Debra Giovanetti, a native of Nebraska, has lived in Greenville, South Carolina since 1985. She has 2 sisters and one brother.
She holds an associate's degree from Greenville Technical College and is married to Jeff Giovanetti, a firefighter. They are the parents of two pre-teen daughters, Tiffini and Elicia and are members of Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, SC.
Tiffini and Elicia attend the Treasured Friends ministry at FBC and Elicia attends Hidden Treasure Christian School.
GOOD GOD IS!"
up in Holdredge, Nebraska and moved to Greenville, SC in the summer of 1985 to
attend college. I planned on
attending Clemson University, but began my studies at Greenville Technical
College. There I met and started
dating Jeff Giovanetti. After
three years he told me he wanted to marry me, but couldn't unless I was a born
again Christian. I loved him,
wanted to marry him and thought "getting saved" sounded easy enough.
So, I prayed a little prayer, thought I was saved, and we were married.
six years of marriage, I had surgery to remove a tumor and the doctors told me
that we would never have children of our own.
When I did become pregnant, we were both thrilled.
127:3 says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is his reward."
was working long hours at a church thinking I was doing God's work, but I was
not taking care of my health. Tiffini
was born 5 or 6 weeks early after just 20 minutes of labor.
She was born at home on the bathroom floor.
We hadn't planned a home birth. Tiffini
spent two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The doctors knew something was wrong, but had no answers for us right
then. They did tell us she would
not live long.
my stay in the hospital I became ill from some cold medicine and went into
anaphylactic shock. I almost
died. However, God was merciful
to me and spared my life.
Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some
men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Lord was continuing to work in my life to show me my need for Him.
Tiffini was 4 months old we received a diagnosis; she was born with Trisomy
10P. The geneticist gave us what
little information he had on the condition and told us to not get our hopes
up. These children usually do not
live very long. When Tiffini was
10 1/2 months old, I gave birth to our second child, Elicia.
She was a healthy child with no complications.
next few years were frustrating as Tiffini's health declined and we went from
doctor to doctor with no answers. I
prayed, but God wasn't answering. Why?
Where was He when I needed Him?
59:1-2 says, "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot
hear, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your
sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear."
Isaiah 57:20 says, "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it
cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
was missing peace.
1996, at about 3 years of age, Tiffini was diagnosed with failure to thrive
and given no hope. The doctors
sent her home to die. All day
long I would sit and feed Tiffini. Her
severe reflux would cause her to throw up and I'd feed her again.
This continued for three years.
May of 1999, my husband came home from work one day and said he was leaving.
I was devastated. Finally,
God had broken me. I panicked and
called the church. I was
embarrassed that this had happened to me, but I knew that unsaved family and
friends were not going to give me the right counsel. I
saw for the first time my sinful self. The
Lord humbled me and showed me that I had not trusted in Him.
The verse God used was Ephesians 1:4b, "...we should be holy and
without blame before him in love." I
am to be holy. The Lord convicted
me about my sins. He showed me I'm a poor wicked sinner in need of a Savior.
That's why Christ had to suffer so much.
He suffered and died for MY sins.
At last I truly submitted my life to the Lord and accepted Him as my
Jim Berg's seminar, "Changed Into His Image," was taking place at
this time and I devoured every moment I had with learning more about God.
He showed me how He loves me, He cares for me, and He will help me.
He showed me how I had put the needs of Tiffini and Elicia above the
needs of my husband, how I had not been submissive to Jeff or to Him.
I was learning and growing in the Lord, He showed me that Tiffini was made
exactly as He intended for her to be. I
saw this in Psalm 139:14.
will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are they
works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalm 139:14
John 9 there is a story about a man born blind.
(Tiffini is legally blind.)
says, "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his
birth. And his disciples asked
him saying, 'Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born
blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither
hath this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God should be made
manifest in him.'"
created Tiffini for a purpose, so others can see Christ in her.
could sense God's nearness now as I faced daily challenges.
In November 1999, after several months of prayer, God directed me to a
doctor who could help Tiffini's severe reflux!
By God's mercy, within a year she was healthier and learning to walk.
too, was growing spiritually and learning to walk with the Lord.
I was learning about praying and fasting and earnestly asking God for
things. I desired above all else
for my marriage to be restored.
19:6 says, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
last, in September of 2001, Jeff came home.
I now had the opportunity to let Christ be seen in me.
Jeff saw the mistakes I made, too, and was quick to point them out.
Instead of retaliating, I had to learn to humble myself and say,
"You're right. I need to
of the main areas in which I seemed to fail was disciplining Elicia.
He said that I was not handling things correctly.
I listened to his advice and took several courses on Biblical child
discipline. In November 2002, I
again sought out counsel at church. Elicia's
behavior was worsening and I didn't know where I was making my mistakes.
However, just a few weeks later, Elicia was diagnosed with a brain
tumor. One of the characteristics
of children with brain tumors is behavior that is out of control.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002, Elicia had brain surgery.
The surgeon said that the malignant tumor was attached to the brain
stem and he could not get all of it. I
went into the critical care unit to see her.
When she woke up, she started to talk to me and was very confused.
She thought she was at school taking a spelling test and needed a piece
of paper. A short time later, she
had a 15-minute seizure and went into a comatose state called posterior fossa.
Elicia was now seriously ill and the doctor said she might not live
through the night.
upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify
me." Psalm 50:15
prayed, asking God to spare my precious little child's life.
I loved Elicia and wanted her to live.
I knew the Lord was the only One who could help her.
I knew if He chose to take her home to be with Him that all her
suffering in this life would be over. What
more could I want for my child? No
more suffering, no more pain and no more crying.
But yet, I wanted her to live. God
never makes mistakes. He knows
what is best for us and He is in control.
I had to trust Him.
stayed in the ICU waiting room most of the night waiting to see if Elicia
would improve. As I waited, I
prayed and read my Bible. Still,
when thoughts of life without Elicia would overwhelm me, I would become
distraught. About midnight I
received a phone call there in the ICU waiting room.
Who could that be? It was
my deacon's wife calling to see how Elicia was.
She stayed on the phone with me, assuring me that God was there with
me, that He loves Elicia and would do what was best for her.
She prayed with me and read Psalm 121:3b:
that keepeth thee will not slumber."
Lord will be watching over Elicia all night long!
Elicia made it through the night, but little did we know our troubles
were not over.
Barnard wrote a song, Little Flowers, and here are the lyrics.
flowers never worry
the wind begins to blow.
they never, never cry
the rain begins to fall.
it's wet and oh so cold,
the sun will shine again.
they'll smile unto the world,
their beauty to behold.
the clouds begin to gather
the storm begins to blow,
flowers don't complain,
they're tossing to and fro.
I guess they've learned the secret,
don't fret because they know,
it never, never rained,
they'd never, never grow.
let it rain, let it rain, let it pour,
trouble keep on knocking at my door,
we'll learn the right from wrong,
will help to make us strong.
please help us learn the secret,
little flowers know,
it never, never rains
we'll never, never grow.
had developed complications; a staph infection in her shunt and bacterial
meningitis produced a high fever. Yet
she was still alive! God's love
was sufficient for my greatest need, salvation, and surely His love is
sufficient for this tragedy in my life.
is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions
fail not. they are new every
morning; great is thy faithfulness."
morning while having my devotions, I claimed a verse for Elicia.
It was Jeremiah 17:14.
me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art
was about to learn that the good that the Lord brings about is often different
from the good that we envision. I
was about to see a wonderful illustration of the truth of Isaiah 55:9, which
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
continued to make progress each day. Her
high fever caused by the bacterial meningitis had killed the remaining tumor
cells! Praise the Lord!
99 year old grandfather told us to just take that little girl home and raise
her because the Lord had healed her. However,
every doctor was advising us to allow Elicia to undergo radiation and
chemotherapy in order to increase her chances of survival.
The type of tumor she had is extremely aggressive and if it returned
would be nearly impossible to get rid of.
I left the decision in Jeff's hands and he chose to do the treatments.
have a cousin who works at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis,
TN. After talking with him and
the doctors at St. Jude, we prayed and decided to apply to St. Jude for Elicia
to receive treatments there. According
to their guidelines, she had to begin their course of treatment within 28 days
of surgery. In spite of many
obstacles, God opened the way for Elicia to go and she arrived at St. Jude on
the last day they would accept her.
give thanks unto the Lord for He is good."
were many roller coaster events during our 9-month stay at St. Jude Hospital.
Yet, God never left us alone. He
was there to comfort and guide us each step of the way.
well-known preacher once said, "Eternity will lend a perspective to all
of our difficulties that we cannot always see right now.
God can give us eternity's view on the things that are going on in our
lives. Take the things that God
IS doing for you in your life and focus your attention on them.
Thanksgiving will relieve the anxiety, the stress, and the depression
in your life. As you refocus your
attention away from your problems and direct your attention to God and thank
Him, you think about what He has done and you see how GOOD God is."
this writing, Tiffini is 12 years old. She
faces the challenges of a weak immune system and requires much of the care you
would give to a baby. She can
walk with assistance, loves to give sweet hugs, listen to her musical toys,
and enjoys attending her special class, Treasured Friends, at church.
Elicia is 11 years old and faces the challenges of slowed speech and
impaired balance. She can walk
with a walker and attends school at Hidden Treasure Christian School.
She takes daily shots of growth hormone to help restore her normal
growth. Elicia charms everyone
with her sweet dimpled smile!)
To learn more about Elicia’s Journey visit: http://www.notearsinheaven.com/NTIH/Giovanetti/index.htm
To learn more about Elicia’s Journey visit: http://www.notearsinheaven.com/NTIH/Giovanetti/index.htm
© 2006. No part of this page within No Tears In Heaven may be reproduced or reused in any way, electronic or print, without the expressed permission of the , or its respective author - Debra Giovanetti at email@example.com