Faith-Filled Friday: Born Too Soon?

A whirlwind of blessings is how Kimberly Quinnie describes her very eventful life that began on November 12, 1979, in Birmingham, Alabama—a day that doctors announced she was born too soon—three months prior to her due date. A serious medical condition that caused a continual decrease in oxygen flow to vital organs compounded Kimberly’s premature delivery and placed her at an extremely high risk of not surviving unless it could be corrected with medication prior to her birth. Fortunately, Kimberly’s mother, Evon Greene, understood the power of prayer and petitioned the God of heaven and earth to save her unborn child. Miraculously, God prevailed, allowing the medication to take effect just seconds before Kimberly was born. However, the mother’s celebratory sigh of relief would be short-lived.

The events of the next two weeks sent everyone into a tailspin, including a local Birmingham news channel that had earlier reported Kimberly’s miraculous survival. The newborn’s weight of 2 pounds 3.5 ounces spiraled downward to 1.5 pounds in a matter of days. Her prognosis was no longer favorable, as her heart consistently stopped beating because of a malfunctioning valve, not to mention the need for continuous blood transfusions. Open-heart surgery for the 2-week-old, premature infant was the only option.

But Kimberly’s mother knew with certainty that another miracle was possible, and pleaded earnestly with God to save her young daughter’s life. God responded with perfect timing by using a world-renowned surgeon within the Birmingham University of Alabama (UAB) hospital’s neonatal care unit to successfully perform the delicate procedure. During the baby’s mend for three months, the mother’s loving prayer continued for little Kimberly: “Dear Lord, please let me touch my child every day somewhere on her tiny body, and I believe that You will help her survive this ordeal.”

Kimberly’s amazing recovery testified to God’s great love and healing power, resulting in what appeared to be normal development. But during her preschool years, she experienced increasing difficulty understanding what other people were saying. This created both frustration and discouragement, as she continually needed to have verbal messages from others repeated. Finally, after a hearing test, just prior to her fourth birthday, her mother encountered a near crushing emotional experience upon learning that her miracle child would face yet another life challenge—permanent hearing loss. Kimberly received her first set of hearing aids shortly thereafter, along with exceptional family support toward normalcy. Even her mother’s own challenges of becoming a widowed single parent following the death of Kimberly’s father did not deter relentless efforts to provide her miracle daughter with sound spiritual and the very best educational opportunities.

Co-laboring with God through a grueling process of speech therapy, Kimberly’s mother was successful in teaching her to speak properly. Kimberly recalls this taking place with multiple interruptions and corrective statements such as “‘Don’t pronounce the word that way; say it this way.’ It seemed that every other sentence was interrupted in this manner until, by the time all corrections were made, I had forgotten what I was attempting to say because I had been interrupted so much.”

Evon Greene’s efforts paid off over time with the sentence corrections becoming less frequent, until Kimberly’s speech was completely normal.

Her divinely led childhood was filled with sign language classes, front-row seating, and people who helped her understand how to be successful rather than hindered by the hearing impairment. Her mother became her ears when necessary, even serving as a teacher’s aide in her elementary classrooms for two years. The speech therapy seemed to be a routine part of the day in Kimberly’s family. She recalls, “Before receiving my hearing aids, I had difficulty hearing the birds sing. Early in the morning, my mother would sit on the porch with me and ask if I heard the birds singing. This happened every morning with the disappointing response of ‘No, I can’t hear them.’ But after receiving hearing aids, I was so amazed to finally hear the birds singing and learn that God had placed music in nature. Hearing the birds inspired me to make my own music by learning to play the piano.”

Thirty-two years later Kimberly Quinnie acknowledges that she is not here by chance, but by God’s design. She models determination, perseverance, resilience, and excellence when responding to life’s challenges, and views them as opportunities to bless others.

Her successful achievement of a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama, and 2011 recognition as an Oakwood University’s guest graduate student who had achieved a 4.0 grade point average upon receiving a master’s degree in addiction counseling from Liberty University provides evidence of Kimberly’s passion for excellence. Her doctoral studies will begin during the 2011-2012 school year. Her life’s aim is to share the love of Jesus with the hearing impaired—a work that has already reached around the globe through Kimberly’s His Inspiring Signs ministry, where she speaks with her hands but hears with her heart. Born too soon? Not a chance! The world has more of God’s love because of the miracle and very timely birth of Kimberly Quinnie. “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her” (Psalm 87:5).

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