Wednesday, January 21, 2015

As the tale is unfolded...



The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou art sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained. And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood. Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the Divine art of comfort. Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness.

Streams in the Desert

The tale is unfolding, and I forewarn you - these pages are raw and messy. My heart still feels so very tender as I struggle to tell the story of these past few days...

I was on my way to Birmingham last week, a two-hour drive to our neurosurgeon's office where Faith Ana was having her pre-op consultation when I first heard the words to this song. They were seared on my heart from that morning on. M
ercy paving the way for the coming days.


Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are


When I was listening to the details of Faith Ana's operation that day, listening to this particular doctor tell me that it may or may not be successful, listening to the risks, the possible complications, wondering if we were making the right decision to go forward with this operation...

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day…

There will be no more surgeries. 
No more hospitals. 
No more paralysis. 
No more cognitive delays. 
No more unknowns. 
No more tears.

Later in the week, I was at yet another doctor's office. This appointment with our pediatrician, a dear friend of mine, and we talked about another child's multitude of issues, the improvements we have seen with the new medication she is on, and the progress she is making. 

Melanie, she said, you might not see it right now, but she has come so far. And although I know she's right, I also know that I do still struggle to see and we do still have hard days with our girl.

I thought about the words to this song again as I reflected on all the hard things this little girl has had to endure and the hard things we have had to endure as a result. I remember these words when I think about what it must be like for her to have no words of her own. I think about what heaven will be like for Sophi...


These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day

There will be no more low iqs. 
No more speech disorders.
No more reactive attachment disorders.
No more autism.
No more rages.
No more confusion. 
Or tears. 
No more tears. 

The next day, when we were preparing for a meeting with Sophi's new teacher at her school and were making notes, trying to find words to describe our daughter and her background, I was reminded of the place she came from. They say that in orphanages children don't cry, and it's true. They learn very early on that it doesn't do any good. No one listens, and no one comes.

This was true for Sophi and Faith Ana. I see the lingering effects often in their little lives. Even after being home for 2 years, Sophi will still choose to lie in her bed, covered in her own vomit and filth, rather than crying out for help. There have been times in the middle of the night that Faith Ana wakes up crying. I just happen to be awake, and if it weren't for our video monitor in the girls' room, I never would have known she was upset. I never hear even the slightest sound. Silent tears. And the heartbreaking thing is that there are millions more, precious children and babies, all over the world, living in unthinkable conditions. 

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day

There will be no more orphanages. 
No more mental institutions. 
No more children who are considered worthless. 
No more children left alone in cribs, laying in their own filth. 
No more silent tears. 

That same night, I was packing and preparing for Faith Ana's surgery. I fixed her an early supper, knowing it would be important for her to have a good meal since she wouldn't be able to eat or drink for the remainder of the night and throughout the next morning. I remembered these words again when she stubbornly sat at the table and wouldn't chew her food. 

Faith Ana, you need to eat. You are going to be hungry. She wouldn't listen. Child of my heart.

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day

There will be no more eating issues. Hers or mine. 

A few hours later, in the dead of night, my alarm clock went off. It was 2:00 am. We made it to Birmingham before the sun came up, just in time to check her in for the early morning surgery. We waited patiently when we found out that her surgery had been moved behind another little one's surgery. We continued to wait {a little less patiently} when that surgery took longer than expected. We were still waiting when the doctor popped his head in and told us they were preparing the operating room and that her turn was soon. He just needed to step in to help a colleague out with a surgery upstairs. It wouldn't be long, he said. Almost five hours later, we were still waiting. The smiles were long gone, and by this point, Faith Ana was upset. She was tired and hungry and angry at me because I wouldn't give her anything to eat. She didn't understand, and I struggled to explain. 



By three in the afternoon, I had a strong sense that we needed to cancel the surgery and leave the hospital. I couldn't explain it. I just knew. We drove home, through the rain, me trying to make sense of the day. By the time we got home, I was exhausted. And yet I knew the day was not wasted. Nothing, nothing is ever wasted. I needed to remember this.

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day

There will be no more exhaustion. 
No more fatigue. 
No more weariness. 
No more confusion. 
No more struggling to understand.

The next morning, since we were not at
 the hospital as anticipated, we were able to go pick up Faith Ana's wheelchair. Ordered back in September, it was finally ready. Faith Ana was leery of getting in the car with me again that day, but I kept telling her this was a good thing, a happy day. 

Today is a happy day, Faith Ana. Today is the day we've been waiting for. Your wheelchair is here!  

When I picked up my lanky girl and placed her in it for the first time, I had to work hard to hold back the tears. They were happy tears, seeing her recognize that this was indeed a good thing. A good gift! 


I listened to this song on the way home from her wheelchair fitting, thinking about what heaven will be like for this child. Seeing the joy and sparkle in her eyes that moment when she realized that she could actually push it herself was just a foretaste of what it will be like for her when one day she will finally be able walk. 

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day


There won't be any more wheelchairs.
No more crippled little legs. 
No more pressure sores. 
No more parents with hurting backs from lifting their hurting children. 
No more hurting.

Within fifteen minutes of being home from our wheelchair fitting, the day that was supposed to be our happy day, I knew something was wrong. This time it was my doctor that I was talking to, the one who had delivered each of my six babies. I told him what was going on, and he told me to watch it over the weekend and if it got worse, to call him. Will kept telling me not to lose hope, but I knew. I was so thankful that I was at home, instead of in Birmingham. I spent that afternoon in bed - something I never do - hoping and praying that the bleeding would stop. But by the middle of the night, I knew that it was not good, and by early morning, I was so weak from blood loss, that I passed out trying to get back to my bed. My doctor met us in the emergency room and within the hour, I was the one in the operating room, waiting for an emergency D and C.

I was 11 weeks pregnant the day our littlest one went to be with Jesus. It still feels so surreal. Just in the past two weeks, I was beginning to feel like I was over the hump with the first trimester morning sickness and was finally beginning to feel a bit more like myself. We were making room in our home for another little person, and we were so excited, knowing the Lord had big plans for the littlest Blackmon. We had told the kids about this pregnancy earlier than usual, making this loss harder than I could have imagined. The boys are old enough to understand. They wanted to know details. They asked question. How do you possibly explain?

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.

One day


There will be no more pain. 
No more loss. 
No more miscarriage. 
No more questions. 
No more guilt. 
No more sadness. 
No more tears.

Today, a few days later, and the tears are still coming. Surprising me at random times, there are moments during the day when I'm so unbelievably overwhelmed by sadness. There are times when my heart feels so heavy. There are times when the voice of the Enemy is so loud, whispering and shouting his lies: 
I should have taken better care of myself and this is all my fault and on and on. These have been hard days.

I already loved this little one so much. I don't understand how it's possible, but it is.



Life around here continues to be loud and lively, fluid and fast-moving. I feel like the only thing that is constant is that things are constantly changing. Our routines, our schedules, our goals, our plans. We are learning to walk through these days and this season with open hands and open hearts. Rarely does a day go by when I don't find myself on my knees praying for wisdom and asking the Lord for direction. It's such a humbling thing to be the momma to these eight precious little lives. 




Sophi started school this week. She rides the bus to and from school every day, and she has a wonderful new teacher this year. We are so very hopeful that this will be a positive experience for her. Once Faith Ana learns to navigate her new wheelchair, she will go to school as well. Over the Christmas break, we decided to pull Web, our oldest son, out of school and homeschool him for the remainder of the year. This has been such a blessing for him, and I can't even begin to describe how much I have loved having him at home during the day. Barrett, especially, has loved having his biggest brother home and is very proud to be doing school right alongside him. Palmer and Hank are back at school and doing well. Evie is her usual spunky self, and Haddon, my sweet baby, is looking more and more like a little boy everyday. Just a week shy of his first birthday, and this child is mobile and into everything! 



My tender hearted third-born is the one who has seemed most affected by our loss. Many, many sweet tears from this dear heart have been shed. But through this sadness, I already see how the Lord is working good. The night after this all happened, Hank asked if he could get a Bible on his iPad. He wanted me to wake him up earlier than usual the next morning so that he could read his Bible while I was reading mine. The next morning I didn't even have to wake him up. He was up before the sun, by my side. 



Mom, what's this word? 

As tears were streaming down my face, I read him the word. Eternity.

He was reading about heaven.

These words. 

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.


One day, I told him


There will be no more tears. 
No more sadness. 
No more pain. 
No more death.


The Lord has been so faithful during these days. I'm pretty sure that He sent these warm, sunny days just for me. We've spent lots of time outside, soaking up the sunshine, and I'm so thankful for the time I've had to rest and reflect. 



I know the tale will continue to unfold. And as it does, His mercies will keep coming. He's so gently and patiently applying the anodynes that my heart, mind, and body so desperately needed. He's using this littlest life in many, many profound ways. The Lord did indeed have big plans for this littlest Blackmon.

In a way that I can't explain or even expect anyone to understand, this momma's heart hopes our story will unfold to include another little life. The boys ask me all the time if we will have another baby. I tell them that I don't know, but I know Who does. And we can trust Him. We can trust the One authoring this story, knowing that He is writing it in such a way that it will undoubtably be for our best good and His greatest glory. 



Today, as I continued to wade through these deep waters of such sadness, as I wrestled with my own questions and answered theirs, I found myself overwhelmed yet again with His faithfulness to me and to our family. I am so grateful for the many prayers that have been offered on our behalf, on my behalf. We are so incredibly blessed.

Tonight, my heart is so full, yet still so heavy. There will be more to share as the tale is unfolded, I'm sure. I know it will not be wasted...




A tiny portion of the anodyne He gave me today, His words to me...

Will you trust me, child? Will you let this story speak much about Me, about My faithfulness, and about My ability to restore broken things? Melanie, will you trust Me and not be anxious? Will you wait on Me while this tale unfolds? And as it unfolds, today, right now, will you let Me comfort your broken heart? Will you feel the sunshine and sense Me smiling over you? Will you rest in these few moments of quietness and know they are My gift to you. Will you receive the anodynes, will you receive My grace, will you stop condemning yourself, and will you accept My love?

Can you trust Me with the story that I am writing for your life? Will you trust Me in the midst of this hard chapter? Right now, you don't know how it's going to turn out. You don't know what the next page may bring, but I do, and it will be good! I promise. Can you simply trust Me? 

One day, you will look back on these pages and you will see the tear stains and the blood splatters, but not only these hard things, you will also see how My name was glorified, how lives were transformed, how your life, My sweet and struggling one, was transformed. You will see how I used this tiniest baby of yours to bring about much healing. This life has grand purposes beyond anything you could ever imagine...


Tonight I'm trusting His purposes as the tale unfolds...



XOXO,
Melanie

3 comments:

  1. Melanie, I've followed your blog for a while now but haven't commented before, but tonight I want to reach out and say how sorry I am for your loss. As I've been reading over the past year or two, I've prayed for your family and will continue to pray for God's peace and presence to comfort you all in this time. I can't begin to tell you how much your writing has impacted me spiritually and how it has continually encouraged me to draw closer to Jesus in my own trials. I'm not an adoptive mom (although I'd like to be someday, but God has closed that door for now), my husband and I have a precious girl about to turn 7. Several years ago, God brought the needs of orphans in Eastern Europe to my attention and led me to follow the adoptive journeys of a number of families (mostly adopting from Bulgaria) and to be a sort of "silent prayer warrior" for them. Yours has been one of those families. I've been so blessed by the truths that God shows me in your writing. Thank you for being so open about your journey and for allowing Him to use you this way! You have such a beautiful family, and God is bringing forth beautiful things from your unfolding tale! All glory and honor and praise to Him!

    Praying for you in PA,
    Jen Lehr

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  2. I am so, so sorry to hear about your sweet littlest one. Praying for you. Heaven will be a sweet rest.

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  3. I know the pain you are going through as I've experienced it 4 times myself. No words will bring comfort that can only come from the Lord. I'm so sorry for your loss :'( You are in my prayers...

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