Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baby Stellan and Prayers

I am not sure how I first heard of Baby Stellan... I think it has been over a year now. I pray for this baby daily. I love to look at pictures of his brothers and sister. I pray for his mother and father. I feel that I could be "best friends" with his mother. I probably have prayed more for this baby than I have for my own children. I probably have prayed more for this mother than any other woman I know. The thing about that is I don't really know them. If Stellan saw me, he would see a STRANGER. If his mother passed me at the grocery store, she would not even glance my direction unless my kids were throwing a fit (which I am sure they never do in a store). You might be a bit confused now... I have been a bit perplexed about it myself... but you see God isn't.

There is a woman named Jennifer McKinney who lived somewhere (I can't even remember the state since she calls it the Frozen Tundra most of the time - Minnesota) who started a blog about her family. People know her as MckMama. She used to use her children's names... but she switched them out to protect their privacy to be known as "Big Mac", "MckNuggett" and "Small Fry" - but the baby's real name is Stellan. Stellan has a story - he was not supposed to live according to the medical world... but God had a plan. God gave Stellan life in his mother's womb, and chose to continue his life in this Earth. He is a miracle... and over 10 million times have people clicked on his mommy's blog to read about his life... Yes, I did say 10 million. He has also made the news... several times.

So, a baby not expected to live... lives. So, a baby supposed to have heart problem... doesn't.... for months... then, SURPRISE he does. It was no surprise to God... so, each one of these curious 10 million glances into their life... let's think a small percentage prays and asks God for mercy on this family for this baby to live... and he lives... and he has major surgery to try to stop his heart problems... and he lives... but he is not "fixed" yet... but he is living....

And his mother... she is telling the story as best she can... with humor, compassion, a bit of rough language (well, don't we all get angry and upset), and best of all, she tells us and shows us and gives an example of God's faithfulness... God's love... and God has used this story to reveal bits of himself to us all... so I pray... I continue to pray for these "strangers" ... but I am really praying for my sister in Christ... and a baby that I love a lot. And I pray for the Daddy that is not with the baby in the hospital... and the boys who miss their mommy while she is with their baby brother in the hospital... and the little baby girl that misses her mommy while she is gone...

MckMama posted about prayers... on April 22 - "Why Bother Praying?" with so many praying... we all wonder "is God listening? Is God going to do another miracle and heal his heart?" We want the MIRACLE... the MIRACLE of a healed heart with a baby that goes home with his mommy.... we want the Hallmark card... but God he wants the Masterpiece... I believe God is using this baby and his family to teach all of us readers and those that come to know them about him... Stellan is a miracle, because 10 million times people have checked on him to see what GOD IS DOING with this baby and this family. This family is ALL ABOUT GOD and this baby is FROM GOD.

When Squash had his surgery, I craved and really wanted people to pray for him... and I was faced with the same questions... Will our prayers make a difference? Will it help to have MORE people praying? Will the prayers of my innocent children touch God's heart MORE than mine or another adult? I thought of all the negative things that could go WRONG during surgery or post operation. I realize though that I have no more control of my sweet baby's life on the day of surgery than I do right now as he sleeps sweetly in his bed. It is scary when you realize it... but it so means that this child belongs to God. We prayed to God and asked him to protect him... He belongs to God. God gave him life, and God knows what day will be his last... I am not sure if these questions are questions of an immature baby Christian - or the true burden carried by many strong Christians - who have looked into God and choice and free will and lots of other deep theological questions.

So - what is the point of prayer? Does God hear? Does God care? YES! YES! YES! I can't think of any examples in the Bible where MORE prayers affected the outcome than one prayer of one person. I stumbled - and I am sure it was not by accident - but by God's appointment on a Max Lucado book called - Everyone Needs a Miracle - HE STILL MOVES STONES- and there was a segment on - you'll never believe it - PRAYER.... Chapter 10 - The Power of a Timid Prayer - When You Wonder If Your Prayers Matter - and guess what - the Bible story is about a father with a sick son seeking a MIRACLE.

The father asked Jesus "IF You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." The father questioned, and had doubt - IF. Jesus responded "if you believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Wow! All things possible... but sometimes I admit I don't have that kind of belief...This loving father did not either - and the father said, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" - The father wanted to believe - just like I want to believe in the things I pray for... The disciples had tried to heal this boy, and failed... so they asked Jesus in private, "Why?" Why couldn't the disciples heal this child when they were able to help others... Jesus responded, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." Who prayed? Not the disciples - but the father - the one with inadequate faith... a simple cry from a father asking "IF" and wanting to believe - changed everything...

The story is found in Mark 9: 14-29. To sum it up, PRAYER MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Just in case, you ever wondered... and wanted the proof.

So, read Stellan's story (really God's story) if you dare - You will fall in love... because she is just like you and me... and you will PRAY... how could you not? But, if you don't want to hear about a miracle, and obsessively click on her blog and check to see if she has any new news... then don't check it out...

Because of MckMama's blog, I finally decided after a year of thinking about it to write... why? Because I knew that exposing my heart would be hard... but I want to see these miracles recorded in my life. I also wanted to make friends with amazing people like Jennifer - and I wanted my "in real life" friends to learn more of my heart - and for them to share more of theirs with me... so, please post a comment - or I will never know you cared enough to read this...

And about those prayers for SQUASH- it carried us through. It gave us peace to know others were praying. It gave us comfort to pray during the waiting... and Squash is great. He has his cast off, and his hand is healing nicely. As a friend told me today as I showed off his hand, "looks great to me - I never noticed it before." So, it is healing nicely... I think it is still tender. I don't think he has all the strength back yet... but he will be able to wear a wedding ring. Thanks for praying.

p.s. (Couldn't give you the link before - or you would have never read the rest of this blog!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Power Tools & Imagination

Well, today we visited the plastic surgeon. The Dr. cut the cast off of Squash's arm, and we checked out his hand. He really wanted to touch it and feel it. It was quite swollen from being immobilized, and it was explained to me that it was fluid. There were lots and lots of stitches. The stitches were black, ugly and ragged. It looked like a switchblade was used on his hand. If the doctor did not have such a good bedside manner, I probably would have been really upset.

I left feeling hopeful. The doctor said he had a VCR in his head and could fast forward two weeks, and it looked really good. The Dr. reminded me he had grey hair, etc. Actually, how could you not like a guy that wears fluffy red bow ties and carries a worn brown doctor's bag. The Dr. has grey hair, glasses, and a great smile. The Dr. told me the stitches would just fall out, and I did not even have to count them! I told him he must know me- that I am exactly the type to count stitches and make sure they all came out... Squash picked at his hand a bit (which I hated!). Then, the Dr. washed it off really well with some soap. I was thankful. The mother in me wanted to really wash off all the dried blood, etc. (don't want to be too graphic). Then, he re-wrapped it, and put the cast back over it and taped it up. The cast was cut off with a power tool that had a rotating metal disk that was sharp enough to cut through the fiberglass cast... I was a bit worried, and of course, the baby was SCREAMING. He warned the other two kids, Sweet Pea & Pumpkin, that the baby would cry but would not actually be hurt. However, it was quite a power tool.

When we left, Pumpkin asked me, "Where are the suckers?" since our pediatrician hands out suckers at the checkout desk. I was thinking at that moment we ALL deserved a sucker.

I think it takes quite a bit of imagination for a plastic surgeon to do his work. He cuts, pulls, tears, stretches, and steals from other places to sew something together to make a child more beautiful in the future. When the child is all stitched up, it may not look better, but given time... the end product will be beautiful.

I was reminded this week that the reason I so wanted this surgery was so that he could wear a wedding ring. It's true. If he did not have the surgery, he could not. You might have never noticed the extra skin, and it might never have affected anything he wanted to do physically in life... but I want to look down the road a bit. I want him to experience life with a wife, and yes, I want to see him stand up someday in a church and exchange vows and put a symbol on his finger of a ring to show the world that he has made a covenant before God to love and cherish his wife forever. It's important.

SO, I've been thinking a lot about imagination this week. It really started about a week ago. When a friend's child asked, "Mommy, why do parents LIE about Santa?" right after I mentioned that SANTA brought my kids a trampoline this year. Yes, the Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and the lot can cause quite a bit of controversy in Christian circles. I am not about to tell ANYONE how to handle it. I am not sure I am handling it right... but it is fun to give Easter baskets, and hide eggs. It is fun to "play Santa". I love the look of wonder on my kids faces, and yes, I am elusive when they ask if it is "real." I grew up with visits from Santa, Bunnies, etc. I never questioned whether Jesus was real, when I realized that Santa was not. I don't have the answers on this one, and I am struggling with it. Jesus never celebrated Easter or Christmas, and never told us too. Jesus celebrated Passover, but we don't. I wish all Christians did. I want to learn about Jesus's feasts, and his holidays... not the ones made up with presents and baskets. I want to dig deeper... but I struggle... I still want the eggs in the tall grass... I still want to hunt them... I still want to have chocolate bunnies smeared on my fingers... does it mean I am clinging to the world? I think "those that don't do bunnies and baskets" probably think so... but I think that Jesus would be running and giggling with childish delight as my kids find each egg... and yes, the bedtime story that I read tonight about Jesus's Palm Sunday, his betrayal, his death, and his resurrection... that is what I will make sure my kids will remember MOST about EASTER. I dare you - ask them - What is Easter all about?