Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Ginny. Big God.

Thanks for all of the feedback on the movie. It makes us smile when the circle of folks who have come to love this great kid expands. Eliot’s is a powerful story- showing many different listeners many different things. We are continuously reminded that we have been a part of something much greater than ourselves.

I have just recently realized something about myself. If you have yet to notice or are new to the blog, let this be your warning:
I have about 3 themes and I keep coming back to them.
Actually, because I write about what I am learning, I think this repeating might be indicative of my hard head. The Lord just won’t just move on with the lesson plan it seems. Oh well, just letting you know.

I picked up Ginny’s Bible recently. I am not sure why, but it would be safe to bet it had something to do with her having it with her wherever we were and me forgetting mine. I sure do like marriage at times like that. Anyway, I did what all of us Bible-thumpers hate to admit we do…I let it lead me. Allowing the pages to fall open- a Bible study method very similar to pin the tail on the donkey. A theologian I am not.

And there it was- a sorry excuse of a flower. Pressed flat and devoid of life or beauty. However, it instantly brought a smile. Here’s the history of that flower.

Ginny and I had decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. A very short walk. Ginny was 31-weeks pregnant, closing in on Shamu, and a short walk was Everest. I don’t remember a particular reason for our walk, but I do know we were spending a lot of time together. We had recently found out that our baby boy or girl had Trisomy 18. So we walked.

It was on our walk that the flower found us. Albeit, through the strangest of deliverymen. Looking up from our walk, I saw him. I am sure I rolled my eyes or cracked a smile or something to that effect. He was the best that Fayetteville, Arkansas has to offer. A real, live hippy. He was 6’2”, all of 130 lbs, and shirtless. He wore a genuine, but goofy smile that complimented his Lennon-esque glasses. His dog stayed perfectly at his side with no leash. And he was dirty. You gotta love Fayetteville.

Our walk’s discussion had been a bit on the heavier side, and I admit a little hesitation when he strode up to us…not now. He struck up some polite conversation and we obliged. Apparently gifted with insight, he pointed out Ginny’s belly. At this moment, my blood pressure went up a little, just hoping against hope that, for my wife’s sake, he did not say the wrong thing.

But he didn’t. He told us he had a child of his own that was twenty-five. Then he looked at the both of us and said:
Treasure every minute. It’s gone by so fast. My advice to you is to treasure every minute you have.

He then handed Ginny a small, wildflower from the stash of such in his hat. The flower has stayed with us, as have his timely words. The flower now marks Psalm 71, another great reminder.

A dirty guy. A dead flower. An amazing God.


kent said...

keep writing matt, we like it.

Anonymous said...

Okay,seriously, when is the book coming out?

The Pattersons said...

I am a friend of Burke & JoEllen Hummel and I came upon your blog a few months ago - their little Breckin had Trisomy 18 as well.

Your story is amazing and I commend you for making such an incredible movie about Eliot's life. As I was sitting here watching it, tears in my eyes, my daughter climbed up into my lap and watched with me. She's 18 months old and is obsessed with babies. As the movie was ending, she started "singing" to Eliot. What an awesome God that his presence is with even the smallest?

Rach said...

I'd definitely buy the book. Do you know how many people that would touch for the kingdom? Keep it up, guys.

LCRsMom said...

Seriously - I pictured the entire moment and felt the feelings you and Ginny must felt. Are you sure you want to be a lawyer? You've got a GREAT gift for writing! In all seriousness though, God is speaking through you to so many. I am one of them. You make it easier to believe in God even when I have my own doubts at times. God bless you!

JK said...

Matt, you leave me in tears. You capture so well the awesomeness that is the God we serve. Thank you for writing about your path and your pain. Thank you for sharing the heart you have that always keeps looking to the Lord for guidance. Our God is so awesome, so big, so perfect... He won't leave us here in the pit of despair. Our God makes beauty from ashes, and you and Ginny are an amazing example of that. May He continue to bless you both with his grace and compassion.

~Jennifer Mercer
(from Ginny's grief group)

Anonymous said...

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. - Hebrews 13:2

Sarah said...

Hi, I'm new to this blog, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey. I really appreciate the honest reflections that you post, and am strengthened in my spirit by what God has shown and is showing you through your experiences. Thank you so much!

Jessica said...

I just came across your blog last night from Sarah at In The Midst of It. I just wanted to let you know that your video touched my heart in so many ways and I am inspired by the hope and trust that you have placed in Jesus! My husband and I went through a miscarriage a couple of years ago and although it was one of the hardest things we could have ever gone through, God was able to use it for good and to help us encourage several friends who went through the same thing. I believe that He is using and will use Eliot's short life in ways beyond what we can ever imagine. Sorry for such a long comment, but I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for your family and I want you to be encouraged to know that God will use this little man in BIG ways! (But I think you already know that!) Thanks for sharing His story!

4andcounting said...

I spent this morning reading through all of your archives. Thank you for having the courage to share your story with others. I will pray for your continued healing and your continuing faith journey. Your family is a beautiful witness.

Ivey Elizabeth Sirmans said...

My husband watched the movie tonight. It brought him to tears. I keep up with you but seldom comment. If you remember, we have a daughter with severe medical issues, all due to a chromosome deletion. There is no name for her diagnosis - it is too rare. We had no warning. When she was born, the docs. thought she had tri. 18, then the genetic testing came through. So she is still with us. But our day is coming. This week of Lent has hit hard. I think of your wife often. She is a Mary. I am a Mary. It is through our suffering that we complete Christ's sufferings....that is what this week is about. The movie is wonderful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great video and you do a wonderful job of glorifying God through your writing as well! The video reminded me of the second verse in this song, One Day.

C. H. Green said...

beautiful post. Could he have been an angel?

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful movie- to share Eliot's life and yours. I think of you all often. Hope to see you soon. Love Mrs Jennifer Gilfoil

BabylossDirectory said...

I watched the video after Rach linked to it on her blog. Very moving and very courageous. What a beautiful boy you have shared with the world!

I apologize for the SPAM-like quality of this comment, but I wanted to invite you to submit your blog for listing on the Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Blog Directory. This is a blog that we are establishing to help the newly (or not so newly) bereaved connect with other bloggers and find helpful resources. The more people who submit their blogs, the better the resource will be.

I hope you will consider submitting your blog.

~ delphi

bek phelan said...

I tried to write something three times, I can't even gather words- just know that you two are both so special and I think of you often.

Chris/ty said...

I am one of your many blog readers. I started reading shortly after Eliot was born but never commented because I just didn't know what to say. Thank you for sharing your struggles and joys. You have challenged my faith and helped me to see God in new ways. I linked your site and the video to my blog because it is just too good not to share.
You are being prayed for in Seattle!

Jolynn (Arizona) said...

Thank you. Thank you for sharing Eliot's story. I have been changed for the better just by reading your story and being touched by your faith. Best wishes and many blessings for the future.

missy said...

Dear Matt and Ginny-
I was pointed here by Jennifer Mercer and cannot stop crying as I read and watch and read and watch some more. It is 1 a.m. in Florida, where I live, and there are three children sleeping upstairs that are on loan to me from God. You have reminded me just how precious it all is and how every moment counts. My 6 year old watched Eliot's movie and then looked at me and said, "Why is there water in your eyes?" I told him I was just a little bit sad and he said, "But I'm glad Eliot went to Jesus' house." I'm glad for Eliot, but I ache for you. I'm praying for you. I'm a fellow believer and follower of Christ and I will continue to pray for you both. Thank you for encouraging others, for determining to glorify God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, through your son and even your pain. And thank you for sharing him with me.

Missy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

I happened upon the video of Eliot's precious life and then was led to this site. I just finished reading the whole thing! Thank you for your courage to be vulnerable with us. It would have been easy to grieve in private not letting anyone in. But you've allowed family and friends the privilege of praying for you and holding your hands. It helps us to see true faith lived out. Through this journal of your journey I've seen how God has strengthened your marriage, grown your faith, and increased your area of influence. Because of the video and this site you are able to reach many people who are hurting and don't know what to do. May God bless you both as you continue to grieve. I will hug my 3 children extra tight tonight and thank God for the 5 years, 2 years, and 12 weeks I've had each of them. Time with them is short.

Anonymous said...

Ginny and Matt,
My heart is blessed and sad all in the same breath. You are dear friends of ours, but my time and space our lives have been distant from this story; your lives. Your son was beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story, thank you for showing what THE great COMFORTER can do. Your faith shines through even though I know your heart must be hurting, since it is surrounded by our flesh. I am so proud of you both, and we send our love. And prayers. Bless you both and know that you are loved.
Zak and Jessica (Oxford) Bottomly

Mandy said...

My husband and I are expecting a baby girl named Madeline who has T18. We are due in June and have really been inspired by your story of Eliot. What an amazing little boy who accomplished so much in his short life. Thank you for sharing it with us and encouraging us as we travel this unfamiliar road. You can view my blog at madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com
I am really enjoying wearing my eliot necklace too and telling others what it means.

Mandy Hopkins

Anonymous said...

i love your story it brings me to tears every time i watch your movie

Borbe Bunch said...

Thank you for your testimony to the goodness of God and your choice to glorify God with all He has taught you.
I am encouraged and blessed by your hearts, full of love and grace so beautifully displayed in your words and now the video you have shared with us all.
God is USING you greatly and I thank you for allowing Him to use you in tremendous ways...I have linked Eliot's precious movie on my blog.
Thank you and God bless you both!

Sue (Lovoy) Willis said...

Ginny & Matt,
I came across your blog strictly by coincidince (our preacher called them "God-instances" this morning) on Easter Sunday of all days. I have read it diligently from beginning to end! I loved seeing the pictures of Eliot and reading about the joy that he brought to your lives and the lives of others! I am encouraged in my own faith by reading about your faith and your family. Thank you for being a testiment to God's Love! Your family is in my prayers!

Liza's Eyeview said...

Matt and Ginny,

First, thank you for allowing me to add Eliot's photo on the posts a wrote about him and Rebecca on my blog.

I cannot and will probably not be able to put into words the blessings and encouragement I am receiving as I read your blog. I am going through a difficult transition in my life at the moment and I am bordering on deep depression ...yet the story of Eliot keeps pulling me out of that pit. Whenever I feel the stress and anxiety, I log in and read a couple of your previous posts and everything comes in perspective.

Thank you for continuing to blog in memory of your son who we've grown to love.

I know you miss him so much... hugs to both of you...


FunkyMonkeyJunk said...

Matt and Ginny,

Thank you for sharing the movie. I've sent it to countless people, knowing that it will speak to someone that needs to hear the message that you and your son are sharing: That God is Great! Maybe not great in the human definition, but why would God ever be bound to that?

Many blessings and prayers,

Beka said...

Dear Matt & Ginny,
Words cannot express how your story has touched my heart. I came across your video clip from another blog that I read, and then I came over here and read through your blog. I was in tears during the video, and as I read your accounts of precious Eliot's life.
I stand in awe of how our great God has used your son's sweet life to make you shine so brightly. I was amazed at the joy and peace you exuded in your video, pictures, and writings. I know God is using your story to touch many, many lives.
My husband and I lost our first baby in miscarriage 14 months ago and are waiting on God for another child. Your story taught me many things that I needed to learn in my own life.
May God RICHLY bless and keep you shining brightly for Him.

Because of His grace,
Rebekah W.

Anonymous said...

I was given your link to the video of Elliot's life through a trisomy group that I belong to. I too lost my daughter to Trisomy 18 at 6 months and 3 days old. At her funeral we released 186 yellow balloons, one for each day of her precious life that we were told would never happen. Yellow because of how beautiful she was in yellow. I pray for peace and guidance for you and your family. Thank you for your wonderful presentation and tribute to your son that you have both shown, your gift from God is treasured forever.

Anonymous said...

Wow I saw your story on Oprah today and i was moved by the devotion and passion you put into Elliot's life. I am unable to have my own kids and most people who do have healthy kids don't even take proper care of them. It's just not fair. You guys inspire me wow is all i can say. I wish you and the new baby well. I am routing for you guys to have a happy healthy baby and a wonderful life. God bless you. and God bless baby Elliot may he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by your beautiful story.

Liamangel said...

My mother in law told me about your story so I had to look you up. Our first born, Liam also had Trisomy 18. Unfortunately, he went to Heaven when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I think the hardest part for me was the doctors. We also let balloons go for his 'birthday.' Reading Job is what got me through. Praise you and your family.