One year ago today, my friend Billy's daughter, Adah, was in the hospital waiting for a heart. In October of 2008, Adah was diagnosed with Idiopathic Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, a rare heart disease that effects one in 1 million children. On February 18, 2009, she received a successful heart transplant.
From the time that Adah was diagnosed til her transplant and even in updates now, I have prayed with them and gotten the updates on CaringBridge.org..I found myself catching my breath at every update in my inbox..sometimes multiple ones a day. For 5 months, they had to watch Adah's health somewhat decline, and then Feb 18th, there was a heart there...and Adah was wheeled into surgery and so many of us waited, praying and hoping for the best.
I just can't even fathom how 2 parents could emotionally handle the road that Billy and Natalie have been on with Adah. I know that it wasn't human strength or peace that they have had. I have seen them turn to God and prayer every step of the way. Adah was 4 years old when she went through all of this. Just a baby. And she was given the chance to grow up to become a teenager, a woman, a wife, a mother, anything she wants to be..
I hadn't really thought about where the heart came from until today. I saw Billy's post and it hit me. Someone else lost their daughter a year ago today, and they allowed her heart to be donated to save Adah's life. Here's a post from Natalie, Adah's mom..
I can't believe it's almost been a year. I remember every detail with distinct clarity. One of my first thoughts after her diagnosis was that this was going to change our lives forever. I think we cling so tightly to what we've always known or how we thought our lives would turn out, that if anything comes our way and threatens that, then an immediate response is to resist. But who are we to resist what the Lord has for us? So it has indeed changed our lives forever, but in the best way that I could have ever imagined.
A year later, I wouldn't trade my place in life for anything. Anything! What an odd thing to say, but I say it with absolute certainty. So with the start of her second year, we are taking the first steps in getting to know our donor family.
It starts with us writing a letter and then it is up to them whether the communication is continued. I am asking the Lord for profound wisdom as I start this letter. I am at a loss in how to express such unending gratitude, so I am completely dependant on the Lord to show me.--
What a beautiful picture of mercy and grace. Of love. Of faith in God when life turns upside down on our plans and hopes and dreams. Of being willing to see past your situation and put yourself in someone else's shoes. It would be so easy for them to move on and not think of this family's loss on a day when they're rejoicing over her life. I have been so encouraged this year of following in this journey with them. When faith is put to the test so many of us get angry with God and throw up our fists...I saw in this family the opposite. I have seen nothing but open, outstretched hands, asking for mercy and wisdom, and thanking the One who has carried them through.
Have I mentioned how adorable and full of life this little lady is?? I have yet to meet her in person, but I have fallen in love with her spirit and her spunk. I am so overjoyed today to see Adah doing so well, and to see the blessings on this family! They are living life to the full, not taking one moment with each other for granted. I wish the same for you and I.
I can't help but think, those of us with a healthy, beating heart in our chest..how many lives can we save and touch and change forever?