How faith guided a Van Buren couple during their daughter’s 16-month fight to survive congenital heart defects will be shared at Wednesday’s annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon at the Commons Area of Van Buren High School.

Sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Van Buren, the 11:30 a.m. event, "16 Glory’ous Months," will feature Kerry Morton as guest speaker.

Morton will relate how she and her husband, Phillip, turned the heart-breaking time into a learning experience.

"I am passionate about sharing what God accomplished through Glory in 16 short months," Kerry Morton said. "God made it clear to me from the beginning that Glory was never mine to be selfish with. Every part of her story was meant to be shared."

Born at UAMS in Little Rock, Glory was diagnosed during Kerry Morton’s pregnancy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which resulted in a lack of development on the left side of her heart. Glory also was diagnosed with numerous other congenital defects and endured heart surgeries at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, but she was able to spend her first birthday at the Mortons’ rental home in Little Rock.

Severe dehydration and a serious infection returned Glory to the cardiovascular intensive care unit at children’s hospital.

"She endured a few more open-heart surgeries, continued to exude her amazing, smiling personality, and fought until Dec. 11, 2011," Kerry Morton said.

"Glory’s time here showed that we should not value our lives based on the number of years we live, but by how faithful we are to accomplish and to be obedient to the purpose God has called all of us to," she said.

Kerry points to 1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these in love."

"I have heard that verse all of my life, but I never truly understood it until Glory," she said. "There were so many disappointing and heartbreaking times while she was here, and it was in those moments I realized that love is what would remain regardless of our circumstances. Glory lived out her purpose and now it is up to me - up to all of us - to love God’s people and share the news about the joy that only comes through knowing Jesus Christ."

Kerry and Phillip Morton graduated from Van Buren High School in 1993 and returned here to make their home after college. Their oldest daughter, Eliana, will be a second-grader at City Heights Elementary School this fall.

Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon host and emcee will be Drew Cone, the activities director for the Van Buren School District.

The event, with US Bank and PAC Printers as corporate sponsors, will be catered by Backyard BBQ.

Proceeds benefit the K-Kids activities sponsored by Kiwanis Club.

The $15 tickets for the prayer luncheon are available at Citizens Bank & Trust branch on Broadway, SPMI, Swaim Office Products, US Bank on Pointer Trail and Turf-Pro or from any Kiwanis Club of Van Buren member.

Proceeds benefit the K-Kids activities sponsored by Kiwanis Club.