two weeks later, still not feeling well, but attempting to remove the recurring tumor. After four-hours of surgery, the surgeon felt they had successfully found the source and removed the core of cancer and after a couple of days, they sent me home.
Within a week of that surgery, I was throwing up continuously, couldn’t stand to cook food for my family, every smell made me sick, and I decided I had the worst case of flu ever! However, you may have realized that I did not have flu!
Oh! No! I was pregnant again! But never had I been so sick with the first three children. As my mouth healed from the surgery, the muscles in my face were tightening and after a few weeks, I could not open my mouth at all. The muscles had been stretched open with a large metal frame during the operation in order to remove the base of the tumor from my throat and as I healed the muscles locked up. So, I was vomiting between clenched teeth! Not good at all! (Ugh!)
The doctors met again and came up with their solution to my problem - abort the baby! Seriously, their opinion was that I had 3 healthy daughters, I had cancer, we didn’t have insurance, and now I’m sick 24/7 with the pregnancy and effects of the cancer and surgery on my body!
Abortion - according to my doctors - was the only thing that made sense! They warned us that even if I carried the “fetus”, “it” would probably be deformed, since I had been under anesthetic twice in the first trimester. And the 4-hour surgery was in the second month, which would definitely leave the “it” malformed.
But my heart hurt to even hear their opinion. They asked us to consider the abortion, and let them know, and they would set up that “surgical procedure!” It was a no-brainer for my husband and me. We knew that our all-knowing, all-powerful God already was aware of our situation. Yes, He was still “working all things together for good,” and murder is never an option for those who know Him!
So, trusting Him for life and health in our baby, we rejected their plea to end the life of our fourth daughter. On April 23, 1973, Tami April Artt was born into this world!
Yes! The very year that Roe-v-Wade became law in this nation, Tami came forth, whole and healthy (8-lb.1-oz.) and singing from the start! Humming in her cradle, and rocking to the music, every time she heard it! She actually sang before she started talking!
Thank God for saving her life and using her as a testimony of His divine will and power! Tami has been such a comfort to our lives (we say we should have named her “Joy” - but she gave that name to her daughter).
Tami sang her first solo before she was 3-years-old, at the old Belleview Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, when her dad was a student at Mid-America Baptist Seminary. When that curly-headed, chubby-cheeked little girl began singing, “I Am a Promise, I am a possibility….” with grand enunciation, popping every “P” and rocking with the rhythm and she saw that the students all were enjoying it, she kicked her shoes off and did an encore for the crowd!
Her life has been filled with music, and she has sung around the world and her sweet spirit blesses everyone who knows her and has heard her perform. She performed in Branson Missouri for several years in various venues; with the Gaither’s at the Celebration Theater, with the Osmond Brothers for four seasons, and later traveled as soloist with Dr. Ronnie Floyd, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, as he conducted Crusades across the continent and nations.
She has been our miracle child, standing on the platform at many a Pro-Life Rally sharing her testimony and doing what she loves to do, singing about her Savior!
Tami is married to Duane Scoggins who is a drummer and excellent musician himself. His dad owned the Country Bandwagon Theater in Eureka Springs Arkansas, where Tami performed one season in 1990. They have three amazing children (who, of course, are part of my seven “amazing” grandchildren).
(Tami is 3 in the picture - the youngest girl. This was about the time she sang her 1st solo. Timo is 2.)