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!