Be Still….

Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10.

If you’ve read previous posts, you will know that our unborn baby has a critical heart condition, critical aortic stenosis, and  that we were able to go to Toronto where they did a procedure on her heart Aug 16th to open her aortic valve which was had been so small her heart couldn’t pump blood through it and we were rejoicing.

But things have taken a turn.   We went back to Toronto this past Friday – the 24th so see the cardiologist for a check-up and what he saw after the technician took 79 pictures of my baby’s heart had him disappointed.  Her valve is open, but crazily enough, it’s now too wide open.  Her poor weak and swollen left ventricle doesn’t have the strength to push the blood out to the rest of her body without the help of the valve and so blood is coming back in – ‘regurgitating’ they call it back into this left ventricle.  And this means it hasn’t been able to heal at all.   Thankfully they couldn’t see more damage then they saw before, but certainly didn’t see any improvement in it.    So we are sad.

But all is not lost!  An open aortic valve is still far better than a closed one and if that valve could shrink just a little to help stem the flow of back-ward blood,  her left ventricle may still have a chance at healing and as we all agreed, the procedure had just been a week before and we just need to give it more time.  More time and lots more prayer.

And this is where faith kicks in.  Faith in God when things just don’t seem to be right, in fact in human terms they seem to be going wrong.   Sure it’s easy to rejoice and trust in Him when things look promising and we are hopeful things will turn out the way we want them too,  but how about when faced with the possibility that things might turn out exact opposite of what we want?   What if this baby still will lose the left side of her heart and have to have a palliation of her heart done where they turn the right side of her heart into a duo-purpose pumping machine and I have to spend weeks with her in the hospital, perhaps months away from my other kids and miss Christmas and New Years?  Honestly that thought breaks my heart.

However, again, even though I’m sad, I still I have hope.  I know God can still heal her, and even if that takes surgery and months of healing, I’m still completely trusting Him.  I’m not broken, maybe somewhat bruised, but definitely not abandoned.  And the Bible is full of verses to comfort me, starting with being still and just knowing that God is God.   I think John Piper once said that the things God does may be confusing, but God himself is Not confusing,  I love it because it’s true.

And as Jason pointed out to me, maybe His whole plan here is not to heal her, it may be to do some greater work which we can’t see,  which would be amazing as well.  God doesn’t give us all the answers, nor does He let us see the whole picture, but He does offer peace and hope and strength.

Here is the passage I’m clinging to right now…  Isaiah 40 27-31…

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  (emphasis mine)

Even as I read that I can smile (even with a few tears in my eyes).  I can’t question God,  He hasn’t forgotten me, and if I wait on Him,  He will renew my strength.   In fact if you really want me to cry quote a verse from earlier in the chapter, verse 11…

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Wow, that can just make me cry like that! 🙂   He knows I’m extra vulnerable right now (and let’s be honest, more emotional) but praise the Lord,  He is gently leading me and what ever happens with our precious baby girl, God will never forsake us.  Amen.

I’ll keep you posted.

All the days ordained for me…

Lisa is going to be updating their story here in the next few days, but she asked if I could share my recent blog post chronicling how it began for them in the meantime.  

Love Christa

_________________________________________

Somewhere around 18 weeks ago, I stood on my back deck crying on the phone with one of my dearest friends as we celebrated and shared together in the shock and wonder that a new life was growing inside her. I remember us both agreeing that this sweet surprise was obviously God’s plan, and that He knew every one of her days and her purpose before we even knew of her existence.

And today, that same dear friend and I cried together on the phone repeating those words… that God had planned this little girl’s life, that her body was crafted by Him, without mistake, and that each of her days were planned and numbered before any came to be.

3 weeks ago Lisa Colley texted me following her 20 week ultrasound to tell me that she had fallen madly in love with her baby GIRL! The very next day the midwife contacted her to say they had seen something during that ultrasound, an abnormality with the baby’s heart, and could she please schedule a fetal echo-cardiogram. She did, and we began praying. One special friend even committed to fast a day each week in prayer for this new life.

Yesterday morning while I sat in the hospital waiting for my own little girl who was in surgery (for tonsils and adenoids), I received a text saying they had finished the ultrasound and were waiting for the results, but that the abnormality (a narrow valve coming off a ventricle) was definitely apparent- even to her and Jason (her husband). They were currently waiting to meet with the doctor to hear what the results meant.

It’s weird, as pessimistic as we all can be sometimes, and how easy it is to google the worst case scenario, you still somehow expect to never hear it. The worst case scenario is always for someone else. I know I expected to hear that upon closer inspection- the baby’s heart looked just fine! Or perhaps that they’d need to closely watch to make sure she would outgrow it, etc etc. But even though this is still kind of beyond comprehension, they heard instead, “let me show you a picture of a normal heart, and now let me show you what your little girl’s heart looks like…”

Critical Aortic Stenois.
In Lisa’s words,
“Our baby has Critical Aortic Stenois which means
that the valve coming off her left ventricle is way too narrow, and at birth
would not be able to allow enough oxygen-rich blood to pass through to
sustain her life.

So she will need some serious medical intervention, either now while she is
still in the womb, or immediately after she is born. There is also a
possibility her heart could fail her now or at anytime, so as you can
imagine Jason and I are feeling like we have been hit by a Mac truck.”

And yet despite this, Lisa and Jason are already looking for and sharing evidences of God’s grace. Acceptance of God’s control and His plan. A supernatural peace in knowing that all things are filtered through God’s hand and the comfort of His presence. I’m kind of totally in awe. So encouraged by them. And so thankful for them, their testimony and faith and God’s great grace.

Tomorrow morning at 8am they will meet with a surgeon in Toronto who will hopefully find Lisa and their baby girl to be a good candidate for surgery while she is still in the womb. If so, this surgery could be done as early as friday or saturday. The surgery is experimental and fairly new in Toronto, but holds the best chances for their daughter’s heart to grow healthy instead of to continue to damage itself further each day.

I’ll include an email below that explains a bit better (my brain is currently struggling to function after a night of little sleep with my little tonsillectomy patient), but I wanted to ask of anyone who reads this- to please please pray. And also, if you know Lisa and Jay and have their email address, please let them know you are praying. And if you want their address, email me and I will forward it to you. Let’s cover the Colley family over and over with our love and support and prayers.

Here’s the email sent out after one of our pastors met with them…

Hey All,

Just wanted to give you an update on Jason and Lisa Colley. I just got back from a pastoral visit at their house and its been a rough day for them – asking that you’d pray for them, and that we get them into our prayer channels. What a joy to pray with them today.

They were told today by the Pediatric Specialist at the Hospital that their baby girl (due date December 15) has pretty significant heart problems in the left ventricle. I won’t go into the details they were telling me about whats not working, but suffice it to say that its as serious as serious gets in the world of cardiac issues. What they are dealing with as of today from the medical community is that the baby could die at any time now up until the estimated delivery date; and that even if she makes it, she would be rushed into urgent heart surgery right away for a procedure that won’t actually fix it…more of a temporary intervention that could prolong the years and hopefully set her up for a heart transplant mid life. Its really quite overwhelming news to get. They have to make some decisions about seeing a specialist in Toronto who is working on an experimental procedure that would be done in the womb soon, but only has a 25% success rate.

Praise God that we have hope in Jesus Christ who has a sovereign plan for this girl, a plan that won’t be thwarted for any reason; a High Priest (Hebrews 4:14ff) who has called us to pray boldly and come to his Throne for mercy and grace in our time of need and who has called us to pray persistently (Luke 18:off). I am reminded of the fact that as parents we are stewards of these children for the Lord’s glory. So, just wanted you all aware so we can be an encouragement to them and be praying alongside them. Id encourage any of you to reach out to them over the next few weeks as the waiting gets hard.

Leo

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

4-Wheelers and a Baby

Doesn’t that just sound like it should go together, 4-wheelers and babies?  What a perfect combination.  But that is what this past Sunday was all about for us.   My middle brother John  and his wife had their second daughter and so we made the journey home to see them.

Here he is holding his baby daughter.  Isn’t she a sweetie?  Here’s one a little closer…

So now on my side of the family there are 13 grandchildren made up of  7 boys and 6 girls… almost even!

And because we were already in the area and because the kids were longing to go visit my youngest brother  Dan, we arranged to spend some time his family and his four wheelers.  And to be honest it isn’t their little cousins or my brother’s charm that’s the draw,  I’m pretty sure it’s the 4-wheelers.   And they are pretty lucky because they got all the time they wanted on them and more.

Here is Erik riding around the house…

And William’s turn seen here with my brother with his son on the big one.

And you may ask how I felt when my boys were riding… and to be honest I felt mostly fine.  You know, there is always that bit in you that wants to keep your kids wrapped up in downy blankets and kept somewhere safe, but I have that tiny bit of thrill seeker in me and I can’t not allow them to do these sort of things that I myself love to do.  But you can be guaranteed that my boys will approach a dirt-bike with my blessing….. oh no… if I have my way they will NEVER get near one of those death traps, NEVER.

And I’m so dad-gum mad I didn’t get a pic of my nephew riding his little 4-wheeler, oh-so-cute.   We tried Sarah on that one because it has a kill-switch on a remote just in case.  But in her case that kill-switch came into play too many times so we decided Sarah best to keep to this…

Slow and steady is the name of the game here.   Because it is a bit of a trick to learn how to adjust the speed, steer and LOOK where you are going.  I think she may have had trouble with the first two and never did catch on to the third part – which also happens to be the most important.

We had such a great day with family.   It almost makes us want to move back home and buy some land and get us some 4-wheeler’s of our own.  Almost.

A new baby

Well I’m glad to see I haven’t earned any “Most Boring Blog of the Summer” awards, although I probably deserve one. I keep meaning to blog, I have great intentions to blog, but then I go for a swim with the kids or go pick some more cucumbers out of my garden until the feeling goes away.

But this, this is blog worthy. My newest niece, born July 22 to Jason’s sister… she’s a keeper…

She’s just a little sweetie pie, we went over to see her again yesterday and here I am getting my baby fix along with her older brothers

She’s going to have to watch her step with two big brother’s keeping their eye on her! There is something so sweet about a little girl with two older brothers.    Although it seems in our family right now big brothers are a perfect target for a pesky little sister, but I’m hoping that  one day Sarah will appreciate her big brothers (or the friends they bring home).   And hopefully the boy’s protective instincts towards her kick-in when Sarah starts school in September!

And I just have to share my failed attempt at a picture of all the kids.  Even with Jason’s help we couldn’t convince Sarah to smile and so then end result, well here it is,

But it doesn’t matter, Sophia looked a little dazed and confused anyway  so I’ll just have to keep trying.

So that’s all for this post, I will try to post more in the days to come, I promise!

 

 

 

Whats New

Well since it’s been so long since my last post, there is a ton I could post about.  For instance I could post about what a nice relaxing  mother’s day I had and about the power-point presentation Erik made me as well as all the wonderful cards the kids gave to me.   And I could post about Jason’s birthday which was on Tuesday and how much we enjoyed celebrating that (as well as enjoying the the extra delicious cheese-cake his mom made for him).     But instead I think I will post about the newest addition to my side of the family… a sweet little girly born early Thursday morning, who I was thrilled to meet later that day…

Here she is,  sweet little Isabella, daughter to my youngest brother Dan and his wife Jenilynn…

And with proud mom in the background…

And looking like the little dolly she is…

She seemed like such a little peanut to me, me who gives birth to 10 lb children… I guess  it would stand to reason that little 7 lb 4 ounces of baby would seem SOOO tiny to me.    But it’s very good for me to get my baby fix, because I figured out while I was driving down to see her that in my heart of hearts I do want another baby.  But even though my heart says yes, my head says ‘NO’ even louder.  Probably something to do with my age, how achy and sore I was with Sophia and that it’s just time for this family to move on.

But I’m prefectly happy to enjoy other people’s babies and I’m looking foward to seeing Isabella again!