30 July 2012

image bearers

mir·a·cle [mir-uh-kuhl]  
an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
a wonder; marvel.
a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.
i met my friend ruth when she and her husband eric joined our neighborhood group. they were newlyweds. a year later they were parents. 

ruth is the kind of woman who is generous with her time and gracious with her expectations. i will never forget when she offered to come care for my 4 boys when the Mister was already living in maryland and while i was trying to pack our family and find renters for our cottage on porter road. she came to serve me while she was a mother to a toddler and pregnant with her second child. her husband traveled for work which often left her alone to care for herself and her toddler. and yet she extended her hand to the poor {and in my case, the poor in spirit}. she has always been a beautiful example of goodness to me. even when we planted a garden together in my backyard, it was ruth who patiently came to help weed and water the tender shoots. 

about 17 weeks ago, i learned that ruth and eric were expecting their 3rd child, a child who the doctors identified as "incompatible with life". my friend ariana called to give me the news. she forwarded the many emails that were written by eric, ruth's husband. the eloquence of his authenicity were some of the most beautiful and heart wrenching words i have ever read. here is an excerpt from when they first found out about their baby:
We know that we are in for a long race: one that we are ill prepared for. Baby girl’s body will continue to grow, as will Ruth’s. She will continue to kick and move about. There will be signs of life that will occur, all the while we will be preparing to deliver her and say goodbye to her at the same time. The reality of this is going to be tough for Ruth as it continues to unfold. The last 24 hours have already shown us moments that we feel fine, and moments that seem as though the world has stopped turning. We don’t feel as though we have a choice in the matter, though.
and then a few days later, he wrote:
It’s been an amazing few days, filled with moments of deep sorrow and moments where we are so amazed at the privilege to be a part of all that God is doing.
and then there was this:
People all over the world get the same type of devastating news every day, so it’s not as if we are unique or special. The amazing part is that God chose two of the most normal, unimpressive people that we know of and has given us the privilege of partnering with him in unfolding a story about a baby girl with only half of a brain and no nose, and a God who numbers days, makes people out of dirt, and rides in to town on a donkey, unlike any other king has ever done. He has used us to display himself. He has pulled us in close, because he knows that if he doesn’t, we will rebel and fall off the deep end. We have peace that passes all understanding, even while in the midst of something that should otherwise crush us. It’s not as if we’ve already gone through the fire and are able to look back at how he sustained us. We are in it, and he is good.
"who do the people say i am?" asked jesus in mark8. 
My last correspondence was filled with a lot of hope and peace, but I think it was based on some preconceived notion of a certain miracle. I didn’t think about it at the time, but we had spent the last two or three weeks conjuring up images of ourselves, 3 years from now, caring for a severely disabled little girl. I think being away from medical professionals for a few weeks afforded us the opportunity to dream things that weren’t reality. Honestly, I believed very deeply that this was going to be the appointment where we found out that she was completely healthy. I don’t know where that hope came from, but it made our day of appointments that much more difficult.
"he chose the weak to humble the proud": 
In my head, I had assumed that Pearl’s life was going to be one of those scenarios where God uses the foolish and weak of the world to shame the wise, but that was not the case. One day, Pearl will transition out of this world and into the presence of the Christ whom she never had the chance to reject. As parents, our most simple hope is that our children will grow to lean on Christ, and they will know what it means to be loved by God. Pearl doesn’t have that choice, and in a way that is a gift. Her brain will probably never develop to the point where rejecting him will be an option for her. The first time she ever hears his name will probably be a face-to-face encounter, and she doesn’t have to wrestle through some 21st century, westernized caricature of Christ that so many of us see through a dirty glass.Yes, yes, and yes, but Pearl bears the image of the same God that Brennan and Abbey do. We do not need to hide image bearers from other image bearers. God knit Pearl together in Ruth’s womb exactly as he saw fit. He didn’t make a mistake. Things didn’t go wrong. He brought her form into being with the same intentionality that he has created everyone. So, what’s there to hide from? Again, in times of suffering, we pick up the tab for others. We push through the hard times, and we comfort those that are suffering. We weep with those that are weeping. We don’t just acknowledge that they are weeping.

and then something amazing happened. i would word use the word miraculous. pearl joy was born 3 weeks early. she was born weighing 4 pounds. she was born fighting for her life. she was born without a normal looking nose. she was born with a cleft lip. but she was born alive. and today my friend ruth and her husband eric are taking their baby who was once diagnosed as "incompatible with life", home. to live out her days. as long as the Lord sees fit.

pearl is a miracle. the doctors  did their due diligence when they suggested ruth induce labor at 20 weeks to end the inevitable. they were not cruel or insensitive, but just looking out for what they thought would "first do no harm". thankfully ruth and eric decided to follow what they knew was best for their child. and today she lives. pearl lives!

may we walk in the truth that we are all image bearers. image bearers of the creator. image bearers to remind one another that like pearl, HE LIVES! that is magnificent. that is miraculous. 

to read the entire journey, go here.


amanda said...

Amen amen and amen. I wish you were closer so I could hug you and we could weep tears of joy and dance about the kitchen in celebration of God's great gift. Pearl *Joy* indeed.


Ariana said...

What Amanda said. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Even if I don't understand them.