Monday, May 23, 2011

for good

Throughout this process (that is how the doctor's refer to the infection in her lungs...the process) I have been overwhelmed with the support from strangers.

Yesterday I received two pages worth of support from an unknown voice in Dallas. She shared her soul with me and encouraged me to pray God's word into this situation. I did.

Back in Shreveport I received a large box of crackers, candy, chips and soda from a complete stranger. She identified herself as "a friend of a friend," hugged me tightly, and then left.

My bosses daughter, whom I had never met, allowed me the use of her guest bed and shower while she was away for the day. She left the key under the mat and put the good towels out on the bathroom counter.

And then there are the prayers. Countless offerings to our almighty Father have been lifted in honor of my daughter by faces I've never seen. She has been the reason for numerous prayer chain telephone calls and e-mails, as well as the topic of many Facebook posts. Childhood friends, high school friends, college friends and new friends have all been praying for Harper, as well as my entire family. Spouses of my girlfriends have learned to follow a blog, some have learned what a blog is, and some have even used Kleenex in place of a sleeve.

Countless good has occurred as a result of our nightmare. I'm OK with that. In fact, I find joy in that. Because of Harper's illness, families have joined hands to petition her complete healing. Little ones have heard Mommy and Daddy pray a little more than normal. Prayers are being said other than bedtime. Her classmates are learning the true meaning of empathy and compassion. My own students, who I haven't seen since April 15, are witnessing the sacrifices made by a Mama. My niece and nephews are witnessing their own Mama's do whatever needs to be done when crisis hits the family. My mom and step-dad are connecting through the pain and helplessness of having a sick grand-baby. Nick is working on a play house we've been talking about for over a year.

And me, I am learning to be still. I find delight in her breaths and joy in her laughter. I am reminded that she was not only a miracle from God when she was brought into this world, she is a daily miracle. She is a constant reminder of God's blessings in my life. Through all of my pain I kept thinking, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." I was so afraid that she was going to be taken away from me. I was so afraid of being angry with God, but pledged to love Him even still. I secretly begged Him not to make me prove it. But she is here. She is still mine, ours, His. I hope this has changed me for the better. I hope this has changed me for good.

To quote one of my favorite musicals:
"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? Because I knew you...because I knew you...I have been changed for good."

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for your sweet words, My Dear! It is amazing what a crisis does for the soul-- shake it to the core but you bounce back stronger and even happier! Isn't that crazy? You are amazing and so loved!

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  2. too blessed to be stressed........May 24, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    I just wanted you to know that someone in your family turned me on to your blog many months ago and I have become to feel like we are friends. I have prayed and requested prayer for your sweet family over the last month and now friends of mine are asking how your daughter is doing.God can is doing amazing things through you and your family and You are such an encouragement to us moms out here trying to do whats best for our families. Thank You for your honesty and genuine love for Christ. Cant wait to read the testimony that is coming out of your story.....too blessed to be stressed

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    1. its been a long time...not sure who you are, but thanks for your kind words

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  3. Hi Mandy,

    You dont know me, but I am a girlfriend of one of Nick's interns. Zach started telling me about Harper and we both are just in awe of your family's strength during this time. I asked my mom and sister to start praying for Harper. My sister lives in Longview, TX and made the connection of someone else who had posted about Harper on Facebook. She told me about your blog and i have been following to pray for the specific requests. It is such a small world. I say all of that to let you know that there are people in Memphis and Olive Branch, MS who are lifting Harper up daily. Your entire family is in our prayers!

    -Julie Weaver

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  4. You are correct in that this is touching and changing all of us... I know Brayden and Bodie both pray every single night for Harper. We miss our sweet girl so much, I know the LORD will continue to use your story in many ways and many lives. That being said, it's time for her to be well and come home to play! We miss you!!!! Hang in there, Mama!
    Kelly

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  5. The last time I saw harper she jumped out of the car and said momma can give them a hug..the next day she was in the hospital I want you to know that I pray for all yall. every night I pray harper gets better..we all have been praying at dubach high
    mrs cauley hang in there the LORD will alwats be on your side
    Brittany

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  6. Hi Mandy

    I'm Brookes sister-in-law, Jessica. I've been praying for you and your sweet family since Brooke first told me about Harper being in the hospital. I have a 20 month old and the thought of going through this with him is unbearable. I am inspired by your strength and your commitment to your family, this blog and God. Even though I dont know you, I KNOW you're an amazing woman of God; it's comforting to know that through the difficult times you're giving it to Him. Also, knowing that Brooke loves you so much makes me love you. I hope to meet you one day; I hope that the day that I meet you I also get to meet Harper and the rest of your sweet family.

    "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. " Psalm 46:1

    Much love and Hugs from Austin,
    Jessica, Douglas and Noah

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  7. Mandy,

    I've been following your blog since Harper first got sick. My husband, Brandon, and I read it regularly and cry - both of us! - at the transparency with which you write and the beauty of your soul as God is transforming you.

    We, too, have been in your shoes-ish and are deeply moved by your words and the deep soul-stirring emotions they convey to us even after so much time has passed. Our daughter, Sophia, was sick for an extended time when she was 1 with a MRSA infection. She had been hospitalized for a week when she was firstborn for an infection, but it was nothing compared to this experience. We remember vividly the initial treatments failing, the initial diagnoses being proved wrong, the terror as she got sicker, the fear as she had surgery, the helplessness as she lay in a hospital bed attached to a zillion cords. We sympathize with the care that is required after the hospital stay is finally through - the weeks of follow-up, the fever spikes, the meds, the wound care, the way you watch every single thing, analyzing it to make sure you don't miss a beat. And we also felt God sustain us and grow us and transform us into more of His likeness. We had only been in Winston-Salem for a year when she got sick and our parents were all still in Texas. It was completely against my nature to rely so heavily on the compassion and strength and generosity of others (especially strangers!). I wanted to do it myself, to appear strong and in control. And honestly, it's something I'm still working on. :)

    When my son was 5 months old, he became very sick with RSV and was hospitalized for many days as well. I thought I should be a seasoned pro by that point, but it was equally as humbling and transforming an experience. Of course with RSV there is nothing to be done to combat the illness since it is an infection; the hospital stay was for assistive measures - to help him breathe, to give him IV fluids, etc. His illness progressed so quickly - from bad to terrible in less than 24 hours. When we arrived at the hospital, he was blue. I'm still teary at remembering the entire emergency room experience.

    Thank you for blogging about your experience. Selfishly it is helping me to process those experiences that are deeply personal and fearful and out-of-control feeling that I often wall-off and do not process because, frankly, what mother of two has the space to process that? Thank you for the chance to reconnect and to share a deeply emotional and spiritual experience across the miles and spanning the years since we have seen one another.

    We are praying for you. Deeply and fervently. For Harper. For Baylor. For Nick. We love you all so deeply that it is just crazy! Sophia prays for Harper. She calls her "the girl with the curly blonde hair who is sick and whose Mommy is my friend from when we were little girls." She prays for God to heal Harper just like He healed her and just like He healed Quinn. Out of the mouths of babes, right?

    A friend of mine has written a great paper on the pain of Holy Saturday, of not knowing that Easter is coming the next day. She is writing it from the perspective of couples who are or who have experienced infertility, but I think it applies to the parents of very sick children too. We are not only Easter Christians. We have the hope of the resurrection, yes, but also the pain of Holy Saturday. Of not knowing the next day will hold a miracle. Of feeling pain and disillusionment and the want to give up. Of being bewildered and unsure of what step to take next. Of being afraid. Of having the wind knocked out of us. May God grant you grace with yourself to process through all of this experience as the Spirit leads and enduring strength for the journey.

    Blessings and love and hugs from the depths of my soul,
    Jill

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  8. Praise Jesus! I love you Mandy and Harper!!!

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  9. Aaron asks Tommy & about every other day if there is any news on Harper. I try to read your blog everyday. Your writing is remarkable and really makes us feel like we are there with you both, and understand what each of you are going through! We pray that this will be over soon and you never have to do this again. If there is anything we can do for you, please know that your friends at DHS are here for you & your family...

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  10. Mandy- we are praying for you guys! We are so excited to see she is getting to home. We will continue to pray for you guys.
    Let us know if we can do anything. -tabitha, Kyle and kendall Grady

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