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:
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?