Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here kitty, kitty.

It has been fun to continue receiving feedback for “99 balloons”. Thanks for all of the encouragement and prayers. We are also thankful that we have been able to interact with some families going through similar experiences.

In the non-profit arena, we are currently assembling folks who want to be involved. A questionnaire directed to groups who are already conducting respite nights is in the works and should be sent out soon. If you know of a group already doing something similar, please let us know so we can send them our questions (matthewlyle@yahoo.com).

With all of the compliments and praise that we have received as of late, a counterbalance of vulnerability is necessary. If anything through Eliot’s story is super-human, I assure you, it is not his parents. Doubt, worry, anger- these are all too familiar; and this is where we are, when left to ourselves. But, our Father, refuses to leave us to ourselves, and comes on the scene to make all things new. More than ever, we are aware of our shortcomings; therefore, when told repeatedly otherwise, we must interject or else be hypocrites.

When faced with real struggles, I admit my desire to paste on a smile and quote a bumper sticker about my big God. Somewhere in my years of church-going, Christian school attending, and just plain watching, I picked up that this how we do it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not placing blame. For this is exactly what I wanted to do when tough times came my way. Repeating this routine comes easy, naturally- like sucking in my gut as soon as I put on my bathing suite.

When trials and adversity come knocking, my propensity urges me to see what lurks outside my door and call it a kitten. Nothing can faze me. I belittle that which looms. I make it small, tame, and manageable. Simultaneously, whittling God’s size relative to that of my foe. That thing outside my door is nothing more than a kitten. There is no real problem. So, I ignore the visitor and go on about my business.

Framing it as faith, I proudly look a lion in the eyes and call it a kitten. I look down on others who are not able to do the same. Pacifying myself with whatever I can. I am too busy to answer the door. All is well.

This routine works quite nicely until, well, until it does not work at all.

When the unwanted visitor of affliction is too big, too much, and is overcoming you. When all you can quote is a different kind of bumper sticker (**** happens). When incurable is the diagnosis.

This is when the default failed me.

When a lion is at the door. There is no use denying it.

Thus, I have been witness to a strange paradox of faith. When I acknowledge that, yeah, I’m an appetizer if that beast comes calling. That, indeed, this is too much for me. When I embrace the difficulty and call it such. Then greater glory is the result.

Conceding that the situation is too big for me, acknowledges also that I need a big God. The road to strength starts at fragility. A god that cannot deal with my lions is no God at all.

when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Cor 12:10


Sarah said...

I too am guilty of that Christian habit of denying a problem and framing it as faith. Until that fails, and cynicism takes over. Sometimes life sucks, and we just can't make sense of it. I'm still trying to process a very difficult season I walked through about a year ago. What you have shared here helps me. It sheds light into the darkness. We are all running this race together. Blessings to you and Ginny.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Oh my...
Matt, I am continually amaze at how God speaks to us through so many different ways and different people..and how He confirms, He affirms, He encourages us through others. Once again...this post has blessed me. It's very interesting that this post is somewhat related to the post I did today..the kitten..the lion...and our Big God. God is awesome.

Rena said...

I just came across your blog through a link in Liza's Eyeview. Wow. I too have been contemplating the verse about being strong when we are weak lately. Going through the death of a child knocks you to the ground and leaves you with no defences within yourself. God makes no sense whatsoever sometimes. He is so other, yet He does love more than we comprehend.I watched 99 Balloons and cried nearly the whole time. What a blessing to enjoy your little son for a short time when the official opinion was that he would not make it to birth. I recently went through a miscarriage and have been struggling with why God allows such things to happen. Trust in the LORD with your whole heart and lean not on your own understanding. He has this (and me and my baby) in His hands.

Anonymous said...

I actually discovered your blog the day you posted about Eliot's funeral, and so I read your words, knowing the end of the story first. Except, Eliot's story continues... because he remains even now, as there are so many who loved him to remember him. When there is no one left on earth to remember him, it is no matter-- because you are all together again. 99 days will be but a blink of an eye in heaven, but oh, how your hearts must ache even so.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video and LOVED it. I just wanted you to know that today I MISS ELIOT! Thank you for continuing to inspire me with you blog entries.
Atlanta, Georgia

theragan3 said...

i've been there done that with the emotions of doubt, anger, sorrow. I don't believe those emotions and feelings are wrong. But if I don't go back to the arms of my BIG Father then I'll get stuck in the pit. Thanks for the reminder that my God is BIG! Over a year after losing Moses, I still need the reminders...
Grace to you all

Anonymous said...

Matt and Ginny,

I was led to your blog by another AXO, and I wish I had known about it sooner. I was so touched and humbled by the 99 Balloons video. Thank you for sharing your precious son and your journey with us. Your testimony is an inspiration to us all and reminds me to cherish each moment with my own children.

Ginny - It has been a long time since I have seen your beautiful face. I miss you and hope you both are well!

Jennifer Williams Fantl (Your AXO big sister! :)

Anonymous said...

Ginny and Matt, Hope all is well with you! I continue to lead people to your blog and Eliot's story and your continuing journey of faith. I've always been one to try to " be strong"and agree that it sometimes makes us miss all we should learn from all of life's lessons- i loved the story of the flower- God is always sending us His surprises to remind us just how much He loves us- Your story continually helps me focus on my blessings and to look for the opportnity to know God better in the things I initially don't look at as blessings- I pray for you and yours everyday- Love and Prayers, Mrs. Olivia

Nicole said...

Ginny and Matt,
You are teaching so many of us by example about faith, thanks for helping us. You are also making a difference in the world for those of us who have children that have disabilities. Thank you for that too!

Your story has moved me and made me think, taught me and led me. I would like to nominate you for the Thinking Bloggers Award and I did so here if you would like to particpate. Thanks again for changing the world!

Tori :) said...

Thank you for the inspiring video and words. My husband and I lost a baby to Trisomy 13 in Oct. 2002. I was 5 months pregnant. You truly were blessed with those 99 days and Eliot is so blessed to have such remarkable parents. :)
God bless.

Anonymous said...

Matthew and Ginny,
Michelle, my wife, and I were just emailed a link to youtube by a friend of ours who saw 99 balloons there, and knew it would speak to us. Our encounter with Edward's Syndrome was through the life of our daughter Mackenzie. God blessed us and allowed us to experience so much through her. She went to be with Jesus on March 26, 2004, and was waiting with Him to welcome Eliot when he arrived. From the begining we knew that our child was not ours, we knew that she was His. When we prayed for her healing we prayed that she would be an instrument to bring Christ glory and praise. She was an instrument for Him long before her healing. Her life and story knocked down fortified walls and spanned deeply dug trenches to melt hardened hearts and turn lives toward Christ. Now she is healed and whole. Our prayer was answered. We miss her. But we know it's only a little while.
I have thanked Jeff and Linda Caylor for sending us the link to 99 balloons. It's been more than 3 years since she went home, but while watching, the memories and emotions came back like a flood. I immediately forwarded the link to everyone in my address book and told them to run and tell everyone they love how much they love them.
Thank you for helping us relive the moments, the laughter, and the tears. Thanks for reminding us of something that God taught us through our daughter's life...that Joy is a choice.
I Choose Joy.

Terrill Lambert

Veronica said...

I was so inspired by the life and joy that radiates from your faces, even during a time that was surely filled with sleepless nights and heartbreaking knowledge of the brevity of Eliot's life. Every day of life is a day to celebrate. Thank you, little St. Eliot, for reminding us of that.