God took the Crown family away for awhile and in the past month brought them back to Canton. I told Danica Brooke had moved home a couple of weeks ago. She asked and asked when she would see her again. Because of our sickness the reunion had been delayed, and her little heart was so ready to spend some time with her friend. Yesterday was finally the day! Brooke's birthday had been the week before, and Danica wanted to have a little celebration for her of our own. We made a colorful paper chain and baked special cupcakes for the occasion. Danica helped me wrap her special gift of fairy paper dolls. We set the table and got everything ready before Danica left for preschool.
When Brooke and her mom showed up at the back door the smiles on the girl's faces were ear to ear. Brooke was carrying her new American Girl doll, Emily. She had finally been able to take her wish trip from the amazing local agency Wishes Can Happen. Her wish had long been to have a REAL American Girl doll. (Remember when she sacrificed her Target doll as a gift to Danica?) They gave her a beautiful trip to Chicago's American Girl Place and all the special treats a girl could imagine. After she had done lots of shopping and picked out her own dolls and plenty of other goodies they went to the bistro to have lunch. In all the excitement and "excess" she was so unfamiliar with she was still thinking of her friend. She asked her mom if maybe they could get Danica a doll too. After they finished eating she went back to the avenue of dolls and picked out BRAVE Emily, one of the same dolls she had chosen for herself. Her reasoning was simple. Because they are both brave girls. Yes, the bravest girls I know. Brooke's heart was brimming over as she gave Danica the big red signature bag with her gift. Danica could scarcely believe it was real. (She has often snuck into Delaney's room when she is at school to play with her sister's special dolls. I always told her she needed to be older to get her own.) The girls took off with their Emilys to play in Danica's room for the afternoon. Kindred little hearts and so much love . . . love like Calvary Love . . . thinking of one another before themselves . . . sharing in suffering and in Grace and living in hope. I saw the Kingdom of God as they ran down the hallway. Melinda and I chimed in unison, "Don't run!!! Walk!!!." Yes, we are on the same road.
Melinda and Brooke are at Cleveland Clinic today and as I type they are waiting to take her back for anesthesia. I am there in every way except physically. Two weeks from now we will be in Cincinnati doing the same with our sweet girl. The trips, the waiting, the telling and retelling of our story, the constant fight to give them the best chance, the bills that never end, the management of symptoms and care and wondering when the other shoe will drop is soul wrenching and at times all consuming. Without God how would we do this? Without Calvary Love where would we be? And so I sit here at the foot of the cross today praying for them and thanking God for the gift of them. Won't you please pray too. They have many needs but this moment it is strength and grace for the struggle, the IV, the waiting, the recovery, the long drive home and mostly what the pictures will show in Brooke's little brain and spinal cord.
"If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honour that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary Love."
Amy Carmichael from If, What do I know of Calvary Love?