Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Message to Me

Summer is upon us. No more school for a while. Ginny and I are embarking on some road trips this week. St. Louis and Louisiana, here we come. We continue to be humbled and grateful to those of you who have shared your stories with us or just let us know what Eliot’s has meant to you. Thanks.

A year ago today, we were in Little Rock, Arkansas still reeling from the realization that something was wrong with our baby. An ultrasound had revealed numerous anomalies, including a hole in the heart, and doctors were thinking it could all be related to a syndrome such as trisomy 18. It would be few more days until that diagnosis was confirmed. Those were tough days. Even with all that has since come, that day was the toughest single day of my life.

Granted, the day that Eliot left us would seem to take the cake, but I am still grappling with putting my heart and mind around that day; it seemed so surreal, and I could not take it all in, and so that day is something of a blur. But I vividly remember the pain of finding out.

Just a year later. But what a year. It encapsulated our parenthood, our every memory with Eliot. I was thinking what I would say to that guy that was me one year ago. If hindsight is supposedly 20/20, then I must need glasses. Because, I do not have all the answers for him; in all honesty, more questions than ever. But I view this as another positive produced in the last year.

However, I would have things to tell him. I would tell him the following:

➢ You are going to get to hold him (by the way, Ginny’s right, it’s a boy); and you’ll never believe how great it will be.

➢ You guys are his parents, so don’t be scared to tell the doctors and nurses to go away, you got him.

➢ Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to take him home. Don’t be afraid when he struggles. Don’t be afraid you can’t do it. All that time fearing is just wasted time better spent enjoying him. Just cherish him, and take it as it comes.

➢ This boy will usher in the greatest days of your life. Also the hardest. But there’s no way you would trade it, if it meant going without the good.

➢ His hair has a red-tint, so stop rolling your eyes every time Ginny tells you that she prays for a redhead…she’ll have the last laugh on this one.

➢ You’re right, your God is the only way you will come through this.

➢ But not like you think. He will show up through others, and they will be the only way you will come through this.

➢ Nope. I don’t have those answers for you.
But you just might come to grips with following the One who does, even though He does not provide them. He’s not all that you think He is. And that’s a good thing.

23 comments:

gracie said...

I am crying reading this. It is like hearing my own voice today, looking back and looking forward in the life of my own son who has diabetes and struggles daily. He is an amazing redhead too... and I remember wondering before he was born if he would have red hair! Eliot's life and your journey, the way you have expressed everything so honestly, has been an inspiration to me and continues to change my life every time I read your posts. Thank you. Thank you. Keep on being who you are and braving this place to live it through.
All blessings to you. May God bring even more joy from this pain.

Jeanine said...

Every time I read one of your posts it makes me want to crawl in bed with all four of my little ones and just hold them all night. You help me to remember why being a parent is so amazing...and it has nothing to do with sports, talent shows, or milestones but everything to do with what God says and does through them! Eliot's life, though short by our standards, has been rich in that he has truly impacted the world. He is a life well-used by God. What a blessing and comfort that must be for you. Thank you for sharing your son and the God who holds him in the palm of His hand.

Sun said...

Wow completely blown away here - I don't even know what to say except WOW! Thanks for this - it is a needed reminder that God is not all that we think He is, that that is a good thing, and that He cannot be contained in a box! I pray you all have a safe trip and that God continually restores your's and Ginny's souls! Sunshine

jan said...

isn't it amazing that the missing chromosome in eliot's case was not a welcome sign and, yet, in heather's case, the missing chromosomes were a welcome discovery. we can't understand but we can depend on Him to understand for us.

Anonymous said...

every post makes me want to raise my hands to the Heavens and be swept away by Jesus!!! this one especially.
-b

Anonymous said...

Only found your blog yesterday, and what a find!
I am blown away by your strength, your love and faith.
I have been in similar circumstances but didnt have the strength to do what you both did.
You are special people and God will bless you.
Eliot has touched my life.
i look forward to reading more, and yes, my children too have red hair..

Gina- St Petersburg said...

God Bless you and your wife! In a world where so little importance is given to the gift of life, you have shown how truly precious it is no matter how long, short or what "great feat" you may accomplish. Your tiny boy accomplished the greatest feat of all by living! How beautiful a gift was he? God is great and he showed us that through your son who defied the accomplishments of "civilization". He is now your personal angel and is waiting on God's lap for you, whispering his prayers for you into God's ear. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. A powerful on going testimony to our powerful God, through the life of your son.

Hurrah4books
http://360.yahoo.com/profile-z.NfsEk5brSg3Zle551CcjeS25o-?cq=1

Pam said...

I am just hearing about this. Almost 7 years ago, I had my 8th boy with Down's who was a miracle. Noah David survived on earth until he was 20 mos., then the Lord brought him into His presence. We went through many milestones with him as well. We thankfully were already able to accept everything he was, because of God's work in our lives. Therefore we enjoyed him immensely and lived everyday overjoyed. We did not know he would, after all he had come through, die of pneumonia, but God decided it was time. He was a spokesman for the Lord as well, without being able to say much. How he has blessed our other children and us, I cannot measure. We had another child named Grace Beloved afterward, and God has used her as well to heal our hurts. My maiden name is Mooney (from Missouri). We also have a friend who's daughter had Trisomy 18 and lived until she was 9. God bless you and those who see and read about how He can work in our deepest pain and anxieties. Praise be to God! "Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength; Because of Your enemies,That You may silence the enemy and the avenger." Psalm 8:2

Anonymous said...

We just heard your story this past week and please know that you have challenged and blessed us. You are a testimony of God's grace and strength. What a beautiful son and a beautiful family shining for the Lord. Our prayers are with you.

Julie R. said...

You have written in this post, and other ones previously, how beautiful and life-changing it is to have the body of Christ enter into your circumstance and pain. How deeply you have been impacted by God showing up, and that He does that through His people. What an act of redemption it is --that God is doing the very same through you, that He has given you through others.

You are authentically walking a road of pain so that you can come alongside someone else and embrace them and say "I know. I have been there." And with great honesty, vulnerability and transparency you can walk with them in their shoes when they are most desperate for God to come.

The depths you are walking are earning you the divine privilege of bringing that same comfort you have received to others in need of it. How we need to rise up and be the body and care for each other in places of deep pain. So many are hurting and need ones who aren't afraid to face the pain, but can come along side them and enter in.

You have no easy answers, no trite response. Your impact is profound and will bring life to hearts who would otherwise die without someone to hold them and know someone deeply cares.

I am confident that God will continue to bring forth incredible redemption as you walk so authentically before Him. You have honored Him so well in being so real, so open, so vulnerable. How I praise Him for your witness and for the life your family breathes to so many who desperately need it.

PinkJeweledCat said...

What a wonderful God we have to bring us to the people and let us hear the words we need to hear just at the perfect moment. Not only did you bless me with your words, but the previous commenters blessed me with their words. It can only be through God that we all came to be here to read what you've written so openly and honestly. It can only be through God that we're all connected through our similar pain. Let us praise His HOLY name, for being so faithful to us, when we're faithful to Him. This really touched my spirit and ministered to me. Thanks so much for posting it. Ta for now dahling!

Borbe Bunch said...

Thank you. Enjoy your road trips. You are an amazing testimony to the GOODESS of a God that does not make mistakes.

Meghan said...

You said it perfectly. Sometimes, I summarize my journey with Ricky in one simple way...

As I just put on my post tonight for the 2 year anniversary of the day I brought him home from the hospital:

"He was the best thing that ever happened to me. The hardest thing I've ever done. And the first thing I wish I could do all over again."


www.littlemanricky.com

olivia and henry said...

keep writing, matt and ginny. God is using you in truly immeasurable ways. i thank God for you both, and for your amazing son.
angie

Kat Tankersley said...

Dear Matt and Ginny...

Eliot was beautiful. His story was forwarded to a group I am a member of for pregnancy and infant loss in Fayetteville, AR. Our first child, also a son, passed away in September last year after being born prematurely. I was touched by your video tribute. It breaks my heart yet makes me feel a peace about how you documented and celebrated every moment you had with Eliot. Thank you for the reminder of how special life is.

Kat
Fayetteville, AR

Katrina in TN said...

So I couldn't sleep last night, and decided my tossing and turning shouldn't mean no sleep for my husband. I have no idea how I got here (to your site) from there (wherever it was I started), but I read your blog start to finish. I am amazed - and awed - and humbled - and grateful. Thank you so much for sharing your story - Eliot's story. The miracle of life and the love of a great and holy God, portrayed beautifully through the pen (or keyboard, as it may be) of man. Thank you.

erikson said...

Hi.I'm Erikson.I'm from Brazil.I'm 16.
Well, I'm very happy 'cause in middle this so big world we can see the true love that shake with everybody, every heart...
And you have the happiness of to celebrate the life, and realy as it's...With love, just love can take peace in evry heart, and nobody can to explicate, 'cause love's mystery...
The heaven's celebrating...
Sorry, I don't speak fine in english...
God bless you...
Thank you.

Courtney said...

First off, I would like to tell you that I am not an emotional person. When I whatched the viseo that you made of our precious son, I cried and cried and cried. Tears just would not stop. I read your blog after I had whatched the video. I quit reading it for a while because I could not stop crying. Well, I came back tonight, read your post, and here I am crying. I am going to come back though because I just thought, the Lord made this precious baby so what is there to be "different" about him than me? He was a healthy baby boy. He may have had some disabilities, but that isn't being "sick!" THe Lord knew when he wanted your boy. I like to look at it this way: He couldn't go any longer without holding precious Eliot and having him by Him all of the time, so he just had to take him. There is a time of giving and there is a time a taking, there is a time of weeping and there is a time to praise, there is a time to gather stones and a time to scatter them. There is a time for everything. Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever.

In HIM,
~Courtney
(courtyshorty7@hotmail.com)

Marina Gisele Keimel said...

I`m Gisele, I`m 19 years old, and I have just saw for the first time the video on you tube of 99 balloons, and it really make me cry, I want to thank you cause, I learn a valuable lesson with that video, I have a little baby that is going to have a year on june 15th, and from today and on i will apreciate every day of her life, cause like you said we never know what are god plans for us... I hope you can enjoy your life from now on, and you keep remember eliot as what he was a blessing... good luck in your life, and may god be whit you..
PS: Sorry for my english, I`m from Argentina, I do my best..

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt and Ginny: i saw your video in you tube, and in the other side of the Earth I cried of happiness for the beautifull sing for the live. I live very far away of you, and I don´t speak your languaje or ever known your country. Anyway, in the south extrem of this planet, I have felt so proud of your story. My husband and me cannot have children, and thats why i have felt so touched for your story of love and blessed.
A son is a gift of GOD , but they are not of our property. They just come to us, like a fragile bot leaf. Isour work let them fly free, like this beautifull and coloring 99 baloons.
Receive an embrace from Chile.
Bernardita Neira

Debbie said...

Great things to say to any parents! May God continue to bless you.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for sharing your life..your struggles..your joys and questions with us . We are all richer to have heard the story of Eliot...but you and Ginny lived it in front of us through your writings. I thank God for you both ........Janet