Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, Day 7 Part 2

We all knew Vivi was a special baby.  I was thinking all along it was going to be because of all the prayers she received, or beating the odds that she already has.  But today, I found out, it is in fact that she is going to be a medical celebrity.  At our meeting with the doctors today, we found out Vivian not only is diagnosed with HLHS, but also Abernathy Syndrome.  Why is this an intense find?  Because she is the first baby (person) ever to be diagnosed with both.  This explains why this process has been taking so long to get a move on.  The doctors have never seen this, there are no journals, no research--nothing that helps them know what to do or what will happen in the future.  We of course have decided to continue on with surgery, which will be either be Wednesday or Thursday of this week. 

Today has been an interesting day.  I have learned a lot, felt a lot and am exhausted through it all.  I have learned that marriage is really a sacrament.  Throughout our whole pregnancy, I had on a happy face and felt great strength and hope in regards to Viv's diagnosis of HLHS.  This week, I have not been so peppy.  I have lived in a paralyzing fear that all I could do was cry about what we were hearing and going to face with Vivian.  A line from Matt Hammitt's song, "All of Me" which is written about his son, Bowen, who has HLHS goes, "Afraid to love something that could break, could I move on if you were torn away".  That has been all I have felt and heard.  I have been walking around with an overlying feeling of Doomsday that I couldn't shake.  Rod, on the other hand, has been unbelieveable.  I am so proud of how he has handled himself with incredible hope and immense love for Viv and for me as we face this reality.  His strength has been lifting me up in this weakness this week. 

I am learning that I have to let go and live for this day.  None of us are promised tomorrow, we are now just more sensitive to that fact.  My struggle has been realizing this, and wondering why I am learning this because of my baby.  God's Will is perfect, and I have to keep committing myself to that truth.  Today has been a beautiful day.  I have been able to nurse, to bathe my girl and snuggle with her.  These are the moments that matter because they were here and were ours to spend together.  I don't want to take these moments for granted.

I realized I can't depend on myself to make it through this.  I must surrender not just Viv, but myself to Christ.  I thank all of you so much for the extra prayers you have offered for me today.  They have warmed my heart and allowed me to feel more like my cheerful, optimistic self.  I believe in a full recovery, I do believe Vivi is fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image and I am so blessed because she is mine :)

I was in the bathroom today and for a minute I thought about our first visit to Children's.  That day, I felt Christ tell me, "Honey, I am so sorry you have to go through this, but it is for my Greater Glory". My mom spoke with two people today and both said the same thing to her without knowing this is how I was feeling.  What a confirmation to console my soul.  I know this is going to be another great Tapestry of God's.  And I promise Michelle, all Vivi's socks and headbands will match for the medical journal pictures. :)

July 30, Day 7

I can't believe a week ago at this time Rod and I were at the doctor talking about going in to bring our beautiful girl into this world.  Time is such a hard measurement to understand--it feels like just yesterday Vivi was born, but feels like we have been in the hospital for years. 

Our friend Sue surprised us last Tuesday to take pictures of Vivian's first day in this world.  The pictures are precious, and I thought about waiting until tomorrow to share them, but I just couldn't wait!

We just found out our conference today will be at 1:15 with the doctors about our POA for Vivi.  Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to be present among all of us as we decide what is best for Vivian.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 28, Day 5

Psalm 139:14 says, "I PRAISE you because of the wonderful way you created me.  Everything you do is marvelous! Of this, I have no doubt."

These past few days have been a roller coaster of emotion, fatigue and joy.  Vivi is doing great--she has been a total CHAMP and is kicking massive butt over here at Children's.  We have been beyond blessed with such wonderul nurses, caring doctors and support from friends and family.  Yesterday Viv had an MRI of her abdomin and brain to scan more intensly at her liver.  It was confirmed that she does also have Abernathy Syndrome.  This of course is another bump in the road, but of what severity we don't know and we won't know until she gets a little older.  We are having a conference with the doctors before the end of the work day Monday to discuss our options, as well as devise a plan of care for Vivian.  Everytime I look at her I can't begin to understand or imagine how someone so perfect on the outside could be all jumbled up on the inside. It doesn't make any sense to me.

Needless to say, yesterday was another overwhelming day.  I think I cried majority of it.  Neither Viv or myself had a good night of rest Thursday night.  She could sense something was coming...and every fifteen minutes needed reassurance of some kind.  It's funny how quickly you get into a routine where you jump at any sound, but just as quickly learn to recognize the sound.  5:45 too soon arrived and we were up ready to be prepped for the MRI.  I was dreading the IV, which was silly with the way she reacted.  Vivi literally held out her arm as if to say, "Lay it on me" and took it like a CHAMP!  She didn't flinch or cry, which made it so much easier for me.  Looking back, I am so thankful that we had the MRI because it was the first time the doctors wheeled Viv away from Rod and I.  That moment was the worst moment to date of my life.  There is nothing worse than watching your baby be whisked away from you knowing that you are completely out of control.  Nothing Rod or I could do would have been able to prevent her from anything that was going to happen.  It was awful having my heart sinking to my chest feeling so helpless.  The hours that passed seemed an eternity until she came back and was already breathing over the breathing tubes.  She wanted that out quick!  What a blessing to have such a is definitely making things more liveable.

Everyday we are counting Vivian's Victories.  She is beating the odds that were set before us.  She is not blue, she is breathing on her own, we are able to hold her and love on her all day longand I am able to attempt nursing (which is complete torture for Viv.) .  All of these are huge blessings.  I am learning through the news of her Abernathy Syndrome (which there have only been 400 cases recorded by the way) that every moment is a blessing.  As hard as it is to verbalize, we aren't guarrenteed any moment with Viv.  She is doing awesome, but that could change at any moment.  God is really shaping my heart to overly appreciate the moment we are in and to be overly grateful for the grace we are receiving.  In the heat of emotion, I got so angry at God--why do I need to learn this with my daughter?  Why can't I learn this some other way?  Why can't I learn any of this any other way than what I am?  It just isn't fair.  It sucks.

We have a chaplin that brings us communinon everyday.  Today, the Chaplin read us Psalm 139.  I quoted the verse that spoke so plainly to me at the beginning, "I PRAISE you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this, I have no doubt."  This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of today.  I needed to be reminded that I must PRAISE God for the gift of Vivi just the way she is, heart, liver and all.  She doesn't need to be changed (unless of course God wants it) my heart needs to change to trust fully in the Lord's great love and grace for me and for Viv.  If this means HLHS and Abernathy Syndrome, Lord I PRAISE YOU!

Rod and I went home last night, for one more night of good rest before what we are assuming to be an intense week.  we still don't know when surgery is, and it doesn't look like we will until tomorrow or Tuesday.  A little side note, Tuesday July 31, is the feast of Blesses Solanus Casey...weird.  Next Monday is the Transfiguration...weirder.  Vivi is in good hands.  We had with us a bag of gifts to open from some friends--a gift for Vivi, a gift for her baptism, and a gift for us.  Opening our gift last, I couldn't contain the tears.  I found inside this box a picture for Viv's room with the phrase, "I will praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made".  Sometimes I think if God were any more present, He would be incarnate right in front of me.  Falling asleep last night I was overcome with a great peace that has reassured my heart that I am not alone and that I am not unheard.  It's just the answer to my cries may just be a change of my own heart and an acceptance of Christ's.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, Day 2

As day 2 is coming to a close, I want to take a few minutes to share an update.  Vivi lived in baby bliss today--no prodding, no poking, just lots of lovin' from mommy, daddy and many visitors.  I stayed at Good Sam overnight last night, begged for discharge before the 7a shift change, so Rod rolled over to pick me up at 6:30.  What a relief to have our family together!  I know for all 3 of us, it definitely set the tone for how we are running this ship--together.

Tonight is my first night to stay with my girl, and the nurses are coming in reminding me that I am not Wonderwoman, and I do in face need sleep, so this is going to be short and sweet :)

Surgery is still not scheduled for Vivi at the time being.  From the ultrasounds yesterday, there has not been a clear image of a vein off the liver called the portal valve which transmits blood from the spleen and small intenstine to the liver to be broken down and taken to the heart.  This is an issue because it has the potential to result in liver failure at some point down the road.  But people have liver transplants all the time, you may say.  And although this is true, the procedures to fix the problem with Vivian's heart will not coinside with a liver transplant.  This all being said, we are ordered to have an MRI tomorrow for a better look inside our girl to see more clearly what is going on.  So please pray.  Pray that the doctors have on X-ray vision to see what the problem is and that together as a team can figure out the best solution.  Or just pray they are wrong like we are praying :)  I feel the same way about this as I did about the stomach fluid...non-issue, but I don't look at the scans or know the inside of the body.  Just my mom gut.  I have hope!  And maybe this is even God's way of having everyone doubled check before surgery...maybe her heart is healed!

Looking at her, it is IMPOSSIBLE to believe that there is any imperfection about her.  She is an absolute beauty, her temperment is so easy....i just can't believe it.  I don't want to stop looking at her, rubbing her head (which she loves) holding her, or kissing her head.  It is so hard to think something so precious is so fragile on the inside.  I would give ANYTHING to give her my heart, and my liver too, if thats what she needed!  My favorite moments today were the 4 hours I held her.  My heart needed that so much.  I don't know how to express what has happened to my heart.  There is a joy that is now an unshakeable part of my life that will always be in my heart because of this perfect child.  To hold her in my arms is a miracle within itself.  I think Vivi will be one of those babies that will be held until she is 8.  Life has a whole new meaning, and I have a whole new appreciation for it because of her.  Oh, so you can be as OBSESSED as I, here are some pics :) Thanks for the prayers!

July 24--Day 1

Good Morning!  It is now 1:30 July 25, and I am awake and alone in the hospital.  I just had the first uninterrupted 4 hours of AWESOME sleep in probably the past 3 weeks....and probably the last in the next, um, forever?  Trust me, it was cherished :)

As most of you now know, yesterday was Vivian's Birthday!  At 6:32 or 6:34 am (depending on who you ask) our beautiful bundle of sweet joy graced this world with her life.  She has a wild head of jet black hair, weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and is 18.5 inches long.  I know I am a prejudice mother, but she is the most precious and beautiful little thing--i can't hardly believe what a beauty God has given me.

Rod and I went to the OB at 10:30 on Monday morning.  As you know, we were scheduled for induction on Thursday, but after another long night of little sleep, we were both anxious to get this show on the road.  We decided on the car ride to the doctor that we would be going to the hospital that day to welcome Vivi into the world.  After having an ultrasound that seemed as though she was underweight (5lb, 10 oz) there was no persuading needed for our OB to admit us that afternoon.  It was WAY to easy to call that shot! 3 o'clock we entered triage of Good Sam, and began the journey.  All the emotions I antcipated for this day were coming to the surface.  I was excited to meet my miracle, but at the same time I was freaked about the unknowns of what was to happen, not at all to me, but to her.  Hearing she was 5lb. 10 oz. set me over the edge in fear.  Every person I called to let know I was going in, I had to control the tears that came with the fear.  When we arrived to Good Sam, we walked in some crazy way, but God did this to calm my heart.  Immediately off the elevator from the parking garage were 2 HUGE pictures side by side, one of Mother Teresa and the other of Pope JP2.  What a great peace that spilled over me knowing Viv's "God-parents" were there as we embarked on this journey to getting her here.  God is here! :)

For those of you who know my family know that this week is the most sacred week of our summer--Fair Week.  I had anxiety about bringing Vivi this week of all weeks, but in God's most intricate of ways, He finagled the family schedule to allow Vivi's birth to be perfectly situated between showing days :).  I got settled into my room, and literally minutes later my parents walk in coming from the fair, and not long after, Clare and Bob show up wearing birthday hats and foam fingers for Vivian's big day.

In typical Lees/Dunlap Fashion, we began this event with a PARTY--with the early doses of pitosin, I had no pain and no real contractions.  From about 3-7:30 we enjoyed both our families and some friends in our "party suite".  I guess our reputation follows us....we were placed a double room at the end of the hallway, with no one scheduled to join us :)  Around 7:30 my contractions (which were nothing that I expected...and I have dubbed them period cramps on steroids) picked up to an unexpected need to focus through.  Rod was an amazing partner and coach.  I was so proud of all the ideas and thoughts he remembered from our birthing class.  I knew that this experience would bring us closer, but I didn't fully realize that it is perhaps you see a side of your spouse that laid dormit.  I can honestly say I am more in love with him after those hours :) As for my family, well they started a new party in the waiting room that didn't end until after Viv was born. Is anyone surprised? 

Going into labor I was STRESSED about having a c-section.  Not because a c-section is bad, but because I didn't want to be separated from Rod and Vivi for longer than need be.  In my mind and what I had heard, interventions lead to increased risk of c-section, so el natural was THE ONLY way to go.  No epidural, which always allowed for me to receive crazy looks, but i didn't care.  Well, after 6 hours of crazy, pitocin induced labor that lead to no progress, and Vivi's heart to start going crazy, an epidural was the best option for us.  As I threw in the white flag for the epidural, I welcomed my family in once again (it is now 2:30 ish in the am) to say 'good-night' to them and 'good-bye' to the feelings in my lower half.  I was exhaisted, and the epidural allowed me to fall into a sleep that loosened me up to waking up at 5:45 fully dialated, effaced and ready to push.  My doctor arrived at 6: 15 and after 15 minutes of pushing, out came the most wonderful and perfect miracle--my heart exploded with a joy you can't explain until it happens.  What a complete and utter miracle life is--God is so visible in those moments.  I couldn't believe that I received into my arms the little body of the most perfect gift I ever had been given, and that she was absolutely perfect...just the way she is :)  Our moments together were short lived, as NICU swept her away to begin the assessment of her condition.  Rod has done such a wonderful job stepping into his "daddy shoes" he hasn't left her side since she has been born--it is so beautiful and so incredibly sweet to see this side of him. 

At this moment, I feel as though I need to describe a bit the party.  In attendance as I had mentioned was Rod's parents and brother until some point late into the evening Monday, my family (all except Pete who is in WA for Army Camp), my friend Angela who doubled as our birth photographer, and Rod and my very dear friend, Fr. Matthew who came to the hospital directly from his journey home from vacation.  I always hate to miss the fun--apparently they had a "slumber party" in the waiting room waiting for Viv's arrival.  They were all there to see her after she was born, and at 9:30, minutes before she was transported to Children's, Fr. Matthew did the honors of baptizing our sweet girl. It was a beatutiful and incredibly hard moment as a mom--you never think you will need to scamper on administering a sacrament, but then you never know what will come.  To only be able to touch her through the incubator transport thingy to say good-bye was a really tough moment.  I had already only been able to hold her for a few minutes, and I just wanted a few minutes more and she had to leave and I was stuck at a different hospital while her and daddy left.  It's all the bittersweetness of this beautiful day.

Its hard to write because I am so exhausted and I feel like there are so many things to share but the words aren't coming....I think this gives a good overview of what is happening at this point.  Vivi is stable, settled and a precious joy.  I will continue to post as we learn things from the doctors, and as our hearts grow, hurt and love.  Keep the prayers coming....our journey has just started!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Vivian's Victory Pictures!

We were so blessed to have our friend Sue share her incredible talent of photography with us for Vivian's Victory.  Just going through the slide show took me right back to last Saturday.  Take a look and enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vivian's Victory!

What a day we had Saturday!  I am coasting on a high that is overwhelming of love and support.  There aren't words to describe what my heart is feeling, or words to express the gratitude for all the generosity and love we experienced.  Thank you so much for coming out, for the love you have given, and the support you have shared.

Saturday began early with a buzz of so many friends and family at the park setting up, decorating and spirits were alive with hope of a successful day.  The day began with an inspiring blessing--a family volunteered to come help without knowing any of us.  They had read our story in their parish bullentin and felt called to volunteer their family's time to help be a part of the day.  And let me tell you, what a help they were! What a heartwarming way to begin our day, and what an example of what Vivian's Victory was all about, and a great reminder to all of us about what true Christian love is.

As the hours passed and 10 am came closer and closer, the sky opened up allowing rain to just pour and pour as the first registrants arrived.  I will admit, my heart sunk to my feet.  I had prayed and believed there would be no rain.  I know how I would have reacted to the rain--I would have stayed at home.  I would have sent a donation, but not have showed.  I could not believe every time I looked to the parking lot, a new surge of people were walking up to the registration tables.  The rain did not keep people at home, it encouraged them to come.  I couldn't help but think of the famous line from Field of Dreams, "If you build it they will come".  The walk was built, and people kept coming and coming, SMILING despite the downpour.  As I apologized to many for the rain (as if I could help it), I received a remarkable response from my uncle.  He said, "We have been praying for rain for weeks.  Look what Viv is already doing, and she isn't even born yet".

We received a break in the clouds in perfect timing for the walk.  There were so many things I wanted to share with everyone there, but I couldn't.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion, all that would come out were tears of incredible joy and thankfulness.  Each time I turned around I felt like there were more people coming up from the parking lot.  It was something out of a movie.  Completely overwhleming.

As I look back on Saturday, there are so many moments I want to cherish.  I want to hear everyone's view, what they took from it because each person sees things differently. For me though, even days later, the most touching moment was not seeing my sister shine, or seeing how blessed my mother was when her college friends surprised her, or even seeing the quantity of people despite the rain.  Those are all images I pray I never forget, but the memory in the forefront of my mind is welcoming Carson to the walk.  Carson is a young thing, I think 5 or 6 that lives with a very rare skin disorder called Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).  Carson arrived to the walk between cloudbursts.  Many walks have been done in his honor to raise money to help his family with medical costs as well as raise awareness for his disorder which effects 1 out of 50,000.  After saying hi to Carson, the first thing he said to me was, "has Jesus answered my prayer for baby Vivian?"  I couldn't control my response.  Tears ran down my face and I responded, "Carson, he is everyday.  But you keep praying--I know Jesus listens especially to your prayers".  His sweet and compassionate thoughtfulness is something that is so easily lost in our day to day lives.  And here, this child, who has every reason in the world to be thinking about himself and about what pain he is living is first and foremost concerned with Vivi.  I pray that my children, and myself, learn this lesson from Carson.

Reflecting on preparing for Vivian's Victory, I look back on the Thursday meetings we had at my moms.  It was amazing the way people kept doubling every week, and how each person wanted to share what they were good at for the success of the walk.  I still go back to one of the first Thursday nights as my favorite.  It was very early in the process, and we were trying to decide what to call the walk.  There are so many HLHS organizations that do so much good for children and families.  We had looked at some of their logos and slogans, but they all seemed to focus on the 'brokenness' of the heart.  There are images with bandaids over the heart or a heart with a puzzle piece in a different color, and although cute for many families, not cute for this mom!  My entire focus and attitude about Viv's heart since the beginning is that she is not broken.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God which makes her perfect how she is. "broken" heart and all.  It is amazing thinking back to that night, because as always, God was there.  As I went on my soapbox demanding in Mama Lion fashion that her heart willnot be seen as broken, the Holy Spirit started stirring and Clare immediately had an idea that went along with my feelings and a few more minutes of a hurred buzz and next thing you know, Vivian's Victory was born--image, tagline and all. 

Saturday was a clear message of Vivian's Victory--what she has already accomplished from inside my womb.  She had people there smiling in the rain, and showing up despite the weather and sticking around despite the weather.  There was a current of love and comradery that gave life to the event.  All the people there acted as a tangible fraction of the prayers we have been receiving which is unreal.  Storms in life come and go.  We are currently in the middle of a big one.  But we are not alone.  As we witnessed first hand Saturday, the rain comes, and a pocket of sunshine gives us relief.  And in the middle of the storm, there are so many people there to share with us the hope and love we need to hold on until the sun comes through.  Vivian already has a huge victory--teaching us that life isn't about learning how to dodge the storm, it's learning how to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

in the wee small hours of the morning

  It is officially 5:41 am on Tuesday, and I have been awake since 2:40.  Why?  I don't exactly know.  I have never been one to skip out on valueable hours of beauty rest, but it's getting hard to get comfy with what seems like a bowling ball laying through your belly.  I know this post is coming before the post about Vivian's Victory (which was amazing and by the end of today, I will have another post dedicated to that), but I need to hash out all that has been going on in my head and heart today, and with this being my "therapy" it is time, after 3 hours of crafting and crying, to unload.

Monday (the real Monday) I took my mom with me to the doctor for my weekly visit.  Everything is status quo--still on for delivering at 39 weeks.  Wait--if this week is 38, then next is 39!?!?! Where has the time flown?  After a back and forth between my OB and Viv's Cardiologist, we decided that next Thursday, July 26 at 5am I am going in to get the party started!  As excited as I am about welcoming my precious little girl into this world, the reality of what is happening is slapping me in the face.
I am so scared.  Petrafied, in all honesty. to face the stark truth that my reality is nothing I have ever imagined, and nothing that I can prepare for.  My heart has never hurt as much as it has today.  I feel like not only am I carrying another human being that feels like a bowling ball in my belly, but another, my heart, which has been stuck at my feet.  I have been trying so hard through these past months to keep my spirit up, to have faith, and today....well today its not working out so well.

Between the scheduling and the phone calls to family and friends with an update, I have been SCREAMING at God, "Why are you doing this to me?  Why did you choose me?"  A line form Matt Hammitt's song, 'All of Me' keeps playing over and over in my mind "...the fear of all I could loose".  Thats it--we've done all the planning, I've done everything right and I could still loose the most amazing and precious gift I have ever been given.  The thought of that is something I have thought about, I have verbalized, but now that it is so close, it is signing me up for a whole different emotional roller coaster that has hit me blind-sighted.

I can't help but find myself back in Gethsemane. When I was in the Holy Land, Gethsemane was the most powerful experience for me.  I would slide my whole arm through the wrought iron fence around the rock where Christ laid and sob.  Sob for all the things I have done to hurt Christ, in compassion for all the pain and anguish He went through as He asked His Father to 'allow this Cup to pass' from Him, and I realized this morning, for this moment I am in.  I sit here and beg God to pass this cup from me.  I sob to Him to take this away from me.  But He hasn't, and that doesn't mean He doesn't love me, or that He wants me to feel all the pain and fear I have inside right now.  It's because He loves me that He has extended this invitation to grow in faith and love of Him.  That doesn't make my heart hurt any less, the fear go away or the tears stop falling.  It does, though, bring a peace that is more powerful and steadfast than all the other emotions whirling around inside of me. 

Today Lord, I pray, I beg You to increase my faith.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greatest Love of All

Rod and I had the greatest opportunity Monday to meet with our new friend, Jessica, whose son has just recently undergone the third surgery that Viv will also go through a few years down the road.  Our time was so wonderful and so insightful to what we will be facing in just a month! (Can you believe it?!?!)

Jessica's son is doing wonderful after the surgeries which brings our hearts so much hope.  We are excited to have a friend who will be there to walk with us and encourage us through this journey.  We saw pictures of her son after the surgeries, and it was not as scary as I had imagined, but obviously not ideal for any little thing just being welcomed into our world.  The one thing I keep replaying in my mind over and over that I never thought of is physically giving here over to the doctors for surgery.  I can't think about this without crying--this is the SCARIEST thought I have ever had.  The scene as it plays out in my mind leaves my heart in my feet.  I have had my moments through this journey with Vivi, but nothing could or can prepare me for this giant leap of faith that I will be taking. 

I was driving to my parent's house yesterday thinking about it.  I was imagining how I don't have words to describe what this moment will be like in my life besides the worst.  But as I thought about it more and more I had this "A-HA!"  This moment in my life will be a tangible moment of showing God that I choose to place everything in His hands.  As soon as I hand her over to the doctor, I have no control over anything.  In my life I have always said 'God's Will be done' and this is where the rubber hits the road.  It's my Abraham and Isaac moment--God is asking for the most precious thing in my life, to place her in His hands and surrender with complete faith.  The worst moment of my life will be the most monumental as well.

I thought about Mary and Jesus.  She said "yes" to her Passion with Christ from the day He was conceived.  And as my mother reminded me, 'I am sure it wasn't tearless, Re'.  I have a picture of The Sorrowful Mother that my Grandma gave me when I was little.  We are talking like 5 years old.  I LOVED this picture.  I don't know what always drew me to it, but whenever I would go to my grandma's I would run upstairs to my mom's old room and just look at her and then move on with my time with Grandma.  I mean, she looks like Nicholas Cage's mother, is green, is crying and has knives stabbing her heart.  Why at 5 years old I was like a magnet to this, I couldn't tell you.  Not long after I told my Grandma I loved that picture, it was hanging in my room and has been hanging in my room since.

 Yesterday I was at our apartment (we've been house-sitting, so it was nice to be in "my space") and I went into our bedroom and she was the first thing I saw.  I think for the first time, I knew why I have always loved this picture--because her heart is my heart.  My whole life I have been being prepared for the weeks I have lived and the weeks ahead.  The tear sliding down her cheek was a true comfort, that I am not living this alone, and that tears are a part of this "mom" territory.  That all the pains that tear at my heart although so painful, they are so beautiful.  Mary's path to complete Holiness was through being the mother of our Savior.  That was not an easy road.  Quite the opposite actually.  It's not a pain that is about "me".  It's a pain that is unpreventable for another.  It is a helpless feeling of pain because nothing that she could or would do would allow "this cup to pass" from Him.  There is nothing I can do for Vivi but place her completely in the hands of Our Father and let go from the tight grip I want to keep on her. 

These next weeks, next months and God permitting, next years, are my path to true Holiness.  These moments I am living are the moments I was created for.  I am created to Love, to Love with everything in me, to Love the gift I have been given, to Love so intensely and so deeply that I am able to give this gift completely to the One who Loves greatest of all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Do not be afraid; just have faith."

Last night I had a dream I was sitting in the hospital holding Vivian, praying over her for her healing.  I kept repeating a verse from 1 Samuel, "For this Child I prayed!" over and over.  Suddenly the doctor came in smiling and simply said, "She is ok."

Today our Gospel comes from Mark 5:21-43.  Ironically, the passage reflects on 2 healings of women;  a 12 year old girl and the woman with the hemorrhage.  What I always find amazing in reading this passage is the faith of the people asking for the healing.  The father of the 12 year old girl comes to Christ pleading that his daughter be healed, begging Christ to come to his house.  While walking through the crowd, the woman afflicted for years by the hemorrhage, believes if she only touches Christ's cloak, she will be healed.  Of course we know as she does, Christ feels "power leave Him" and the woman "feels the blood dry up".  What joy and amazement to be healed in an instant.  After years of medical attention and her prognosis worsening, all she did was step out in faith and grab the cloak of the Savior and viola!  healed. Christ responds to this saying, "Daughter, your faith has saved you".  That same faith is the faith we are welcoming Vivian into the world.  We believe that Christ is the ultimate healer, that if He wills her a strong heart, she will receive it. 

Let's go back to the father for a minute--his servant meets on the path he was bringing Jesus with the devastating news that his daughter is dead, there is no need for Christ.  However, the father still believes Christ can create a miracle.  As Christ walks into the house, he commands the young girl to awake and arise.  To everyone's shock, she does.  The act of Faith the father remains committed to saved his daughter. 

It's accounts like these that deepen my faith that Christ still has power to heal.  Christ still has power to change the outcome of any situation.  Different moments of our lives we are asked to dive deeper into our faith.  Why Christ is offering me this invitation to grow in faith now, I don't know.

My Gospel reflection today posed a question that has intrigued me.  'How often do we bring Christ to look for us, to seek us out because we seek Him out?' This question reflects the love Christ has for us to be in relationship with Him, an part of that relationship means deepening and growing in faith.  Most especially having faith in the things that seem impossible.

One more idea that makes this more concrete.  My mom is not a seamstress.  She will tell you she can do enough to make a house look nice (curtains, valances, pillows) but that is it.  I think at different times in each of my siblings lives, we have all asked my mom to make something that was out of her idea of what she could do.  But we believed without a doubt, no matter what she said about being able to or not that she could do it.  It never failed, she always figured it out.  Maybe it didn't fit perfectly into the end result we envisioned, but it was awesome because she actually did it, and it would always serve the purpose we asked for it for.  That's how I think our faith in Christ should be.  We believe that He can do what we ask even if the outcome is not exactly how we imagined.  It's still wonderful because He did something just for us.  Do not be afraid to ask Christ to do the impossible, especially if it is backed up with all your faith!

Lord Jesus, I imagine what it would be like to be there witnessing these healings that we read in the Gospel today.  How amazing to experience Your healing power! Then I think that in my own life, I have experienced your love so real and true that I can place my trust in Your Will; I know I have experienced Your healing love in my life. I give to You today Vivian, all of her, especially her heart because I believe in your ability to heal her.  I believe that like the woman with the hemorrhage all we need to do is reach out to You.  I do believe Jesus that Your Will is perfect, and believe that if Vivi's heart isn't healed, You will be with us each step of the way and will send all the right people to help her and her heart.  For this child I have prayed and I know You hear me, and You always will.  Amen