To my dearest E– Anne Cross,
Today we are celebrating an entire year of life with you. I’ve been trying to unpack the emotions of today sweet bitty for they are so many.
You little girl were longed for and prayed for. From the day we knew you would join us we rejoiced. The day you were born I remember feeling a flood of relief and love as your baba laid you on my chest. We were separated briefly and an hour later when he placed you in my arms again I couldn’t drink in your beauty enough.
You were sick right away and struggling to breath and soon we were separated again as we got you oxygen to help you breathe. Every hour (or more) I’d trek down the hall to sit next to your isolette and sing to you. For a little bit they let me hold you then you needed to focus on just breathing so I would open your warmer and place my hands over you and pray. Oh little one how I prayed.
A beautiful image God gave to me as I cried out for your health…my Savior whispered to me that your life was a beautiful song he had written…though the notes seemed too hard to hear at this juncture he was writing a beautiful song with your life. I prayed that He would make it a long symphony and not a short melody. God never promised me he would heal you little girl he just asked me to rest in the beauty of each note, each moment of life with you.
I want you to know about the many that stood by you in those days. Your doctor who answered all our questions with grace. Then there were your mommy’s friends. Ruth and Bre were the first to hold you….they spent the next few days with me (and you) making sure mommy wasn’t alone when she was worried about you. Your Grandma was here, she was with your sisters and brothers so they wouldn’t be afraid. Your aunty Nyadeng came and spent that first night with us even walking down to NICU to see you as mommy tried to get you to eat. Then there was Ginna…she pretended like the worried mother calling all the time was no disruption to her full days of work and motherhood, she gave me hope when I was sure that we would never be able to bring you home and she coordinated your plane ride to South Africa. Your Aunty Lesli came that last day we were in Kenya and ran around helping answer questions and getting paperwork so you could be on the plane. There were many more, Sarai from afar who answered questions and your aunt Tia who cried with me and answered all my NICU questions. There was a mass of prayer warriors who prayed faith and healing over you when your mommy was too afraid to pray.
Today as I type this your sitting beside me laughing and trying to grab the keyboard. Each time I see your long lashes or get a glimpse of your gum filled mouth I feel overcome with gratitude that you’re here beside me…there are no words for the miracle you are.
There were three distinct times I remember that the doctors told me your life was ending…and each time God in His mercy proved them wrong.
When I look at your life and listen to the song God is writing in you all I see is grace and His goodness but I never want you to be confused dear one, God’s goodness never hinged on your healing, his goodness is never linked to outcomes but in his character. But the mercy he showed us in sparing your life last year and giving us you springs from his goodness and is testimony to His mercy.
There is one moment that stands out to me. It is the first time I was able to hold you after you had been on life support. You felt so warm in my arms and I couldn’t stop crying. I thought that I would never hold you again tube free and breathing and yet there you were…it is my moment to remember to cling to Hope, to rest in God’s grace and know that sometimes He can do the unexpected, He can heal beyond expectation and explanation. Little one the day I held you was the exact day a decade earlier I held your oldest sister, Marylou. Her lifestory also sings God’s grace but from heaven and there was something amazing about holding a miracle on the day that I remembered so clearly holding your sister for the last time. Both moments for me, holding you at the beginning of your life, and your sister at the end of hers speak of God’s goodness but the melodies are so different. His mercy shines from each of your lives but the way He showed grace was so distinctly unique and well God like. This is the beauty of our Savior little one He makes all things new and good in His time and goodness, sometimes through miraculous healing and sometimes through deep grief.
I am sure as you go through life it will be riddled with tears, sadness, and joys but my prayer for you dear one is you will rest in God’s character as he writes the notes of your life, each stanza may not be a sweet sound to your ears but that you will trust that melody He is writing in your life is for His glory and because of that is good.
So today I’m remembering deep fear, frightening moments surrounding your entrance as well as the many miracles that God orchestrated for your recovery. I’m watching you crawl around and get into cabinets you’re not supposed to…I’m laughing as you crinkle your nose in joy and I’m praising God that one year ago he chose to heal a very sick little girl and give her to us for this season, the joy of your life reminds us of His mercy we are so glad to live life with you E— Anne may your life song always sing of God’s character and grace.