*Your Tuesday Hoper Natalie invited Aleisa Yusko to join us this week and share her voice + thoughts on James 4. Natalie’s heart & story have been richly blessed by this fellow mom, blogger, and believer and we’re honored to have her join us today – welcome Aleisa!
About three days after we received the terrible diagnosis, my vehement anger toward God subsided. I came to a place of complete surrender because it was all that I could do to survive. White flag waving, I gave the whole mess to God. There was absolutely nothing I could say or do to change the circumstances that I was physically and emotionally bound to – no amount of crying, worrying, screaming or pounding my fists would “fix” this baby, but maybe God could?
I had never felt such a lack of control in my whole life. How deceived I had become in believing that I controlled not only my own destiny, but my children’s destinies — this baby’s destiny. I very truly had no idea what would happen throughout the rest of the pregnancy from one day to the next. No baby showers, no more shopping for baby clothes or nursery decor, because I had no idea whether or not we’d be bringing a baby home. But all the while, a vivacious little life stretched, poked and rolled around inside my belly. We were all out here crying our eyes out, while this lively baby girl was tucked safely away inside of me, oblivious that there was anything wrong with her. She was very much alive and I loved her more than I ever could have imagined. I cherished each and every little kick, very aware that they could all vanish the next day. We named her Nora. We sang to her, talked to her and read her stories.
Nora survived her birth and she was the centerpiece of our family for just over two years — 777 days! How very blessed we were to have had that time with her, as she carried out the grand purpose that God had set before her. There really was no telling when the next medical emergency would arise. We made it a point to take endless pictures and videos. We basked in the glow of Nora’s smiles, and marveled over every happy squeal. We fiercely and intentionally loved that little girl every millisecond of her life. As we loved her and coddled her, she taught us so many valuable lessons.
She taught us that life was under no obligation to progress according to our plans or our to-do lists. We learned to be very flexible. She taught us the true meaning of unconditional love – that even though there were conditions associated with her, she was incredibly lovable and exceedingly important. She helped me to reevaluate my priorities and to recognize what really mattered in this life. It certainly wasn’t the kind of car I drove, what brand of purse I carried around or how many pairs of shoes I had. Nora also taught us how to trust and rely on God even in the very worst of times. There was no amount of fear or worry that I could subject myself to that would make anything better.
Even after she left this earth, Nora continues to teach us that even in the deepest sorrow, there can still be joy. There is no way that Nora could have brought all of these wise life lessons to us as a chromosomally normal baby, which is why I believe that she was perfectly authored by God to be exactly the way she was. Of course I can only say this in hindsight.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Each day that we spend here on this earth implies that God has great purpose for us here, and that none of our days should be taken for granted. There won’t always be the luxury of a terminal diagnosis to remind us to be intentional and purposeful.
Know the good, and do it!