Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Still leaning

"Child of My love. Lean hard. Let Me feel the pressure of your care. I know your burden, child. I shaped it—I poised it in My own hand and made no proportion of its weight to your unaided strength. For even as I laid it on, I said I shall be near, and while she leans on Me, this burden shall be Mine, not hers. So shall I keep My child within the encircling arms of My own love. Here lay it down. Do not fear to impose it on a shoulder which upholds the government of worlds. Yet closer come. You are not near enough. I would embrace your burden, so I might feel My child reposing on My breast. You love Me. I know it. Doubt not, then. But, loving me, lean hard."

A year ago today I posted this poem by Octavius Winslow shared by a woman from Oregon who found our story online and became a friend and prayer warrior. We were preparing for our trip to Iowa to meet with Dr. Menezes. Danica was in so much pain, and we were desperate to find help and make a plan for treatment. If you have been following us on this journey you know what amazing things God has done in Danica's healing and in our lives. As I sit here this morning sipping my second cup of coffee, reading, praying and reflecting on God's faithfulness to us I'm tempted to become distracted by the "mess" of boxes and our looming move. Still, there is a strange peace I never would have thought possible because my heart is changed in drastic ways from so much leaning. God has orchestrated every detail of our lives. I can rest in this as surely as I can move forward confident He is holding our tomorrows.

365 days. 68,782 pageviews on Team Danica. Thousands of emails and facebook posts of encouragement. Thousands of prayers. Thousands of dollars in financial support for medical bills, travel to and from Cincinnati and for basic needs so I was able to quit work and care full time for Danica in recovery. Hundreds of handwritten letters and greeting cards. Dozens of gifts and packages. All of this love has been the ink writing our story. God also brought us through two major surgeries for me in the midst of all going on with Danica and has granted healing to my body in miraculous ways. If you would have told me what great things God was going to do for us last May I would have scarcely believed you. I still lived in a heart that sheltered impossibilities. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Ephesians 3:20 This is my reality now. Nothing is impossible with our God.

I had such grandiose intentions to post each day of our wish trip. I haven't given up on that, but I have slowed on posting here because it's difficult to bear my heart at such a vunerable time. Dan and I both feel some shame at becoming the ultimate cliche'. Moving back in with my parents makes us the butt of a hundred jokes. I worry about how our family will adjust. I worry about Dan and I's marriage. I worry about how long it will take to get back on our feet and have our own home again. It seems God has consistently taken away the one thing I know for sure I have idolized, my own space and things. Still, I want to tell each of you who has supported us your continued love has been the salve on our wounds. What you have done for us has not been in vain. We are still leaning hard in this next chapter. We covet your prayers as we keep our hearts open to what God would have us to do.

This past week Dan's dad got very sick and became hospitalized. We took a quick trip to Maryland to visit him and left the girls here with my parents. It was a good weekend. Curt and Eleanor are two of our favorite people in the world. They have walked closely with us since God brought our hearts and lives together. Curt was able to come home, and we spent a beautiful day on the back deck enjoying one another and feeling a particular grace that often comes when you are reminded our days are not a sure thing. The time Dan and I were able to spend with one another in the car was truly a special blessing. Every time we visit the DC area where we once lived our hearts ache a little. It feels like home in tangible and non tangible ways. This trip was no exception. We know we are meant to be here in Ohio but the dreamer in us still imagines going back to the place we feel so connected to.

As we drove up into my parent's neighborhood Sunday evening we saw our girls on the corner lot playing with the hose and water balloons and a half a dozen friends. I especially noticed Danica and the joy in her face being included in such normal childhood fun. Her new snazzy green walker sat nearby. Her knee was skinned, but I didn't panic about how or when she might have had a little fall. We pulled into the driveway covered with sidewalk chalk art and abandoned flipflops and Dan and I looked at one another and flashed heart smiles. It will be a good summer. Here is where we prayed God would carry us. There is a feeling of excitement and adventure beneath the stress of this huge change. Although there are moments of anxiety there is infinitely more peace, less fear and a true anticipation to see what God will write in the next pages. The foundation of our heart change is gratitude and remembrance of His goodness and grace to us. Yes, we are still leaning, and it's a beautiful place to rest.

(There is a long "honor roll" of pediatric Chiari heroes God has brought into our lives this past year. Won't you please pray for the Wendorff family? Their son, Brayden, will have his third brain surgery tomorrow and their son, Zachary, has also been diagnosed with Chiari and will have his first decompression on June 2nd. Please lift up Dan and Amanda, their brave parents, and the rest of the children and family who are also so greatly affected. Thank you.)


  1. So glad you have found some peace. Praying that God leads you in all the right directions!

  2. Thanks for the reminder to lean harder, Monica. God's ways are so amazing, aren't they?! In two weeks Kalen will be flying to Orlando for a week's training for his summer internship with KPMG. Who would have thought he would ever do something like this? Samuel is adjusting very slowly to the idea of no longer being able to carry on his practice and having to shift gears dramatically in applying for disability. This past weekend was another two steps back for him, so we are leaning even harder. Thanks for your prayers and the encouragement of your lives this past year. Has it really been that long?!