Monday, June 28, 2010

Glorified -- And Annabelle Update

First, wanted to give a quick Annabelle update. Less than one month until her arrival! And if we keep the scheduled induction date of 7/26... exactly 4 weeks from today:-) WOOHOO!

Saw the cardiologist and surgeon on Thursday.

Good News:
  • Her condition isn't worse.
  • Her aorta has grown a little, but not much more than normal growth. It is still very small for her "age", but they still can't tell for sure if it is TOO small. (which is much better than being able to tell for sure!)
  • Below I'll note about statistics, but the bright side of that, Annabelle, as far as they can tell, has no other conditions besides her malf0rmed heart. That puts her slightly on the better side of the statistics, because some of those that have complications have other issues.
Not-so-great News:
  • Her left heart is "way" too small to hope that it could be usable. Some babies are borderline, but Annabelle's is not. Obviously, GOD is still in control and could make it grow, and I'm still praying for that, but I'm at the point that I feel God calling me to give it to Him, and that's what I'm doing.
  • I clarified her "survival" chances, and it wasn't what I hoped. Before, they'd told me 80% chance of living to the second surgery, and the first surgery is the most risky. However, they didn't mention a % for after the second surgery. I assumed once she got past that, it was very good. But, alas, not so much. The overall survival rate of babies through all 3 surgeries (the last one at age 2) is about 60%, and then there is still a 5 - 10% chance of not making it to age 5. I don't have to tell you how scary and crushing those are, but again, GOD is in control, and he is Lord over all percentages.
  • The surgeon noted that this is the riskiest heart-surgery they perform on babies. Not so pleasant news for us either.

So in church last week, I had a thought while we were singing. I didn't write about it, as I felt I'd gushed about Annabelle too much on this blog and was getting a little depressing, so I opted for funny posts last week:-) But this week I felt it again, and knew that I needed to write it down.

We were singing about glorifying God. Really, many of our worship songs are about that, which is GREAT, but it really hit me yesterday. Truly, as Christians, our goal for life in general is to glorify God in all we do.

Unfortunately, when life gets in the way, sometimes it's not so easy to glorify Him. How can we glorify God through our pain? Our struggles? How can I sit in a church service and sing glory to God, praising him and lifting his name up, when my life feels like it's on this tilt-a-whirl and God feels so far away? How can God be glorified through my wee little daughter's pain and suffering?

First, let me tell you: I have NO idea how God will be glorified.

However, I sit here today (yes, with my huge feet propped up!) and tell you for sure that God WILL be glorified. If nothing else, I will choose to glorify God through the storm. Reminds me of the Casting Crowns song that talks about praising God through the storms. Because God is still God no matter what is going on around us.

Reminds me too of the Psalms. King David praised God and cried out to Him, but he also mourned over and over about his enemy's thwarting him, questioned God about why everything was going wrong. But he never ceased to praise God, to recognize that God is still there, that there is still hope, even when everything looks bleak.

I was thinking today too, as we sang about lifting our hands to Jesus with our hearts abandoned, in awe of who God is, that I needed to write this down. To write down my choice to glorify God in the hard times. Because right now, it's fairly easy. Annabelle is still in my tummy, I still have a month to go. I can sit in the presence of God's people and make that choice easily.

But it won't be so simple when I'm in the hospital and my baby is being carried away from me to be hooked up to tubes and monitors. It won't be easy when I see her struggling. It won't be easy while I'm waiting while she is in surgery. It will be so very difficult when I'm standing by her bedside, seeing her hooked up to so many tubes and her chest wrapped in gauze and her grasping onto life. It won't be so easy as we struggle through the months of recovery, the 2 other surgeries. I KNOW there will be times when I cry out to God, "Oh, why, oh WHY didn't you take this away? Why didn't you make her better and spare her from this, Jesus? Where is the good in this?"

Those are the times that I want to have something to look back on, a place where I made a choice that no matter what, I would see that God's name is glorified through it all. Because this will all be meaningless if God isn't glorified through it. My life, Annabelle's life, really ALL of our lives, are meant for that purpose.

A weighty question for today. How are you letting God be glorified through your life right now? Maybe it's through your writing, through a tough situation, through someone you're sharing God with. If you can't think of anything, that's fine, but my prayer is that we all stop for just a second and think about how our lives glorify God. We can sing about it all we want, but until we live out, our words are meaningless.

19 comments:

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I wish I could find the right words to comfort you. I wish I could assure you all will go well. You and Annabelle are in my thoughts and prayers.

I have been through a similar situation with my youngest son, who the doctors said would not live a day after birth. He had lungs the size of peanuts and a hole in his heart. He was born the day before Easter and on Easter morning they told me a miracle, yes a miracle!, had happened. In the NICU where he was being treated, the doctors found that the hole was gone and his lungs were inflated to normal size.

There were other medical complications along the way, but he survived them. On the day he was released from the hospital, the head pediatrician lifted him up in a full room of medical staff and said, "I can't explain why he is alive. It's a miracle. Take him home and love him."

Mark is 41 years old now, healthy, married and has a professional job.

All things are possible with God! Praying you and Annabelle will be blessed in the same way!

Katie Ganshert said...

You are an inspiration. I will be your prayer warrior Krista. Thank you for this post. There is SO much power in this post.

Terri Tiffany said...

Your post brought the tears again when I read about what you and your family are going through. Yes we have to glorify GOd even in the bad times. It's going to be hard, I know that from trying to do that same thing now for three years--but when you do-that peace will envelope you and you will feel you have gone home and HE is still in charge! your baby will draw you even closer to him.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all the struggles you are going through. I will say loads of prayers for you!

(PS Almost named my son Annabelle. LOVE IT!)

patti said...

Oh, Krista, thank you for sharing. I so appreciate your honesty, your love, your willingness to turn this over to our God.

The seepage of cancer into the lives of friends and loved ones has been weighting down my heart.

It's truly a time of clinging to the promises of God, including Him working for good in the lives of all who love Him, who call on His name.

Thank you for this post. You touched my heart by letting me know Annabelle. LOVE that name.

Blessings,
Patti

Julie Jarnagin said...

I'm praying that we will see God move in big ways in your family over the next several months.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I have dear friends whose son was born with two chambers instead of four. He was to have a 50% chance of living past the first year and a 10% chance of making it into his teens. Multiple surgeries later, he is a healthy three-year-old (maybe four by now! I forget).

Yes, he has scares. Yes, he is hospitalized often. Yes, doctors have told them that science will have to catch up to Jack's needs.

If you'd like another Christian mom to talk to, my friend Mary (Jack's mom) is a beautiful, honest, real soul. Let me know.

Susan R. Mills said...

I've been on blogger break, and I didn't know about Annabelle's problems. I'll be praying for you all.

Lisa Jordan said...

I love the honesty and transparency of this post. I think you just glorified God. I don't want to give you empty platitudes because you do have some difficult weeks ahead where you will experience a ton of different emotions. As I was thinking about what to say in reply to your post, the phrase Be Still and Know I Am God filtered through my thoughts. God is with you every step of the way. And I'm praying for you too.

Sherrinda said...

Krista, you have such a beautiful spirit and I know that it comes from the ONE who is our Savior. He is so very proud of your statement of faith and your choice to glorify Him no matter what.

I am still praying for a miracle like Donna's, but if God allows Annabelle to go through some tough times, He does so with a heavy heart, knowing your pain. He is your peace. He will be glorified. And you are blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

((((HUGS))))

Sherrinda said...

Krista, you have such a beautiful spirit and I know that it comes from the ONE who is our Savior. He is so very proud of your statement of faith and your choice to glorify Him no matter what.

I am still praying for a miracle like Donna's, but if God allows Annabelle to go through some tough times, He does so with a heavy heart, knowing your pain. He is your peace. He will be glorified. And you are blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

((((HUGS))))

Cindy R. Wilson said...

You are absolutely right. God is in control. He's bigger than our circumstances--good and bad. You and your precious baby are in his hands through it all--it's so inspiring that you're able to recognize his sovereignty throughout this ordeal. I will be praying for you and little Annabelle. If you ever need to e-mail for any specific prayers, I'll be happy to lift you and your family up then, too.

Krista Phillips said...

You all are so sweet, thank you! Your words of encouragement are good for my heart!

Donna, I am SO SO SO beyond excited about your miracle! How amazing!!! I KNOW God can do miracles and can wow the doctors so very much. And OH MY GOODNESS, I'd be so unbelievably thankful for that!

But I also see so many babies that are prayed for that God doesn't do that miracle, and I know God has a will and a plan that is much greater than I can understand. More than anything I pray that GOD'S will WILL be done!

Krista Phillips said...

Marybeth... hold on a sec.

You almost named your SON Annabelle? I'm sure he's thankful you changed your mind:-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Krista, I appreciate your honesty. There are times to laugh, but there are also times to be real and allow others to come alongside. Trials seem a little easier to bear when shared. Having the information helps me know better what to say when I lift you and Annabelle to the Lord.

(((Hugs))) and prayers!

Jessica Nelson said...

This is such a beautiful, truthful post.
I'll be praying for all of you in this situation.

Karen Lange said...

Good food for thought. Still praying for you all.
Blessings,
Karen

Jaime said...

K. You're making me cry and I don't cry. Sigh. I am so in prayer for you and little Annabelle. I know the Lord will do great things however He chooses to work in her little life, but the not knowing is scary and the trusting is HARD.

I'll continue to pray pray pray and hold your hand virtually along the way ...

BTW, you should really update the ACFW prayer loop. They would all support you so much as they did during my 3 miscarriiages. Just a thought ... :)

Nithin R S said...

Don't worry,Annabelle will be fine.Keep smiling.When you see her first smile,you will find all the stats to be just a myth.Believe.