One of my readers reminded me recently that I am long overdue to post an update on Rachel. I think she's right! I've honestly been avoiding it, hoping that I could post happy news of a perfectly matched heart having finally been found... Sadly though, that perfect match has not been found and after 16 months on the heart transplant list, we are STILL waiting! Rachel is considered "Fragile but Stable"... a miracle!!
Recently a precious little friend got her call... a heart had been found! But after many complications and the rejection of her new heart, Teresa slipped from this life into the next. Many friends reached out to us with encouragement. I knew what they were thinking, and I knew what they thought I was thinking... but praise God, I wasn't thinking what they were thinking or even thinking what I would have expected myself to be thinking! :-) ...a grace-filled miracle!!
Everything in me exploded with joy when I heard a heart had finally come for Teresa! I prayed with everything in me that this heart would be the magical match we had all been praying for. As she struggled and then finally lost the battle with her broken heart, I grieved... Teresa was a precious little girl, so filled with life and joy! It just didn't seem right that she was suddenly gone. My heart ached for her mother, now my friend. The whole ordeal played as if in slow motion... days seemed like months... would the struggle ever end for this sweet princess?
I watched as if from the outside, looking in, and even sometimes felt like a fly on the wall of what could become my own reality with Rachel. But God was so gracious and good to me. Fear of what lies ahead for us did not enter my consciousness... not once! I worried, though, about telling Rachel. How would she respond? Would this instill fear in her heart when her perfect match is found? Doug convinced me that we had always been completely honest with Rachel about her condition and that she deserved to know the truth. We were on vacation in Texas, sitting outside on the porch, while the kids ran around playing their nightly game of hide and seek in the dark. Rachel joined us when she decided that keeping up with everyone else was a losing battle! "Rachel," I said, "I have something to tell you.... I know that you've been praying for Teresa, but I wanted you to know that she died today and went to be with Jesus in Heaven." She looked at me as if she already knew. "I knew she was going to die, Mommy." she said in a quiet voice. "How did you know?" I asked her. "I just did", was the only explanation she could offer. I asked her if she thought Teresa's death was a good thing or a bad thing? Her eyes lit up as she answered..."Oh, it's a very good thing for Teresa, but not good for her Mommy!" How right you are sweet girl! May you never lose sight of the wonderful LIFE that awaits you on the other side of death's door. Better than any life we could ever offer you here!... a beautiful miracle!
I spent quite a bit of time pondering the wait we find ourselves in, realizing that for Teresa and her family, the months of waiting would be the last months they had together. How then, would God have us wait? And while I am reminded of the precious gift this time is to teach Rachel about the Savior that will meet her when she arrives at heaven's door, I am also reminded to make every moment we have, here and now, count! This beautiful truth does not apply to Rachel alone, but to everyone we love and hold dear!
I watched as thousands and thousands of people cried out to God for Teresa's miracle and I was more aware than ever that our Rachel needs a miracle of the same proportions! But then it hit me as with a baseball bat across the head... Rachel is a walking miracle! Neither Rachel or Teresa should have lived past their first or second birthdays!
|OK...It's not the best picture! |
But I love it because it shows the way Rachel's eye glisten when she smiles!
Rachel turned NINE this summer! Every single day... a miracle! And to think that God went to such measures to get our precious girl all the way home from China... a miracle! And the way He opened up her broken heart to the Truth about Himself and His love for her through Jesus... a miracle! The way she is filled with such love, life, and joy after such horrendous years in an institution with no hope... a miracle! The way she continues to laugh and play and enjoy life in spite of her failing heart... a miracle!
A miracle is what I seek... but a million miracles have already been granted!
Life is looking differently these days. I thank God for the way He used Teresa's story to bring beautiful perspective once again! The craziest thing of all, is that Rachel seems to have a better grasp on this beautiful perspective than we do! She always has! How is this even possible for a little girl her age? It's not!.. It's a miracle!!
I have to share something with you that I'm honestly surprised I have not written about before now! When Rachel turned 8 years old (our first birthday to celebrate together) Doug purchased an ITouch from a mom on Craig's List. This was the only thing Rachel really wanted, and she was absolutely thrilled!!! I kept promising Rachel that we would allow her to pick out some music and add it to her ITouch. She insisted that hers already had music on it. How was this possible? We had erased everything from the ITouch the day we purchased it! But one song remained and it had become her "favorite". She sang along every time it played.
"We pray for blessings. We pray for peace, comfort for family, protection while we sleep. We pray for healing, for prosperity. We pray for Your mighty hand to heal our suffering. All the while, you hear each spoken need, yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.
What if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"
Could Rachel even begin to understand what those words meant? And yet, her confidence in the face of death reveals that she must! Had God not obviously left this song just for her? A few months ago, Rachel's voice piped up from the back of the van... "This is not our home!" This announcement took me by surprise, the way it seemed to come out of the blue. She went on..."This is not our home! Heaven is! This is just our temporary home!" She obviously understood this concept in a way even adults do not! I marveled at the work of God! What had she been thinking of that day? And then I heard that song of hers again as I rode in my van alone, a few days later... This time I purposed to really listen to each and every word that God had so beautifully used to speak to Rachel's heart. And there it was!!!
"...When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know... the pain reminds this heart... that this is not, this is not our home! It's not our home!
Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy....and what if trials of this life- the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are Your mercies in disguise?"
I cry even as I type these beautiful words, and from down the hall I can hear this song playing for Rachel as she drifts off to sleep. It is among her other favorite songs that are played each night, reminding her of God's love and unchanging promises. What are the chances that single song was left on Rachel's ITouch? Not very good! ...a miracle! And the fact that she understands that the pain of this life was designed by God to reveal His love and goodness, and to give us a longing for heaven? ...a miracle indeed!!