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Strength? Amid the confusion, and heartache! ...Here's How....

             "Where's the strength to keep my hopes up? What future do I have to keep me going?" Job 6:11

I ended my last post by explaining that my sister Allyssa and I were going to take our first step into the world after the passing of Jamie and attend the Michigan vs. Nebraska game at the Big House.  We did just that. However; that day turned out much different than any of us had anticipated.

My mother and I had been texting throughout the pre-game festivities. My parents home is very close to the stadium and there was a fly over scheduled that day. Mom could hear the planes circling the house so we were texting back and forth talking about how many their were. I swore there was 4, mom insisted she saw 2...I was right there and it was four. 

The game started and the texting slowed down so we could all watch. Then the call came.  My mother called me, because she knew Allyssa would never have been able to handle the message in which she had to deliver.

"The...baby....the baby....Lillian...she's not breathing" Mom's voice was the same as the phone call to tell me Jamie had been in a serious accident.

My heart sank into the pit of my stomach.

I took my sister's hand and said very calm "We need to leave now, there is an emergency".  I didn't want to tell her then because; I needed to get her safely to the car to prevent a complete panic.

My father and one of our life long church friends Mary Lynn were sitting in a different section together in the Big House. They had the keys to the car.  I tried frantically to call them but could not get a cell phone signal. I had no clue where they were and my own panic was starting to set in.

My sister was demanding to know and I couldn't keep it in so I held her and told her. I had to deliver a message to my baby sister that no mother should ever have to hear.

We had to find my dad to leave. By this point both she and I had completely panicked. Police officers from the University of Michigan ran over, they assumed someone had collapsed in the game.

A random older woman came over to me and grabbed me, she looked me in the eyes and very calmly said

"Breath, your sister needs you, God's strength is with you to stay calm for your sister, you can do this." 

I never told the woman what happened, nor did I explain that Allyssa was my sister.

I turned around to thank her and the woman had disappeared.  (I knew from her eyes it was an angel) In her place stood MaryLynn who had happened to walk out of the stadium and saw Allyssa and I standing there. 

When we arrived at the hospital, Allyssa and Ryan were able to be in the room with Lillian as St. Joe's tried everything they could do to revive her.  The rest of our family and Ryan's family waited for what seemed like a year in the waiting room.

I was in such a state of shock that all I remember is pacing the hospital halls in a daze. This wasn't really happening again. It wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't. She was the only light in our lives through the devastating loss of Jamie.

I fell on my knees and cried out to God and said "Please please don't take her, take ME instead!"

When the social worker came into the family room, she didn't have to say a word. Her face said it all. She asked who "Christa and Andrew" were.  Then proceeded to tell us that Allyssa wanted us to come back into the room.

I had a flash back of walking into the room when Lillian was born. She was tightly swaddled and my sister looked at me and handed me this beautiful baby. I gasped. She literally took my breath away.

When I entered the room this time, my sister looked at me and handed her to me swaddled the same way.

This time she wasn't there, she was with Jesus.  It's an image I will never forget for the rest of my life.

I don't write this in great detail to scare you, or try to produce sympathy from anyone.  I write this because, this is our reality.  We live it, breath it every second of everyday. 

Most importantly I write this because I want people to understand that were just an ordinary family. Horrible things happen to people all over this country and world every second of every day.  God didn't do this to punish us or to cause pain. He is a gracious, loving, caring and Sovereign God. 

There is a divine plan for not just our family but; for everyone who has accepted Him and His Grace into their lives.  This just happens to be apart of the plan that God had for us.  I know this more than ever before in my life. 

Lillian was spared from this world. There was nothing we could have done to stop this. Her doctor and pediatrician came to our home after funeral and explained that she did not die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I want to clear that rumor up. There was nothing we could have done, or done differently. That was confirmed by the doctor that delivered her who is the same doctor that delivered every one of my siblings. Though were still waiting on the final autopsy report which can take up to 10 weeks; we know why she went.

Jesus picked her up and took her home. She is in Eternal heaven with her Uncle Jamie and our Father. 

We have received so many letters and emails and texts messages. We appreciate every single one of them and all in their own individual way bring a level of comfort in a different way.  In the letters I've noticed though; that many people say to us....

"I can't believe how strong you all have been".

As I said before, we are a normal family. We have problems, we have struggles, we have good days and bad days just like everyone else.  And just like any other normal family, who would experience the losses we have had,  we have moments in our home that we completely break.

I didn't know that pain like this existed.

It hurts your heart to actual physical chest pains. You can feel the helplessness in your bones.  There are times we cry and scream so loud as to try to "push" the pain out only to realize that it's still there. In those moments all I can do is pray, read the WORD and cry out to God.

Without fail....as he promises us in his word, he brings us our peace. A peace that far surpasses all understanding. 

So in response to the comments of "I can't believe how strong you are"....I really want you to understand that WE are NOT strong. We are humans. Having very human reactions to a horrible situation.

  Our strength comes from the Lord and from HE alone. 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am made strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9

He is the only reason we can accept this, breath, live and rejoice (Yes, we REJOICE) for the Jamie and Lillian knowing they are in Eternity with our Father.

....And here's the coolest part, we will be there too, one day, not too far off.

My heart skips a beat every time I think of that day.

That day in which we will be reunited, a family made whole. This time however; it will be in a place far better than this earth.....We'll be made whole and new, live with our loved ones with a promise of never having to say goodbye ever again. And the greatest part....

Together we will be In the Presence of the Lord!

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Comment by Angel Gundlach on January 10, 2012 at 5:17pm

Christa, once again beautiful words of wisdom even in the midst of trials and pain. Love you.

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