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Waiting Upon the Lord: How One Family Found Unexpected Miracles in the Midst of Hard Times

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Chantz Richens was confused and frustrated. He had just watched his wife Marissa undergo an unplanned C-section to deliver their twins Eloise and Nicholas. Eloise came first. Tiny and weak, she was whisked away to the NICU. Nicholas came next. He was alive but silent and blue. He too was taken to the NICU for care. Then Marissa was taken away to be monitored as she recovered from the surgery and the blood loss. Chantz was alone, left to worry about his wife and children.

As a brand new member of the bishopric, Chantz had been set apart a few weeks earlier. When he was set apart, the member of the stake presidency blessed Chantz and his family that they would be healthy through pregnancy and delivery. But there in the hospital, Chantz was scared. His wife had lost a lot of blood. His two premature babies struggled to breathe on their own. “This wasn’t healthy,” he thought at the time. He wondered, where was the blessing? Where was the miracle?

Courtesy of Chantz Richens
Courtesy of Chantz Richens

They That Wait Upon The Lord

The scriptures are full of accounts of miracles. Moses parted the Red Sea. Jesus Christ fed the five thousand and walked on water. Alma and Amulek were preserved after the earthquake collapsed their prison walls. These experiences tend to get a lot of attention not only because they’re miraculous, but because of the way they are miraculous. They’re impressive and conspicuous, and they show the Lord’s power. But just as often, there are miracles that occur that aren’t as easy to see. They aren’t flashy. They take time.

When Mahonri Moriancumr, better known as the Brother of Jared, needed a way to cross the seas the Lord provided a design. But there were problems. When Mahonri asked the Lord about them, the Lord said, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” Mahonri could have spent days, weeks, or even months thinking and praying about the problem. I am sure he spent a few sleepless nights tossing and turning before he could achieve the miracle of taking his family to the promised land.

Courtesy of bookofmormonevidence.org

Ammon, son of King Mosiah, went on a mission to the Lamanites. Only after living among them, serving them, and befriending them did Ammon have any success. But his diligent laboring went on to convert a nation. A certain man waited patiently—faithfully— by the pool Bethesda in Jerusalem for thirty-eight years before Christ came and healed him. These are the miracles that take time. The ones that require trust and faith in the promise that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

“There’s No Way We Can Have Another Kid Right Now!”

The decision to even have another child was a bit of a challenge for Chantz. In the Spring of 2020, Marissa felt like it was time to start trying. Chantz wasn’t so sure. “If I’m being honest, I was very against it.” He was in law school, they already had one young child at home, and the COVID-19 virus was beginning to sweep the world. “I just sort of said there’s no way we can have another kid right now!” But after some time, thought, and contemplative prayer and fasting, Chantz felt better about trying to expand their family.

Around August, Marissa started getting sick in the mornings. In September it was confirmed she was pregnant, but an unexpected twist soon came. In October they went in for their first ultrasound and the doctor proceeded to show them Baby #1 and Baby #2. “My first thought was just excitement and scared out of my mind,” Chantz said. “We never thought this would happen. But at any time your baby is involved, I feel like the prevailing feeling is love.”

Courtesy of Chantz Richens

Things were complicated from the start. Now, instead of prepping for one baby, they had to prep for two. But they had help along the way. As they needed things, support showed up. People gave them car seats and cribs and clothes. Then around thirty-three weeks, Marissa started having contractions and they went into the hospital. Marissa got a steroid shot and medicine to stop the contractions, but she had an allergic reaction to the medicine and had to stop. A few days later, the contractions started again and they went back to the hospital.

Due to further complications, Marissa required an unexpected C-section. “Is everything going to be okay?” Marissa asked Chantz. He didn’t know, but he prayed and gave her a blessing. At thirty-four weeks and four days, the twins arrived.

Sometimes We Think Miracles Should Be Easy

When Mahonri got his instructions from the Lord, he probably thought he was going to get perfect boats. As the record goes, they had sailed before. Maybe the boats were perfect then. Ammon, as fresh, young missionaries are wont to do, could have expected to waltz into the land of Ishmael and convert everyone. And the man at Bethesda expected to be healed any day if only he could be fortunate enough. But for each of them, their miracles took work, time, patience, and faith.

Courtesy of Chantz Richens
Courtesy of Chantz Richens

Eloise and Nicholas Richens spent three weeks in the NICU. During that time, Chantz and Marissa could only visit them at certain times. Nick often had trouble breathing and had to be on oxygen for a while after he left the hospital. But he did leave the hospital. He and Eloise grew stronger. Marissa recovered. And even though Chantz brought them home in the middle of finals week, he survived too.

By the end of the ordeal, Chantz realized he had witnessed a miracle. It wasn’t what he expected, and it wasn’t easy, but God was in the details nonetheless. Throughout the pregnancy, they had been supported by friends and family. In the hospital, Marissa and the twins were taken care of by the doctors and nurses. They came out of it, eventually, happy and healthy.

“Sometimes we think miracles should be easy,” said Chantz. “Sometimes we hear miracle and we acquaint that with ease. But that’s not the case.” Sometimes miracles are the parting of seas or protection from harm. They are clear and concise and powerful. They arrive in Godly gift-wrapped boxes. But sometimes miracles sneak up on us. One day we look around and find ourselves in the promised land, or surrounded by faithful friends. Sometimes they toddle around in the form of a healthy pair of twins, happy, healthy, living little miracles. These are the miracles that require us to wait upon the Lord until we can mount up with wings as eagles.

Courtesy of Chantz Richens
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Tyler Nelson
Tyler Nelsonhttps://anchor.fm/tyler-brian-nelson
After serving a mission to Samara, Russia, Tyler graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in Creative Writing. Tyler is the author of Away From The Sun, a short collection of his written works. He lives in Provo with his drop-dead gorgeous wife, enjoys playing basketball, playing the banjo, studying history, and collecting Pokemon cards. Follow Tyler on Instagram @therealtylerbnelson

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