Advised to Abort
Abortion was the advice that dropped from the doctor’s mouth. The words crushed Wendy and Scott Duke when they were told the grim news: their precious baby girl likely had a chromosomal abnormality.
The ultrasound didn’t depict the typical healthy baby; something was wrong. Their unborn baby girl was missing a leg. Wendy and Scott were devastated, hoping for the tiniest glimmer of hope in that moment — grace in the middle of the bleak prognosis. But instead, they were encouraged to abort. Abortion, the doctor thought, was the easiest option.
The thought of cleaning the slate of a womb God himself filled after three miscarriages — to abort this baby, this gift from God — was unthinkable in Wendy and Scott’s minds. The doctor told Wendy and Scott their baby girl would likely not survive the first week of life, and they should “seriously consider their options.” But Wendy and Scott insisted they would not be having an abortion.
“This baby belongs to God and we are going to keep her,” declared Scott.
And taking that stand was only the beginning.
Fear and Faith In The Middle
While the baby girl grew inside Wendy’s expanding tummy, Wendy’s fears grew too. As God began shining a light into the dark corners of Wendy’s heart, she was forced to look her faith — her God — in the eye. And Wendy didn’t like what she saw. Wendy realized something she never had before. She was following God for her own benefit. Wendy came face-to-face with the hard reality of how shallow her faith really was.
Wendy was immersed in a Christian culture, but only believed the “good” parts of the Bible, blind to the glory of trials in the Christian life. Together, Wendy and Scott would experience some of the heaviest trials of their lives. And together, they would witness the greatness of God’s hand in the worst of circumstances — the circumstances that unfolded on Savannah’s birthday. But even on that day, God would be there with His loving arms, showering Wendy and Scott with grace in the middle of their tribulation.
Though throughout pregnancy Wendy and Scott celebrated Savannah’s life as a precious gift, things were about to get tougher. After Wendy gave birth, Scott had seen Savannah, but Wendy hadn’t.
“Show me her leg,” Wendy said. There on their bundle of joy sat a tumor where a leg should have been. After six grueling days of testing, and a biopsy of the tumor, the results came like shards of glass to their hearts.
“We’re sorry. It’s malignant.”
“I turned to look at Scott, and I screamed as loud as I could — choking on every word — ‘WHERE IS GOD?!’” Wendy cried out in despair. They asked God for a miracle and He didn’t deliver. Or did He?
Publish His Name, His Grace in the Middle
Wendy and Scott had endured so much — three miscarriages and now the birth of a disabled baby girl plagued by a cancerous tumor. But what Wendy and Scott Duke found as they grappled with this heart-wrenching trial, was that God was right there in the middle of their heartache. Wendy’s faith went from shallow, weak, and bargaining with God, to realizing He was right there, giving grace in the middle of the mess.
“God turned our lives around,” said Wendy. “He pulled us out of a place we couldn’t get out of ourselves.”
That was in 2001. Today, Savannah’s doing just fine, contrary to what that first doctor said she would, and lives as a living story of God’s grace.
“Grace In The Middle” (Ambassador International) is the story of Wendy, Scott, and Savannah Duke, with a whole chapter written by Savannah herself. But God is the real star of this tale. He emerged — as He always does — the Great Revealer, Protector, and Deliverer in Wendy, Scott and Savannah’s lives. And He still is.
As an author and speaker, Wendy Duke’s vision is to put “Grace In The Middle” into the hands of the hurting, pointing the reader to the cross in times of crisis. Wendy and Scott believe God’s plan for them now is comforting those struggling through miscarriages, birth defects, and disability. Their goal is to share “Grace In The Middle” in children’s hospitals across the country.
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