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The Miracle of Recovered Love
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | TESTIMONIES
How God used Familia to heal a wounded marriage and bring new life into the world.

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“I realized how I needed to change to be a better wife and mother. I began to truly embrace my faith. As this love affair with Christ unfolded, I began to live in hope."

“I graduated from the Familia program four years ago. As I look back over the past years, I stand in awe of how wonderful God truly is. I thank him every day for sending us Familia, because I know that without it, we would have continued in that devastating downward spiral.” --Cheryl Carlson

Cheryl and Trent Carlson share a love story, but not just any love story. When they reached their lowest point, full of disillusionment, mutual estrangement, and broken hopes, God gave them a second chance, renewing their love and restoring their fertility. The story of their new love for each other is really the story of God’s love for both of them.

Invited to Abort
From the very start of their marriage, Cheryl and Trent had overcome special challenges with the help of prayer. Cheryl conceived twins during their honeymoon, and the medical complications began almost immediately. One of the boys had cystic hygroma, a lymphatic chromosomal disease, and the doctors were predicting a less than 5% chance of survival. She was advised by doctors and specialists to abort the sick baby immediately to save the other baby’s life.

She and Trent firmly refused, and their friends and family members began offering prayers and Masses for them, begging God for a miracle. After 24 weeks, an ultrasound revealed that the cystic hygroma had somehow disappeared. The doctors could not explain it.

But the battle wasn’t over yet.  Another medical complication had reared its ugly head: one of the babies was giving all of his nutrients to the other baby in a “twin-twin transfusion.” If this continued, the weaker twin would not live beyond 26 weeks.

Three weeks later, after many more prayers, the results of another test revealed a surprising new development: the weaker baby had made a dramatic leap in growth, and was now healthy. In time, Cheryl delivered identical twins in perfect health.

That was only the first chapter of their love story with God.

A Bad Choice
The babies were born healthy, but as time went by, Cheryl and Trent’s marriage began to sicken. Then came the bad decision.

Wearied by the stress and expense of their first childbearing experience, Trent had decided to avoid future complications by getting a vasectomy. Cheryl had her misgivings, but gave in after three months of fighting about it. Tense times had put their marriage to the test and she wasn’t even sure she wanted to stay with him anymore.

“Finally I said fine. At this point, I knew we were not going to be married forever, so what did it matter? I really thought I had made a terrible mistake in marrying Trent. I thought, how could God do this to me?” Cheryl says.

After the vasectomy, their relationship spiraled down. They fought over religion, Catholic education, and going to Mass. Over time, an embittered silence set in between them.

“We drifted further and further apart,” says Cheryl. “We were growing out of love. We knew divorce was not the answer, but it was
FAMILIA logo
beginning to look more like a reality.”

Discovering Familia
Just as the situation had reached its lowest point, a friend invited Cheryl to participate in a Familia study group. She went to an informational meeting, felt deeply drawn to the group, and even wanted to be a facilitator.

“As I prayed about it, I thought, I am not knowledgeable enough in my faith, my marriage is a disaster, my husband has a vasectomy, and I am not worthy to facilitate this program.” But after three days, she decided to give it a try.

The results in her own soul were dramatic. She had been searching for the truth, and she recognized it in the teachings of John Paul II. She began to respond.

“I realized how I needed to change to be a better wife and mother. I began to truly embrace my faith. As this love affair with Christ unfolded, I began to live in hope,” she says.

But after a lesson about openness to life, depression settled in. The awareness of what she and Trent had done began to hit her. She felt lonely in her marriage, alone with the realization that they had closed themselves off to life. After an emotional breakdown, she realized that she needed God’s help to change not only herself, but also her husband.

Coming Back to God
As the weeks of her Familia study went by, Cheryl began to turn to prayer like never before. She began going to daily Mass, prayed the Rosary every day, and went to weekly adoration. She also started a 54-day Rosary novena for Trent’s conversion.

At the end of her novena, as they lay in bed together one night, Trent confided that he regretted the vasectomy and said that he wished it had never happened. In the darkness, tears of
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“Slowly we started praying as a couple and as a family."
gratitude and joy streamed down Cheryl’s face. The ice was melting, and new life was stirring. Difficulty and tension was still in the air, but Trent was coming back to God.

“Slowly we started praying as a couple and as a family. God was becoming a real presence in our lives. But he too was in a hurry. He wanted us to be happy,” she says.

Another Miracle for Life
One day, as Cheryl and Trent were visiting some Familia friends, the husband, Rob, brought up the topic of vasectomy reversals.

“They knew we were having marital problems, and I think that Rob suspected that Trent had had a vasectomy,” Cheryl says.

Rob shared the experience of his own vasectomy reversal and offered Trent a pamphlet from an organization called “One More Soul” (OneMoreSoul.com). Both of them were astonished by the negative health consequences of a vasectomy.

Shortly after, Trent joined his own men’s Familia group and decided to get a vasectomy reversal.

“A lot of things came together,” Trent says. “I felt that getting the reversal might help our marriage, and I never wanted to face God knowing that I didn’t do everything possible to correct this horrible choice.”

The couple was short on money, so they prayed another 54-day Rosary novena for the funds. Unexpectedly, the money came in. It was what they needed, to the penny.

The date of the surgery was August 29, 2000. Just before the procedure, the staff at Dr Cary Leverett’s office in New Braunfels, Texas, gathered around Trent and prayed that God would guide the doctor’s hands and create new life again.

Within three months, the Carlson’s conceived, and their baby boy, Jordan Aloysius, was born on August 2, 2001. Since then, they have had two more children, bringing the total to five.

Looking back, both Trent and Cheryl see the hand of God at work, saving their marriage and opening the way for new life.

“We thank God for his generosity and for the many friends who have helped us to live as Catholics,” Trent says.

Cherly adds, “I graduated from the Familia program four years ago. As I look back over the past years, I stand in awe of how wonderful God truly is. I thank him every day for sending us Familia, because I know that without it, we would have continued in that devastating downward spiral. God has been good to us. He has been good to me!”


PUBLICATION DATE: 2009-01-19


 
 

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