Kara's Collection: Encouragement always show up...

From an article originally posted September 18, 2012…

This letter was written to me by my dear friend Jenny. Jenny was the one to share the gospel with this young, hurting girl. She showed me my sin and pointed me to the forgiveness I had in Jesus, and she invited me to have a relationship with Jesus. That moment forever changed the landscape of my life. I was never promised easy, but I was promised Peace—real PEACE.

She has been a constant encouragement to me, not only through chemo, but throughout my entire life. Her tender heart and gentle love for Jesus has always spurred on my faith. This letter was such a sweet reminder to me that hard is a grace all its own. Jenny has faced her own hard and met Jesus there. That suffering and hard is meant for our good to deepen our faith. The Lord is really working on my heart right now, and I need more time to explain the things He’s growing in me. I cannot articulate it yet. But be blessed by the faith of this dear saint Jenny.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
— Hebrews 2:10

Dear Kara,

This is love. What eternal gifts of love you are giving this precious little Shadow, sweet Snuggler of yours. Can’t imagine your mother’s heart wondering about how this is affecting your children. All this pain, all this wondering, all the seeing of grace and moments of pure joy at being together with those five people you love more than anyone else in the world. I try to ponder every day what it must be like for each of you as you walk this path. I praise the Father that He has given you strength to process all these things...that you are able to bring all of this into the Light. There is grace and healing in the Light.

I remember when I was released from the hospital after Garrett was born. He was still in the hospital and would stay there for another week and a half before coming home. I got home after Jake and Dawson (2 1/2 and 1 1/2) were in bed. I looked at their beautiful, precious little faces as they were curled up together sleeping. I could not stop crying. I knew that this diagnosis of Down Syndrome would forever change their lives. And, it has. It’s changed all of our lives. Some days I hate Down Syndrome because it isolates Garrett from things that I want for every child...every person....play dates, shared conversations, learning at the speed of his peers, being asked to be on a team or play outside with the rest of the neighborhood kids, good health without the risk of being hospitalized all the time. I also hate it when Down Syndrome causes Garrett’s siblings to say cruel things in their frustration about their brother because his disability can cause embarrassment for them, it can take away attention that they might have received as we are cleaning up another mess, chasing after Garrett yet again, nursing him back to health due to regular complications from a common cold. I do hate the pain of these things. I hate the way they seem to separate us and rob us (mostly my children) from all that’s “good.” I could hardly stomach it when people would lightly say, “But, your boys will gain so much from Garrett. They will be compassionate toward others.” I thought, Who cares? They’re going to miss out!

HOWEVER...when I ask the Lord to give me eyes to see grace, to see beauty, to see ALL that is good, He takes my breath away. When I see Jake playing in a way that no one else knows how to play with Garrett, and I see Garrett laughing so hard he can hardly breathe; when I hear Dawson calling Garrett’s name after he sees a window or door open because he wants to be sure of Garrett’s safety; when I watch Jake put down his most beloved book or drawing that he’s glued to so that he can wrestle with his very physical and not so verbal youngest brother; when I hear both of them explaining to other people what Garrett’s strengths are and how they, too, can play with Garrett if they just learn a few things about him; when Garrett’s classmates’ parents write me letters thanking me for including Garrett in a typical classroom because, for the first time they have actually gotten to know someone with a disability and how much Garrett makes them smile…these are things I hold on to. They were not given without much pain, struggle, and fighting. But, they are beautiful. They are full of Light.  My struggles seem so trivial and petty compared to what you are facing on a daily basis. Your struggles, which I have not tasted but wish I could take away from you, give perspective to mine...they are shaping the way I see my days, they cause me to ask myself to look for the grace, to look for God’s hand in my moments. And, it hurts me that it is your suffering that is my family’s gain. It hurts me that Garrett’s suffering is his brothers’ and sister’s gain. These are too mysterious for my heart to understand. But, the Father’s heart sees and loves and aches and rejoices and treasures and keeps all of these moments of suffering and joy close to His heart. I deeply trust that He is unfolding such unknown treasures in the lives of each person in your family. They are more beautiful than I could ever even dream for you.

Last night I was restless....kept waking up and praying for you. I was asking the Lord to give you peace from the effects of chemo. Aching for you, for Jason, and the kids. Early in the morning I finally fell asleep and had the most wonderful dream. I dreamed that I flew to see your family. I walked in to your bedroom and Jason and all the kids were snuggling on your bed. We all sat and I got to know each one of your children. I was able to hear from Jason. We rejoiced that you were doing so much better and how the Lord was revealing Himself to you in ways you could never have imagined. It was the sweeeeetest dream!

Praying for you morning, afternoon, and evening!!!! I love you, Kara!