Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A little update and a little project

Art thou weary, tender heart?
Be glad of pain:
In sorrow sweetest virtues grow,
As flowers in rain.
God watches, and thou wilt have sun,
When clouds their perfect work have done.
-Lucy Larcom

For those of you who still check in on Musings on Hope, I'd like to thank you deeply for all your prayers over the past five years. I cannot believe it has been five years since I went on bed rest with PPROM. God has truly answered our prayers in ways I never thought possible.

Maggie is doing amazing! She still works so hard every week - with at least four different therapy sessions. But starting in a few weeks she will attend the same school as Mary Lawrence and I just want to pinch myself: Is this really happening!? The same child about which we were told she would never make it to viability during pregnancy, who would never survive birth, who wouldn't have lungs, who would be severely disabled if we didn't terminate the pregnancy- this child is going to school with her older sister?! Incredible.

Yes, Maggie still wears her braces and has a feeding tube, and struggles with balance issues. But those things will eventually (and hopefully) go away. But the fact that Maggie is able to live a somewhat normal life fills our hearts with gratitude. At least once or twice a week Justin and I get teary-eyed looking at our "miracle baby." Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Truly we have witnessed a miracle and an answered prayer in Maggie's life.

I know I haven't been active with blogging the past year or so. Part of me just has been relishing in the mundane but important days of raising children. We have also thoroughly enjoyed having a healthy, happy baby in Neely. Wow - she truly is a gift, so happy and funny!  She brings joy to our lives everyday.

Mary Lawrence is starting the second grade and getting so tall! I tell her all the time she can't get any older! My little blonde-headed baby is getting so mature and confident. And I am so proud of her.

While I wish I could say my blogging silence was also because life was so much easier - and I therefore didn't have much write to about - the truth is life has been rather difficult these past few years. We've been in a quiet phase of transition just dealing with the less dramatic but still consuming issues of Maggie's life: schlepping to therapy and checkups, working on her consuming more calories (a constant struggle), dealing Maggie's extremely strong-willed personality, and various other things that aren't specific enough to write about. Frankly, I've been exhausted - physically, emotionally, and mentally.

On top of that, my beloved grandmother unexpectedly passed away this past Spring and that has been a big blow. When you lose the person you spoke with every other day for an hour - who knew the ins and outs of all your struggles and triumphs and who was your prayer warrior - it is devastating. Understandably, this has been a quiet summer of reflection and, well, lots of crying and praying!

However, in reading through the Streams in the Desert devotional I have gained a deeper understanding of suffering and what a blessing it is to believers. Sound strange, I know. But as I have said before, the time I felt closest to the Lord was when I was alone in my stark Baylor hospital room, pleading for mercy and healing. In my pain this summer, I have felt the same peace and understanding.

But losing my grandmother has also pushed me to do something I have wanted to do for years: create a place for people to go to find out what to do, say, and give in certain situations. In my trials these past five years I have witnessed many examples of love and thoughtfulness (thank you sweet friends!), but also some very hurtful words and actions. I believe most people want to live a life that is deep and full of grace, but oftentimes don't know how in certain areas of their lives. I want to use my experiences to create a guide where people can go to find out stuff like: My friend just had a miscarriage, what do I say? What is a thoughtful gift for a teacher who has gone above and beyond for my child? What do I do when I forgot to send a thank you note for a really special gift? Or how to I raise my children to have manners that are genuine and respectful? I want to help make this kind of gracious way of living both appealing and effective. 

So I invite you to visit my little summer project, DoSayGive (www.dosaygive.com). Some might say it's an etiquette guide, but it's more than that. DoSayGive seeks to help us to sift through the mediocrity and rubbish of our culture and live meaningful and deep lives, lives that can give so much to others. It seeks to restore the lost art of refinement, for my generation and the next. I would love for you to join me there. 

Thank you again or the support and prayers over the years. Many of you I have never even met, but still faithfully prayed for Maggie. I humbly ask for your conitnued prayer as we begin this next stage of Maggie's life. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for her. Already God's testimony has touched so many people through her story and no doubt will for years to come. 

Gratefully yours,

Lee (and family)

"The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks, while in reality it is only the weight which is necessary to keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls." - Richter (Streams in the Desert).