June 14, 2010

Glory's story begins

The paintbrush is not moving on it's own.  There is a hand holding on to it, a Painter with skill far greater than the weight of bad news.  He feels love for us far stronger than the sting of dreams lost, paths blocked, and vows broken.

And right now, perhaps more than ever before, we can see that He is up to something.

There has been more going on in our lives this Spring than the eating of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and the throwing of birthday parties.  While here in the States on furlough, our hearts have been breaking alongside those who we love the most.  Characteristic of most storms, though, the cold rain, even as it beats down hard and blocks the sun, always smells good.

Let me bring you in on one of these such storms.  Let me start telling you the story of Glory.  It is just beginning, but it is already one of my favorite tales of all time.

A handful of weeks ago, my sister-in-law, Kerry (Daniel's treasured sister) and her stoic yet hilarious husband, Philip, found out that their precious daughter (who currently resides within Kerry at 7 1/2 months gestation) is basically missing half of her heart parts.

Imagine getting that news.  Imagine it.  Now we'll return to the story.

Not only that, but there appears to be nothing in her stomach, which means that for whatever reason, she is not swallowing amniotic fluid.  Her right hand was also mysteriously still while the rest of her body moved about.  After further testing, the doctors have more-or-less ruled out all of the incredibly severe problems that could be causing her not to swallow.  Now we must wait until she is born to determine what, if anything, is posing a challenge to her wellbeing other than her incredibly complicated heart defect.

The good news is, her heart is repairable.  She will be whisked away from her mother's womb into the hands of a team of highly skilled specialists at the Little Rock Children's Hospital.  When enough days have passed for her to be ready, she will undergo her first open heart surgery, where the doctors will take the heart she has and make it into something that will work.  Six months later, they will operate on her heart again.  Two and a half years after that, they will operate a third time, a surgery that will hopefully give her a very-close-to-normal life.  As adulthood approaches, her heart may need to be replaced altogether.  We will cross that bridge  we get there.when

Kerry and Philip have shown epic amounts of strength during the last few weeks.  I have watched over the last couple of years (largely from across the world, unfortunately) as the Father has been carving them into heroes of faith.  He has been making them ready for the time that is now upon them.
Before they learned of their daughter's condition, Kerry had been wondering for months why she and Philip could not settle on a name.  Nothing seemed to fit.  Last week, the name came.  Her name is Glory Danielle.  Glory because they want, more than anything, for her life to bring glory to the One who made her, and Danielle after Daniel, Kerry's favorite (and only) brother.

Now that you are choked up, let me really give you the chills.  Remember the charm sign that Daniel and I made for his mom - the one that we add a handmade wooden charm to for each grandchild born?  Before we knew anything about Kerry's baby, other than the fact that she is a girl, we made her charm.  We all agreed on the shape being a flower, and we all agreed on the color purple.  I randomly selected a flower shape from the internet to pattern the charm after, and drew it out.  Daniel cut it out of wood, and I painted it.  This is what it looks like (the name was originally missing, of course, because we didn't know it yet):
Once Kerry announced the name, and we all had a good celebration over it, we thought about the purple flower charm and wondered if it still fit.  Glory is such an important baby (not that other babys aren't) and we felt that her charm needed to be especially meaningful.  We wondered if we were going to need to make her a new one.

Then it dawned on me.
"Wait a minute," I said, "What does a morning glory look like?"

I scrambled to the computer and Googled "morning glory images."  This was among the images that came up.
You may cry now.

May He be glorified.