Her Story: Beth Anne Youngblood

John and I met in July 2015. He was living in Atlanta, and I was living in Savannah when we were introduced by his college roommate’s mom. We talked on the phone for about a month and FaceTimed a few times before meeting in person. In August 2015, I drove to Atlanta to spend the weekend and go to a Braves game with him. 

After that, we were inseparable! 

We got engaged four months later and married six months after that – only knowing each other for ten months at that point! Dating long distance and then all of a sudden living together had its challenges, and marriage, leading up to John getting really sick, was not easy. We suffered two miscarriages early on before having our sweet Emmy, and we really didn’t have any answers as to why. John started getting randomly sick a lot, which made it hard to keep a job, putting a financial burden on our family. As tough and devastating as it was, John showed me true unconditional love by pursuing me and caring for our little family.

John was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where the left side of his heart was severely underdeveloped, and he was practically missing his ventricle at birth. He had the normal three surgeries for it at approximately six days, 1.5 years, and three years, but those started failing in his late twenties, soon after the birth of our daughter, Emerson. He was hospitalized a lot for fluid overload and random cellulitis infections. On January 30, 2020, after a heart catheterization, we were told that things were not good. We started the transplant evaluation process and were quickly turned down by three of the four hospitals in the country that were qualified to complete the specialized dual heart and liver transplant he would need. After sixteen hospital stays in one year, the news that “he will likely die in a few months” caused me to live in constant fear, going to bed every night wondering if I would wake up to him alive or not in the morning. He started progressively getting worse at the end of that year, and we transitioned to in-home hospice, where he stayed for four months before meeting Jesus on December 6, 2020. 

It was a blessing to make memories with our small family that year, but it was also gut-wrenching, and I often found myself asking God, why?

God has continually shown us how loving and faithful He is. God has never ceased to provide and meet every need Emmy has had. We have been blessed with a church and community that really has been a living example of the hands and feet of Jesus walking beside us and providing for us when we need it. Men from our church have cut my grass when I could not. Friends brought food when my wrist was in a cast, and I could not use it. We have been invited to dinner and playdates at just the right time more times than I can count. God has shown me in tangible ways, and ways I can’t explain, that He is truly always with us. The verses that have given me hope and peace over the past few years are Romans 8:27-28, “And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind and spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” God has started to redeem parts of my story in three short years, using it to encourage others in ways I could never imagine.