...In fact, I've decided not to wait anymore! I am so "over it"! A cell phone attached to my body 24/7... 8 months of waiting for a phone call that will change our lives... news that Rachel's perfect heart has been found... Plans delayed... A life on eternal "hold"!
Listed for a heart transplant ~ Check
Suitcases packed with winter clothes and ready to walk out the door ~ Check
Suitcases unpacked and repacked with summer clothing ~ Check
Suitcases unpacked and repacked with winter clothes ~ Check
(...and in between all that packing and unpacking?)
Waiting ~ Check
Waiting ~ Check
Waiting ~ Check
Decide that you'll stop waiting and start living ~ Check! Check! Check!
Jesus voice whispers into my weary soul... "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Weary and heavy-laden? I think I qualify! What am I waiting for??? (pun intended!)
I can't help but think about a song my eldest son wrote many years ago, when he became weary of waiting for his perfectly matched wife. I can hear the words bouncing around in my head - "This is my last song about waiting..." I honestly don't remember the rest of the tune, but these words are my newest montra - This is my last blog about waiting!
Who would have thought that waiting could have such a wearisome affect? It's kind of like feeling exhausted after sitting on an airplane for 15 hours. Key word? Sitting! And lest you think waiting is a passive excercise, I am here to assure you that it is not! To wait for something that has the power to bring life to your dying child is downright exhausting!
Call me crazy, but I've figured it out! We've been waiting for 8 months! That is exactly ~ 33 weeks ~ 231 days ~ 5,544 hours ~ 332,640 minutes ~ 19,958,400 seconds! And we, as a family, have felt every single one of them! Could someone please stop this ride and let me get off? I can't take one more person telling me that it will come at "the perfect time"! I'm still trying to figure out what that even means! Is that what you tell the family that may lose their child after months or years of waiting?
But upon some thinking on the matter, I've decided that maybe it's not the waiting that is so wearisome, but the unknown instead. When will a heart come? Will it come at all? Will I be away from home for 2 weeks or 2 months? Will I be home for Thanksgiving...Christmas...my child's birthday...family vacation? Will Rachel reject the heart or will we have to do this all again?
Sometimes I wonder if God is tired of our constantly asking for a heart... today!!! In my praying for the outcome I desire, am I missing Him somehow along the way? And what about my 8 year old, broken-hearted girl? She has asked this God she's just recently come to know, for a new heart so many times she's lost count? I figure that if she's uttered this prayer only once a day, it has already passed through those blue lips more than 224 times! I worry that she might begin to believe that God doesn't hear at all!
I could hear the confusion in Ellie's nightly prayer just a few weeks ago... "Dear Lord, help Rachel get a heart tonight.... or really soon... or as quickly as you can!" Oh my! It might be time to re-examine our prayers and make some adjustments in order to line up with God's obvious will for today! It seems our "unanswered" prayers of 8 months may be pointing us to see all the answers right in front of us!
I can almost hear the Spirit's gentle whisper... "The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:5-8)
Thank you Lord, for your sweet reminders when I am weary! I have so much to be thankful for today... so many gifts worthy of praise! I have spent endless hours and days focused on a cell phone -- waiting 24/7 for it to finally ring -- while beautiful moments slip by practically un-noticed. Ask any mother who has lost a child and she will tell you... Hug your child today! Say "I love you"! Enjoy every moment! I've somehow forgotten that we didn't bring Rachel home for the promise of years together, but for every single moment God would give... As of this writing, He has given us the gift of 610,560 moments since I first wrapped my arms around my little girl in Shanghai, China. Those moments are precious! So what am I waiting for?...
Last night I could hear the endless giggling of 3 little girls outside, while they played in the hot tub. It was music to my ears to hear such sounds of utter delight at the gift of sisterhood. Thank you, Lord!
Then I soaked up some incredible moments rocking Rachel as she cradled in my arms like a 39 pound, newborn baby. Somewhere along the way, while I wasn't paying attention, she had finally found comfort in her mommy's arms. For so long, I had rocked a stiff little girl that had no experience to know what to do with her head and her tired little body when being snuggled with love. I could have rocked all night as I felt her chest mold into mine and her breathing give way to what almost sounded like sighs of relief! Last night's beautiful gift of a growing trust... Thank you, Lord!
Someone stopped me today as I was picking Rachel up from her dance class, where she is preparing to perform in the annual presentation of The Nutcracker. "Rachel is precious!" she said, "I love to watch her dance!... She is always so happy!" And she is right! This child wakes up happy! She springs through each day, and goes to bed at night with happiness seaping from her little pores! What a gift to greet such joy every morning and to kiss it goodnight again and again. How can I possibly say thank you enough, Lord?
Rachel's dance teacher stopped me before I hurried out the door. Ms Felicia has an especially soft spot in her heart for Rachel and has loved her dearly since the moment she met her. Last Christmas she gave a portion of the proceeeds from The Nutcracker to help Rachel, and this year she has promised the same. It is especially thrilling that for the first time, a beneficiary of The Nutcracker performance will actually be among the dancers!!! Ms Felicia grabbed my arm.... "Don't misunderstand me," she said, "I want Rachel to get a new heart! But, please Lord, after December 15th!... I want that precious child to dance!" I want that too! Nothing thrills me more than witnessing my daughter's joy expressed through dance! Thank you, Lord for the strength you have given Rachel to dance this year. May she dance for You alone!
I've made a life-changing, family-changing decision! I refuse to miss today, and the overwhelming reasons to give thanks, because I am so focused on that for which I wait. I simply do not want to waste our lives, waiting to live! The truth is, that the phone call I am waiting for will usher us into an operating room, where the most life-threatening "exchange" will take place. Rachel's blood will be bypassed from her beating heart and the organ that God has used to keep her alive for 8 years will be disconnected and removed from her little body. A new heart will then be sewn into it's place and in a single moment, time will stand still, as a "whole" heart beats in my precious daughter's chest for the very first time!
This incredible transaction will not be the end of Rachel's miracle story, as much as we'd like to envision it that way. It will, in fact, be just the beginning. The rest of Rachel's life will be filled with an immune-suppressed body, that could rebel and reject her life-giving heart, without notice.
I wondered out loud to Doug... "If we somehow knew that Rachel would die on the operating table or would never regain her health, or would lose her life in a battle against her new heart... Would we be in such a hurry?... so anxious in our waiting? Or would we just enjoy each moment, each hour, each day, each week, each month... and simply give thanks?"
Thanksgiving is next week... But I can't wait!!!!
"Thank you Lord, for today!"
Tonight was filled with uncontrollable laughter! Thank you Lord!
As I walked along the beach today, the Lord used this song to speak to my recovering, weary soul!