My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord .
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
(Psalm 145:21 NIV)
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord .
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
(Psalm 145:21 NIV)
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 4:11 NIV)
In a state of semi-awareness I rolled over beneath the warm blankets. The red glow of the alarm clock brought about the realization that it was Thursday. Day of Nora’s cardiologist appointment, and that it was 6:01, time to wake up. Simultaneously William’s phone began resounding its melodious harp alarm tone which indicates to the cat that it’s time to start meowing at the door. No chance of anyone accidentally sleeping in here. I wanted to frisbee the phone out the window and pull the covers up over my head. “Can we just fast forward over this day?” I wondered to myself as I enjoyed the tender shoulder massages from my husband. I had a quiet conversation with God before I eventually mustered up the motivation to swing my feet out of the bed and onto the floor,”Here we go.”
My anxiety was kept under control, but I had no idea what to expect from this appointment. No amount of worrying was going to change anything. Nora hadn’t been herself a couple of days ago, her oxygen sats had been questionable… What will they tell us? I went through the motions of getting myself and the big kids ready for the day, pausing every so often when I felt the ominous fog of fear and worry starting to creep in, “I TRUST you, Jesus, I TRUST you, Jesus, I TRUST you, Jesus…”
Kisses were tenderly administered to Gavin and Greta as they were shuffled up the street to a neighbor’s house from where they would catch the school bus. I’m so very thankful for the support of loving and accommodating neighbors!
The 40 minute drive to Children’s was uneventful and we got there just in time for Nora’s appointment. Upon exiting the elevators, we enter directly into the waiting area. I immediately noticed a kindly older woman sitting by herself in one of the chairs. She had a book in her lap and the most heart-warming smile on her face as our eyes met. I thought for a second that maybe she recognized me from my blog. She looked absolutely tickled pink to see us. I was immediately distracted from my apprehension as I smiled back at her. I picked Nora up out of her stroller to console her fusses while William checked her in with the receptionist.
“She’s a beautiful baby!” the woman commented.
I agreed, bouncing Nora in my arms, placating her cries.
“I can SEE the love you have for this baby,” she said, “You and her Daddy, you’re doing a great job with her.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. What a sweet thing for someone to say. I told her a little bit about Nora, not wanting to be presumtuous that she knew us from the blog. She had never heard of us, never heard of the blog, but somehow seemed like she had been sitting there waiting specifically for us, on a special assignment from God Himself. Her name was Shirley. I fumbled through my purse to find one of the cards I have made up with the blog URL on it to give to her. She gladly accepted it and asked me if there was anything at all that she could do for us. I asked her for prayer. There is a quote about entertaining angels without knowing it. In this instance it couldn’t have been more obvious. We bid her farewell as we were called back to the room for Nora’s echo. My heart was so warmed after that encounter, all fear was gone.
Nora behaved phenomenally for her echo. She was bright eyed and alert, just looking around as the tech moved the ultrasound probe over her tiny chest. She tolerated as much as she could before letting us know that she’d had just about enough. They got the information they needed and ushered us into another room where we waited to speak with the cardiologist. Our wait time was blessed by the precious company of Linda M. who peeked her head in the door right on cue! She is another such angel, but I know her well enough now to know that she does actually have a physical address on this earth! Hard to believe, but true!
We were having such a nice time with Linda that the time passed by quickly and before we knew it, it was our turn with Dr. Hirsch. We went over the past two weeks since we’d been seen last — Nora’s eating habits, any changes in her appearance, breathing, etc. There really wasn’t anything overt to report except her fussy Monday. (But who ISN’T fussy on Mondays?) In Dr. Hirsch’s opinion she looked great. She was developing and gaining weight just as she should. So then on to the echo results… I stood there with my hands tightly clasped, still in prayer for the results that already were. He explained that THERE HAS BEEN AN IMPROVEMENT IN THIS ECHO COMPARED TO THE ONE TWO WEEKS AGO!! The pressures have improved, as has the circulation of the blood and they are also hearing the murmur (which is a good thing with a VSD)!!! While there was no visible evidence that the hole has decreased in size, these are all indications that it IS decreasing! We don’t have to come back for another THREE WEEKS!! We shook hands and thanked Dr. Hirsch before he left the room to go on to his next patient. Happy tears were on auto-flow all over the place.
As if that weren’t enough awesomeness for one day – it only continued. We gathered our belongings, made our next appointment and headed toward the elevator. This was about two hours after we had arrived and met Shirley, yet there she was again. Her eyes lit up when she saw me and she said she’d been looking for us. She had a little something for us, she said, and with that stuck an envelope in the pocket of my purse. Just as quickly as she had appeared, she was gone again. I was excited to see what she had given me and wondered what it was. Sweet Linda helped me out while William went ahead to go get the car. With my hands full of an EIGHT POUND NINE OUNCE baby girl I wasn’t able to look at the envelope until I got out into the car.
We hugged Linda goodbye and loaded up into the car. Eagerly I reached for the envelope that Shirley had given me.
I opened it up and there was a $50 bill inside. Speechless and even more convinced that she fell straight out of the sky and landed there in that waiting room especially for us. I showed it to William. Tears flowing. What an amazing, incredible, beautiful, perfect morning. THANK. YOU. GOD. Shirley, if you are reading this, thank you so very much! (I’m not sure if they have the internet in heaven!)
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:27 NIV)
No matter what it is that we’re going through, it could always be worse. By choosing to embrace a grateful attitude my joys outweigh my sorrows. I am incredibly blessed, but sometimes that realization grows dim and I need to be reminded of the grace that God has generously lavished me with. When I’m feeling afraid, angry, defeated or sorrowful, I need to remember: 1. I’m not alone. 2. I’m not the first and only person to be faced with this kind of trial. 3. Nora could never have fulfilled her life purpose as a “normal” baby. 4. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. 5. God would not have any of us suffer in vain. He has a plan with all of this! 6. Worrying is futile. 7. I have control over very little in my life or anyone else’s. 8. God has blessed thousands through this baby! 9. This life is a blink of an eye compared with eternity. 10. This life on earth is not all there is. There is so much more waiting for us.
Please pray for some direction at tomorrow’s (or today’s – depending on when you’re reading this) cardio appointment. Nora will be getting yet another echo and EKG, neither of which she’s very fond of. Please pray that it isn’t too uncomfortable or stressful on her. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (Romans 8:24 NIV)
It is of no benefit for me to put on a facade that I have it all together. I think I’ve always known that from the begining but it was made very clear to me today after last night’s apprehensive post. I might be putting myself in a vulnerable position by publicly expressing my doubts and fears, but by doing so, beautiful things have happened. Prayers have most certainly gone up on behalf of Nora and myself and because of that, it was a much better day. So many of you wrote to me with such comforting words either in the comments, by Facebook or e-mail. Your words got me off on the right foot this morning and have continued to sustain me throughout the day.
Although it might seem like my family is amidst our own personal trial, I clearly see it’s not just OURS. I’ve shared Nora through this blog before we even knew who she was, gathering quite a following! Based on the 3000 average hits that my blog gets every day, and all of the blessed comments – it is very clear that Nora has captured the hearts of many more people than just her family’s. Yes, we are definitely on a roller coaster ride here. Lots of big hills, loops and turns. I was reminded in a comment today to turn around and look at all the people in the cars behind us. Wow, is that a cool image!! Thank you so very much for getting on this ride with us, for laughing with us and crying with us. I’m not sure where this ride is taking us, but I can’t help but think it will be someplace awesome. God is right there in that first car with His arms up, ready and aware of each approaching twist and turn. Stay focused on Him and He’ll show us the way.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
(Luke 3:5 NIV)
So much time has gone by where Nora has been doing exceptionally well. It’s easy to trick myself into believing these days will never end. My blood runs cold to think they could, which is just my stupid thoughts getting too far away from me into the unknown future. She’s been extraordinarily fussy all day today and on into the evening. Her oxygen saturation levels are reading low into the 70s at times, according to the pulse-ox machine — but not sure if they are reading in error. I feel like puking right now as I write this. How could I possibly take another breath without this baby? I just want life to be NORMAL. I hate being tied to the living room with her.We do get out from time to time, special outings, walks, and even a VACATION, which I am so thankful for!! Those are rare occasions though. I want to regularly take her to the zoo. I want to take her to the swim club. I want to take her on picnics. I want to take her up to have lunch at the kids’ school. Hell, I’d be excited to be able to take her to the damn grocery store. The weight of all of this uncertainty is so heavy tonight. I’m tired and overwhelmed, longing for all of the yesterdays that I totally took for granted. And of course I’m sitting here thinking about how “unfair” all of this is when William informs me that there are three birds sitting out in the tree in the back yard. Of course there are. God is
I RIGHT. HERE. WITH. US. I get that, but that doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing from here on out. When life hurts like it does, its all the more likely that I’ll go running to God–His arms already open ready to catch me.
We managed to get a little cake with candles on the table for poor Greta and sang Happy Birthday to her. The dam holding back the tears had already broken by the time bed time rolled around. I hate that my sweet little 7 year old had to see me crying, especially on her birthday. For as young as she is, she is the most compassionate, empathetic, tender-hearted little girl I have ever known. I wish things were “normal” for her and for Gavin too.
Note to self:
We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
(Colossians 1:12 MSG)
It’s never felt so good to climb into bed as it does tonight! I feel like Jello after a surprise visit from a massage therapist! Our dear friend Ginger arranged for William and I to be the lucky recipients of a pair of massages! After a day like today, that was nothing short of awesome!
We celebrated the birthdays today with the family. I’m so thankful for all of the help from my parents and my mother in law. My parents helped out with the food and my mother in law took great care of Nora while I scrambled to get the house cleaned up and ran to the grocery store for some odds and ends. Going to the grocery was the last thing I wanted to do, but I’m so glad I went at that exact time that I did. By doing so I got to meet Suzie L. in the ice cream aisle. She recognized me from the blog. Besides saying hello, she made me feel very loved. I drove home with a smile on my face, remembering that life is too precious to be flustered about a birthday party!
The party went off without a hitch… Well, except for the patio chair cushion/dog pee incident. (Er eh hem.) *wink*
Pictures from today:
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
(Galatians 5:23 MSG)