Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To My Sister, That Time Your Baby Needed a Heart Transplant

I so appreciate you, dear readers, for coming alongside me during this time. Your prayers mean more than you will ever know. I feel so vulnerable sharing these things, but I also feel compelled to-sometimes just because it seems it is the only way to keep from completely breaking down...

Dear Robyn,
              We've been sisters a long time now. My whole life, really, since you are the oldest. You never let me forget that fact growing up. And secretly, that made me glad. Glad that went things went wrong *you* were the responsible one, when our parents tried out new disciplinary tactics, you were the guinea pig, when chores needed to be done, you had the lion's share.

    And once we became "adults" (whatever that horrid word means) I liked it even more, and not so secretly. You had the first boyfriend, and I learned how to interact with guys, you got the first job (and then got me a job), you got married first and I was the terrible maid of honor, you had the first baby, and made me a little less afraid to be a mom. And then, we were in it together, new moms, military wives, far from our family. But we had each other. Through babies and deployments, and moves, and crises big and small. We talked for hours on the phone, about everything and nothing.

   And I have never stopped looking up to you. You have always been the put-together one, the organizer, the mother-er, the planner. You do everything with such amazing finesse. And you have always been so strong. I knew you would be there for me any time I needed you. And I took advantage of that, for sure!

   And now, this. Who knew that the Lord had a such a thing in life for you as a sweet, tiny, helpless baby who would need a *heart* transplant? You have always loved babies-for as long as I can remember. When I haplessly tossed my Cabbage Patch kids on the bed, you would tenderly rescue them and chide me for my lack of caring. You loved to babysit, and did it for the chance to love on other people's babies. I was the childcare mercenary-anything for the money. And when you finally had your own sweet little ones, you had reached Nirvana-achieving your lifelong dream of motherhood.

   And now, your maternal instinct is screaming at you, relentlessly. This tiny thing, it needs you, but you can't be everything. You can't heal her with anything you possess. And I know it is the hardest thing you've ever done-to stand waiting. I know because watching this mercilessly pound you is the hardest thing I've ever done. You're my big sister, and I can't make it go away the way you have so many times for me. I can't fix it-like the many times you have remedied things for me.

   I don't know how to make this better. Pretty much because I can't. I say, "I'm sorry" and I quote Scripture and I pray. Oh, how I pray! And pray! And pray. I have become intimately aware of what 1 Thessalonians 5:17 really means. But only God can fix this, only God can see you through it. And I am learning, because of you, what it really means to trust God.

    And so, in this too, you are still going ahead of me. Showing me what grace in the face of great tragedy looks like, what fully relying on an unseen God means. How to give glory while suffering, and do so in a way that draws others closer to the One who deserves all the glory. You claimed these verses for little Gracelyn, but *you* are the one making Scripture true with your life:

"Yet I am always with You;     You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel,    and afterward You will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,    but God is the strength of my heart    and my portion forever."
                                                                                    Psalm 73:23-26 (NIV)

  And there is no way that you could be setting a better example for me in this, my dearest "big" sister. You are hope, faith, love, and patience-even though I know there have been many days that you haven't feel that way. You are strong-not of yourself, but because of Whose you are. I wish that I could make this go away... oh, I don't think even you could comprehend how my heart longs to fix this all, not just for sweet Gracey, but for you. I believe, though, that my prayers are reaching the Throne of Grace, and I know that He who began this work in you, He is the One who will be faithful to complete it. And in the meanwhile, know that I am here-however you need me, whenever you need me. Because no one knows like a sister knows, right?

Friday, October 3, 2014

To Gracelyn, When You Were Born

Dear Gracey,
                           I'm your Aunt Clare. We haven't met yet, a fact that makes me super sad, especially since I was there for all of your siblings' births. But it just didn't work out this time. But that doesn't keep me from loving you and wishing I was there to kiss your chubby cheeks!

      And I also wish I was there for your mom. We've been through a lot together, she and I. And what she is going through with you is probably the hardest road she has ever had to travel. Because you have a "special" heart. It isn't quite what it is supposed to be, and in your short few days here you've had more medical tests and procedures done than I have had in my whole life. I don't understand it all, but literally part of your heart is missing, and that has caused so many other problems...

    But never doubt for a moment these things: you were WANTED and you are LOVED. Your mom and Dad found out this summer that your heart was"broken" and they never for one second thought about anything but how to help you. All they ever have wanted is to care for you and love you. Your mom's heart is breaking in it's own way because she can't fix this.

   And your Dad, well, I am sure that he is just trying to figure out how to be there for your mom without falling apart himself. He would give his own heart for you, I know. He would give anything to make this better, to make it go away...

   And how do I know this? Because that is how I feel, and I'm not even your mom. But I love your mom, she's my big sister. And its tearing me up that I can't *do* anything. But you better believe, I haven't for one minute quit praying for you. I know the Lord keeps bringing this Scripture to mind for a reason:

"As He (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:1-3 (NIV)

    I don't know what is going to happen to you, sweet Gracey. I would love to think that you will be allowed to meet your brother and sisters, know their love, sleep in your own bed, get to try ice cream, fight with your siblings, swing on a swing...  But I don't know that. But I can promise you-your life will be for God's glory. How do I know that? Because it already is! You have been so prayed for-you and your whole family. All of your doctors and medical professionals. Everyone around you has been covered in prayer long before you were born.

   And I believe that you can be healed. That you will get to do all those things and so much more. I have hope-and that is so much more than wishing on a star. My hope is concrete-based on the Truth that is Jesus, and so I don't have to fear. I am sad,sad for your parents, sad for you-this is so hard. But I don't have to fear, because you were created in His image, and not one thing that has happened to you has escaped His notice, never for even a part of a second have you been out of His care. And if I love you so much that I can't hardly stand it, imagine how He feels?

   When we found out about your heart your Aunt Katy shared these verses with your mom, and they became "yours". And today, especially, they hold so much meaning and comfort.

"Whom have I in heaven but you?    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  
My flesh and my heart may fail,    but God is the strength of my heart    and my portion forever." 
                                     Psalm 73:25-26

       He is, Gracey, He is! The strength of your "broken" heart, and mine. I'm so glad that I don't have to rely on my own strength. It is worthless, and so feeble. But the Lord? He is strong enough. Strong enough to heal you, strong enough to see us through whatever happens, strong enough to show His glory through any circumstance, no matter how hard. More than strong enough to be there for you and all our family.

     Strong enough to bear my worries and fears, and strong enough dry all my crying. He loves you, Gracey, and so do I. I won't stop praying...
                                                                                         Aunt Clare

If you are curious about Gracey's condition, or just want to know how to join us in prayer, consider following her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/prayersforg4 
Thank you for praying with us!


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