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20 July 2011

A post I never thought I'd write...

I almost don't know where to begin. My life has taken a turn I never imagined it would take. I read stories like this on other people's blogs and find them heart-wrenching, inspiring, encouraging, hopeful, devastating...all at the same time. I never imagined this to be my story. But it is, and I want to share it in hopes that someone else might find a ray of light, a flicker of hope, a renewed joy in reading of God's work in our lives.

Most of you know that we welcomed our beautiful nine-pound boy into our family on June 11. I wasted no time in falling head-over-heals in love with him. It's true what people say about boys...they steal a mother's heart! Truett proved to be an absolutely delightful baby almost immediately. He ate well, slept great, hardly ever cried. We were beside ourselves with the joy that this little gift had brought to our family.

We took Truett in for his one-month check up on July 12. Our pediatrician noticed a heart murmur that had previously gone undetected, and recommended that we take Truett to a pediatric cardiologist. We scheduled an appointment for Monday the 18th, and didn't think much else of his little murmur. I assumed it would be no big deal, and that he'd outgrow it eventually.

On the morning of the 18th, we took Truett in for his appointment at 8 am. After three long hours filled with pokes, prods, an EKG, an ultrasound, multiple blood-pressure screenings and a discussion with a pediatric cardiologist, we left with information that no parent ever wants to hear. Truett was born with a heart defect called coarctation of the aorta. In layman's terms, he has a narrowing of the aorta and is hypertensive as a result. My sweet baby will be having heart surgery sometime before his first birthday. It breaks my heart to type that. He is currently taking medication for high blood pressure. We will return to the doctor on Tuesday the 26th for a follow-up screening to see if he is remaining stable enough to postpone the surgery until he's a little older and his heart is a little bigger. Those are the nitty-gritty details of our life right now.

It's amazing how quickly perspective changes when one is faced with some sort of crisis. All of a sudden 'things' don't seem to matter quite so much. I am valuing and loving and cherishing each moment I spend with my children. One way or another, those moments are fleeting. I am reminded that there are no guarantees when it comes to life on earth. We live in a fallen world, with imperfect bodies, and spirits in desperate need of a wholeness only found in relationship with our Creator God.

I have experienced a deluge of emotions and thoughts over the past few days. I have cried...or more accurately, sobbed. I have laughed uncontrollably with my sweet Maren. I have been much stronger than I ever imagined I could be under these circumstances. I have experienced a confidence in the Lord unlike any I've experienced before. I've shared some of the sweetest snuggles with my baby boy. I've questioned God...why our baby? Why not me? Why, why, why? And the truth is...I already know the answer...to bring glory to God. I now have an incredible opportunity to put into practice what I've claimed to be true for much of my life.

Since shortly after Truett was born, I have been reading and studying Philippians. (Mostly reading and re-reading...if you are a mother of a smallish child, you know how unlikely any true in-depth form of 'study' is while tending to the needs of a toddler!) I did not realize how God was already preparing me for the news we were to hear on Monday. I have spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the words of Paul found in Philippians 2:12-15 (NIV).

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

I actually had been asking the Lord to reveal ways for our family to 'shine like stars in the universe' in order to fulfill his 'good purpose' for our lives. I just never imagined something like this to be the vehicle by which we'd have that opportunity to shine.

As we embark on our journey with Truett, I admit that I am very scared. I am scared to watch my baby suffer, I am scared of something going wrong, I am scared of losing my baby. BUT, I know that God loves Truett more than I could ever imagine, and I know that He has a plan for my little guy's life, however long or short it may be.

Fernando Ortega has a song that I love, and it means even more to me now.

I Will Praise Him, Still

When the morning falls on the farthest hill,
I will sing His name, I will praise Him still.
When dark trials come and my heart is filled
With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him still.

For the Lord our God, He is strong to save
From the arms of death, from the deepest grave.
And He gave us life in His perfect will,
And by His good grace, I will praise Him still.

So, today I choose to praise Him still...for this happy little guy. His sister was making him smile while I took the picture. They are both such gifts to me!


  1. May god bless you and your family, Kate. It is amazing to me that you are so faithful. I'll pray that you continue to have faith, and that God moves wonders into your lives!

    Let us know if you need anything at all. Give us the chance to serve you during this time.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this, Kate. I'll be praying for your family and for baby Truett.

    I am so impressed by your words and how you've put your faith and your baby boy in the Lord's hands. What a testiment to the love you have!

  3. I cried not because of what you are walking through...but because of the evidence of a faithful God who has said YES! to my prayers for you all these years...he is glorified, Kate, he is glorified! And he will not take you where he does not go before...

  4. Kate,

    Praising God for the peace and faith you are evidencing, and PRAYING like mad for you all! Thanks for posting. I'll follow on your blog.

  5. He is adorable. So glad that the doctors caught it so earlier. Your faith is so important as you go through this. I will pray that God heals liitle Truett.

  6. Saw your blog link on facebook. We've been praying and will continue to pray for you little guy! It's beautiful to see how you're embracing Scripture and turing to God for strength. ~grace

  7. Kate... I can't imagine the emotions you must have right now. Wish I was right there to give you a hug. Will definitely be keeping you and Truett (what a beautiful smile to go along with his head of hair!) and your whole family in my thoughts.

  8. Praying for you! Thanks for sharing what's on your heart.

  9. Kate,

    When my oldest son was 6 weeks old we received almost the exact same news. When he was born, the hospital detected a heart murmur as well, but because he was small (10 lb 5 oz baby is small?) or maybe it was just his heart was small, the only thing they could see was a tissue mass in his left atrium, and a small VSD.

    At his 6 week appointment - the pediatric cardiologist told me that he had Cor Triatriatum, which means his left atrium is split into two halves and he would have to have open heart surgery before his first birthday.

    So we prepared for the worst.

    When he was 4 mos old we moved back down to VA and thus found a new pediatric cardiologist and this new doctor (who I love) told us that since his heart condition was not interfering at all with his development then they were not going to put him through the stress of having open heart surgery. My guy is turning 6 years old this year, and besides regular visits to make sure the membrane that splits his left atrium in two is not interfering with anything - he's a normal child who is able to do everything that other children do.

    The VSD healed on its own in about 6 months.

    I wish you all the best with your journey and my thoughts and prayers are with your family, especially little Truett.

  10. I love reading your words almost as much as I love hearing your voice :) Thank you so much for sharing a little of your heart with me today. Praying along with you...hope to see you soon...our love to you

  11. Kate,

    I am sad but hopeful for you and your little man. My nephew was born with the exact same issue-coarctation of the aorta. His was so severe they did surgery when he was only 10 days old. He is 2 now, vibrant, happy, hilarious, and healthy. It definitely changes your perspective on things. I'll be praying for all of you. <3

  12. God is always by your side, does not give more that we can carrie..... I just want to tell you that I understand what you are going trough, I have a little girl and had heart surgery back in february of this year, I know that no matter how much the doctors tell you everything is going to be ok, as a mother is just not enough, worry you will. Al I have to say is God is all we have, prayer got my husband an me trough the 5 hours it took them to patch up my little angel.

    All I can do as a mother that knows what you are going trough is keep your little guy and your family in my prayers.

    Sending you a hug and a smile. God will be by your side.

  13. You're a stud, Truett!

    Can't wait to meet you in Aug buddy.

    Love you guys.

  14. Kate, I am a friend of Allison and Ben from Wheaton and now GR...I just wanted to tell you that I have been praying for you all...I can't imagine the heartache of this news but can tell that your dependence on and love for the Lord is reflecting His glory beautifully. Praying for healing and strength for Truett and his family!

  15. Kate, Your blog touched my heart (and made me cry). Your trust in our Lord is such a great inspiration to me and so many others! I will be praying for Truett and for your family--for healing and for your strength and comfort during this time that God is refining you as pure gold. Job 23:10 Blessings, Susan Dodson (Blair's mom)

  16. Kate and Brett: Just happened to see this on Jodi's facebook! I am so saddened to hear of this trial that has been put before you, but I know God will see you through this. I had open-heart surgery in 1958 for a VSD and it was considered "cutting edge" surgery with a 50/50 chance to survive the surgery, and a significant chance of brain damage because my body temperature was lowered to 75°. I was among the first to have this done at Children's Hospital in Denver. My parents had tremendous faith in God and I am so thankful. I will be praying for Truett and your family. Love, Pam

  17. I Love you, Truett! You are a such blessing to our family and I know God is going to use YOU to do GREAT things!!! Love, Aunt Allison

  18. Kate. This was such a beautiful post and your loving heart for Truett is so evident. I am in awe of your faith and trust in the Lord and you have encouraged me beyond belief. Sending you my love, hugs and prayers for comfort and miraculous healing for Truett.

  19. Kate, Brett, Maren & Truett,
    How my heart aches for you. I KNOW that God is the great physician. You are blest with a wonderful family and a great faith! "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from him, He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.Psalm 62:5-7 Blessings and prayers to you little Truett. Love, Mary Lou and Family

  20. Kate,
    Praying for you all as you head into the unknown with what is ahead for precious Truett. God made Truett and his heart and vessels and will walk with you on this difficult road ahead. Praying for peace, incredible care, wisdom, discernment, perspective, and full healing. God will be glorified and knew you would be people who would praise Him and shine despite the trial ahead. I have already been blessed by your trust and faithfulness! Isaiah 26:3-4
    Love, Rachel (& Cory)

  21. Kate,
    Laura sent me your blog and I just read your news about Truett. From our time working together I know how precious these little ones are to you. Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith. You encouraged me in the midst of your trial! You & Truett will be in my thoughts and prayers. Susan H.

  22. Hi! I found your blog through LML. You have beautiful children. Praise God that you are able to have a positive, Christ centered outlook on your situation with Truitt! I cannot imagine what it must be like, but I admire that you are willing to share your story as it comes in order to share your faith!

  23. Kate,

    Just got updated on your little guy reading this post. I feel so deeply for you and know what it's like to literally sob for your children. I cling to this verse as well...

    John 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

    God is displaying his work through you, your husband, your daughter and (most especially) through Truett. He is a messenger from God who will no doubt be used to further God's kingdom...he's a missionary friend. I am praying.

  24. Kate - sending all my love and thoughts to you and your family at this time xxx