Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 7 - Rachel Hope McCary

"Don't wait for miracles. . .

I'm convinced these words were spoken with my daughter, Rachel, in mind!  The simple fact that she survived until her adoption at the age of 7 leaves doctors speechless and medical students lined up to listen to her miracle heart!  Rachel was a little girl found in a basket at a bus stop at 9 months old. . . dying.  Her paperwork was stamped "Terminal" and she was sent to the orphanage to die.  God had other plans for her, though, and in June of this year, that same little girl will be 10 years old!  . . . A miracle!

I had hoped when I posted here last February (click here to go back to the beginning), that by the time I sat down to write again this year, I could report happy news of a perfectly matched heart having finally been found for Rachel. . .  Sadly though, that perfect match has not been found and after 23 months on the heart transplant list, we are STILL waiting!  Rachel is considered "Fragile but Stable" . . . A miracle!!  

Last summer a precious little friend got her call . . . a heart had been found!  But after many complications and the rejection of her new heart, Teresa slipped from this life into the next.  Many friends reached out to us with encouragement.  I knew what they were thinking, and I knew what they thought I was thinking . . .  Everyone obviously believed that such news would strike fear and dread into my heart, but praise God, it had not!  What a beautiful, grace-filled miracle!

God has done a miraculous work in my own heart along the journey, teaching me that for whatever lies ahead, His grace will be sufficient.  If I choose to live focused on the future and what "could" be, I will rob today of the miracle right before my eyes!  I have chosen to fix my eyes on today and give thanks instead!

This new perspective on life did not come easily for me, so I admit that I worried about telling Rachel when the sad news of Teresa's death arrived.  How would she respond?  Would this instill fear in her heart when her perfect match is found?  Doug convinced me that we had always been completely honest with Rachel about her condition and that she deserved to know the truth.

We were on vacation in Texas, sitting outside on the porch, while the kids ran around playing their nightly game of hide and seek in the dark.  Rachel joined us when she decided that keeping up with everyone else was a losing battle!  "Rachel," I said, "I have something to tell you . . .  I know that you have been praying for Teresa, but I wanted you to know that she died today and went to be with Jesus in Heaven."  She looked at me as if she already knew.  "I knew she was going to die, Mommy."  she said in a quiet voice.  "How did you know?"  I asked her.  "I just did", was the only explanation she could offer.  I asked her if she thought Teresa's death was a good thing or a bad thing?  Her eyes lit up as she answered . . . "Oh, it's a very good thing for Teresa, but not good for her Mommy!"

How right you are sweet girl!  May you never lose sight of the wonderful LIFE that awaits you on the other side of death's door.  Better than any life we could ever offer you here!  Her HOPE-filled perspective is a beautiful miracle! 

I spent quite a bit of time pondering the wait we find ourselves in, realizing that for Teresa and her family, the months of waiting would be the last months they had together.  How then, would God have us wait?  And while I am reminded of the precious gift this time is to teach Rachel about the Savior that will meet her when she arrives at Heaven's door, I am also reminded to make every moment we have, here and now, count!  This beautiful truth does not apply to Rachel alone, but to everyone we love and hold dear!

Rachel turned NINE this past summer!  Every single day . . . a miracle!  And to think that God went to such measures to get our precious girl all the way home from China . . . a miracle!  And the way He opened up her broken heart to the Truth about Himself and His love for her through Jesus . . . a miracle!  The way she is filled with such love, life and joy after such horrendous years in an institution with no hope . . . a miracle!  The way she continues to laugh and play and enjoy life in spite of her failing heart . . . a miracle!

A miracle is what I seek . . .  but a thousand miracles have already been granted!

Life is looking differently these days.  I thank God for the way He used Teresa's story to bring beautiful perspective once again!  The craziest thing of all is that Rachel seems to have a better grasp on this beautiful perspective than we do!  She always has!  She refuses to wait for her miracle, but lives each day as the beautiful miracle it is!  She attends school, plays on the playground, swims in the ocean and across the pool, and she dances non-stop!  Recently she came to us and asked us if she could play basketball on a team at the YMCA.  What might the parents of a little girl in heart failure say to such a request?  "You bet you can, Rachel!  Let's get you signed up!"

Now every Saturday, we sit in the bleachers and literally hold our breath, as Rachel runs up and down the basketball court as many times as her broken heart will let her.  I'm positive it's the craziest thing we've ever agreed to, and I know that many question our decision to allow her to play.  But Rachel is teaching us what it means to really live, and I'm not about to stand in between this precious nine year old and the miracle of TODAY!

I must share something here that I'm honestly surprised I have not written about before now!  When Rachel turned 8 years old (our first birthday to celebrate together) Doug purchased an ITouch from a mom on Craig's List.  This was the only thing Rachel really wanted, and she was absolutely thrilled!!!  I kept promising Rachel that we would allow her to pick out some music and add it to her ITouch.  She insisted that hers already had music on it.  How was this possible?  We had erased everything from the ITouch the day we purchased it!  But one song remained and it had become her "favorite".  She sang along every time it played.

"We pray for blessings.  We pray for peace, comfort for family, protection while we sleep.

We pray for healing, for prosperity.  We pray for Your mighty hand to heal our suffering.

All the whole, You hear each spoken need, yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

What if Your blessings came through raindrops?  What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?" 

Could Rachel even begin to understand what those words meant?  And yet, her confidence in the face of death reveals that she must!  Had God not obviously left this song just for her?

A few months ago, Rachel's voice piped up from the back of the van . . .  "This is not our home!"  This announcement took me by surprise, the way it seemed to come out of the blue.  She went on . . . "This is not our home!  Heaven is!  This is just our temporary home!"  She obviously understood this concept in a way even adults do not!  I marveled at the work of God!  What had she been thinking of that day?  And then I heard that song of hers again as I rode in my van alone, a few days later . . .  This time I purposed to really listen to each and every word that God had so beautifully used to speak to Rachel's heart.  And there it was!!!

" . . . When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know . . .  

The pain reminds this heart . . . that this is not,
this is not our home!

It's not our home!

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?

And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? . . .

And what if trials of this life - the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are Your mercies in disuise?"
                                 "Blessings"  by Laura Story

I even cry as I type these beautiful words, and from down the hall I can hear this song playing for Rachel as she drifts off to sleep.  It is among her favorite songs that are played each night, reminding her of God's love and unchanging promises.

What are the chances that single song was left on Rachel's ITouch?  I'd guess they are not very good at all!
 . . . Another miracle!

And to think, that at 9 years old, she understand that the pain of this life was designed by God to reveal His love and goodness, and to give us a longing for heaven?
 . . . A miracle indeed!

Rachel has bravely asked me and Doug and her beloved cardiologist that she be allowed to live every single day God gives her to the fullest . . . not waiting in a hospital bed, clinging to the hope that a miracle is on the way!  She believes, and has convinced us too, that every single day is a miracle!

"Go LIVE your miracle Rachel!"

Rachel's story can be found through either or


Drea said...

What a beautiful post, Rachel! Your insights into this journey have been of great comfort to me.

Sarah said...

The perspective on life that you've come to embrace is one that I hope to come to one day as well. Thanks for sharing!

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