Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Walking in the Dark...

I am terrified of the dark. If you don't believe me, just drive by our home in the middle of the night. You will see that every room has at least one night light gleaming around the clock. Seriously, our home constantly looks lit up. (And, yes, my husband does think it's a waste of energy.) I also have lamps turned on in many of our rooms during the day and at least one on at night if Scott happens to be too tired to turn it off. Maybe it's because I like the ambiance that it gives the room and the "homey" feeling. Most likely, it's because they make me feel safe. There's just something about having the lights on that gives me security. I'm not referring to night lights and lamps this time. I am talking about learning to walk in the dark when the night lights don't illuminate your path and the lamps don't grant you safety. Walking by Faith.

I was 15 when my parents returned from another one of my mother's oncology appointments. They sat us down in the living room (where only the most important conversations were held) and explained to my sister and me that my mother was diagnosed for the fourth time with cancer...this time it was terminal. She would have surgery to get what they could but knew they couldn't get it all. She would come home and we would have a nurse care for her until her last breath. My grandma moved into our home to help care for her daughter while we were at school and my father at work. We videoed my sister's basketball games and brought them home for her to see watching the pure joy she experienced from seeing games we already knew the endings to. She asked me almost daily to sing for her. I would crawl into bed with her and sing whatever she requested...usually the same songs over and over. We held family meetings in my parent's bedroom where we would share our frustrations with the hand we were dealt and she would share her peace with God's Plan. We were walking in the dark...but walking by faith.

I began walking in the dark again last August. I went for a routine prenatal checkup and my doctor couldn't get a heartbeat by doppler at 14 weeks. This was my second pregnancy and I knew from my first that the heartbeat should have been able to detect by 12 weeks...and I was two weeks beyond that. The ultrasonographer did get a heartbeat but couldn't see all four chambers of my baby's heart. We were told not to worry and come back in two weeks to look again. I walked out of the doctor's office and bawled all the way to the car where I completely lost it. I tried to call my daddy to tell him that something was wrong. He reminded me that my sister was born with a murmur and that it probably wasn't anything to worry about at that time...knowing that he was taking my worry upon himself. Two long weeks passed. We prayed for a healthy heart and stayed busy trying not to think about it. I returned on August 23rd for the next ultrasound. First, we learn that we are having a girl...the girl that I've always dreamed of having. I finally will have the babydoll to dress in all the handsmocked dresses my mother made for my sister and me. Oh, and the bows! I was overjoyed for about 2 minutes. Then, as the other ultrasonographer joins us there is still no visible left ventricle. She picks up the phone and requests for me to see the local pediatric cardiologist in an hour and a half. Once again, I bawl all the way to the car. Scott is with me and we go together to the appointment after what was a lame attempt at eating lunch. We walked by faith into a cardiologist's office knowing nothing about what was before us...even a hole in her heart was terrifying...little did we know it was only going to get worse. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. What? Can you spell that? We have options? Termination? Surgery after surgery upon birth? Transplant? What? Is this really happening? How does this happen? Tears. Prayer. Walking in the dark...walking by faith.

The next seven months I walked by faith in the darkest hours every single day totally unaware of what tomorrow held. I learned to walk by faith and not by sight. I learned to depend wholly and completely on the One who holds tomorrow. I prayed to Him and begged Him to make her heart perfect. I prayed for her complete healing. He answers prayers...not how I ever imagined but in the ways that He knew would be best for His Plan. And I am thankful.

At any given moment, all of us are in some way walking in the dark. The choice that we have is are we going to continue in the dark without direction and without hope...or, are we going to walk by faith depending entirely on Christ to light our paths and hold our hands when we are scared, afraid, frustrated and at our end?

For this new year, I pray that we choose HIM! That we choose to walk by faith with confidence in Our Lord and His abilities...laying our insecurities and fears at His feet...knowing that, one day, we will be rewarded so greatly for walking by faith!

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Praying a faith-filled walk for you all, friends~ Rebecca


Jonathan said...

Amen Rebecca!! Thanks for sharing your heart. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that God made Annabelle and Lindsay the way he wanted them to be. Pslam 139 describes his plan best. Praying for you always.


RHONDA said...

When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen. There will be solid ground to stand on or you will be taught to fly."-Author Unknown



Unknown said...

Rebecca, beautiful, beautiful post! Thanks so much for opening your heart to us all! We love you!

Miller Family said...

Thanks for sharing your emotional journey. Your words are so true...walk by Faith and know that the Lord has a plan for each of us. Being a parent is hard sometimes to not worry, so we are constantly praying for God to guide our steps and help us keep the faith when it comes to our kids.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your friend in WA.

Evie's Story said...

So blessed reading what God is teaching you that applies to all of us! May this new year hold much hope and promise of His faithfulness. Trusting that He is able...knowing that He is good!

love you

Elaine said...

Dear Rebecca,

I don't think I have ever posted before...I am a friend of Suzie Dean's and have followed your journey with Annabelle since the day Suzie told me about Lindsay's HLHS and sent me home to read your blog. She said you were literally keeping her sane and giving her hope. I haven't missed a post since. Why haven't I posted? I guess because it seems so presumptuous when I am a stranger...I don't REALLY know you.

But your message today is so moving and inspiring that I just needed to tell you thank-you. The description of the meeting in your living room about your mom's cancer so resonated with me...we had a meeting like that around the kitchen table (which I now have) about my dad's cancer and I can still remember every moment of the meeting, 27 yrs ago, complete with what everyone was wearing! It is something that never leaves you, but helps shape who you are. Obviously, that moment for you helped prepare you for having, and losing, Annabelle...your mom is up in heaven looking down with Annabelle, so incredibly proud of who you have become. This blog has become a ministry and I hope you never stop writing. In fact I have often told Suzie, "Rebecca should write a book"...you are a beautiful writer and your message of hope and survival and FAITH are life-altering. I am sobbing right now, as is Suzie is if she is reading your post today, because your faith in the face of enormous loss is inspiring, while wrenching. I want to reach out from Michigan and hold you in my arms and let you cry it out on a bad day. I feel like you are one of my daughters (I only have one, but Suzie and a couple of others are mine too) and I just feel a need to let you know how you have touched a total stranger.

What a blessing you and all the heart moms are to each other...you have created a family that is vital and real... and God loves all of you. I pray for you daily,

Heart Hugs, Elaine

Julie Miles said...

Wow - what an amazing story and great lesson for us all as we enter a new year. Being a heart mom has definitely increased my faith and certainly helped me to walk by faith more than I ever have. I still do my best to take each day for all it's worth - not knowing if it'll be our last one together as a family. Any time Ethan oversleeps, I have a split-second panic wondering if he's alright or if he's breathed his last breath. Your family continues to be in my prayers.

Heart Hugs,

Julie Miles

Angela said...

That was very moving. Thank you for sharing that!!

Erica May said...

Rebecca, what truth in your post! I didn't know it but you found out about Annabelle the day after I had Emerson! God knew long before that we would be put into each other's lives and Thank the Lord for doing that! You have been a great friend and someone that I see so much hope and faith in! I do pray that God will continue to lead our families and our faith would only grow!
love you all!

The Hardy Family said...

You are amazing and I thank you for opening your heart and challenging us all at the same time.
I love you!

Mimi said...

Thanks, Rebecca, for living such a faith-filled life. Your life story is a testimony to everyone who has watched your family through the years, and God has truly used you to remind all of us of His faithfulness through every season of our lives.
Thank you for sharing your journey~

Our Family said...

Like I told you on the phone yesterday, such a beautiful entry. i am so glad that our angels' lives have brought us together. I count you as a dear friend and I am so thankful to have you and your sweet family in my our lives. I look forward to getting our families together one day! God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful post Rebecca. This post has challenged me to step out in faith not knowing what the outcome could be and learn to trust and hand over my worries to God. Thank you for this post and I will be thinking about you this month and the coming months. Like we sang Sunday in choir, which I think of your precious little one everytime we sing it, "In Christ Alone, My Hope Is Found..."

Leigh Ann Gandy

Anonymous said...

I have only recently found your blog and Owens, because I have been tracking Joshua. He just recently received his "angel heart." And I am so moved by the rest of your own stories. Precious Annabelle, talk about walk by faith...Your mommy's words have touched my heart. I am so glad that your Mommy and Daddy know they will meet up with you in heaven one day. That is the wonderful gift of Salvation. Thank you for sharing your stories with even someone like me who is praying for little Joshua to endure and for God to sustain him as He has thus far. BY FAITH, Dianna