Friday, June 24, 2016

Ava has been allowed to leave the hospital for 4 hours at a time these past few days.

Wow. It was like watching a caged bird fly free.

It's been 12 days in the hospital under isolation. She came to Seattle sicker than she's ever been. And now she is up eating potato chips and watching Dragon's Edge.

It has been hard watching her teeter on the edge for so many years now. It's like dying a thousand deaths, over and over again. But it doesn't take away from the joy when she is given more life, more time, more breaths. This time of uncertainty somehow expedites the ushering in of thankfulness.

I am so thankful.

Thank you for the house that has become a home.
Thank you for the food--the glorious food that has sustained us.
Thank you for the gift cards to all our favorite and most practical stores.
Thank you for the heartfelt cards and emails.
Thank you for the acts of service in so many behind-the-scenes ways that I don't even know them all.
Thank you for the prayers that storm heaven's door at all hours of the day and night.
Thank you for your love. It has covered us so.

As we walked the long, white hallways back to Ava's hospital room after our pass ended, we talked about gratitude. Sometimes I wonder if it is okay to teach her things even with the future so shaded with gray. Does it really matter that she learns life lessons? I struggle with what to do with our time together. Do we live like she will die or do we live like she will live?

I'm beginning to see that the timeline isn't as important as the journey. And our destination is Christ. So, what we do with what we have really matters. In our case, we don't know how many minutes, or days, or months, or years. But I know that when we train ourselves to thank God for every little thing, even when our hearts have the most venomous words ready to spew at Him, there is something that the heart does. It melts. It matters that I teach her that thankfulness is necessary for survival.

The nurse walks in with the lab reports and tells me that there are blasts in the blood again. My blood freezes, and I think everything is going to hell. I want to jump out the window and die so that I can have some face-to-face complaining time before God. (Kidding...but only slightly). But then I get a text from a friend who tells me she is praying, and I open an email with a Starbucks gift card and the message, "We don't know you, but we love you." Then my mom sends a warm plate of food to the hospital, made with love, from the many nameless people serving us right now...

My heart is so mad. My heart is so thankful. It is okay to be both and I will teach Ava this because she will need to know it for the days ahead.

I have been trying to keep up with it all but really can't even begin to thank everyone for the love and service you have shown our family. Thank you to everyone for doing the hard work so that we can see how thankful we ought to be.

*The doctor said that the blasts are not too worrisome right now. Her marrow was so full of disease that maybe it spit a few cells out in the blood. We will check labs again tonight. Please pray with us for zero blasts in her blood, her marrow, her skin, her CNS, and the other sites in her body. We know it's a long shot, but we also know who stands in our corner.

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