This is a story of hope, heart, and healing.
My sweet nephew, Mark, just turned two on April 17. He had a Ninja Turtles themed birthday party. I had the privilege of flying home to Dallas to spend Easter with my family, but most importantly, to help my Marky man celebrate his two years of life.
Mark loves Ninja Turtles so much that he takes my sister’s iPhone and carries it around the house listening to the Ninja Turtles “rap” over and over on repeat. Only he just listens to the first fifteen seconds and then starts it over. And over. And over. And he dances. I gotta say he has some pretty sweet dance skills coming from a family of not-so-great dancers :) It’s the cutest thing.
But the thing about gifts from God are that He gives them to us how he chooses. And He gave Mark to my sister and her husband, David, just the way he is.
When Mark was just four months old, he had open heart surgery. He had coarctation (where a portion of the aorta is too narrow). And now at two years, he will have another open heart surgery tomorrow morning where they will go in and remove a membrane that has grown on a portion of the heart.
Obviously this entire journey has been incredibly difficult for my sister and her husband, but it has also been incredibly rewarding for them. They have grown so much stronger in their faith through it all. Truly, their great trust in God and his plan is inspiring. My sister said something that I keep playing on repeat in my head. She said:
“This is a chance for me to actually live out what I have said I believed my entire life – that I trust God and that I trust His plan.”
So inspiring, so confident, so faithful, so strong this girl. David said: “God gave Mark to us just like this.” To which my sister responded, “That is so true and reassuring, and this is our journey.” So calm. So at peace. Seriously, can I please be more like them? So wise.
I love this verse in regard to Mark and his heart:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
But I also love that verse for all areas of heartbreak in life.
Life is hard. Life will break your heart sometimes. And you won’t always know why, especially when you’re in the thick of it. It may seem unfair.
We aren’t guaranteed we won’t experience devastation, loss, heartache, heartbreak. Quite the opposite: We can pretty much guarantee we will experience those things. After all, we live in a fallen world.
Yet we have hope.
The hope of knowing that this world isn’t it for us. We are just here for a short while until we get to spend eternity with our Father in heaven where “He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
And we have faith.
Paul says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He doesn’t say “and we hope.” He doesn’t say “and we feel.” Or even “and we pray.” No. We know.
What heartbreak are you dealing with right now? I know I have my fair share. The question is: Are we going to question God, pity ourselves, and sit around in angst? Or are we going to trust God, exalt Him, and receive the peace that He so desperately wants to lavish upon us?
I choose the latter. My sister and her husband are choosing the latter. Thank you, Liz and David, for sharing your strength, your hope, and your great faith. You have given me so much inspiration, and I know without a doubt that you have inspired others as well. I love you guys. We are all praying for you and for, Mark. You’re a strong little guy, and the Lord’s got you right where He wants you – in His hands.