Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guardian Angels

Psalm 5:11 NRSV

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.

We were surely watched over on Friday, January 17. What should have been a routine drive to my parents' turned into a harrowing experience of tumbling and bruised muscles. Within an hour and a half from my parents' home, I lost control and rolled the car with my husband and son as passengers. I truly remember little leading up to the accident and during the accident. We are grateful there were no other vehicles on the road at the time, grateful we landed down the embankment on the north side and not the river on the south side, grateful we came away with just bruises, scrapes and minor misalignments of the spine. The injuries could have been much worse. Yes, the car was totaled, pretty crunched, but it protected us with its side curtain air bags and seat belts as it was suppose to in its design. I got a long ride in an ambulance and received great care at Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Center. After checking out fine at the hospital (internal pain was from all the bruising), I was released several hours later.

God sent us an angel on earth - a veteran named Kevin. We don't know much about Kevin except he was traveling Highway 12 behind us from Centralia/Chehalis to the Tri-Cities in a red pickup and was the first to stop to help. He helped us climb out of the ditch, flagged down a state trooper so I could get medical attention, then drove Mike and Junior to the hospital to be with me. Kevin, thank you for your assistance.

The reason for the trip to my parents' was to honor the memory of my recently deceased nana; her memorial service was held last Saturday. It was a beautiful service with wonderful memories of a remarkable woman who saw and experienced a lot in 100 years. We even had a fashion show as some of her descendants wore her clothes, hats and shoes. Nana was buried wearing 3-inch heals! I wrote some words to honor nana and Junior read them for me; he did a marvelous job, not afraid of a crowd! It was fitting he read them as a portion was about her being one of our champions during our adoption journey and how proud she was of her new great-grandson. Below are my words I wrote.

Words for Nana
Grandma, whom my youngest sister comfortably called Nana and the label stuck, was a great supporter of my dreams. I started writing in elementary school - short stories, poems, youth devotionals. Nana, who was a prolific reader, encouraged my writing. One of her gifts when I was in middle school was a book of poems, Sounds of Feelings written by her friend and contemporary Kathryn Boice. I devoured the poetry; it helped me continue writing through college, some pieces were published.

One of Ms. Boice's poems from Sounds of Feelings is "An Observation":
Frustration, Dear, is heaven-sent.
We'd have no pearls if oysters were content.

This little poem described a journey my husband and I would embark on after 13 years of marriage. We ventured into the world of adoption. Nana became a cheerleader and prayer warrior during our adoption journey. She watched Mike and I grow up from two high school kids to mature, responsible adults ready for parenthood. It was a journey with agonizing waits, frustrating setbacks, and many unknowns. During our two-year wait for a child, I wrote, a lot. I blogged, I wrote letters to my future unknown child, I wrote in my journal, I wrote letters to unknown biological family. I prayed and I felt the prayers of others. Two particular Bible verses became my life line during the wait - Psalm 130:5 and Habakkuk 2:3.

Psalm 130:5 New International Version
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his words I put my hope."

Habakkuk 2:3 New International Version
"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."

As our journey reached the 2-year mark for waiting, our prayer warriors prayed harder and more intensely. Finally, in 2012, we brought home a wonderful young man, Andrew. When he first met Nana, he was already taller than her - he being 5 foot 4 inches and she 5 feet on a good day. Our wonderful son flourished and continued to grow, and grow, but that did not stop Nana from telling the world about her new great-grandson. She often said she had a new little great-grandson, then correct herself, "he's not so little, really", especially since he grew six inches in 15 months!

I am glad she was able to enjoy a year with Andy and rejoice with us when we finalized his adoption this past summer. He has good memories of this remarkable woman who loved him, loved me, loved my husband.

Another of Ms. Boice's poems was the "Artist":
The same great God who
hurls the planets and the stars,
paints butterflies.

Our God who created the heavens and paints butterflies now has another angel. She now has a great view of the birth of new stars and cosmic collisions. Nana, we love you and miss you. Thank you for being my prayer warrior and helping me learn patience through a difficult time.

With the long wait we had to get Junior, I am struggling with guilt that I could have killed him because I was the driver responsible for the car accident. My greatest fear is losing Junior before I am an old lady. The state entrusted us to raise him, his biological mother entrusted him to our care, we want to raise him to adulthood and watch him mature and have his own family. I am thankful we minor injuries and are healing. I have a scratch on my face that will probably scar, acting as a daily reminder of God's continual protection over our family. It will remind me to praise him daily for each blessing - waking up each morning, breathing, hugging my son, kissing my husband, the ability to work. Just as Psalm 113:9 says, "He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!" Amen! 

There are mothers out there unable to hug their children tonight. I have been following the journey of Kristin and Spencer and their daughter Alayna. Precious Alayna joined God's angels early this morning after months of fighting for her life. There are many other children who have lost their battles with various diseases, abnormalities, and injuries. I have been apart of some of these families' lives over the years. I remember their children and empathize with their loss. Other mother's are morning the loss of miscarriages, stillbirths, SIDS, and failed infertility treatments. I, too, know these women, and men, who morn these losses. May their loss be remembered, their pain be acknowledged, and their hearts continue to heal. I pray fervently, I never experience the loss of a child. I would be devastated. It takes a strong soul to recover from the loss of a child.

Each day I will thank God for each day he has given me, each day he has given me with my husband (over 19 years, now), and each day he has given me with my son. With the Lord's strength I will move through the guilt, cherish my life, and look forward to our next adventure as a family.

Psalm 113:1-9 NRSV
Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!