Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name

Today I had to go to my OB's office for a shot.  Dr. Siegel has two offices, and I have almost always gone to one location.  The only time I've had to go to the other location was for ultrasounds.  But today I had to venture up there.  In the waiting room I was doing fine and wasn't thinking too much about my pregnancy with Samuel, but then the door to the hall opened, and the ultrasound tech who first detected Samuel's heart defect was standing there calling someone's name.  My heart skipped a beat.  I remembered how terrified I was before the appointment the morning of our 19 week ultrasound.  I woke up feeling sick with dread.  Nothing had previously indicated that something would be wrong, but I was so anxious, so ill-at-ease.  I recall walking over to Bryan in the playroom and putting his head on my chest.  He said, "Wow!  You really are nervous.  Your heart is beating like crazy."  Somehow that morning I knew we were going to get bad news.  I recall spending the whole drive to the office praying and praying and praying, beseeching God for peace, for faith in Him, for a heart that could rest in Him.

And I remember being in the ultrasound room with Bryan and hearing Shelley, the tech, say, "There's something wrong.  I will let a doctor know, and he will talk with you."  And most amazingly, I vividly remember the peace that flooded me in those moments.  Though I had been beyond anxious the whole morning leading up to those words, once I knew something was wrong, I was as calm as could be -- no fear, no tears...just peace.

Today Joel and I were led back to an exam room to await my shot, and we were put in the very room where Bryan and I waited to consult a doctor about the ultrasound findings.  As I recall, about 30 minutes passed from the time we knew something was wrong with our third son until we spoke with Dr. Siegel and heard what it was.  Dr. Siegel wasn't supposed to be in that morning.  He was supposed to be in surgery, but he just happened to be in the hall when Shelley was telling his partner about Samuel.  I had told Bryan once we knew something was amiss, "I only wish Dr. Siegel was here to talk with us."  It felt like grace from God when my doctor was the one who walked through the door to break the news.

Dr. Siegel was so kind that morning.  He spent a long time with us explaining what they saw, what they thought it was, what we could expect the next week to hold as far as appointments, and about the pediatric cardiologist we would see.  He described Dr. Videlefsky as "a prince of a man."  He couldn't have been more right.  I felt very cared for that day, and I was so remarkably peaceful.

In the moments when Dr. Siegel was explaining Samuel's defects, I had a groundbreaking realization.  Previously I had always said that the one area where I didn't know if I could truly trust and honor God was the well-being of my children.  I thought just about any other struggle would leave me standing firm in my faith, confident of the goodness of my God, ready to sing His praises.  But with my kids, I always feared I would not honor Him if I found myself losing one of them.  I feared I wouldn't be able to say, "Blessed be Your Name when I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed be Your Name."  I didn't think I would turn my back on God, but I did fear I wouldn't be able to praise Him.  In that moment, I knew I was wrong.  I knew BY THE GRACE OF GOD that I could open my hands and praise Him -- even if my son was to die.  It was a moment of utter confidence in my good God.   And that truth -- that God is good regardless of whether or not my baby lived -- carried me through the rest of the pregnancy and Samuel's brief life.

As Joel and I left the building today, Joel wanted to stop and sit on a bench in the lobby.  I'm sure it was no coincidence that he pointed to the very place where Bryan and I sat down to pause, to pray, to talk about what we had just heard upstairs on April 2, 2009.  There Bryan and I uttered our first words to each other about our third son: "I know God is good.  I know He is with us.  I know He made our son, and He didn't make a mistake.  I know we can trust Him."  And how true that has held.

Through the months that followed, the changing diagnoses, the myriad of doctor visits, the ever-altering picture of what was ahead, the very real possibility of Samuel having Down Syndrome, God sustained us.  Through the very short and yet scary labor three and half weeks before Samuel's due date, the unexpected news that his lungs were sick and he needed to go to the NICU, the new diagnosis that meant an almost immediate trip to Egleston, and then the following month of hope... and fear... and death, God granted us everything we needed to praise Him, to trust Him, to face each moment.  He showered us with grace and kindness and love.  And here I am to say, "Blessed be Your Name on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, Blessed Be Your Name."


  1. Powerful, Kathryn! I am so glad to have you as a friend and an influence in my faith journey! Love you!
    Beth :)

  2. THANK YOU! Thank you for trusting in the one who sustains us. I unlike have found it easier to trust God with my children's well beings than in other things. Simply because I have not been able to protect them from a life of illness and pain. My oldest has Juvenile Rhuematoid Arthritis and it may sound simple but it hasn't always been. Your posts have been a great source of strength for me. In an ever changing and uncertain world I often wonder how we survive. It is only be the Mercy and Grace of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I pray your family has a blessed Christmas season and that you make new precious memories that last forever. Thanks for your witness to a living and Great God.