|Our Beautiful Hope!|
. . . she had been running ahead of us and as we caught up to her, she was sitting on a rock ledge and watching some animals on the hill down below. She has always loved animals! I don't remember what the animals were. . . maybe deer or goats or rabbits. . . but I remember how I was suddenly struck with how much she was growing up when I saw her sitting there so quiet, intently watching those animals. When I asked her to look at me so I could take a picture, she turned and gave me this precious soft smile, and I still remember my heart melting in love for this little girl and admiration for the new maturity that I was seeing God grow in her. I labelled this picture on Facebook as, "Our beautiful Hope!" That she is. . . growingly more so every day!!!
After a brief family discussion, purposefully deciding to table all details of the upcoming back surgery (also per Hope's request as she is feeling overwhelmed and anxious and fearful of the probability of her upcoming back surgery), and rather focus on our family plan to seek the Lord diligently over these next couple weeks, in prayer and gathering info, and then reconvene as a family to prayerfully make our final decision in this very complex and difficult situation with such hugely life impacting consequences, good and bad, with the peace that passes understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, that only God can give. . . wow, that was a mouthful but needed to be said, probably for me more than you : ) . . . this is the what I listened to last night as I prayed with the girls before bed. . .
Gabi was praying in this way, "Lord, we're asking you to please heal Hope's back because we know that you have the power to do this, God! You are totally able to do this great thing that we are asking! We don't want this back surgery at all! We want our Hope healed perfectly again. But God, we know that sometimes Your plan is not our plan, and we also want to submit to Your plan, because You know best and are working for our good. You are always good, God! So we want to trust YOU, God! Even if you allow Hope to need this back surgery, God, we want to trust YOU!"
Me, whispering quietly into Hope's ear as she listened to her sister pray for her for about 5 minutes straight, "Hope, do you REALLY believe the words that Gabi is praying?"
Hope's response, "EVERY WORD!"
That's beautiful. . . even more beautiful than that most gentle soft beautiful face in the picture above, is the heart of a terrified and anxious child, being grown by her Saviour's redeeming and sanctifying grace, to grow a gentle and quiet spirit that can hold onto truth, even "every word" of truth, in the face of deep pain and anguish. . . that's beautiful! And that is a picture of the hope we have in Christ! Hope is beautiful and precious, my mommy's heart will forever know that to be true. . . but HOPE in Christ is the most beautiful and precious, and that's what I saw last night and the Lord knew I needed after a very difficult and emotional day. . . to see where both of our beautiful and precious daughters are putting their trust!
Our doctor appointment accomplished, I am most certain, exactly what God intended for whatever purposes and plan He is working out, and I so desire to trust Him in that! But can I be honest to tell you that both Trevor and I left that appointment feeling devastated, discouraged, angry, and uncertain, all the more! I am still filled with emotions and feelings that make it hard to even talk. . . or type! : ) I am fighting back tears now and have been doing so since yesterday morning. Not that tears are bad. . . there have been so many times where I've let them flow and felt the deep comfort of God as I did. . . simply precious! I think at this moment, I am trying to not let my feelings and emotions. . . my mama's heart, which is evident I'm sure, none the less : ) . . . reign or take over my desire to hold onto TRUTH! NOT the "truth" that the surgeon diligently tried to give us yesterday, as a "reality check," but rather the REAL AND CERTAIN TRUTH. . . the truth of God's Word, the truth of God's character, of His goodness in spite of our circumstances, of His love, of His ever present help in times of trouble, of His grace and mercy, and the truth of our eternal hope far beyond this temporary and many times devastating, painful, and scary earthly home. . . we are not home yet!
Here is the passage of Scripture that spoke to my heart this morning. . .
"But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever."
So the emotions and feelings raging within me (and Trevor, and Hope, and Gabi) will, by God's grace, be dealt with according to the TRUTH. . . God's truth. . . the only TRUTH and one that reigns supremely over all other so called "truths!!!" So rather than share details of the doctor appointment which will be very emotionally charged for me, dear ones, may I simply request that you would bless us with words of sweet Scripture TRUTH, and that you would lift us up on the power of prayer. Here are some specific prayer requests for you as you do. . .
1. First and foremost, would you pray for Hope's heart please, dear ones? She is struggling and so filled with anxiety and fear about having this major surgery. Her last words to her daddy as we dropped her off at school and then headed to the surgeon appointment were, "Daddy just make sure that you don't let him do the back surgery, okay!" This fear and uncertainty is normal and completely understandable. But we know that her heart's desire and our desire for her, is that she would put her complete trust in the Lord and learn, even more than she already does, how to give all her anxieties and fears to the Lord, how to leave them with Him and not dwell on them, and how to instead give Him thanksgiving and praise as He fills her heart with the peace that passes understanding! She knows Philippians 4:6-7 by memory and we discussed that again yesterday, and to see the fruit the Lord is already growing when I asked that question last night was amazing to me! Would you please pray Phil 4:6-7 for Hope's heart and as a spiritual discipline for her life over these weeks to come?!?! Here it is . . .
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
2. Would you please pray that same prayer now for Trevor, Gabi and my heart, too? Also for Trevor and I as we strive to lead and teach our children by truth and example to put our whole trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6), and seek Him for guidance and wisdom beyond ourselves (James 1:5-6), in this very difficult decision.
3. Would you please pray for Hope's back to be miraculously healed, even before our next clinic and pre-op extravaganza as I've called it on our family calendar. . . it'll be at least 4 hours of pre-op work ups, x-rays, blood work, consults, and teaching on June 13th? We know that God can do this, and we will continue to ask Him until the minute that Hope is wheeled into surgery for this! She is currently scheduled for the back surgery on Monday, June 30th. . . only 4 short weeks away. We also pray for hearts to trust Him, even if His plan is a different one, in His eternally focused, so much greater wisdom and goodness!
4. Would you pray for Trevor and I as we go on an information hunt? We have come up with a list that we are going to strive to get through in researching, calling people, and seeking any information or experiences that could possibly match or align more closely to a case like Hope, especially as we heard the surgeon say that they have no data on a child exactly in Hope's circumstance and condition. This hunt may uncover information that will help us all to make this difficult decision, and it may come up completely empty-handed. We also desire to put our trust in the Lord's hand over this and to uncover what He desires to be used in our decision.
5. Would you pray for the hearts and lives of surgeons, nurses and whoever else that we come across, that they would see God glorified in Hope's life, that the lost would, by God's grace, see their need for a Saviour, and that God would simply put, work in and through Hope's life, story, and circumstances to bring glory unto Himself and to build His Kingdom, as we eagerly anticipate and await our Saviour's return!!! Praising Him for such sweet purpose that He can bring even in and through the darkest and hardest of circumstances!
If anyone does know of someone or a story about someone who has these important similarities to our Hope, would you pass along that information, or ask if that person would be willing to contact us to talk briefly (any form of contact is fine, such as website, book, personal, etc.) . . .
1. Acquired Anoxic Brain Injury (means not born with it, and not sustained through trauma, but rather through the lack of oxygen. . . each of these situations can be quite different in outcomes) that occurred between the ages of five to fourteen years old. Especially someone who has a neuromuscular scoliosis (one that was not present prior to the brain injury) that is quite severe. . . over 100 degrees (Hope's worst curve is 126 degrees). But anything over 60 degrees, we would also be interested in seeing/hearing the outcome/decisions/treatment options/etc..
2. Has already undergone a fusion of the back surgery, especially a fusion of the back from bottom of neck all the way down to the pelvis, as well as a complete pelvis immobilization . . . or is going to undergo this surgery in the near or sometime future.
Thank you dear ones for all the amazing support and love that you continue to heap onto our family! You are the hands and feet of God's grace pouring down over us, and we are incredibly thankful for each and every one of you! Thank you for sharing this journey with us, the good and the hard times. . . you are so very loved and precious to us, dear ones!!!