(if anyone has been around Chloe...you'll know that this is just one of her many funny faces, she's a trip!)
This day last year began like any other summer day but by the end of it our family would know the greatest heartache so far in our lives. Today marks a year since the accident where Chloe lost her foot and it seems fitting for me to share from the heart...where we've been, where we are, etc. The days and months following the accident were some of the darkest days spiritually I've ever known. I questioned everything~why did God allow this to happen? Why Chloe, why us? Why now? What did we do to deserve this? Where was God when my child was hurt? I struggled through so much hurt and anger towards God, it felt as though my heart has shriveled up inside me and dropped down to my feet. The rug was pulled out from under our feet and there was nothing we could do about it. We had just settled into a new house that we were renting, finding a new normal for ourselves. After this, neither of us could face going back there.
~~A few weeks later, Joel and I would "celebrate" our 7th anniversary. We didn't feel much like celebrating. But in looking back over our married lives, other than leaving Madang this accident was the first major crisis we had to work through together. That's pretty amazing for 7 years of life. I know now that Joel and my relationship could have been destroyed by this and trust me, Satan was at work. But by the grace of God, He mended us and brought us together and made us stronger than we were before! It wasn't easy and there were times when we struggled with such a load of guilt as though there might have been something we could have done different to prevent the whole thing from happening. But the truth is, we're NOT in control...our loving heavenly Father is.
~~There were so many things that the Father gently brought us through...it seemed we had enough strength for 1 day at a time, exactly what we needed. When the time came for Joel to go back to work, he had the strength to do that. On the days when I had to change Chloe's bandages and it felt like I alone carried the burden of caring for her and at the same time bringing her such pain. But God covered me, He undertook for me so that I would do what was best for my girl. We watched in amazment as Chloe adapted to her "new normal"...she just moved right on with the next thing. It was us, her parents, who ached every time we looked at where her foot used to be, cringed everytime we heard a lawnmower and cried over the way things would always be different now. Chloe was a trooper, a fighter and bright ray of happiness to us...I do believe God used HER to bless us and get us through that difficult time. We watched her as she "walked" on her knee brace without a foot, play on the playground and ignore the stares, climb up the ladder to the top bunk bed to be with her brother, etc. We know that God made her to be exactly as she is because He knew all that Chloe would need to "walk through" this past year.
~~We've seen God perform many miracles! First of all, all praise to our Father because He saved Chloe's life. We know that she could have died this day last year and we will never lose that sense of awe and gratitude for God giving her back to us. God also provided a support team for us on that horrible day...a quick and kind neighbor who helped Joel, a wonderfully fast medic team from Kingsville/Fallston and surrounding areas, a brother/police officer who was on duty in our area, a dear friend who could drive me to my house when I was unable and take care of Alex so I didn't worry about him as much, my parents who were able to be there for us and during the hospital stay, friends, church family and neighbors who surrounded us with love, care, support, finances, meals, gifts for the kids, an amazing staff at the best hospital (Johns Hopkins)...I could go on and on and on, y'all. God protected Chloe from the numerous infections she was suseptable to in the hospital. God provided Chloe with a physical therapist who cared for her and us like friends, she was a HUGE part of Chloe's healing and regaining strength (we love you Nancy!). God also provided a new Prosthetist (through family friends), who lives locally and made Chloe a brand new fantastic leg...she was able to walk normally for the first time since her accident (it had been 7 months). Her new leg will grow with her AND she can go SWIMMING with it...which is a HUGE HUGE praise since Chloe is a little fish and LOVES to swim!!! :) Talk about miracles...
~~The biggest miracle is the work God has done in our hearts...He is so faithful, He'll never leave us in that pit, beloved. No, He doesn't give up on us even when we fight His love and care for us...He continually beckons us to come to Him and let Him love on us, wipe away our tears and be our strength and joy for the days ahead. Life isn't a bed of roses, He never promised it to be. But if we take the time to stop and look around at our life...we will see that it IS indeed blessed beyond anything we deserve. The truth is that God is good, all the time no matter what things look like and especially no matter what they feel like. In the dark, we must cling to what we know to be the TRUTH...Jesus, who He says He is, who He says we are.
~~So today is our time to reflect back. It's a good and healthy thing, I believe to do so. I know I have to get it out of me and this blog is the best way to do that! It's our day to take a moment and remember all the way God has brought us on that long and bumpy road to the place where we are. He has been faithful and this day we give HIM all the PRAISE an GLORY and HONOR...sometimes we feel like it and sometimes it's a choice of faith. We praise Him because "He has done great things for us"!! Thank you for reading and remembering with me...it feels good. I think I'm ready to begin this day and see what God has for us. Thank you to all of you who surrounded us with love and prayers...we so needed you! Thanks be to God who is our very Life!! Have a great day, y'all!