Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 26 - Seth, Nehemiah, Esther & Timothy Risley



God in his kindness has placed four heart children in our home. The reality of living and loving a little person who potentially has a shortened lifespan really flies in the face of our fierce western idea of strength and independence. May I push it even further? It’s a wrecking ball to our insulated, rather benign faith. It’s an opportunity to die in order to really live. As believers we should be in a perpetual place of tension/seeming contradiction as we grow in grace. This is not a comfortable way to live, neither does it make sense. Ahem…this is a crazy way to live! For our family the past three years has brought us to an increased intensity in living out these seeming contradictions. What does it mean for us, the Risley family, to follow Christ? For us, it meant six kiddos from China in three years. There is nothing God likes better than redeeming, restoring, and making new his creatures who are broken, lost and without hope.

It is not unusual to have conversations (always with several interruptions) in our house trying to figure out how truth and life connect in the hard stuff. Our 15 year old has shared how it weighs on him that he will probably outlive one of his siblings. Speaking truth into his reality is holy ground. We can love recklessly because we have been loved by the greatest Risktaker of all time.

“We (believers, the church) are a colony of heaven in a country of death.” Peterson


That says it perfectly. Our Seth, adopted in 2012 from Fujian, catapulted us into this tense realm of ‘the now and not yet’. The finite words of ‘the now’ are truncus arteriosus, large VSD, severe pulmonary hypertension, Eisenmenger’s syndrome, inoperable; I am so sorry, there is nothing we can do.’ We are several years out from that grenade landing in our laps. Seth is holding steady. He is no worse and he is no better. His sats stay in the low 80’s. He is as bubbly as ever! And ‘the not yet’…he knows and loves Jesus and one day will worship him without shortness of breath.


God brought us Nehemiah in October of 2013 from Henan. We sat in the same recovery room area at Boston Children’s Hospital and waited for the results of his cath. The finite ‘now’ words then were complete atrio-ventricular canal defect. A few months later with open heart surgery and a 5 day hospital stay, Nehemiah was accorded a complete repair. He is barreling through life with frequent stops to kiss and hug all those he loves. We absolutely adore him. The’ now and the not yet’.. God is faithful and God is good.




December 23, 2014 God clearly gives us Esther and Timothy both from Henan. Their ‘now’ terms are plenteous…single ventricle, single atrium, DORV, TGA, probable heterotaxy syndrome, pulmonary atresia, etc. Both have had palliative procedures done in China. Esther had the Glenn procedure done in Shanghai and Timothy, pulmonary banding in Beijing. We are smack dab in the thick of the ‘not yet’.

Tomorrow we will sit in Boston Children’s waiting area and learn a few more bits and pieces regarding their unique anatomical make ups. As the scientific jargon tumbles from doctors’ mouths tomorrow, in the deep quiet of my heart, ‘it is well.’ We trust in his goodness and his love. He is more than enough!



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