Friday, February 3, 2017

Day 3 - Ellie

Life Lessons from Ellie: Faith
Yesterday Ellie’s biggest tears were about this disaster: she couldn’t find Olaf’s Lego nose after she accidentally dropped it. She seemed fine. More than fine. As happy as someone can be with tubes and monitors attached to every part of their body. Engaging and delightful—the earmarks of Ellie.

So I should be fine, too, right? Wrong. Because the rug was pulled out from under us with no warning on a day she also seemed fine, I am wary. And scared. And shell-shocked.
Oprah always says our journey here in the “earth school” is about learning. I kind of thought that, given my age, I was past that but I have learned more in these past two days that I thought possible. When I counsel people who are paralyzed by loss and grief over bad things that have happened to them I tell them fervently: “Your story isn’t that wound. Your story is that you survived! Let that foundation of resilience be your new beginning.” They nod, giving me the response they know I want, but their eyes often betray them: No, this wound is too deep. You don’t understand.

I understand now. I know in my mind that Ellie’s story isn’t that she nearly died…her story is that she lived. But this wound is too deep.
I tell those I counsel that the actual pain from any hurtful event only lasts for so long. The pain that you continue to feel comes from replaying the tape. From living it over and over and not being able to move past those thoughts. So stop playing that tape.
I can see the scene so clearly in my mind. Who was there. My baby splayed on that table. The frantic compressions. The fear. I can’t stop playing that tape.

Ellie, on the other hand, remarkably is generally not afraid. We have taken her from everything familiar to her—her orphanage home, her country, her food, her language, her beloved caregivers, her “orphanage sister.” We have taken her on cross-Atlantic flights, to more doctors’ appointments than I can count, to an untold number of hurtful medical procedures, to open heart surgery and to the ICU 3 times. Yet somehow she senses our good intentions. She seems to know the plans that we have for her life are to help her and not to harm her. To give her hope and a future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

When she doesn’t understand something she uses her limited language and skillful pantomime to ask us…and then trusts our answers about what is to come.
“Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” Jeremiah 33:3

Yesterday as I struggled to help her with her Lego set she said firmly; “I need DADDY help.” She knows if she asks her father, help will be given to her.
“Ask, and it will be given to you..” Matthew 7:7

She allows us to comfort her and wipe away her tears. And when she heard Aunt Sue’s dog whimpering this weekend she said solemnly; “Doggie crying.” And then began sweetly singing “Jesus Loves Me” to the dog…exactly the way I do when she is crying. She trusts us to comfort her even when she doesn’t understand.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5

Even after all she has suffered, all she has endured, she has an amazing gift—peace of mind and heart. It defies my understanding how each day she continues to hope.
“I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

She isn’t stuck in the wound. She isn’t playing the tape. And her faith is still only in us—fallible and flawed human beings. So how much greater should our faith be in the God of all hope?

Watching this I have learned something huge about faith:
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15 

Cindy Champnella (Koenigsknecht) is mom to 4 girls-3 are adopted from China. She is the author of ;"The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another" and "The Twelve Gifts of Life"


Andrea Olson said...

Thank you for sharing!

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