Saturday, June 2, 2012

She's a matter of surrender

In a funny, roundabout way, Laney is here, being cute and turning one, simply as a matter of surrender. This little person who gives both kisses and opinions freely would not be here if Roger and I had chosen not to surrender our fear.

With almost four and a half years between Luke and Laney, it doesn't take a mathematician to see this process of surrendering was difficult for us.  For a while, when we believed Luke's third surgery would happen the summer he was three and a half and 30 pounds, it was easy just to put talk and thought of baby number two on the back burner. We knew we wanted to get Luke through the Fontan before we had another child.

It was also easier during that time to think, "Yes! Of course we want a second!" After all, Roger and I had always talked about having two children. But the actual step — no, run and gigantic leap — of faith to get that second child here was still hypothetical and far enough away to shield our true emotions.

In December of 2009, we left Dr. Stefanelli's office stunned to hear that he did not want to move forward with the Fontan anytime soon, and definitely not that coming summer. Of course, this was good news. But it shook what tentative plans we had for our family. And it brought our fear that much closer to the surface. I remember the week following that appointment. Both Roger and I were shorter and more impatient with each other, for no outward reason. God knew (and we knew!) the conversation that needed to happen: Do we do this? Do we risk getting pregnant again? What if something is wrong with this baby's heart? Can we go through that again?

These are tough, tough questions. And for us as a couple, they were a very real hurdle to getting from point A to point B.

Here's what it boiled down to for us: If Luke were a healthy-hearted boy, would we have had a second child? No question. So what was holding us back? That nasty little word: FEAR. And fear alone is never a good enough reason to not move forward.

"O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." (Psalm 84:12)

Mind you, Laney was not conceived the next day. I wish surrender was that quick and painless! It still took us a while to wade through our emotions, our post-trauma, and to feel strong enough to accept God's directive to trust Him, come what may. We both had to get to a place where we were going to trust God, whether He chose to give us a healthy child or not. In our circumstance, "blessed" did come in the form of a healthy little girl. But God may have chosen to bless us with another child with special needs.

That sentence is hard for us humans to reconcile with our idea of blessing. I don't think I could say that so fully without having gone through what we've gone through with Luke (disclaimer: I still wrestle with trusting that God's ways our better than mine. I'm pretty sure I always will). Before Luke, we didn't know the blessing that comes through hardship ... the blessing of being carried by prayer, the blessing of connecting with other families that get it. The blessing of perspective.

When you live with the very real possibility of tragedy, it is much easier to let the little things be little things.

"... blessed is the man who trusts in you."

And much easier to not take for granted the simple joys in life, say, for instance, celebrating a certain birthday of a certain one-year-old.

Happy Birthday, sweetest blessing from the Lord!

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