I learned my one of my most valuable life lessons at the side of a teeny tiny infant Isolette almost 20 years ago. I can actually bring up a picture of the place in my mind and the reaction in my soul is recreated, in better than 3D resolution. This lesson has been foundational for me throughout my life but especially during the early and lingering moments with Maddi and her recovery.
All those years ago, as I peered at my eldest daughter through the shiny plastic, longing to snuggle her I was overcome with anger and a stubborn resolve to get her well. I just had the worst conversation with the doctor stating that they had never had an infant as young as my daughter survive that particular respiratory illness. She was 7 days old when she fell ill and RSV was little known at that time. He said that I needed to prepare myself.
I foolishly and in a frenzy fueled by fear and despair had a very grown up tantrum right there with the doctor. I don’t remember but I can visualize the poor doctor walking away shaking his head at my denial and at his own regret. After my ill-timed melt down I was left in the dim lights of the Infant Intensive Care Unit staring down in disbelief at the, should be pink, girl I so desperately longed to get to know.
At that moment in the humming quiet, I heard without question…. “She is Mine……..First”. I not only heard it but I felt it throughout every cell in my body that God’s claim trumped mine no matter how much I loved that tiny little soul. I felt much like I envision the water obeying God’s will……automatic, no disputation, no recourse. I was lovingly put in my place. It was such a profound…. “Every knee shall bow moment”. Even now as I write that manifestation reoccurs.
In a misguided attempt to enforce my faith to keep my daughter alive I found myself face to face with the fact that I had absolutely no control. I had been taught all of my life, “Ask and Ye Shall Receive” and “if the desire is righteous nothing will be kept from you” “IF you have enough faith, righteousness, or if you are willing to sacrifice……….” Blah, blah, blah (pardon my disrespect). All of this was taught with the accompanying “If it be thy will” clause but at that moment, the fine print seemed the size of a roadside billboard.
I was chastised and reminded that God….is the Father and I cannot force, beg, plead or negotiate with his will. No amount of faith, obedience, good works, endurance or sacrifice can have any effect on the will of God. I also learned that as protective and possessive as I was with “my” newborn daughter, she really wasn’t mine. She was HIS first and I was blessed enough for any amount of time I had with her. I had to be willing to let her go and “Be Still and Know that He is God”. That was a humbling moment for me, one that has since framed in my life.
Once I did let go with my whole heart and allowed myself to be in full compliance without any reservation or bitterness, my daughter began to heal. It was not a coincident that she began to improve…..it was by divine design so I could identify, recognize and remember.
As my life progressed that lesson became an anchor during many other trials. It was invaluable during the numerous miscarriages I experienced while trying to have children. I miscarried many more than the four children I have been blessed to raise. Each time as I found myself mourning a birthday that should have been, I was strengthened by the plural form of “She is Mine………First”.
As I struggled at times with my ability to parent effectively, the knowledge from that moment taught me that I had a divine resource to help me in that sacred opportunity. I also gained a valuable insight that these sweet children were my literal brother and sisters before this life. I was meant to be a mentor, not a dictator and it wasn’t about me. I could not accept their achievements, successes or triumphs as my own. I could celebrate with them and be a support when they needed it. I could correct and guide but not overpower. I could influence the structure and opportunities to help them on their way but their personalities and preferences were determined long before I entered the equation and dedicated 9 months to the development of a body for those souls.
Last year, as I once again stood at the bedside of one of my children on the cusp of life and death, the lesson learned all those years ago still proved true. From the very beginning of Maddi’s recovery, I never asked for a miracle, not because I didn’t want one but because I knew if that was God’s will it would be so. God knew the desire of our hearts; we prayed and asked for the strength and peace to be content with HIS will regardless of the outcome.
The day I whispered in Maddi’s ear with tears choking my words,
“We love you and want you here, but if you can’t get well, go with Jesus,”
I could hear the echo in my mind,
“She is Mine…… First”
and each of my cells reacted once again.
I am so humbled and overwhelmed that we were graced with such a miracle and mercy. We are blessed for the deeply sacred nature of our experience. I am so grateful that God in his infinite wisdom walked with me down the original path twenty years ago with my pride and willfulness only to help me find a contrite spirit and willing heart in the form of a life lesson. I know I couldn’t have gone into this last year without all the years of practice and for that I am not only grateful but truly blessed to know;
“She is Mine……..First”