A quick note from Haley:
“Last night, around Elijah’s bed, a few people gathered for the privilege of praying, and walking with him [and Brenna] through the storm. They told him that he wasn’t hurting alone, because members of Christ’s body from all corners of the world (you all) were hurting and praying with him. We’re sure he could hear, too, because his breathing steadied for a bit.
His mercy is near to us every moment of every day, and —our anchor holds.”
Beautiful words from Brenna, Elijah’s mother:
“Air rushes through the hose past Elijah’s trach tube. The nurses talk loudly at their station. The feeding tube machine grinds noisily through the night. Occasionally, there is a code blue or code red announced over the intercom, and every hour and a half or so Elijah will cough. Beads of sweat profusely roll down his face as he deals with yet another storm.
These are the sights and sounds of the ICU.
God. The Giver of Good Gifts.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
God gave Elijah to us. Entering our 4th week without hearing Elijah’s voice, seeing his smile, his eyes, without simply living life with him. . . we miss him. Terribly. Life is not the same. It is also sometimes difficult to see kids his age living life.
We understand more clearly the sacrifice that God made in giving us Jesus.
Giving involves receiving. Truly, the act of giving is not complete without the someone to receive what is given: the gift. But love motivates giving. The theme of my prayer life this year has been asking God to reveal to me His love for me. It seems it is easy to tell other people that Jesus loves them and especially easy to teach that to my children, whom I love dearly. Receiving God’s love just seemed out of my reach. I have felt that if I could really understand and receive the love that Paul references in Romans then I would be able to love others with God’s love. I desired to be God’s vessel: to allow God to fill my cup to overflowing and then pour out his love on other people. Even unlovely people.
‘The body of Christ’. It is often referenced in vague ethereal terms in Scripture. The church is the body of Christ. But what does that mean? Throughout this struggle we have seen the body of Christ working. The people of Christ’s body have done some serious giving, motivated by their love for Jesus. We have been recipients of this love. The people that make up the body of Christ are moved by the Holy Spirit in their various giftings to show us Christ’s love.
There are many parts of the body. The hands and feet: ‘laundry fairies’ as I call them, taking care of kids, feeding the dog, vacuuming, providing meals, setting tables, making smoothies, bringing coffee and chocolate. The mind: researching and providing possible avenues of care, helping us advocate for Elijah. The heart: those who encourage through word, prayer, laughter, walks, visits from afar and sharing in our tears. Some dear friends take the time to contact us in one way or another every day. I am amazed at the complete strangers who have taken the time to write and let us know they hear and care and are praying. Then there’s the daytimer: scheduling and coordinating the meals and the kids because we can’t see beyond the next minute. The wallet: those who have offered or given financially. The intercessors: praying without ceasing.
Through the obedience of the saints, we have experienced the love of Christ. This givingwould not be complete without our receiving. Admittedly, it has been a stretch to be the long term recipients of so much giving. We receive because we have to. We could not walk this path alone. In receiving, we have become more aware of Christ’s love and how it manifests itself. What I know is that this body functions because it’s members were obedient to their call. The mind thought, the heart beat, the hands and feet worked, the daytimer scheduled, the wallet emptied, the intercessor prayed.
In the same way, Jesus’ sacrificial gift is not complete without our receiving. The gift has been given: we need only receive.
Many have written of our strength and courage through this trial. These are gifts that we have received from the hand of God. The gift of forgiveness (John 3:16). The gift of strength (greater is He who is in me than He who is living in the world). The gift of faith (Gal 2:20), the gift of encouragement from others, the gift of grace and mercy (Heb 4:16).
Jesus filled the gap. As His followers we are called to fill the gap/bear the burdens for others. This life is not our own (Gal 2:20). We are called to live on a higher level. Not focusing only on our own troubles but bearing one another’s burdens. That is what this body of Christ has done for us. All of you have been our gap fillers and our burden bearers.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
~ Brenna, for all
p.s. A perfect example of the body working (and a confirmation of my “word”) came this morning in a text from a faithful intercessor and burden bearer. This friend often just texts “I’m believing for you today”. This morning, she wrote a huge timely text of encouragement from her study of the book of Numbers, and the Israelites in the desert, and the waiting –but that God was guiding while they waited. She also included:
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”
–and the God of the Lowry’s.