Thursday, January 3, 2008

a Virtual Blessing

Living in a virtual world is a really amazing thing.

This blogging thing has led me to all kinds of places and people. I have been able to catch up with high school and college friends, and keep up on the day-to-day happenings of far away family members. It has been great!

Do you ever blog-jump? You know, go on a blog of someone you know, and then just start clicking on their links to see where it takes you?

Well, I have.

And, hence, the reason for this post.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my sister-in-law Karie's blog. From there, I clicked on to one of her friends, which I knew was a girl from Maranatha--the college that I went to (along with Karie). I thought, maybe her blog would lead me to some other people from MBBC as well. It didn't; however, just that day, Karie's friend had posted something about praying for a family that she knew that was going through a really difficult time. They had just lost their baby daughter, who was only 8 days old.

I was intrigued. I had to click that link. I wanted to see what had happened to this baby.

That was when my eyes were opened to something (and some people) that have blessed me beyond words.

I clicked on this link, and it led me to a 27-year-old mother of two named Boothe Farley. She had literally just days before lost her 2nd daughter to a disease I had never heard of:
Trisomy-18.

I read, and read, and read. And the tears flowed heavily as I did.

I went back many months of posts, and read about her finding out about her pregnancy, and all the emotions that went along with that as she and her husband had had difficulty conceiving. I read about her going in for a routine sono, like so many pregnant women do, and finding out that her baby was different....her baby was sick. Her new daughter was going to be born with one extra chromosome, and it was going to make her body not be able to function properly. And, then, of course, I read about all of the emotions that came with that diagnosis. I read about the months of anticipation, of her waiting for the "birth day" (many of these children do not make it to that day). I read about baby Copeland making it through the birth, and about the eight days that they were so grateful to have had with her. I saw pictures and video of her and the family. I read about the funeral. And now, I continue to read, as she continues to blog about life after her loss and where to go from here with the new reality she and her family have been given.

Her blog has, in turn, led me to several other Christian families that are also coping with this disease. Some have already lost their children.
Poppy Joy lived 3 hours; Copeland lived 8 days; Madeline lived about 12 hours. Some have children who are currently, miraculously, living with this disease (the oldest child I have seen was 99 days old.) Tristan has made 31 days today. And some--the ones who have impacted me the most--who are currently expecting children with T-18. Baby Eva Janette is due in March, baby Maddox is due in February, and baby Mary Grace is due in about three weeks. "Yikes", I think to myself. "Now that is a scary reality to be facing."

But do you know what they all have in common?

They are all so thankful to God for the opportunity to have had these children, and grateful for the impact that these babies have had on their lives, and the lives of so many others--who, like I have, follow their blogs from afar.

Reading about these children and their parents, and more importantly, reading how these parents are handling this seemingly insurmountable earthly trial with grace and joy has taught me some very valuable lessons in the last couple of weeks.


You would think that somewhere, in at least a couple of these women, there would be some sort of bitterness....some sort of anger at what has happened to their family and their children.

From what I can see, there isn't one shred of that within any of these families.

I am not saying that there have not been tears--lots of them--and not moments of weakness where they have wondered, "Why, God, did you choose me to go through this?" They have faced what many think is the 'unthinkable'--burying their infant children--and by their words I know they have cried millions of tears between them.

But they are able to grieve with JOY. With HOPE.

Joy in knowing that their children who have gone on to heaven before them are now whole--no longer sick, no longer suffering. Hope in the fact that they will see them again some day. And what a wonderful reunion that will be.

But they still grieve for the child that they will never get to see grow up....and I know that, despite their heavenly joy and hope, their earthly grief is still very real, and present everyday.

I know that, because it is exactly what I am going through right now.

But, I am so much better than I was a week ago. Two weeks ago. Three weeks ago. And I am better, in part, because of these families--their struggles and their testimonies. See, God gives strength to get through everything. I knew that in my head. But it was hard to feel it in my heart. Three weeks ago, I never thought I would get through.

Talk about walking through the valley of the shadow of death. But God has led me through. I feel, truly, as though now He is leading me beside the still waters, and restoring my soul. (Psm. 23) Things were rough.....now they are smoother.

Notice I said smoother....not smooth.

I would still appreciate your prayers for me. I still have my moments (lots of them) of weakness, but God is faithfully showing me how drawing closer to Him in these times makes things so much more 'do-able'.

You may have noticed the new sidebar on my blog that says, "Praying for..." These are the families that I have been telling you about. Talk about encouraging reading. If you have a few spare moments, you should click over and see what I am talking about. I promise, it will not be time wasted.

More so, however, I would love it if you would add these several families to your prayer list. I know that there are a million diseases, a million causes out there--but this is one that has impacted and forever changed me and my outlook. I am so thankful to God for that, and for these families. I pray that one of them will encourage you, as they all have encouraged me.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stall, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. " Habakkuk 3: 17-18

9 comments:

Kara said...

I love this post! I found Boothe's blog by blog jumping and also found the other's that way. I found yours from a comment on someones today, can't remember whose now. I feel as you, these women are amazing and are guiding me on an amazing journey as I explore my faith! I will pray for you as well and will come back to check in on you! May God continue to be with you!

Kara
sahm22boys.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Devin,
It's been so long since I have seen you. I saw your blog from Jill's. I wanted to comment even though I have not been in your situation and can only imagine how hard it is. I don't know if you listen to Homeward Bound, Brock Thornsbrough used to be in this group and he has written a really good song about it. I believe his wife had a miscarriage so it is written from personal experience. The song is called "I'll hold you in Heaven (Baby Song)" on the Cd titled Where He Leads. Their website is Homewardboundministries.net. As you said it is so nice catching up on people you haven't seen for a while. You have a very nice family and my daughter and I enjoy looking at the pictures of your boys. She especially liked the New Years video. Hope to keep in touch with you,

Melissa (Skoog) Yocum

Kenzie Stanfield said...

Devin-

Thank you so much for praying for our family, as I will continue also praying for yours! A friend of mine mentioned your post the other day on our blog and said how amazing it is that the Lord can continue to show His grace, love and comfort through things that seem as simple as a blog. Thank you for asking for prayers for our family as well... these next few months will definitely be emotional, but the Lord is faithful and will bring us through the fire... maybe with a few burns, but nothing He can't heal.

Joyful New Year to your beautiful family!
Love,
Kenzie

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Eva Jeanette. She has not been born yet but I am praying for her faithfully.

Jessica, Myron and Rylie said...

I a so glad I "blog jump" to your page..its always so eye opening and touching for e to read your posts.

Kathy said...

Hi Devin, thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. I'm so sorry for your loss. It doesn't matter how old they are when we lose them, it is painful! I have not written the song out on paper yet. I'm not very good at that part. I have some software that will do that for me, but it's not here at home, and not sure when I'll get the time...I'll let you know when I do. Thanks again for stopping by. All those blogs you mentioned have ministered to me too...hence the song...Talk to you soon...

~Kathy~

Vivian said...

Thanks to some blog-jumping, I, too, found those trisomy-18 babies, and I've been reading and praying for them, too. You have a precious heart, little sister. I also miscarried our second one, at about 6 weeks, and I remember being so SURPRISED that it would hurt so much! One of our daughters recently miscarried, also. So I hurt for you, but I know that God can comfort like no one else. And one day, you will find yourself being able to help others because of what you have gone through. God is good--Whatever befall me, Jesus doeth all things well. Thank you for your sweet attitude. It is a precious fragrance in the nostrils of our God, and brings Him much glory!

Laurie said...

Hi Devin,

I just found you today through blog hopping. This is how I build my prayer list and I see that you are praying for all my girls. And you are so right, the common thread that they all share in this T-18 journey is a deep trust in the Lord. I know they appreciate the prayers and I will add you to my list too. I haven't read through your entries yet but I will. Your boys are so cute and I'll bet they keep you moving. I'll be back.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Anonymous said...

Angie (poppyjoy.blogspot.com) wrote in her blog recently: "I was thinking about it this morning, and I decided there are probably few things that excite Satan as much as a discouraged and bitter Christian. The reason why is simple. The person who is entrenched in bitterness cannot be filled with God’s hope and joy. She is adorned with ashes instead of the garland that Jesus so desperately wants to put around her neck, and instead of a mantle of praise, she lives in the constant weariness of defeat."
"Blog jump" often...this young woman is wise way beyond her years.