I remember January pretty well...sometimes life in ft worth seems like one big blur. Other times I can pick out days of the journey like they were yesterday. This particular day in January was one that we thought was going to be one of our last days in Ft. Worth. We didn't know if Noah was going to make it through the night. We stayed in his NICU room (tiny but private at least) he had a TON of machines and meds hooked up to him. Just a week or so before he was down to .5 liters of O2, and was at full feeds and doing well. This turn was a quick one and we were praying for him to make it to the OR, on top of that, to come through surgery (again). We decided to get some fresh air. I had just read the book, The Circle Maker. It is a good book. Read it. It discusses prayer and praying in faith, for long periods of time, for heavy issues, for all sorts of reasons, etc. It inspired me to pray deeper for healing for Noah. I asked nick if we could walk laps around the hospital. Circles you could say. We got through the first lap pretty easy and I said, "lets walk around the hospital 7 times, like Jericho" Nick would do anything for me during this whole journey with noah, so he agreed and we continued. We talked, we prayed, we talked some more. I remember it like yesterday. I realized I had walked out of the hospital in my slippers and was too stubborn to go get my shoes while we had already walked 3 of 7 laps and I wasn't going to stop. I had blisters the next day, but I was glad. I felt something in the midst of the numbness. We talked about life on either side of Noah "making it or not". We talked about how life would look, how we would cope, the things we would deal with, either way, the life ahead without Noah here and the medical lifestyle behind us, or with Noah and alllll we would endure throughout life with him here. It was a hard hard talk. We talked about Noah dying. We tried so hard not to say, that he was going to die with certainty, because we were walking and praying in complete faith that God was going to heal our son on earth. At the same time, we knew the severity of Noah's condition and how hard death was knocking on the door. I hated talking about it. Please hear me when I tell you that I never once wanted my son to die. In that same breath, I remember feeling an ease and a relief I had never felt since the day we found out about Noah's condition while he was still in my womb. I don't want to sound cold, I want to testify to God's abundant outpouring of provision for me, mentally and spiritually. I didn't know if Noah was going to make it through the night, much less another month. Nick and I grew in that hour or so walk. Those 7 laps took us to a level in our relationship that some couples never get to. To talk openly about your child's possible death is not something couples usually chat about. It was a cold day. It was uncomfortably cold. It hurt to walk into the wind when we turned the corner on to the front of the hospital's main drive. It was nice to walk between the two hospitals where the wind was blocked. We laughed because I didn't want to walk across the grates in the sidewalk. I always walked around...nick finally got me walking over them by lap 6. I remember it beginning to sprinkle, but we didn't stop. We kept going. Laps 5, 6 and 7 were hard, but we did it. We figured it was a couple miles or so...not a long distance I suppose. In slippers, it seemed much longer. In retrospect, it was a prophetic walk...I see how God worked through that walk. I know without that talk, Nick and I would not have been prepared for any of what was to come. When the time came to give Noah back to the Lord, forever, we had an empowerment only from Him. When it came time to discuss final plans for Noah's burial, services, etc. We had discussed it. We didn't feel like we had to dance around the issues at hand, because we had taken God's hand that he extended down to us one Sunday afternoon on a long walk. I look back and sometimes I feel guilty for even talking about Noah dying before he did, because he got through that surgery amazingly. He recovered from that surgery pretty well. Not fully. He fought for another month. We thought we had discussed it all for nothing, but we were glad we had talked about it and had gotten to a place together that we didn't think we'd ever have to go to. We were thankful that we have such an open relationship that we can talk about anything. We felt relief that our son made it through this "valley of shadow of death". we then moved to talking about a medical lifestyle, how Ava would have to not go to public preschool for health reasons, how the house would have to be adjusted, how our life as we knew it would be different because we would have a "heart baby". We got excited about the future, even with all the hardships ahead and felt proud that we trusted God enough to talk about how we would trust him and walk with him, even if noah died. Yet, he was gracious to us and let us keep Noah here.
Then February 22 came. All the discussions we had in January came rushing in. The fact that we had talked about it all prior, gave us the freedom to just let God handle things and allowed us to just soak Noah up for all we were worth. I remember being able to ask hard questions that day, because God empowered us to ask them. Everything we went through for those few weeks in February were the hardest things I've ever experienced.
I remember telling Nick at some point probably between lap 4 and 5, that if Noah died, we would be ok. Somehow, some way, we would be ok. God would provide a way for us to find a new normal and a joy in the midst of the sorrow, etc. I probably had the ability to even say those things because I didn't think I'd need to ever go there in my mind or in my life. Or maybe I could say those things because God was preparing the way, loving me so much to give my mind cushion and grace prior to the pain.
Why my son Lord? Why in February instead of January? Why after such improvement? Why at all?
Why would Nick and I walk 7 laps around a fairly large hospital in 40 degree weather, while it sprinkled on us, in slippers, in faith, begging and pleading for His life, for life with him, all to be denied that life....
Why why? Why give us relief that ended up feeling like a trick?
God's ways truly are mysterious, but they are right. They are true. They are solid. I will never actually know why God allowed me to carry a son for 9 months, touch him for 5 and then spend a lifetime loving him from here. This walk has been one that God has been preparing me for my entire life. I don't know why He chose Nick and myself to parent a baby long enough to fall deeply in love with him, only to give Him back. I don't know. I don't know why children die before their parents. I don't know why God allows things to happen the way he does. I DO know that he knows best. Even when I can't understand, when I actually can't wrap my tiny brain around a thing in the world, He doesn't have to make sense to make disciples. In fact, it seems to me that he usually doesn't make sense. Faith tends to not make sense of anything, but it makes it through.
He has never made sense. The gospel doesn't make sense. Why would anyone, God in particular, become human, die a death he didn't deserve, all to save a people who didn't defend him....the list could go on and on. God doesn't always make sense, but he always makes a way. He always always makes a way.
Sin in the garden. Death on a Friday. He made a way.
Friday death. Sunday risen. He made a way.
Scared stiff in my bed, last May. Sharing my heart, freely, the next May. He made a way.
It's been a little over 2 months since Noah died. He makes a way.
I still sleep with Noah's blankee. He makes a way.
Ava is almost 2 years old. She was 15 months when this all started in September. He has made a way for her.
We've gotten into a fairly "normal" routine of life again. He makes a way.
Many people have been touched and changed by Noah and his story. He makes a way.
I have been able to know God on a level far deeper than I ever imagined. He makes a way.
I have lifelong friends who will always connect me to my son in a way I cannot explain. He makes a way.
There is a whole world of ministry ahead for parents, moms, family members, etc who love and know heart babies. He makes a way.
Ava calls all her babies "bubby". He makes a way.
Ava knows that Bubby is with Jesus and Jesus and Bubby are in heaven. Ask her. She'll tell you. He makes a way. PRAISE GOD he made that way for us to be with him again.
There is always something to be thankful for. He makes a way.
God doesn't always make sense, but he always makes a way.
I'm letting Him make my way through this life I now know. This life stings a lot. This life without my baby boy is not easy. It isn't the way I wanted it to go. This life is good though. It is what we make of it. I don't know what it will feel like to walk into Cook Children's Medical Center on Saturday, but I know it will remind me that what we went through really happened, that Noah really lived and breathed and made a mark on many people's lives. The sting of walking into that hospital and not getting to touch my baby will happen. I can guarantee it, but the joy of seeing, catching up with, hugging on and thanking the CICU team will be sweet medicine for my heart. They knew my son as well if not better than me sometimes. Getting to enter Noah's world again, means that Noah happened. Sometimes being in this world, at home again, it feels like Noah is just a dream.
He makes a way. He is good. I can't always see his way clearly, but I can always trust His character.
I miss my baby. I miss everything about him. I hate that I have no new pictures to show, stories to tell, or milestones to celebrate, but I am thankful for all that came about because of Noah and how my life will never be the same.
" A voice cried in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord" Isaiah 40:3
Let Him make your way,