Minke, Our Miracle Child

There is a little girl, she wears glasses and has braces. Should she take off her glasses you would notice her squint but if you should stop and look closer, you would see Jesus in her eyes – the Man from Golgotha whose wounds on the cross gave her healing!
Miracles still happen every day, which reminds me of the words of a song: ‘Time after time I hear the people say to me, why don’t we see miracles like they use to be? I still believe in miracles, God hear us when we pray, for God was God back yesterday and God is God today!”
Her name is MINKE GROBLER, she is ALIVE today because we TRULY serve a living God!
This is her testimony that she still lives every day:
Minke was born prematurely, at 34 weeks, weighing only 2,2kg. She had a good Apgar count of 8 & 9 out of 10. She was healthy and was only admitted to ICU to monitor her lungs’ development for a few days.
Little did we know what was coming…
On day 11 of her life the hospital phone to say that they have been fighting for her life for more than 5 hours but that they had no hope that she would survive. Feeling nauseous and anxious Jaco and I thought that we won’t be able to raise our daughter. My sister encouraged us with the words from Mark 9: 23: “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Said Jesus.
Arriving at the hospital we felt as if death itself was waiting behind those doors, we did not want to enter but had to. The now familiar smell of the disinfectant at the door of ICU stuck to our hands like a second skin. Minke was not in her usual bed but in isolation. The faces of the nursing staff filled with dread said so much of the worst case scenario that they expected. One of the staff even asked for permission to take pictures of our last moments with her…
The attending paediatrician was also a lung specialist who explained to us that there was nothing else that she could do for Minke, she was suffering from respiratory failure, had no heart or lung function, her lungs were filling up with blood, with no way of stopping it. She was drowning in her own blood and was only kept going with the oxygen provided by the doctor. Her heart was no longer beating and we were just given time to say goodbye. Covered in her little pink blanket, lots of needles protruding everywhere, the doctor said we could hold her. Jaco picked her up, I wanted to but could not. He was pleading and praying non-stop: “Please Lord, I know You can, although we are now going through a valley of death, You are present and You can make her live, please Lord! We want to raise our daughter.” The doctor asked our permission to turn off the oxygen, Minke’s life was in her hands. The nurses stood by praying. I put my arms around Jaco and Minke, telling her not to be afraid, that Jesus was coming to fetch her. But Jaco was not giving up and today I thank God that he did not. On that day God heard the desperate prayer of a father!
The doctor shouted: “I can’t believe it! Put her down, she’s coming back!” In that moment you want to simultaneously shout, laugh, cry, dance & rejoice and above all say thank you, thank you, thank you! There can be no greater joy than to see God perform His miracle right in front of your eyes.
That was, however, only the beginning of a long uphill battle that Minke had to endure – she was on an oscillator, shaking her little body 600 to 1 000 times per minute, she had to fight 3 different kinds of septicaemia which affected all her organs, her veins became porous, she looked like a swollen ball filled with fluids. Soundlessly she was crying, her voice box affected by all the pipes in her through. All we could see was the constant pain and suffering in her little face. She had 3 blood transfusions, we have no idea whose blood it was, but are thankful for the donated blood that saved her life.
The doctor insisted that medically he wasn’t doing anything for her, that only God could keep her alive and that we should continue praying, her life was still in danger. So many people, not only in South Africa, but from Canada, Australia and England too were praying for her. I which I could personally thank every friend in Jesus who carried all of us in prayer.
When Minke could breathe by herself, at 6 weeks, a brain scan was performed, reason being that when her heart stopped, a blood clot which developed in her lungs passed through her brain causing thrombosis in the basal ganglia of her brain (the part that controls muscle activity and largely inhibits unintentional movement). The protective layer of white matter surrounding her brain also suffered damage. Medically speaking, the doctor said, she would never be able to learn or speak, her cross motor skills would not develop properly, BUT that he has seen the miracle working ways of God…
A cardiologist tested Minke’s heart. The damage of the septicaemia caused massive scar tissue and a hole in her heart. Her heart may be deformed but it is beating normally. The doctor again said that he has never witnessed anything like that, medically impossible! Everything she is able to do is a miracle.
To assess her hearing we took her to a Neurological Physiologist. Sedated, the tests determined that perfect communication between her brain and her ears existed, another day of utter thanksgiving. She was supposed to suffer from epilepsy and sleep apnoea, neither ever happened. There are times when we have to walk on water like Peter did, just keeping our eyes on Jesus. Sometimes we falter, only noticing the storms and then we start to sink, then we grab His hand again and He helps us along. Praise God for that!
Minke had to have physiotherapy and occupational therapy from birth, also play therapy with Linda Grobler from the age of 3. She had a massive eye operation when she was 14 months old, has been wearing glasses and stickers on her eyes from 10 months old, struggles with depth vision and has to be very careful when climbing stairs. Her eyes did not fully develop before birth and are still growing. Her jaw lapsed behind with about 3 years and an orthodontist has been working at correcting that from an early age. In about 3 years’ time she should be able to wave the glasses and braces goodbye.
I struggled when we had to move from Heildelberg, Gauteng, to Rustenburg, North West, in South Africa, questioning God about the need for the move. Minke was 3 years old at the time and God answered that all the people that Minke will need was right here in Rustenburg. It started with Alida le Roux, Linda Grobler, Daleen Blay, Erika Mentz, Michelle Fereirra, Rita van Straaten, Ina Visser and now in Grade 4 Francis Vermeulen and every other teacher crossing her path, including teacher Alma and everyone involved with the school choir. God himself determined that Minke needed to be where she is and He predestined all the right people who needed to give her a hand in developing into the perfect little girl that she is.
She is kind hearted and responsible, she yearns for heaven and Jesus. Often when it looks as if she is day dreaming, my mother says that she is noticing all that is beautiful in life. She scares easily, is sensitive but brave, she just wants to love everyone. She hates to disappoint and then put a lot of pressure on herself. Even though it may take her longer to understand maths, she tackles every question with determination, motivation and love. When she struggles to see the pair of glasses often ends up on top of her head.
Minke’s brain, heart and lungs may function in a slightly different way, but it works! The left and right sides of her body is slightly out of sync when she swims or dances but she does both with a smile, oblivious of the slight off beat. May God just keep blessing her and everyone who puts in effort to help her. We are forever grateful. Our prayer for her is to complete Grade 4, to reach her full potential to enable all of us to stand in awe of God’s grace!
Jaco and I decided from the word go to raise her as normally as possible, to enable her to face the cruel world out there. It wasn’t an easy task but we did it, there is no difference in how we treat her and her brother. Our plea is that everyone will do likewise, every child is special and unique. We want her to make her own way and whatever she accomplish in life, she will be proud of because she did it on her own. Tis is of extreme importance to us as a family.
When life gets to Minke you will find her in her room, reading her Bible. We thank God for all He is teaching us through her. It is our privilege to raise her, although we often feel unworthy of the mammoth task.
Time is limited, my hope is for many people to be able to spend some time with Minke, to get to know her, so shy but so BRAVE, to hug her and become aware of her sincere spirit.
I know that God’s timing is perfect, He is never late.
Our prayer for anyone who may cross paths with Minke is (the prayer of Jabez):
That God would bless you indeed, that God would enlarge your territory, that God’s hand would be with you, that you would never have to suffer pain or heartache and that you may live every day of your life in the shadow of God.
Clothe yourself daily with the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, fit your feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. Take up the shield of Faith, wear the helmet of Salvation and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God until the day when Jesus comes to fetch you. (The Armour of God – Ef. 6: 13-17)
We are glad that God blinded for what we were supposed to see in that ICU on that fateful day, that we, by His Grace, kept believing in His power. Our prayer remains that He may strengthen us for whatever seems humanly impossible. We pray daily for His peace in Minke’s life, that she may never feel anxious or fearful but instead will be able to tackle every school day with bravery seated in knowing that the One who is in her is stronger than any challenge that she may ever have to face.
In 2017 Minke was diagnosed with a serious anxiety disorder and also struggles to determine direction. We strongly believe that God will keep shining His light on her path, even when she gets lost, He will show her the way. We trust and believe Him for full recovery and that she will not be overpowered by anxiety but rather will continue to walk bravely in His footsteps!
All honour and glory to our Heavenly Father!
Lindi Grobler

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