Tuesday, May 22, 2012

healing hands and the ides of May

March supposedly has ides.  I'm not sure what they are, but this May has been something.  I can't quite find the perfect word for it.  I'd like it to end, but I know we need to get through it all, so wanting it over isn't quite helpful when the process is as much a part of the finish line as the end itself.


Gillette Children's Hospital.  10am-12pm.  Emma Kate and me.

We went in with one cast and one wrap and came out with one cast and one sort of wrap.

Her fingers on her left hand look marvelous.  Truly marvelous.

Emma, however, begs to differ.  Healing isn't always pretty, and stitches and scars take time to fade.

Teary eyes met mine.

"Mom, I look creepy".

I so wish I could just take her heartache and hold it in my heart.  That hers would simply go away.  But that kind of framing is going to need to be hers.  A part of Emma's journey is going to be learning to decide what it means to like who she is and how she was hand-crafted by the King of Kings who does, indeed, do all things well.

"We did this surgery so your hands would look more normal" her surgeon gently shared.

And I flame mad.  Inside.

Her hands ARE normal, and they do look normal.  Whose to say what normal is, and our society has so many problems, issues and idols with that term.  The desire to be so "normal" and look just like everyone else makes us creatures of the abnormal in Kingdom terms.

Every society struggles with "normal" in one way or another when we make agreements with what beautiful is.  Bound feet, breast augmentation, liposuction, a tan, pale skin, long necks, elongated earlobes.  It is so easy to look at another culture's idea of beauty and see the idol for what it is.  It is harder to see our own.

And layer on the rainbow of differences with which the Lord made us, and watch the wrestling match grow.  In my heart, too.

And thusly a verbal wrestling match ensues, wherein I gently reframe that statement for Emma, whose eyes are now huge with horror that a doctor just told her that her hands were not normal before.

(And note to readers, we like this doctor's work immensely.  She has been nothing but kind to Emma.  No bashing of her, please.  This is simply differences of worldview playing out in real life, and a doctor thinking she is giving our daughter permission to have real feelings about her hands.  We agree on one level and hold a tremendously different view altogether on another level.  Our doctor thinks, I'm sure, that we are loons, too.  She almost fell off her stool when I said that God made Emma with respect and wonder when He crafted her.).

"Emma, you are not creepy.  You might think the stitches look creepy, but that is different than saying you are creepy.  You are not creepy, you are a lovely, beautiful, darling little girl," says me, her mom.

May I add a, "thus sayeth the Lord".  AMEN?  Amen.

I'm weary.

That's an aside.  My heart hurts for Emma, and the place she is navigating as a seven year old.  I know this is all a part of how the Lord will use how He made her for GOOD.  For hope.  For her future.  And yet there is simply that tender momma place that aches for my daughter's sadness.

Peanut butter and jelly in the car on the way home was a welcome distraction and treat for my beauty-girl.

Next up, Nurse Nightingale is meant to soak her hand in warm water and work the stitches out and off with a wash cloth.

Help me.  I think I'm waiting for tonight when Jim is home.  Puddle of tears it would be this afternoon.

So my synopsis of today would be: weary mom and sad girl held securely in the hands of a faithful Father God who meets our very real needs of fragile feelings and tired hearts.

He is faithful.  He is always faithful.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Emma update

It's May and I'm barely afloat.  Silent blog.

I just sent out an email missive about Miss Emma's surgery, and thought I'd at least put it up here.

Good morning!  I'm sending off a little Emma report now that we are a few days post-surgery and the haze is wearing off!  For some of you (Emma's teachers!) this update may be more than you bargained for, but while I have a moment I wanted to send off a note to give everyone an update.

First of all, thank you all for your prayers.  Surgery went well on both hands and the doctor feels that the damage done to her right hand by the infection that occurred last year after her hand surgery has been amended and repaired.  We ended up doing a bit more work on her left hand than we intended to, and the end result will be beautiful. Jim realized amending her left fourth finger would allow an engagement ring to sit beautifully on her hand someday, which ceased all discussion around changing or leaving that finger and rendered us all speechless, teary and willing.  So fourth finger now ready for the day that some blessed young man might claim her as his bride and pledge his troth to our beloved daughter.  That, and playing piano just got a whole lot easier.  :)

Emma's pain level these first days was managed with oxy-contin, and made for an interesting experience.  She has experienced managed pain, for sure, and been either esctatic with love, "Oh, you are my most wonderful rainbow heart dad.  I love you so much.  My best father ever I want to hug your arm and kiss you", or vaguely suspicious and fearful with things like, "why are you touching me?  Do you want to cut off my arm and kill me?" when we adjust her shirt sleeve or pat her arm.  Interesting, to say the least.  And now we have bid oxy-contin adieu.  Tylenol in frequent doses is keeping the pain at bay.  Thankfully.

We go next Tuesday to Gillette's and Dr. Van Heest will remove the wrap on her left hand.  Hopefully it will not be re-wrapped, and while fragile for a few more days will have Emma well on her way to returning to school!  Her left-handedness is showing its superiority (types her left-handed mother).  :)  The cast is slated to remain on her arm for a month.  We shall see...

I have been Emma's sidekick, and we are finding great fun together.  God seems to keep turning recovery into sweet bonding time, and having to rely on a mom for every single need and then some has been truly delightful for both of us.  Sweet Emma takes so much in stride, and is so dear.  It really is a selfish treat to have these days with her.  Yesterday we ventured out in the afternoon to have ice cream at Sebastian Joe's for lunch (okay, we'd had an early lunch, and I made it sound like the ultimate adventure by framing the lunch as ice cream and the real food as a snack; it's all PR, people!) and take a mini-stroll along Lake Harriet.  We rescued 2 caterpillars and were hissed at by a Papa Goose, to Emma's great consternation.  Sunfish were out in the lake and we sat in the sun for awhile and chatted, enjoying time painfree and outside!

My mom is coming up on Thursday so that I can go to bible study and get my phone fixed.  And on Friday I gave Anna the day off to accompany us on a girls outing to Como Zoo with a picnic lunch afterward.  That will be a good thing to look forward to!  If it rains, we will move to plan B2.   

As all of this has transpired, Jim and I have remained in awe of the Lord's provision for Emma and for us.  On Friday, I was afraid for Emma and the pain of recovery and also so mindful of the plenty and unmerited mercy of the surgery.  We live in a place where this kind of medical treatment is available, and we can give it to her.  For so many people in the world, this is not true, and my heart was so aware of this truth as we prepared Emma for surgery.  These are gifts from the Lord, and we are profoundly humbled that we are the ones He selected to be parents to the treasure of Emma and given the additional wonder of being part of her healing and physical restoration.  What a true and utter blessing.  I would not have missed a second of this for anything, and I had no idea about the joy of any of it before her.  Isn't it just like the Lord to give us so much more than all we could ask for or imagine when we are still completely unaware of the fullness of what a "yes" means.  I'm so grateful to belong to the King.

Thank you for walking alongside us and loving Emma with us.  She would call you all rainbow hearts, too!
Sara and Jim

Friday, April 13, 2012


I thought it was Monday, but we'd already whizzed by Wednesday and Thursday was quickly becoming a blur into the past.

Oh, my stars.  It is Friday!

One of those weeks that flew in and dashed out just as quickly.

We came home from our spring break to a dead refrigerator, a burst pipe in the basement and one recovering from the flu child while another was going down fast and hard.   Maybe that is why the week has sped by?

In any case, it is now almost the sunny, pretty, blue-skied, flower-poking-up, yard-ready-to-rake, fire pit-awaits, pansy-planting weekend.


Here in Minnesota we spring right into summer.  And for this weekend, I'm so excited to savor and delight in our spring.

Oh, dear yard...here we come!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I wrote about a little girl being rescued by a beautiful family in yesterday's post.   They have asked God's people to join in the joy of rescuing a daughter of the King from a fortress of hell.

And God's people?  Oh, my lands.

$29,000 in less than a day has been raised.  Not just for her, but for the other children in the orphanage, too.

The Lord is going to rescue a remnant and display His glory and His goodness through the faithful hearts and willing hands of His people.

Family.  He sets the lonely in families, and makes of families room in their lonely hearts that felt full for another.

So in awe.  In awe of His immeasurable goodness, His provision, His mercy, compassion and abiding love.  So astonished to watch beauty unfold from ashes.  To see the oil of gladness pour out on one so needing and a family so willing.

For such a day as yesterday, I have to imagine the heavens resounding with joyful noise as rejoicing raised the roof and the rescue of a single lamb brought the very King to the edge of His throne in delight and gladness.

"The Lord your God is with you!  HE is MIGHTY to save.  He takes GREAT joy and delight in you.  He dances over you and sings songs of gladness as on a day of festival."  - Zephaniah 3:17

Watched that verse walked out in real life, jumping from the pages of the Word in to the world of the Word.  God here and now.  God active and VERY much alive.

Oh, glory.

The image of a harvest of beauty and plenty filled my thoughts today.  Arms laden, the Salem's come bearing a harvest of righteousness and true and lasting treasure.

SO blessed to watch this unfold and be the smallest of smallest in helping them bring their beauty home to lodge not just in their hearts but in their home, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

eyes open

I read often a blog that stirs my heart and stretches me.  I've learned so very much from Adeye.  During our journey to our Emma Kate, her posts often confirmed what I was needing to think, and wanting to feel.

About a month ago she wrote a post about children in an orphanage called Pleven.  It was one of those times I didn't want to read what I'd read.  Didn't want to because once God opens our eyes we are accountable.  It was ugly.  The ugliest of the ugly how these children are kept.  Fallen world.  Wretched, sinful man.  And I mean that as a corporate condemnation of all of us.  Even those of us learning to live with our eyes wide open.

"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12

Please head over and read this post from Adeye this morning, and consider being part of God's rescue.  
Super simple to help.  And by help I mean really and truly help.  Any small amount.  We did.  

Here is the link:

And here is Faith:

She's 14.  She weighs 14 pounds.  She's never known love.
And soon she will.

Faith Salem, she will be.  I'll bet no one has guessed all these years they've been housing a princess?  A daughter not only of the King, but also a daughter of a family who will love her big and long and always.  She is already treasured, precious, wanted, needed, sought after, longed for, prayed over, and beloved.  

Faith Salem, I can't wait to see you home.