Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Copyright 2015 ChloeGirl Designs

Last week our sweet Chloe had her heart cath. The test that was to tell us how to move forward...with treatment? Or to know that we've done all we can this side of Heaven to help our daughter. If it was her heart, and her heart required yet another hard surgery, then that would have been the end. If it was her lungs, then there was hope to continue on with time, nutrition, and hopefully improvement due to a delicate dance of medicines to treat her infections and help dry out her lungs.

The doctor who performed the cath, along with his team, guided us down the corridor to a place where we could view Chloe's cath, see how her heart function is, and watch as the dye crisply and quickly pulsated through her tiny veins on the screen before us. Just before starting, one of the others with him suggested we sit down. I didn't like the sound of this. Fortunately in the end it was simply because there was a lot to see, take in, and to be explained to us.

I think the Lord is like that sometimes. He gently guides us to sit down so we can talk and soak it all in. We assume that means the worst and brace ourselves, knees locked while bending slowly down in our posture before Him. But then He says, "I will strengthen you for this."

The cath revealed that Chloe's heart function had slightly higher numbers than we'd like, but were to be expected due to her ventilator settings. It revealed that the single ventricle (instead of two bottom ventricles Chloe only has one) that she has was squeezing great, but not relaxing that squeeze very well resulting in higher pressures and lower oxygen saturations. In the end, after viewing all the angles and thoughts, we were informed it's not really her heart, it's her lungs that need to dry out and that will help her heart. There's to be a ballet of intricate foot-work involving delicate levels of meds to balance in order for all parts to help each other to heal. But it's possible. It is possible. It'll take not days, not weeks, most likely months, but it is possible. I need to get that girl some ballet slippers...

Deep breath. Exhale. We have hope.

But we weren't exactly sure how to chew on these words. They swirled around in our minds, but never really landed anywhere. Her team agreed. With Chloe, so much is unknown territory. Even today a kidney doctor looked at me in the eye and said that he just didn't know what was causing weird kidney levels. That on paper nothing added up and we'd just have to wait and see. The hospital we're at is second in the nation for their kidney team. And yet he was baffled. Little did he know, stepping into the Chloe-game seventeen months too late that this is just how she works. It's in her DNA {literally, as in chromosome 22} to not play by the rules. We need to get him a #becauseitschloe shirt to welcome him into the fold that is the "we don't know yet" team.

We left the hospital that night relieved but worried. Confused but rejoicing in one more day with our daughter. Perplexed between asking the questions of do we officially celebrate that it's not her heart and include her in the Christmas present buying season...and yet at the same time not yet plan conversations with home health nurses?...

Often we hear God's voice tell us to sit down and take something in, then leave us on the cusp of, "Ok, but can you repeat that because I'm sort of lost and want to make sure I heard you correctly." At least that's how the Lord and I work. I hear Him, but I don't want to believe Him or fully trust Him. It's like I can see the paths ahead, and I don't know which one He's already ordained for me, but I, in my state of depravity, think I have it all figured out and know exactly which path is best for me. Or in this case, for my daughter.

But the gift is that He strengthens me for times such as these. He already knows and has ordained the path forward. I simply need to walk it.


Right. Sounds so easy.

Paul simply had to walk that road as well. Simply walking it, preaching it, right into house arrest for daring to share the Gospel of Jesus. In the book of Philippians, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi and thanking the Philippians for their gifts, and says that,

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length zyou have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be acontent. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and bhunger, abundance and cneed. 13 I can do all things dthrough him who strengthens me.

Ever see on Pinterest or Instagram or anygram anywhere the phrase "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me"? Ever wonder what the context was? Because we make it cliche. We overuse just those ten words. God doesn't make scripture cliche, folks. We do. He writes the stuff. We misuse it. We've seen it on ads for star athletes. We've seen it on shirts and on tote bags. We've used it in every way we possibly can, but not always in the way it was intended.

Paul isn't talking about God giving him the strength to win gold medals or strength to endure until he's worked so hard that he can afford that amazing car//house//life//dream//fill in the blank.

God isn't saying he will bless whatever we do. This passage does not mean that I can do anything//be anything//try anything I want because Christ will give me the strength to. And He's not saying He will provide the material things to see us through the trials. Rather, He's saying He will strengthen us to stay obedient to the cross and trust Jesus in any and every circumstance. He's saying He'll give us the strength we need to stay focused on Him when life's trials come. That in every station of life, in seasons of want and seasons of need, the Lord will teach us contentment. "For I know how to be brought low and how to abound..." {Philippians 4:12}.

Earlier this week a friend drove over to see Chloe and have lunch with my husband and I. When the subject turned from how good the salsa was to how good {or not good} are we enduring this trial, all that came to mind, and has these last few weeks, was this passage. You see, last week, we walked into the doors of a children's hospital where our almost year-and-a-half-old daughter is and signed consents for a test that would tell us a bit of her future, grim or good. And in our hearts we had peace.

Isn't that odd? We had peace about the fact that we might find out we could lose our daughter soon? Now don't misunderstand, as I clarified to our friend, it's a brutally, gut-wrenchingly hard outlook where our lives would be torn apart, but there was a peace in knowing He would provide the strength to endure any outcome. And not just for this test, but for this entire journey ever since that first ultrasound. Flash back forward and the Lord has provided every meal, every pillow, every cent, every material thing for us, and He goes beyond that to provide for rest for our souls to find strength in Him alone.

Call me crazy, but I can't get there on my own. It takes a whole lot of relying on the Holy Spirit to get to that moment. But Jesus strengthened us for that moment. He strengthened us to endure the cath and the results. Each day, each test, each result, He provides strength. He makes us content in our current situation because He strengthens us to obey Him on this walk and to rest in His love. I'm still learning to relax and sink into that love. But it's there and I'm beginning to get used to it.

And it's not easy. The days I fight back {and I still do...I don't have it all together here, folks} aren't easy. But the point is that He is changing me from the inside out and teaching me that I can either choose my own way, and try to strengthen myself, or to choose Him.

It's in choosing Him that I find the strength to continue. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In the Valley Part 2 {Husband's Thoughts on Suffering}

My husband is currently in Seminary. Yes, currently, as in he sits by Chloe's bedside, often times one hand holding her tiny fingers to comfort her, and the other hand holding his phone which he's doing his assignment or reading on. 

I sent him the link to the post I just wrote {we always edit each other's before it's posted}, and he sent me back this, his more biblically-in-depth view of why there is suffering in our fallen world, formed from his study of Job, Ecclesiastes and Habakkuk from his discussion forum post.

As I read Ecclesiastes, Job (and Habbakuk again) and the accompanying reading assignments, I begin to see how much we are very much like Job’s friends, carefully building philosophical perspectives to answer the problem of evil, which I would sum up as asking how a good and just God can allow suffering in the world. Yet, just like Job’s friends, our perspective is just not big enough.

This is a question that is very much a pertinent one for me right now. There is a little girl laying about 10 feet from me right now who is in a battle for her life stemming from a condition that she was born with. If Psalm 139:13 tells us that God formed her inward parts and knitted her together in Jodie’s womb, then we are tempted to conclude that God “got it wrong.” How does a perfect and just God form together a little girl who struggles so with life? Our modern thinking would launch into discussions about the fall of man, and the stain of sin (which is obviously in play here). We would talk about whether God was truly sovereign over these circumstances, or whether He gave up some of His control (hint, God is sovereign).

Reading from these books this week though, we can see that God’s answer to questions like this is to gently remind the reader that “the problem of evil” is asking the wrong question. As the chapter on Job was absolutely excellent, let me point a bit to the thinking there in the discussion. After carefully reviewing all of the responses to the problem of evil (where all three sides of the argument assume that the retribution principle certainly must be true), God’s answer transcends these arguments to show that He is above the logic and thinking. Walton sums up this answer by saying:

“God administers the world in wisdom, and from his sovereign wisdom justice results. We may be lacking sufficient information to be able to affirm that God’s justice is being carried out day by day. We do have enough, however, to affirm that he is wise. If we believe that he is wise, then there is good reason to believe that he is just.” Walton continues on: “A focus on justice demands explanation of cause and gazes at the past, whereas a focus on wisdom needs only to understand that God in his wisdom has a purpose as it fixes one’s gaze on the future.”[1]

Our perspective isn’t big enough to understand God’s plan. Habakkuk can’t understand how God can judge the Assyrians by using the Chaldeans (Babylonians). The response in Habakkuk 3 is once again a celebration of who God is and how He has worked in power. As we look back then from the historical perspective, we can see that Babylon is defeated by the Persians, who are supplanted by the Greeks, who are supplanted by the Romans and so forth. Since we don’t have the eternal perspective, we can only celebrate the God who has revealed Himself to us.

So, as I sit in a room, knowing that tomorrow may bring information that could heal our daughter, or information that will lead to loosing her, rather than ask why, I simply can trust in the God who revealed Himself through creation, His word, and most importantly through His Son. No matter the outcome, God is using Chloe’s life to accomplish His purposes, and though I can’t see it (and probably will never know how He used this situation), I can trust confidently in a God Who is wise, good, and finally just, knowing that He has told us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts and your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9-10)

[1] J. H. Walton, “Job 1: Book Of,” ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 342.

In the Valley

Tomorrow holds a lot of answers.

But today does not.

Today I'm anxious as I wait for tomorrow's light. Literally and figuratively speaking. Our daughter has a heart cath tomorrow that could help us to know key information on how to move forward with treatment and recovery. But it could also reveal information that might foretell bad news, such as her heart not liking this new plumbing she recently received.

Sleepy baby girl. Who insisted on holding my hand. 

Scripture says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." {Psalm 23:4}

I memorized Psalm 23 sometime in my high school years, but I never really grasped it. As an adult, I've referred to it when praying for friends or family, but I barely understood it. But as a mom, walking this valley with her child, it finally truly hit home.

My ESV study bible paraphrases that valley can mean "the shadow death casts, or it may be...deep darkness". The example they give for deep darkness is to picture walking in the darkness in a valley in the desert where you might come across deep shadows such as those from animals, or the fear and suspense that the lingering darkness encompasses, but that even in those dangerous moments, "the faithful find assurance that God is with them, and thus they need not fear." {ESV Study Bible Pg. 966}.

...So this is the valley...

I get the deep darkness. I get the not knowing what dangerous or scary thing is around the corner. I get the frightened feeling. I get the feeling where I begin to think worst-case scenario and my chest becomes heavy with each breath as if I'm becoming suffocated by my own fears and thoughts.

What if it's the bad news? What if it foretells that although we've tried everything...that there's nothing more we can do?

I've also thought of Proverbs 31:25 which says, "Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come." Other translations read "she smiles at the future," (NASB) or, "she laughs without fear of the future," (New Living Translation). My study bible explains, "She laughs at the future, in contrast with being worried or fearful about it," (ESV Study Bible Pg. 1191).

How can I laugh in the face of the future? How can I smile and move on in strength and dignity? How can I accept bad news and then laugh at the times to come? I can't. Not without my Lord. If I rely on my strength alone, then it left me long ago, well before that first ultrasound. If I rely on dignity, well, there have been moments on this journey that I have not handled well, but in giving myself grace, I can say I've learned much and am changing as a person.

And to laugh in the face of fear?

I can't. My feet are frozen. My soul is paused. The only way I can even face tomorrow is by turning my eyes upon Jesus. Remembering that He was known as the Man of Sorrows for a reason. He knows this. He gets me. He is here. I think the only way the woman in Proverbs 31 was able to smile at the future was not because she was naiive and clueless, but because she grounded herself on truth and didn't let the lies of Satan sway her. She stood her ground because the Lord was her foundation.

I'm pep-talking myself. I'm reminding myself that even before the heart cath is being performed, even before our information is gathered, that I have no grounds for fear. I need to only rest in the fact that He is sovereign. That He hears our prayers. I did not say He always answers them the way we'd like. But for today, I can remind myself that He hears them. He knows them. He knows my heart's cry. And as long as I've brought my burdens to Him, I can, for now, rest in knowing that this is out of my hands and into His. I can beg and beg and beg for the Lord to fix my child and make her well again, but if I don't trust that He's actually capable of this very thing that I pray for, then I doubt His very existence.

I choose to believe He does exist and His healing is real.

I choose to believe He's capable.

I choose hope.

We're in the valley, folks. What good can come from such a valley? That it causes my eyes to look up to the mountains.

"I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." {Psalm 121:1-2}.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Laundry Baskets of Grace {Real Life}

I think we've hit survival mode. And by hit, I think a while ago, past-tense, not present-tense hit. Or as my almost six-year-old says, we've hitted

I was up last night till 2am. I actually went to bed with the kids at 9:30pm and began a new night time routine of reading my old Little House on the Prairie books. I was secretly skipping words and paragraphs because I realized how much the beloved writer likes to give details of scary wolves outside their door and descriptives of hanging the hide of the deer up to dry, hoping my kiddos wouldn't get scared or ask midnight questions about butchering. Perhaps I should have skipped to chapter two. 

But I didn't stay in bed. I came back down and managed to waste time until 2am on blogs, youtubes, facebook, prayer (that wasn't a waste of time), and more blog reading because I was trying to distract myself from missing my sweet Chloe girl. 

I'm home with the kids while Alan is with Chloe because our oldest got a virus, and now a cold. We're exercising respect for other sick kiddos in the Ronald McDonald House and choosing to not expose them to our germ bugs. And we can't be around Chloe with these bugs. So we're home, they're there, we're all over the map, and if you want to get technical, even in two different states. Each day I think we're good enough to go back and see her, someone sneezes or coughs or snots. And I know we must stay.

"Mommy!!!! M-O-M-M-Y!!! So I sneezed and this BIG snot came out and it took FOUR PIECES OF TOILET PAPER to clean up!!!"

My handsome blonde-haired eldest felt the need to yelp this to me, his voice trampling through the shower curtain and bursting into my hot water and shampoo. 

"Mommy, I goed waters on the potty and wiped myself and now I'll go get dressed!!" said my four year old, who forgot to flush and because I was freshly clean and on high germ alert I ninja-kicked our toilet handle. I don't trust where her sweet little hands have been in the ten minutes I was in the shower with my eyes off her. 

We're in survival mode. It's 10:14am and I just preheated the oven for canned cinnamon rolls. It's 10:20am and I just started the first pot of coffee. I'm the only adult at home and I poured a six-cup pitcher into the reservoir. I don't know how much I'll drink, but subconsciously I guess a lot. And I'll teach my kids the meaning of the word brunch whose real meaning is "missed breakfast". 

Yesterday, the child whom I thought would sleep in after a restless night of fevers, hovered over my head till I awoke, then told me he had a surprise for me and Abi. Breakfast, made perfectly by him and included a love card. {And deep down I was slightly nervous to eat this considering the sizeable amounts of sneezing and snot that had preceeded his announcement. I think I prayed over each bite that I wouldn't inherit any germs}. 

I cancelled homeschool today in an attempt to just. be. To let my snotting son rest and watch movies because otherwise his body is on the go and he refuses to surrender to the bug within him, until finally night creases and he's exhausted and having night sweats and temps. I'm going to force feed him Netflix today. You can mail me my Best Parent award, but no rush. Our mail is usually held till the weekend because we're never home. 

Yesterday's homeschool lesson plan included him reading out loud to me while I cleaned his room and his sister watched alphabet DVD's. I then made him help work on his war zone and will write in the lesson plan "Life Skills Day". And on Life Skills Day we also made a trip to Target for toothbrushes because the mama forgot to pack the ones from our city house and realized yesterday, day 3 of being home, that we had none and my child's teeth would soon resemble that of the Grinch if we did not venture out. And we bought toothpaste. Not that it mattered because more ended up on the sink and towel than in their little mouths. 

Abi's life-skill challenge of the day is to learn to use a brush. And to apply mommy's make-up better. Note the suitcase in the background...

Our laundry baskets are heaping with clean laundry, mostly folded. I don't mention this because it's another real-not-perfect moment to bask in with other moms or to boast in the fact that most of it is clean and at least off the floor, but because we literally live out of suitcases and laundry baskets for travel. We've ceased using our dressers and closets. Takes too long to pack on the fly.

I wear a Garmin because I don't have time or finances or routine or schedule or motivation for a gym. But these days instead of trying to reach my challenged 10,000 steps, I use it to remember the date and track my sleep cycles to assure myself I am getting sleep. Or remind myself when I'm not. 

I wrestle with guilt on a near daily basis, between worrying about our littlest and trying to get things done, with wanting to play with my other littles and give them quality time. It's a hard balance because there are days I'm so distracted with Chloe stuff, but have to balance that with parenting and behavior issues and life skills (yes, dear sweet girl, you DO have to zip and button your pants! No you cannot just let it all hang out all day. Now please, PLEASE just zip them up!). We struggle with spoiling-detox and then the next day cave into whatever they want because we can't give anymore of ourselves. We're spent. It's hard to strive for routine in a non-routine season. It's hard to address the issues any parent would face, but in the face of a crazy two-year season of not-normal.

Typical texts between husband and wife:

"Rounds just went by. Everyone agreed that she's ever so slightly better, which after a week of worse or she still looks bad was a tiny bit encouraging."

                   "Ok. I'm still hesitant to breathe yet though."

"I absolutely agree."

And on top of this, I lecture myself on grace. Please don't ever get the wrong idea from this blog. Our lives are in a rough spot right now, but we do truly cling to our Jesus through this. But that doesn't mean that we're walking this road with a smile and confidence...like we should have on our running shoes and embrace each step-that's what we try to do, but honestly it's more like stilettos on a rocky and steep decline. Truth is, we're broken. And most days I spend more time trying to squelch the lies of the enemy than I do just resting in His presence. I feel under attack often. As if it's not hard enough to be a woman, a mom, a wife, a follower, and constantly struggle with self-image and insecurities and I constantly struggle with pride and with what others think of me, but add to that that I'm walking a life I never imagined on a path I didn't pack the right shoes for in a season I didn't expect in a dry desert where I can't breathe because the air is so heavy. Thankfully I have my love by my side and my Saviour as my guide. I did not mean to rhyme that. Perhaps Dr. Seuss and BOB Books have been read in this house too much these days. But it's the truth. Literally. I cannot make it through a single day without Him. 

Because truth is that God CAN give you more than you can handle. And He will. If you don't believe that, go back to the beginning of this post and re-read. We're in survival mode. We're proof, our lives are proof, that the Lord WILL at some point hand you something that you cannot face alone not to prove to yourself that you're strong enough to handle it, but to drive you to your knees and to your tears to cry out to Him for strength. 

And then seek Him. I'm learning to seek Him. To stop drowning myself in Netflix and mindless time-consuming ways, and instead I'll focus on Him. Using this time at home with my kiddos as a sort of "retreat" to dive into scripture and encouraging messages filled with Truth and focusing what little energy I have left after wiping noses and disinfecting counters to soak in Truth and surround myself with fixing my eyes on the cross. 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

And I let the laundry sit. And I learn the hard way to give myself grace. And I'll crank my Christmas music {note that I said music, not carols or Jingle Bells...that stuff can wait} even against nay-sayers who insist it not be heard until after Thanksgiving, because Christmas music early is my advent...my way of focusing and anticipating the birth of the One and only Healer who came to set the world straight and wipe away every sorrow and disease.  And I try to focus on His love for me, for us, for Chloe.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Redefining Autumn

"And just like that, summer fell into fall."

I'm not sure who first said that, but I like it, and it's true. Rather suddenly the long, warm shadows of a setting summer sun woke to the short cool morning shadows, casting reflective swirls on the drops of dew on the blades of chilly grass. The warm is gone. The cool has come.

As have the vests, skinny jeans, and riding boots.

Fall is definitely here. It's my favorite color and favorite time of the year. When you walk outside and see your breath levitating before you, the tips of your fingers chilled, but not yet cold, perhaps wrapped gently around a steaming mug. When the tips of the treetops are painted autumn, and the grass will no longer need trimmed.

I understand there are some who do not care for, or rather despise, autumn. Mother Nature putting on its colorful coat, each arm stretching through the firey tapestry one at a time, until the garment of earth is wrapped around each twig, each branch, each leaf, and the stillness of winter buttons up the trees. Many believe this time of year to be such a depressing and bleak time, the knowledge of cold and lonely days ahead. Often when I comment that I love fall, it's met swiftly with, "Oh, not me. It just means winter is coming!"

We've been here a long time. Almost four months. We unpacked our time here in the the peak of Spring, just before it dove into the heat of summer, and we're still here, walking over the sidewalk, and past the new display of mums, corn stalks, and hay bales.

I've struggled lately. The images of fall are beginning to sprout up all over social media. Fields beginning to be harvested. Families enjoying the pumpkin patch. Football games in full swing. Campfires and s'mores.

I've been fighting the enemy of jealousy and envy. I've been so focused on craving normal that I haven't taken the time to consider our abnormal.

Today's message at a local church we attend while here in the city with our girl challenged us to consider the following: If your circumstances changed, would life still be worth living? For example, if you lost your job, or something close to you, if there was something in your life that marked a trial or struggle or suffering, where and who would you turn to?

We were reminded that our happiness, our joy, hinges on what we define life as.

This week I wallowed in self-pity at the fact that we've been cooped up in this tiny room for four months. That we're missing this fall season that is beginning around us. That we're not able to participate in or witness all that this time of year entails. I've struggled with the idea of missing out.

I lost my joy this week. I was disobedient before the Lord upon the calling He has brought us to. I was restless of being here and frustrated with the world moving around us again while we stand still, a stillness that I've felt off and on over the last year.

But today's message really challenged me. What is it I feel I'm missing out on right now? Do I miss the normal life we had before Chloe? Before our days were filled with doctor appointments and hospital stays and our residence relocated to the city? Or am I just craving the "normal" we had while at least home as a family with our Chloe and her nurses? Am I just missing home life? Routine? What is it I'm missing and thus throwing the pity party for?? What am I defining life as right now?

Because if my definition is any of the above, and I'm constantly longing for things as they were, then I wouldn't be allowing Him to change me. I would be saying that the life He is choosing for me isn't enough. I would be questioning His plan. I think I've gotten so wrapped up in defining our current situation as temporary because in my mind I'm so ready for Chloe to get better and for us to all get home, that I'm living in this constant non-constant. Our every day right now hinging on hopefully going home soon. But that hinge has been there for four months. At what point will I realize that He gives us each day. Instead of constantly calling things temporary and treating them as such, I need to soak up each day He's placed us here. Because these days matter too. I tend to think of it one day at a time and that motto of "just get through the day" instead of bask in the day and take it all in. To bask in this season of being a medical family and living it. It's ok to embrace the normal and mundane if that's what He's called you to. But it's also ok to embrace the crazy, roller-coaster, abnormal, undefined life if He's called you to that as well. I'm no longer striving to grasp the last ounce of normal for our family. I'm embracing that He's cast us out of the normal range and thrust us into a life that only He can dictate and wind around and plant my feet upon. Living this life, the life of loving a fragile child through trial after trial and joy for love and length and breath means putting our normal lives in chapters past and waiting and trusting the One who holds the ink that will splash and dance across pages to come.

Because if He didn't lead us here, out of the ordinary and into the beyond-planned-calendar-pages of what so many, us included, call life when it's really just the worship of busyness and worldliness, then my eyes wouldn't have been opened to see all the ways I've yet to know Him. There would be so much left that His hand wouldn't have instructed me. My soul wouldn't have felt if He hadn't touched it in this way. My heart not danced to this beat that He orchestrated.

In redefining this, and pulling myself away from the self-pity of feeling as if we're missing out on so much, I'm seeing it less as a season of "temporary" and more as a season of waiting and trusting. It's still a season of stand-still, but with purpose. Seeing it as temporary means I'm overlooking the present and trying desperately to lunge for the future, when in reality I need to plant my feet in the here and now and wait. And trust that even now He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. Our hearts long...long to bring our baby girl home again. To celebrate the upcoming season and holidays with her. To watch her grow to our amazement. Dreams of her learning to sit, to be held on my chest, to outgrow her tubes, to outgrow her crib. She's already outgrowing all her clothes. She's already successfully outgrown her old shunt and accepted with grace her newly designed heart. Now is a season of waiting patiently for her to outgrow these germ bugs and infections as well. She is working so hard and I need to not sit here in self pity and itchiness to move forward but instead hold her hand and reassure her and us that we're exactly where we all need to be.

As I said earlier, I don't like the replies to my love of autumn hit with "it just means winter is on the way".  Those saying that are completely overlooking an amazing season of stunning warm sunsets in juxtaposition to coolness on the breeze of falling leaves. When foggy mornings allow only orange leaves and red berries to fade through the heavy air. If we were to overlook such an amazing time of year, we'd miss the Master Painter's hand hard at work in this moment. Just as if we were to overlook this hard healing and recovery process for Chloe, we'd miss the part about perseverance and endurance and all it has to teach us.

Autumn is a season of waiting and trusting. Waiting and watching as the leaves float to the earth as the ground begins to frost over, and eventually tiny crystals forming snow, and a blanket of hope laid gently on the world.Trusting in the Spring that is to come again. Romans 5:3~4.