“Though she is small, she is but fierce.” Shakespeare
This is what it looks like when your heart is no longer your own. This is what it looks like when you hold your baby according to a schedule, not according to her cries. This is a picture of lives consumed with the beeps, wires, and medical jargon of life’s Plan B. Each of us has our own path to walk, and while it may be rocky and terrifying at times, most of us will never know the anguish and helplessness that Hannah’s parents have lived for the last two months. Nor will we ever experience the depth of peace and comfort that has been poured out from Heaven to fill and cover that fear and anxiety. There is one other thing that they have experienced in the days since Hannah’s birth, the power in prayer. This tiny little miracle, this sweet little baby, now two months old, is doing great work for the Lord.
Yes, it has been 2 months since Hannah Kay, our little tiger, graced this world with her presence at only 26 weeks into her momma, my sister-in-law’s pregnancy. (Read We interrupt this Christmas celebration for part 1 of this heart-tugging story) Two months… 1488 hours…89,280 minutes and every single one of the seconds that make up that time, this little family has been uplifted and supported by an invisible scaffolding of prayer. Prayers offered up by you and I. Prayers offered up by complete strangers. Prayers that have changed and affected the lives, of not only Hannah and our family, but the lives of those who have prayed for Hannah as well. On behalf of the family, let me say how grateful we are for every single prayer offered up on our behalf. Your response has been humbling. This is what your prayers look like…
In those same two months there have been middle of the night calls from the hospital that have produced bleary eyed mornings. There have been tears of fear, joy, and exhaustion. There have been moments when they thought their hearts would absolutely break. They have been doing the dance of two steps forward and one step back, all the while pulled ever closer towards God’s promise of rest and protection. There are days when They are discovering exactly what it is to be held by God.
“From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer.” (Ps 130:1)
The Lord has heard, and he has answered. On Monday, Hannah took one big step towards coming home as she was moved from NICU to the step-down unit. Born at 2 lbs 6 oz and 12 in long, Hannah is now 5 lbs 12 oz and 18″ long. She is taking bottles three times day and receives the remainder of her feedings though an NG tube. She’s on a low flow nasal cannula, on the lowest setting (0.1) Hannah loves her binky, and has a dimple the nurses (and her aunt) adore. Hannah has captured the heart of everyone who she has come in contact with. Hannah has a very special place in my heart. She is, in a way, a beautiful answer to so many of my “what ifs.” (Read My story)
A beautiful story, inspiring faith. But we cannot tell it without acknowledging what lies beyond a frosting of good news and answered prayers. Acknowledging, instead of ignoring, what’s found just below the surface, where heartache resides and reality nags. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. A phone call, a knock on the door, a doctor’s report, a life altering event that changes a life in uncountable, unimaginable ways. This is what I have come to call “the valley.” Deep, dark, and dreadful. But in the mess, in the heartache, in the realizing that we cannot save ourselves from the despair that clings to our heels, this is ultimately where we finally find Jesus…
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You .
(Matt Maher, Lord, I Need You)
Are you in a valley? You are not alone, so do not be afraid and cling to the grace of God, find your inner “Hannah-tiger” and be assured you can make it through.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NLT)