Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blessing of Obedience

Our instructions on Qavah's care included restrictions.  Just before she was discharged from the hospital the doctor said, "No crowds, shopping centers, or crowded movie theaters for another two months." He didn't say church.  This morning we dressed for church and took Qavah in her frilly dress, pink hat, white gloves, and face mask.  She patiently wore the mask for two hours during the service and afterward.  Paul and I sat in the pew with Kathryn and Qavah feeling victorious in the struggle for wholeness for our girls.  The congregation at Shoresh David has been praying for us and it was a victory for them as well to witness how the Lord has lifted up Kathryn and Qavah.  The sermon was based on the "heart" of obedience.  As we listened, we shed some tears, but they were tears of joy. Paul and I feel as though we are here in Pittsburgh living out our walk of obedience, and finding God to be faithful and true. To some, I suppose our adoption of the girls is a curious thing; friends our age are now retired and downsizing while we are in the midst of starting over.   

Obedience sometimes looks a little unconventional, like Noah building a boat the length of two football fields in preparation for a flood when the sun was shining.  This morning, my silver-haired husband carried Qavah in his arms to the front of the church with the strength of a young man. It was time for the blessing of the children.  Children gathered under the outstretched prayer shawl and stood under its shelter as the blessing was proclaimed over their lives.  The blessing included asking God for their hearts to be courageous as they live out their life purpose, and that they would claim their inheritance as children of the King.  The steadfast love of the Lord was pictured there for me as Qavah rested in the arms of a father who loves her unconditionally.  

Lord, let me follow you in obedience to the hard places, and in those hard places, feel Your everlasting arms around me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Needed: Nerves of Steel

Late this afternoon Kathryn and I left for the grocery store and I gave Paul all of the instructions he needed to check Qavah's blood sugar and advised him regarding her snacks.  He let her watch a movie while he finished up his work day.  Then he decided to walk up two flights of stairs, retrieve our laundry from the dryer, and come back to Qavah.  His plan didn't work as he had hoped. Qavah didn't wait in the room. While Paul waited for the dryer to finish Qavah went on an adventure.  She put on her jacket and face mask and decided to walk over to the hospital to check out her old room and say hi to the nurses.

When Paul got back with the laundry, I was just walking in with groceries.  I asked where Qavah was, and we both dashed around the apartment looking for her when we realized she was missing. I ran to a phone to report her missing while Paul followed his hunch and went over to the hospital. On his way through the corridor, a nurse came walking toward Paul with a smiling Qavah!  "We love to have you visit us Qavah, but only with your Mom and Dad," she explained.  She handed Qavah over to Paul and the two of them headed back to the apartment.  Paul phoned me immediately and I cancelled the search.

For about fifteen minutes today we were frantic.  Not because Qavah would intentionally get into mischief, but because we no longer live in a world where little girls and boys are safe to be out on their own.  Qavah was able to follow people through two security doors and work the elevator on her own.  We are torn between thinking she was foolish, and yet, proud of her for being so resourceful.  She made it all the way to the ninth floor of the hospital and went back to her old room to see if anyone had moved in.  She had a wonderful time, and had some hugs from friends. 

Qavah feels good enough to walk a long way, she feels like seeing visitors, and she enjoyed her outing today.  While she was very sick, we were hoping for her full recovery and today was proof that that day has come.  Now we can say she is back to being an ordinary kid. Now we ask for your prayers for wisdom and strength to withstand the shocking things kids can do as they are growing up.  Being a parent takes nerves of steel.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Life

I took the girls outside to the cafeteria patio last evening just before returning Qavah to her hospital room for the night.  I couldn't resist the sunset.  The air was mild and the girls sat together on one of the lounge chairs while I snapped a picture.  This photograph is filled with the goodness of God. Kathryn is walking using her brand new hip, without getting weary. Qavah has a completely new blood supply and the doctor told me yesterday that she is now healed of Diamond Blackfan Anemia. Her new bone marrow is working strong, and even her immune system is up and beginning to function two months ahead of schedule.  I look into the girls' faces and know that I am seeing the evidence of God at work, and my heart is giving Him a standing ovation.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


Paul and I left Pittsburgh at ten o'clock in the morning on Saturday and drove until we met up with Kathryn and Paul Burton.  They started out about the same time heading north while we drove south.  Because of a traffic jam on I-81, Paul Burton and Kathryn sat in traffic for more than an hour. Therefore, Paul and I continued to drive all the way to the Virginia boarder until we met.  I saw the roadsign that said "Roanoke" and was suprised by tears. Next week marks three months away from home, and until I saw the sign, I thought I was pretty well adjusted to life in Pittsburgh.

When we finally met up with Paul Burton and Kathryn, we had lunch together.  Qavah sat as close to Paul Burton as possible throughout the meal.  Before I knew it I was in the car driving back to Pittsburgh with the girls while Paul went on home to Roanoke with Paul Burton.  The plan worked out well and we were back to the hospital in time to hook Qavah back up to her IV pole for evening medications.  The time away was good for all of us.  Qavah has been a bit teary today.  Hearing Paul's voice over the phone seems to trigger an attack of homesickness.  It is not as easy to distract her with the promise of a movie or another activity, as it once was.  We are doing our best to keep her happy, and little games, gifts, and greeting cards, continue to trickle in every day. Thanks to many of you for those little happy gifts!

I looked across the table to these three smiling faces and know without a doubt that my life has been blessed.  Kathryn has a new hip and Qavah a new blood supply. They looked so strong and healthy. Paul Burton brought me some gluten free cookies and stated that he was happy to do it, but will be happier when we are all home again. His smiling eyes, which worked effectively when he was a child getting into mischief, still melt my heart.  

Children are an heritage from the Lord.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Vision

Over the course of the past four years, when I made Qavah's appointments for transfusions back in Roanoke, I would often visualize the future. I would try to imagine the day that I would hear the words, "She's cured."  Sometimes the image was so strong in my mind, I would cry for joy.  If just imagining it brought me to tears, I would wonder how I would behave the day that the vision became a reality.  

I don't have to wonder about that anymore.  One morning this past week the doctors were making their rounds.  When they came to Qavah's room they shared the morning counts.  After hearing the number of white cells, neutrophils, red cells and platelets, I suddenly realized that every one of Qavah's counts were in the normal range.  Not because she was transfused, but because her body made all of those cells in her own bone marrow. I turned to the doctor on my left and heard him say, "So it appears Qavah will not need another transfusion."  

I was surprised by my lack of emotion.  I thought, "This wasn't how I dreamed it!"  I took the news and tucked it into my brain to examine later.  Then late last night I was tucking Qavah into bed and I noticed how pink her lips are.  I asked if she had eaten something red and she told me she hadn't.  In a sudden rush of emotion I started to feel the deep gratitude for the healing that has taken place in Qavah.  Her lips are pink, her palms are pink, and her hands stay warm, all because her bone marrow is working as it should.  I asked Qavah if she was feeling better, to which she replied, "Yes, better than ever and ever!"  What started with a vision or dream is now our reality.  Praise be to God, Who gave us the vision. It seems to me that taking time to dream is an essential step in the process. Dust off those dreams, and don't let them go.  Dreams formed by prayer may be tomorrow's reality.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3