I am sitting here next to my girl, thinking about all the love that we have felt from so many, today. Her surgery is scheduled for one week from tomorrow. It has been THE big event looming on the horizon for the whole five and a half months she has been with us. I can't believe it's actually almost here.
I could not have anticipated six months ago what was coming down the pike for us--what this girl would bring and how knowing her would change our lives. I think that anytime you have a child you know your life will be forever different, but man--I feel like a completely different person than I was six months ago.
Lydia's birth diagnosis of Down syndrome was a surprise. Six days later, the results of her echocardiogram came back and we learned that she had four congenital heart defects. It was a lot of life-changing information to swallow in one week! (I'm still swallowing...) Introducing us to an entirely new medical world is not the only way knowing Lydia has changed us, however. It goes a lot deeper than that; beyond a diagnosis, a procedure, a label. My eyes are changed. My perspective has changed. My heart is changing. I am not the same. None of us whose hearts have been touched by her are.
But change can be hard. I have actually wondered why they didn't treat me for shock at the hospital, haha. Surely I qualified! Wasn't someone supposed to elevate my feet and put a foil blanket around my shoulders?? 😂 Maybe they were watching for signs all along and I just didn't know it. The point is, you don't have an experience like that and just get through it. It takes a million mighty miracles every moment of every day to even begin to cope. You cannot do it alone. Enter, prayer.
I have never felt the power of prayer like I have the last five months. People will often say to us, "You are in our thoughts and prayers, of course, but what can we DO?" As if prayer were a minor detail tacked onto our lives but inadequate to express our real desires to love and serve; maybe even sometimes considered such a little thing, or the easy way out. I am here to tell you--to shout it from the rooftops and shake you by the shoulders if I have to--that your prayers are the single most important thing you could ever give us. You could send me on a cruise and I would shout from the balcony as we sailed away, "Thank you! But please, please pray for Lydie!!"
The meals are wonderful. The notes fill our hearts and bring tears to our eyes. Each act of service is a needed miracle in its own right. But the prayers--the prayers carry us.
I have felt the Lord lifting me in numerous ways the last few months. I know my weaknesses. I know my own capabilities. I KNOW that I could not do what I have been asked to do without divine aid making up the difference. There are lifelong physical and emotional challenges that have caused many problems before under times of much less stress that have, in this hour of great need, been held at bay. And I know it is not just a case of adrenaline or digging down deep and gutting it out for my daughter. As just one example: if you know me, you know that I have severe migraines. Two of my biggest triggers are stress and lack of sleep. In earlier times these migraines have required extensive tests and doctor visits and medications. But here I am, running on the least amount of sleep I have ever had in my life, under the most stress I have ever experienced, for the longest duration of time, and the migraines are almost a non-issue. That is a miracle. And that is just one example of the miraculous sustaining power we have received as a direct result, I believe, of so many loving prayers and God's merciful love.
You can never know all the challenges and dark moments and struggles anyone faces, or the ones that we have faced in recent months. Some of these issues (Dan finding a job, for one) have been big big things that just happened to occur at the same time we are trying to help Lydia. Some of them have been dark and desperate personal moments to fight through. And then there are the thousand and one very real and present physical challenges Lydia has faced, herself. But while you may never know all the exact, minute details, please know this: your prayers in our behalf and hers have been heard and answered a hundred thousand times. God is with us all day long when we let Him in.
Please know that your prayers, as your acts of service, are not casual. We feel them, sometimes literally. We know that God hears them because we have witnessed Him answering them. I believe in the power of prayer more now than ever before in my life. We are so grateful for the many friends who have shared so very much with us--especially their heartfelt prayers, and for a loving Heavenly Father who hears our cries (whether public or personal) and runs to our aid.
Thank you. I don’t think we could do anything to deserve such love. Although it is humbling to ask, please keep praying. And know that we pray for you, too.