“Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall someday know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.”
They were so bittersweet, those dark days... agony lined with beauty. Despair upheld by hope. It feels such a lifetime ago, those dark days of summer 2013. The days where I would wake up, gaze across at my sleeping bundle and feel my heart sink with the weight of the "what ifs" and the "if onlys". It didn't feel like beauty then... it felt dark and confusing and agonisingly hard. I couldn't see anything good... though others said they were encouraged by our story, to me it felt only dark and heavy... and it felt like a very high price to pay.
It is strange how time brings healing, and hope and perspective. How God provides daily grace to bear the weight, until one day you wake up and feel the weight is less heavy.
You see, the irony of it all, is that very little has changed. Heidi's arteries, while in somewhat better condition than they were at the lowest valley of her illness, are still far from where they should be. Our three year old little girl runs with boundless energy, full of fun and feistiness, and yet is still kept safe by a daily dose of medication, and a whole heap of prayer.
My heart is far from sinking these days... I wake up and wonder at, and give thanks for this little life that the Lord has protected... I swallow back the retort and frustration when she pushes my buttons and rails against boundaries, in thankfulness. Of course, I lose my temper at times. She's a fighter; I'm stubborn. But somehow, the history brings me back time and time again, in the quiet of the evening when I have time to reflect, to some measure of perspective. Can I praise God for the opportunities he is giving me to practice grace and mercy and patience in the disciplining and raising of this little life we nearly lost? Will I pray that God will use this little life, brought back from the edge of the impossible-to-fathom, for his glory and her good?
Today we return to the Brompton.
The place where all the memories come flooding back. That awful day. The sick feeling in my stomach. The fear. The moment the reality of the seriousness of Heidi's condition hit.
And then the flood of inexplainable, overwhelming, stunning peace.
That place where the exquisite work is done. That place of vulnerability... of weakness... of nothing to offer but dependence. The place we never want to go to, but always hunger for more of.
The place where Jesus walks before us... "I know... I've got you... I'm carrying you... I've been there"
In that place, God moves. God works. God breaks down and rebuilds. God creates his most intricately detailed works in the studio of suffering.
It hurts, it's agony... but its beautiful and exquisite and utterly transforming.
Pray for us today, as we return to the place of old hurts and open wounds, that we will know the exquisite work of God in our lives... for hope, for beauty in the brokenness, for trust in the Saviour who has held us so faithfully through the dark valleys and the more recent mundane days of medication.
Please pray that Heidi would have grown into her arteries...
Please pray for no long term scar tissue damage that could cause further complications...
Please pray that our little girl's heart would be protected.
But most of all, please pray that her heart will belong to the Saviour who has carried her, sustained her and kept her safe this far...
Father, we trust you... we give it all to you, and pray you would continue your exquisite work in us.
"You rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ"
- 1 Peter 1:6-7 -