My darling Sophia,
Another week has passed, and somehow your birthday is next week. How did a year pass by so quickly? How could it be that we’ve already been apart for so long?
Your birthday is next Friday, and I’m still not sure how we will celebrate it. I’ve gone through different scenarios in my head, and I’m still waiting to see which one feels right. But I’ll be honest, just the thought of having your first birthday pass without you here is more than I can bare right now. I pray that God will give me more and more strength as this week passes.
Tonight your daddy asked me, “Are you happy with your life?” I answered, “I’m happy with my life with you…” and then I paused and said “…but life sure has turned out to be a lot harder than I imagined it would.”
That short conversation really summed up what I’ve been thinking this week. I know last week I told you it had been one of the hardest weeks I’d had in a long time, well this week was just as hard. Champ was discharged from the PICU to a normal room, which meant daddy and I had to take turns being there 24 hours a day. For five days we both got little to no sleep every other night (we took turns staying overnight at the hospital), and then during the day I had to care for Champ by myself, and daddy had to go to work. Exhausting wouldn’t even begin to describe it.
Several times throughout the visit, during those late late night moments when he was up crying I thought to myself, “Why are you doing this to him God? Why are you doing this to me? Hasn’t he already been through enough? Haven’t I?”
The second to last night we were in the hospital Champ slept almost a full night’s sleep. His pneumonia was clearing up, and we were told we’d be able to go home in two days. I was so thankful that God was answering our prayers for healing, and that the horrible 2 1/2 week ordeal was finally over. The next day came and all of a sudden he started his constant head turning, without stopping. For hours straight he pulled his head, cried, didn’t sleep…it was terrible. We thought that maybe it was a new seizure that was constant and relentless. Night came and he still couldn’t sleep and we had to beg for something that would allow him to rest. I just kept thinking “God, why would you allow this to happen to him now, after all he’s already been through? Why would you take away his ability to rest when all he needs right now is that precious sleep?”
I was so angry and frustrated at God. I was heartbroken for Champ. I was feeling sorry for myself.
That last night in the hospital I was alone with Champ, and alone with my thoughts. During the times when he did sleep I kept going back to the same idea in my head—I am broken.
Physically and emotionally broken.
Since the day we found out about your possible condition, back in November of 2012, life has been stressful and challenging. I’ve dealt with a very scary pregnancy, a heart-wrenching 47 days of your life where we had to endure so much separation from you and ride the rollercoaster of PICU life, then your death and the crippling grief that followed. Then four months after you died we started fostering Champ, and it’s been non-stop with his care and various medical conditions.
Broken to the point where sometimes I don’t even know myself anymore. Broken in ways that I never knew a person could break.
And do you know what came to mind next? They were words from that still, small voice that said “I am breaking you down so I can build you up to be more like Me.”
Then these verses came to mind:
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In each and every single one of the toughest moments of these 1 1/2 past years, I have been guilty of the “why me’s?” I’ve made my prayer that God would take away all the hardships of my life and keep any new ones from coming my way. I’ve spent many moments in the dangerous game of comparison where I look at other people’s lives and wonder why things get to be so easy for them—why my life has had to be so hard.
But God has been trying to show me that it hasn’t all been in vein. He has been trying to show me that in my weakness His power and strength shine through. He’s been trying to show me that His grace is all that I need. He’s been trying to get me to understand that even if I don’t have all the desires of my heart granted, He is still good and my life is still full because He is in it.
He’s been trying to get me to see that all these hardships and sufferings are shaping me to have more of the qualities of Christ: humility, empathy, love, selflessness, patience, and dependency of the Father.
Most importantly He has been trying to point out to me that this life will be hard, but my reward truly is in Heaven where one day the desperate longings of my hearts will finally be fulfilled. And, Sophia, having you in Heaven waiting for me makes me treasure the idea of being there more than I ever did before.
This week it took breaking me to understand how much I needed to be built up.
It took my most vulnerable weaknesses to showcase His infinite strength.
My prayer is that I continually press on with a thankful heart and a true dependency on the Creator and Perfector of my life.
I love you Sophia.