Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Claire turned 9 today. 

It was a day to delight in her.  She loved putting up balloons and streamers.  She had a ball decorating the windows with crystal window markers.  She couldn't wait for her cake and her presents.

My heart rejoiced as I snuggled with her this morning and listened to her tell me that 8 was all gone and now she is 9.  What a miracle!  This precious little girl who wasn't supposed to live at all is a beautiful 9 year old who loves to demonstrate how "strong" and "smart" she is to anyone who will pay attention.  God has been so good to Claire.  I'm so blessed to walk down the street holding her hand, or to sing a silly song with her, or to get to work beside her, "mixing" supper or folding laundry. 

My heart also felt overwhelming sadness today. While we were snuggling this morning, Ben came in to say goodbye before heading off to work.  He bent over to hug Claire and his tie swung forward.  Claire batted it for a long time—like a kitten.  Nothing wrong with that, but my heart ached for this little child to have thoughts and ideas, to understand something more than the simple motion of a swinging tie.  Claire is 9.  She can't dress herself, or care for her body without a lot of help.  She can't count objects.  She can't speak a sentence in Chinese or English.  She doesn't play with toys.  She can't write her name or tell you where she lives.  She can't open a door or buckle a seat belt.  She doesn't communicate anything on a thought level.

I long to know my little girl.  But all I know is when she is hungry or wants me to take her to the bathroom.  I know that she resists learning with all her might, leaving me exhausted and longing for bedtime long before it is really time to turn out the lights.  I want her to be okay.  I want her brain to be healed just like her heart.  I want to be able to tell her the incredible story of God's love for her, but the empty tomb of Easter doesn't have much meaning for a child who still doesn't consistently demonstrate object permanence. 

I confess that sometimes I feel angry and I'm guilty of wanting God to explain to me why He healed her heart and her lungs, but left her brain so damaged. I love her so much.  I want her to be okay.  I want her to be able to read, and sew, and knit.  I want her to be able to play a game or participate in a discussion. 

Then, I'm reminded that God loves her more than I ever could.  He is still good.  His plan is still being carried out whether I see it or not.  So, now I ask God to show me how to love Claire the way He does—through her stubbornness and disability to the heart of who God has created her to be with abilities and disabilities all wrapped up in one sweet package.  Happy Birthday, Claire.  I love you.

"Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way…God can give us the perfect way." 
~~Corrie ten Boom


  1. So well said...from your heart. I am confident that you can and will "know" her. You can bond and make a connection with her, even without words. Mr. Holland's Opus comes to mind. If you haven't watched it lately, maybe now would be a good time. It could be an encouragement.

    Look at her. Claire is so pretty in her blue, white, and green dress that you took such care to choose for her! Everything you do is an act of God's love; and that, my dear friend, is how she can come to see and know God and His love for her. There will be time for whatever else God opens the door to. Don't be disheartened by what you think you see is lacking. Where there is God's love, there is life! Rest assured that there is more there yet to be seen. God alone knows when the timing is right for all things. This we know. So savor every precious moment of simplistic existence with her and embrace even the most frustrating challenges of your days. What the mind can't, and sometimes won't do, the spirit can. Right now, God is healing her spirit - maybe yours too. Praying for you, Claire, your little boy who'll be joining you soon, and the rest of your family. Please let us know if we can ever be of any help. ~Lisah

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart my friend. Sam will be 14 in June in 14 and for years I thought he would never learn enough to drive, or get a job - now - just this last year, he has gone up 3 math levels, has learned to write whole stories (completely lacking in any proper language usage) is beginning to retain more than ever. Yet, he still cant remember three simple basic instructions in a row. But he has a right brain artistic talent that is amazing - photography, drawing, making up piano compositions by ear....There are days I tire of silly questions and emotional immaturity, the lack of emotional regulation (nervous smiles over death or bad news)... but he is a such a great, great, loving kid who makes my day shine. It took a while Rebecca, and she may never get where you want her to be, but she will get where you NEED her to be for God's best blessings in your life. God has great things in store for you and your two new little ones.
    Love you,