20 October 2010

Don't Be Afraid

Before Ewan was born, I had an increasing fear of a list of a million different things that all added up to a big black ball called The Unknown. How bad was his heart? How long would we be in the hospital? How would we be able to make good decisions for him? Would we bring our baby home? How long would surgery take? What if he doesn't make it -- how will I survive?

It made me downright hypertensive.




And then everything happened when we didn't expect it. Instead of being born a week after the due date as I expected, he was born two and a half weeks ahead of it. Instead of having a date and time set for his first surgery, the first surgery was unexpectedly and emergently set when his oxygen saturation levels deteriorated during a routine visit to the cath lab.

There was no time to worry. There was no time to be afraid. 

And so as we walked through and waited through all the situations I had dreaded, all the situations that made my blood pressure rise -- I wasn't afraid. Even though things were worse than I had originally feared they would be -- even though by all accounts, I should have been hysterical, I experienced peace. I understood what was happening, and that the increasingly grim updates we received from the surgeons meant I might not take my baby home. The awareness of that could not and did not escape me. But I kept pumping that night, and I kept waiting. Those were the only ways I knew of that I had to mother him in those moments.

And still: peace. Beyond understanding, beyond my ability, straight from the gracious hand of God to my heart and mind. Right in the eye of the storm, it was there: underneath and all around me.

I stared my worst fear in the face. I walked through the very experience that not all that long ago, I feared more desperately than anything else. And instead of running away screaming, I was able to embrace it -- not because I was strong (because I most definitely was not) and not because I was blissfully unaware (because I knew his body was failing him). It was because in that moment, God gave me the very things I needed: peace to protect my heart and comfort my family, and the ability to do the impossible -- in the very moments that could have been pervaded by fear and resistance, to live in the grace given so we could say goodbye to my son in peace, surrounded by love, and embraced until his very last breath and very last heartbeat.

It was our gift to him, and his gift to us.


This is how Ewan taught me not to be afraid. No matter how large and looming and terrible the unknown may be, there is something bigger. There is grace larger than our fears, peace that is stronger than hysteria, and love big enough to stare down death.

It hardly needs to be said that sadness and grief remain -- and how could they not? I don't expect that my tears will cease any time soon. I imagine that I will continue to weep spontaneously in the check out line at the grocery store, or when picking out clothes to wear. When seeing a healthy baby boy in the elevator or a pregnant woman at work. But I won't be afraid, even of that. The love God gave us in Ewan is bigger than all of it.

I love you, dear sweet boy.

19 comments:

KLaw said...

The love that God gave him and he in turn gave us is greater than anything we could have imagined. What a precious boy.

Anonymous said...

If God gave you peace, then He will give me peace, too. I struggle with fear daily. Thank you so much, Kirsten, and thank you so much, Ewan!

Bria

Papillon Sky Photography said...

You are so right. Beautifully said...

Caleb said...

Thank you for being so beautifully open through all of this.

Sarah said...

May you continue to have that grace when you need it, when the tears come, when you're making decisions, when you're waking up each morning. Love you.

Lindsey said...

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

Nikki said...

It's so incredible that we are granted such an amazing peace when we are faced with things like this.

I know that when my kids were going through their caths (and Emmett while he was in the NICU, then during his hernia surgery)I should have been a mess. But I was able to stay calm and deal with what was ahead of me. Not for my sake, but for my kids and my husband. I know this was because Heavenly Father was holding me up during that time, just as he is holding you.

You are in my constant thoughts and prayers. I can't wait to meet you and maybe visit little Ewan :)

Nadine said...

You never cease to amaze me! And make me tear up ;0) Love you friend! <3 Such a sweet and beautiful little boy!!!

christianne said...

Such a beautiful post, my friend. What an amazing revelation: Ewan's life has taught you to be unafraid. So amazing. Thank you, God and Ewan, for these gifts to this beautiful girl (and all of us who continue to learn, too, from her story).

felmleyfam said...

beautiful; a progressing answer to continual prayers.

Steph said...

That was a beautiful post. Ewan touched so many lives, including mine. His eyes in his pictures tell a story...they are captivating. You are such a strong and beautiful woman, inside and out, and I will continue to pray for you and hope that prayer and the power of God lift you up and you find peace somehow. Take care!

hopeannfaith said...

...♥

Jen said...

Still praying many prayers for you and thinking of you often. I mainly check your updates during my lunch break at school and my school computer won't let me leave comments! :( But I read every single one, and I am so inspired by you. You are an amazing mother. :) Ewan was/is so blessed by you.

Prayers~
Jen

Anonymous said...

In times such as this, there are no words, no explanations. It is truly the love of Christ that carries us through and the trust in His devine plan. May He continue to give you comfort and courage to face each day. Life without Ewan will never be the same, somehow though it's so much sweeter because he was here. Thank you Kirsten for sharing him with the world, we're all holding on a little tighter tonight because of Ewan.

Rachel Elizabeth said...

How you do this day by day I do not know. I don't know what to say other than I am so sorry your little boy is not in your arms tonight. Keeping your family and your angel boy close tonight.

A Simple Country Girl said...

God doesn't use time or size to measure the strength of His love.

Prayers.

tea said...

Love to you, Kirsten. <3

terri said...

thank you for this post kirsten. when i read the title it was as though the words were a message directed at me. i felt a peace immediately.

i love your heart, and the openness with which you give and receive gifts.

Carol said...

A friend posted this today. Words written long ago repeated in your sweet testimony. God is truely the same yesterday, today and forever.

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? "Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand!"

Love you precious Kirsten.