Friday, August 29, 2008



hey sweet girl=) don't you love this family picture? it was taken today when we were getting to hang out with you a little. you had just gotten turned over on your tummy (you really like that) and daddy and i were giving you a little lotion massage on your back. you were very awake during it all! you even let us see your pretty eyes for a while-we love that=) we feel like we get to connect with you more when you look at us my sweet one. your nurses are letting me do more little mommy things-i get to take your temperature and change your diaper sometimes-i actually got to pick you up for a brief second last night when we weighed you! it wasn't at all the way i'm longing to pick you up (you know, nuzzle you on my chest with your sweet little head in my neck-i will keep waiting for that), but i still got to hold you in my hands, and i'm so thankful for that=)

you have been here for 10 days now, and you've had a very busy week! let me tell you what all you've done. tuesday you came off ecmo, which is a very big deal for you! you've done well without it, my dear. so well, that you even came off nitric oxide today! that was the stuff that dilated your pulmonary vessels to make your lungs work a little better-great work my girl=) i'm so proud of you i don't even know what to say. we stand there looking at you all day long in complete amazement. i'm still terrified that we won't get to keep you, and i suppose that's still a reasonable fear, but we just are blown away by what's going on. who are we to deserve to keep you after all this? to even know you for 10 days, and hopefully so many more after?! daddy and i were driving to see you a few mornings ago and a hillsong united song was on-i looked over at him and he was crying a little (and so i started crying a little too-remember me telling you a long time ago that i would cry when he cried??). i asked him what was going on and he said that he was singing whatever praise and worship song that was to God and he started thinking about you, and how God is sharing you with us, and basically that it's so sweet of Him to do that and we're completely in awe of His goodness and the blessing that is you, my sweet one. you know what else i keep thinking? i really want to believe that we would be just as in awe of Him if He wasn't letting us know you-that we would still recognize how good and loving and miraculous and sovereign He is even if we weren't seeing this little miracle (you!), my precious girl. i want to believe that we would still praise Him, so i'll just believe it. but i sure pray we don't ever have to find out if we are really that strong.

so this coming week will be a big one for you, too. you have surgery scheduled for tuesday to put your little organs back down in your tummy and sew up your diaphragm. you can do it my girl=) i pray that you will just continue healing more and more until then, that you will do so great during surgery, and that you will recover well and quickly. and guess what else? remember how you had a narrowing in your aorta that they thought was a coarctation and would need another surgery for that??? it's not there anymore=) or at least if it is there, it's so minimal that you won't need surgery for it!!! i feel like i don't even recognize what a big deal that is. your daddy and my daddy too keep reminding me that this shouldn't be passed off just as one of those things that happen-that medicine has its flaws and maybe someone missed something or misdiagnosed something-but that everything you're doing is by a Divine Hand and that you are a little miracle living and breathing=) i love you my girl-i am amazed by you and by what God is choosing to do through you. i am so proud of you and i can't wait to tell you this story=)

see you tomorrow my love-


ps-i wanted to tell you that your daddy really did jump when he saw the video of you opening your eyes-he jumped back in his chair and his breath caught in his throat-i wish i had a video of just his reaction to show you-he is so in love with you my girl=)

Monday, August 25, 2008

you are here=)


hi precious girl=) i'm sitting here crying as i write to you because you are in the next room doing more than we could have ever expected. it hasn't been easy for you to get here, and your little fight isn't over sweet girl. but our hearts are happy today=)

you opened your sweet little eyes for us! today was the first time we saw them, and your daddy and i are both so giddy excited we don't know what to do with ourselves. we just want to stand there staring at you, holding your little hand or cupping your head to see if you'll wake up just a tiny bit for us to get another peek=) your daddy actually does that every second he's beside you-touches your leg or arm or head-you usually will wiggle back at him or give a tiny squeeze on his finger and he loves it. they actually had to give you more "calming" medicine yesterday after he left because he got you so riled up=) he loves you so much catherine-it's the most amazing thing to watch. we are convinced you just like it when he holds your hand and that's why you start moving around-that you remember him from when he would touch your little leg when you were in my tummy, and you would always move around then too. either way, we want to keep you nice and comfy now that you're out, but we can't help ourselves sometimes and just want to give you lots of kisses and see you respond to are our hearts' delight my sweet girl=)

so daddy told you a little about how you came into this world, but i wanted to give you my version as well. do you remember that last letter i wrote to you? that was around 5 in the morning last tuesday, and i had been having contractions since 1:30am. at 6:30 or so your daddy woke up and realized i hadn't been sleeping-we weren't too worried at that point. we decided to go get him breakfast at chick-fil-a and get a body pillow for me at target-that's something i wanted for the hospital. it's a very cute pillow-pink polka dots and everything-you would like it i think=) we thought about calling the doctor after that but tried to lay down instead. i was able to take little naps between contractions, and then we went to pick up your silly auntie shelly from the airport at 12 that day. i remember having to stop and sit down during contractions while i was walking into the airport to get her-it makes me laugh now looking back at it. what was i thinking?? i've decided i was completely in denial that day because i was so scared to bring you into this world-not knowing what would happen and how you would do (and my contractions were never regular-that's my other excuse;))...anyway-your daddy and shelly and i went home and turned on movies-again i took little 6-15 minute naps between contractions until about 6pm and daddy convinced me that dr lucas really should at least know what's going on. i called him and he said that he agreed with me-it sounded like it was early labor and probably i could just meet him at the hospital, get some medicine to help me sleep, and then go home. (he later told me that i was one of the few people who have ever fooled him...) well we got there around 7:30pm and the unit was so busy!! they finally were able to check and see if i was dilated at a little after 9pm, and dr lucas had the strangest look on his face...and then he said "katie-you're 8 1/2"..................all those dots represent the madness going through my head over the next few seconds-kristen my sweet nurse honestly didn't believe him. she kept saying "dr lucas-that's not funny! what are you doing!" well he was serious my girl. you came about an hour later at 10:18 that night and it was the most amazing experience. you came out and gave your attempt at a little cry and then the nicu team took over-they intubated you and were able to successfully give you breaths-that means your lungs weren't totally hypoplastic and there was a bit of hope for you my love=) they put you in my arms for a second and let me kiss you, then took you to the nicu to figure out just how much help you might need. our friends and family got here all within a couple hours of your birth-God was very sweet with that my girl-our family wasn't supposed to arrive until the next day but many of them (without knowing i was in labor) got on a plane a day early and were able to see you being taken down the hall after delivery=) i remember being surprised that i felt so happy and peaceful after you were born and they had taken you to the nicu-i don't even know what else to say about that but i think Jesus was just giving us a little gift of celebration with our friends and family. daddy and i went to see you that night and you were unbelievably gorgeous (and you've gotten only more gorgeous each day since then my little beauty=)). to speed the story up a bit, you did great for about 12-14 hours. we went to see you in the nicu-let our friends and family see you a little, and then around noon on the 20th they discovered you might have a little problem in your heart too-it's called a coarctation of the aorta, and basically that means that your big vessel that takes blood to the lower part of your body is super skinny. that, combined with the potential for you needing ecmo, got you a trip to UVA for more specialized treatment. it was a good decision my sweet one because your status just kept deteriorating all afternoon-your oxygen saturations kept decreasing and it became pretty clear you would need ecmo as soon as you got to uva. i waited till the transport team got there, watched them take you out of that nicu, then daddy and i got on our way to charlottesville to meet you. we got a phone call around 2am that night getting permission to start ecmo, and off you went on that. over the next few days daddy and i spent the night at a hotel next door to the hospital-it was a very scary but sweet time-we got to hang out with each other in the morning and at night-and we would always talk about what the scariest part of the day was and what we were most thankful for that day. i found that hope is a scary thing for me my girl. not that we were surprised by that-i think we discovered that while you were still in my belly, but it's all the more intensified now that you're out in the world.

that was our routine for 3 nights, then came the night we were to go home and just drive an hour and a half to see you in the morning. that was not fun for me my sweet girl. i didn't want to leave you. i couldn't imagine being that far away from you and it taking so long to get here if you needed us. but we made it, and after a couple nights of that, we get to today. they trialed you off of ecmo today=) that means they just give it a trial run and see if your body can oxygenate itself with only the did great=) i got to stand there beside you the whole time and "cheer you on" as the nurses were saying=) you were so peaceful and wonderful during the whole time-just holding your own and giving them all the numbers they wanted-your nurses keep calling you things like "pistol" and "soldier"-you are definitely a fighter my little girl and i'm so proud of you. i stand there staring at you unable to understand what all's going on. how are you really here??? it's more than we ever imagined and we have fallen madly in love with you=)

so their plan is to test a few more things tonight, and take you completely off ecmo in the morning. what! i can't even believe it as i type it=) then surgery would probably be a week later for your diaphragm and then a few weeks after that for your sweet little aorta. lots of things are playing into this plan, and i honestly can't even keep up with it sweet baby-but i'm so thankful we're where we are and i can only trust that you are in good hands-that God is holding you near as always and breathing His life into you. we were listening to praise and worship music this morning driving to charlottesville and i realized that when i closed my eyes to sing all i saw was your sweet little form on your hospital bed-like i'm seeing Jesus when i look at you and i'm so proud of you for that-and thankful to Him...i have no idea what He's doing-but it is good and i am blown away by it all. part of me was singing to God when i would sing along, and then another part of me felt like i was singing for you-that you are praising Him and glorifying Him with everything that you are doing right now-i don't understand all of this my dear but it was a great experience there in the car and i liked it=)

you know what's funny? i'm starting to love the "hospital smell" because it is your smell right now. when i lean down to kiss what has become my favorite little knee in all the world, i smell that smell=) and when i'm home and using the breast pump to prepare food for you to eat one day-i smell that smell then too=) yesterday they gave us a blanket that had been in your bed for a couple days-it doesn't quite have that smell but i just want to rub my face all in it=) you are the most precious thing and we love you more than i know how to explain. your daddy is getting antsy because he wants to go see you again, so i'll wrap this up and go join him=)

keep fighting my sweet girl=)


My Blue Eyed Girl

Hey Daughter,
They say that they eyes are the windows of the soul. So, we saw each other's souls today. I love you. My heart jumped for joy just watching this video. Your mom took it before I arrived. Later, you opened the shades and gave me a live show.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Your Birthday


This is from your father. Your mom is preparing your meals for you. I’m sitting in the waiting room of the NICU at the University of Virginia. It’s a light green color, like my office. They say light green is a calming color. That’s probably why they picked it. There’s a beautiful painting of Charlottesville on the wall. It is quiet for now. This afternoon the Davis and Torrance clans will fill the waiting room.

Right now you are on ECMO, a machine that serves as your lungs. It takes your blood, puts oxygen in it, warms it, and then sends it back into your body. You are on a blood thinner that keeps you from clotting, but this procedure has risks because if you were to start bleeding, particularly in your brain, there would be little the doctors could do to help you stop. You are stable, a lovely pink color. The plan is to let you build strength. We want you to be able to sustain yourself. Then the doctors will rebuild your diaphragm. After you recover some from this surgery, the doctors need to repair your heart (this is actually why we brought you to UVA). Your aortic arch is too narrow in one spot. So, my dear, you have a long road ahead. So, what do you say we take things one day at a time. Really all you need to do is keep doing your thang. I have also noticed that your nurses like to work with you. You were a little high maintenance at first, but you are very beautiful and beauty does warm people’s hearts.

Your mom may want to fill in the details, but I figured I’d tell you about your birthday. On Tuesday, your mom started experiencing stronger contractions. They were not consistently strong and seemed to vary in frequency. However, she did not sleep much Monday night. We wondered if you were ready to go. I don’t think she was quite ready to turn you loose on the world. It is a scary thing for a Mom to let her child go from a safe place to a unknown territory. I’ve seen the phenomena at other transitions, but had never really thought about birth in this way. We bought her a giant, polka dotted body pillow. For the remainder of the afternoon, we watched movies. Actually, I was trying to finish up my list of things to do before everyone came into town. The contractions were less frequent, but more painful, so we decided to go to the hospital to check in with Dr. Lucas. We also hoped he would give something to help your momma sleep.

When your mom and I (and you too) got to the hospital, it was bustling. Dr. Lucas was busy with something else, so we waited. Then we waited. Then we waited a little more. After an hour, he came to check your mom’s cervix. Although generally a cool cat, he did show a little shock on his face over the next few seconds. This part was bit of a blur, but among other things, he said resolutely “you are 8 and ½ cm dilated.” That means you were coming soon.

Your mom was shocked at this news. As much as we planned everything, you had a different plan. She cried and became very anxious for a minute or two, but Dr. Lucas was good and talked her down. Originally, your mom wanted to have you without medication for pain, but the day's events (what she thought were pre-labor contractions) changed her mind. However, at this point, much of the work of labor was done. You and your mother are currently tied for the most courageous women I have ever met (well, I can think of one other). She brought you into the world without a drop of pain medication. I’ll let you ask your mom about labor. I just stood beside her and told her I loved her. I let her squeeze my hand if she wanted. I was excited the whole time to see you. I was nervous, wondering if you would be able to stay alive. Sure enough, about an hour later (at 10:18 pm) you arrived. The other doctors worked on you. They let mom hold you for a moment and then swept you off to the NICU to see how you were doing.

Of all the guests planning to come, only Shelly was here to see zero hour. However, not long after, my family (Kelly, Misty, Keith, Elaine, Nikki, and Dad), Katie’s parents, Katie’s other best friends, and some of my friends from school arrived. We waited around with them for several hours to hear from Dr. Farhi, your neonatologist. You needed a lot of help from the ventilator, but you were stable. The plan was to wait to see how you would respond to the next few hours and days. When everyone left, around 2:00am, your mom and I were both exhausted. So, we went to bed. That was your birthday my dear daughter. We’ll tell more of your story later.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

almost there...


hey my sweet girl=) it is 5:40 in the morning and we have not been to sleep tonight. i can't decide whether this is real labor or those wretched things they call "practice contractions". regardless, this isn't the most fun we've had together, is it? it'll be over soon my love. 2 more days until our induction, unless you have plans to come before that=)

tonight has, however, given me a chance to gather some of my final thoughts for you before you come into this world. i've been thinking for the past month or so about that in particular-bringing you into this world. i don't know whether i'll be birthing you into a life on earth, or into life eternal, but either way i am honored to do so. being your mother has been the most amazing journey, and while i hope with every hope in me that the journey continues, i've learned so much from you being inside me and i know i'll keep learning from this season for years to come. thank you for that, my dear=)

one of the most familiar verses has been giving me comfort lately. it's jeremiah 29:11, and it says "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" the part that means the most to me right now is for I know the plans I have for you...i keep reminding myself of that-that God does indeed know what's going to happen on Thursday. He has prepared a way for it, and He did it on purpose, very intentionally, without accident. He will continue taking perfect care of both of us throughout everything that plan entails. you will be ok, much better than ok even, and so will your daddy and i, and everyone who loves you.

our family and friends start arriving today. we are so thankful for how much they love all three of us, and that they want to be here when you are. part of me is looking forward to the distraction of having the people closest to us here-i know it will make the next couple of days go by fast, and the other part of me just wants to slow time down and keep soaking up every bit of time i have left with you in my tummy. regardless of my jumbled thoughts and emotions, you have amazing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and pseudo-aunts coming in to welcome you. you are so loved, and i pray that brings a richness to your little life in some way.

i love you my sweet girl-i will kiss your face soon=)


Friday, August 15, 2008

regaining peace and perspective


hi baby girl=) there have been lots of thoughts floating around in my head the last few weeks (it's becoming pretty normal for me=)) and i wanted to tell you about them. i was talking to a friend a while back and realized that my perspective on you being sick had started to change a little-for the worse. i think it's understandable and human for this to happen, but i want so badly to maintain a Godly perspective on all of this-i honestly don't know how else to deal with it my sweet girl! every now and then, especially here toward the end, i'll start feeling hopeful and then realize how i'm thinking and get so scared, trying to balance hope with medical reality. knowing God can and sometimes does perform miracles, but recognizing that might not be what He has in store this time....and that's ok. i want so badly to continue with the mindset and prayer for God to do absolutely whatever brings Him the most glory. as much as i want to keep you, and as heartbreaking as it is to think of watching you take your last little breath, i feel unbelievably honored that He would choose you to be a part of whatever He has in store-whether that's in your life or in your death. in church sunday i read my very favorite verse over again and it helped me regain that perspective a little. here is the verse:

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
~Ephesians 3:16-21

i do pray these things for you my sweet girl. i pray more than anything that you would indeed grasp how wide and long and high and deep Christ's love is for YOU-how he delights in you-and if He were to give you a long life here on earth i pray that you would experience the ability that has to transform a person into reckless abandon toward Jesus. i pray that you would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God-everything He is and all He has to offer you. if you can truly grasp that, you can't help but fall madly in love with Him and be changed by it my precious little one. it's just not possible to stay the same. i like the part about Him being able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, because it seems like i don't even know what to pray while we're walking through this journey with you-i pray what's on my heart for sure, but i can't even begin to imagine what He might be doing in all of this-and that brings peace to my heart-that no matter what i'm praying, He has an unconditionally wonderful plan for you and for us-and that doesn't change whether i understand it or not. do you know what else brings me comfort? thinking that you are purely His right now-that you have not been tainted by the world in even the slightest bit-that you do have His perspective and you are absolutely on board with whatever it is He's doing-you have no complaints about whether He lets us have you for a while or whether he brings you straight to be with Him in heaven-you have lots to teach us my sweet baby, and i'm so thankful for your pure perspective. you have impacted us in a way that will leave us changed forever. the last part that's bolded, "to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever" reminds me of the little legacy you're leaving already-your story is a beautiful one-one that is full of God's grace and mercy to all of us who love you, His love story with you, and of that unfathomable plan He has that keeps Him mysterious and all-powerful and ultimately good.

andrea maccorkle, the sweet mama of my dear friend and sister-in-law elaine, gave me another verse a few weeks ago. it's John 14:27, and it says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." this was Jesus talking and it does help give me peace and i read it over and over to myself when i start feeling scared. it reminds me that He is the giver of all peace-in knowing Him is the only place i can truly find that. it also reminds me that His plans are not the kind that we can think up here on earth-He is far above and beyond our ways of thinking and comprehension. that makes it ok that His plan for you might be to take you straight to heaven. but what if he lets us keep you??? that is indeed a good plan too, and He will sustain us as your parents and provide us with what you need. you are a gift, no matter what, and we will take what He gives us of you=)

i love you baby girl-let's go take a nap now and wait for daddy to get home=)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

baby blessing


hi pretty girl=) i wanted to tell you a little about some of the friends who have been walking with mommy and daddy through this journey with you. we have precious friends with us here in richmond. it's funny to think how lonely i was when we first moved here, because now i am completely amazed by the richness of the friendships we've made in the past 2 years. we are in a small group at church that meets on wednesday nights, and they dedicated last night to you sweet girl! it was such a precious time-we sang and prayed and talked about you and then these wonderful people wrote down little blessings, prayers, or letters to us and put them in a cute little pink scrapbook for us to keep. there were such sweet words spoken-could you hear any of them? it meant so much to us to hear our friends' hearts for you and for your daddy and me and for it all to be such a beautiful representation of our relationships with Jesus and where He has brought each of us up to this point...these people have grown to love you and they can't wait to welcome you into the world, even if it's just for a brief time. they will celebrate with mommy and daddy no matter what=)

all of the words written in the scrapbook are so special, especially because they each represent somebody who has been a part of your little gestational life=) i wanted to share with you one of my favorite verses that somebody included:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

-Romans 8:18

when i read this, it seemed like a summary of all the thoughts that i've had over the past couple of also makes me think about something that kevin, our pastor and dear friend, said to us last night. he and his wife libby were giving your mommy and daddy such amazing compliments about how they think we'll be great parents one day-hopefully to you and also to your little brothers and sisters-and also how they think we've been great parents to you in the only way we have been able to while you've been in my unqualified as we may think we are to be your parents and as undeserving as we may feel of those sweet words, we freely received that compliment...but all i could think was "the parenting we could give her doesn't even compare to what she would have with her heavenly Father if she were taken straight there"...i would still much rather get to keep you and do my best as your mommy, but it's a nice thought, isn't it? knowing that if you're not with us, you're in the best Hands you could possibly be in=)

you were so funny as we were singing and praying and talking. you were moving around all over the place-sticking your little booty out every which way and your feet up by my's like you knew we were talking about you=) your daddy and i had our hands on you the whole time feeling everything you were doing in there...after we sang, your daddy read the lyrics to the song "in Christ alone" over you as a blessing-here are the words:

in Christ alone, my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song
this cornerstone, this solid ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm
what heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
my comforter, my all in all
here in the love of Christ i stand

in Christ alone, who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe
this gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones he came to save.
till on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied
for every sin on Him was laid
here in the death of Christ i live

there in the ground His body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain
then bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave He rose again!
and as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me
for i am His, and He is mine
bought with the precious blood of Christ

no guilt in life, no fear in death-
this is the power of Christ in me
from life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
no power of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand;
till He returns or calls me home-
here in the power of Christ i'll stand

the last verse is our favorite sweet girl-daddy and i both had to stop singing when we got to that part because we were a little overwhelmed at how it represented our prayer for you and our reassurance of God's plan for your little life...we are trying so hard to not be fearful of death for you-even if it's just minutes from your first cry to your final breath, you are in the hands of Jesus and He has a beautiful home waiting for you with Him in heaven.

i hope i get to show you the little pink scrapbook one day, and that you get to meet all the people praying for you and waiting on your little life to begin. you are precious and we love you so much my sweet girl=)


ps-happy "term" day! today you turn 37 weeks, and that means you're officially done in there! it also means that you and i have one more week sharing a body=) i have loved this time and will be soaking up all your little movements over the next 7 days;)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

a letter from your daddy=)

look sweet girl-your daddy wrote you a letter this morning=) i kept walking by his office and he would be reading it over and over-he said he loved writing it to you-when he was finished he was walking around the house making up songs for you, mainly just singing "little catherine, little catherine" and "i wrote catherine a let-ter, i wrote catherine a let-ter" was making me smile and laugh. he loves you so much. here is his letter=)

Well, little girl. This is your father, and I love being your father. In my glimpses of you, I must say you are absolutely beautiful. We have fallen in love with you. Sometimes late in the night, your mom will let me play with you. When I rest my hand on her belly and cover you, it seems like you know. You kick me or flail around.

I cried when I found out you are sick. How I wish that I could protect you. I do not know whether we will ever have the chance to know each other well in this life. I am waiting. While I wait, I pray for you. When I pray, I meditate on several verses. The first describes when God created the universe:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

As I read this verse, I felt assured by the Spirit that He is forming order out of the chaos in your life. Still, I do not know exactly what this means. I just know that this is what he is doing. The second verse is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The theme is similar for both. God is both sovereign and good.

Also, I have two stories that I remember as I am waiting. In one a baby dies, in another a baby lives. Here is the first:

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate." David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead." Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12)

I like David’s approach to prayer. It seems counterintuitive to his friends (i.e., why are you acting this way?). They expected, based on how he acted before his child’s death, that he would become intolerably sad and angry after. I know of no rain dance or other superstition to force the hand of God. Sometimes my desires line up with his will. Who knows, he may answer my desires exactly in the way that I want. As I see it now, David’s fasting and weeping were humble acts of contrition, not acts to try to secure God’s favor. Indeed, as you have already won my heart, you will see that you have won His.

I have prepared my heart—as much as I know how—to lose you. If I do, you will know my hope more fully than I. Heaven is a wonderful place. If on your birthday you leave me, you will meet several people that I love the most: You will see my mom; you will see Mastine; you will see Jesus. How strange that my child, who has taken only a few breaths of air in this world, will experience my God face to face. You will know Him better than I. If you see us cry, we only cry for you because we miss you, not because we do not trust that you are completely safe. Daughter, bless the Lord. He has taken away the sting of death. My soul, bless Him, for he is a safe resting place for all that you love.

I also prepare my heart for you to be with me. This seems easier, but in some ways it is just as scary. This place is not as safe as heaven. Here, you will find more pain. On the other hand, his love is steadfast. Really, I prepare my heart for the same thing. You are His, my daughter. The other story I remember is that of Samuel. After many years he was given to his mother. After she weaned him, she gave him to serve the Lord as a prophet. She prayed this prayer when she left him at the temple to be trained, “For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.” (1 Samuel 1:27). O how I would love to pray this prayer. I will pray it for the rest of my life.

My dear daughter, I would love to read this letter to you many times over a long life. If I cannot, know that I love you more deeply than you could ever know, except you will, because it’s only a shadow of the love that your true Father has for you.