Bishop of London at the Royal Wedding – Sermon

 

I was so touched by the words of the sermon given by the Bishop of London at the Royal Wedding. I found the transcript at the official royal wedding website. I share them below.

  http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/tag/homepage/page/1

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.  

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.     

AMEN and AMEN!  Words of wisdom for all of us to live by. Chew on them today and ask God how they apply to whatever is going on in your heart.

God Bless you to be who He meant you to be.

Gigi

www.GigiMurfitt.com

 



You are a Royal Bride

I’m sentimental. I love weddings.

I didn’t get up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the royal wedding live, but I’ve been following it on the news today.

I cried. I have to admit. It was beautiful. I imagined being a princess myself.

Kate Middleton, the new Duchess of Cambridge was stunning.

Kate Middleton soon to be The Duchess of Cambridge - AP Photo by Gero Breloer

Oh how I pray for her and William in our age of tabloids, twitter and web tv where their every move will be scrutinized. Oh Lord, be with them.

My favorite part of the wedding ceremony was the sermon by the Bishop of London. I’m going to read it over and again and it will probably produce a few posts on my blog. Much wisdom in that sermon for each of us.

What struck me most about this whole affair is that I know we desire to feel like a princess or prince.

Often our life circumstances cause blows to our self esteem and by the time we are young adults, that reality of a royal life seems so far off. We no longer see it as a possibility.

Events like this royal wedding allow us to dream.

But we must never forget that we ARE royalty. We are preparing for the Royal Wedding when Christ comes back for his precious Bride.

We, the people of God, are that precious Bride.

Oh please never forget how God looks at you as a Royal.

God calls you out of darkness and into His wonderful light.

The Bible reminds us in this Scripture:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV

God Bless your ROYAL Heart

Gigi

Thirteen Years Later – God is So Good

Wednesday April 27 2011 6:34 pm | Comments (0)

On Easter Sunday I posted a story about my Good Friday, April 13, 1990 when the future was dark with uncertainty after our son Gabe was born.

God took hold of my hand and walked me through the years. All twenty-one of them.

He showed me the purpose in my pain. He took what the enemy meant for my destruction and made it a wonderful experience.

God is like that. Because He loves us so much.

He takes what we think is a horrible situation and He makes it beautiful.

Thirteen years after the shock of Gabe’s birth defects hit me, we had an amazing ride of sharing Gabe’s story with the world.

It all started because he had the courage to ask to play basketball on his seventh grade team.

That led to a sports story on King5 evening news.

The Seattle Times contacted us and spent a couple months with our family gathering Gabe’s story.

It appeared on the front page of The Seattle Times on his thirteenth birthday, April 13, 2003. Cara Solomon did a fabulous job of capturing the spirit of Gabe.

That same day, Gabe was honored to throw out the first pitch at a Mariner game.

I thought it would bring a smile to your face to share that article again.

Click on this link to read the story at The Seattle Times website.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20030413&slug=gabe13e

Looking heavenward, ready for the pitch

After this article appeared, we had a wild ride on the media train with appearances on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Komo4 News, Northwest Cable News Network and Comcast News.

We went on several exciting trips to Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore as gifts from The Oprah Winfrey Show and Sony Pictures and Cal Ripken, Jr.

You can read more about this exciting time in Gabe’s book, “My Message is C.L.E.A.R. – Hope and Strength in the Face of Lifes Greatest Adversities” which will release later summer or early fall 2011.

It all points to the realization that God is a healer.

He heals our broken hearts and helps us with our fears and uncertainty.

He has continued to walk us through life and show us the way.

Whatever you are going through today, He is there.

In your dark day, He will shed light on your journey.

The future truly IS brighter.

I have many memories over the twenty-one years since Gabe was born where God proved to me over and over that He was with me all along.

I bless you today with HOPE for a bright future, knowing God is with you.

God Bless Your Heart!

Gigi

www.GigiMurfitt.com

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

Happy Birthday Violet Skiles!

Monday April 25 2011 9:53 pm | Comments (0)

Yesterday was my friend Violet’s birthday AND Easter Sunday.

Two beautiful things in my life.

I’m sharing Violet’s blog with you because it is a beautiful thing.

http://www.violetskiles.blogspot.com/

ENJOY!

God Bless Your Heart,

Gigi

It’s Friday, But Sunday is Coming!

Sunday April 24 2011 7:00 am | Comments (2)

He is Risen, Indeed!

Every Easter I celebrate the beauty of the resurrection and the hope it gives.

Let me tell you about  my own Easter Sunday twenty-one years ago as I related to Mary Magdalene.

The horror of Good Friday was over. It was Easter Sunday.

In the darkness of the morning she stood at the empty tomb weeping.

Where had they taken Jesus’ body?

A man asked “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him. 

She thought He was the gardener.

Then he called her by name, Mary, and she knew it was Jesus. 

She recognized her Savior and with incredible joy she told the disciples she had seen the Lord. 

He cared about Mary’s tears. He cares about mine too. And I hope you know He cares about yours.

Scripture tells me that He even puts them in a bottle. 

I imagine he used a gallon jug the night my son was born on my own dark Good Friday in 1990. I didn’t recognize Jesus that night. 

I could not grasp the severity of my son’s congenital birth defects. Our future was blurred in uncertainty.

My son, Gabriel Steven Murfitt, was born on April 13, 1990, the Friday before Easter.

After a healthy pregnancy I was ready to welcome a new sibling for our three-year old son Zane. The labor and delivery went quickly with a room full of excited medical staff. No one expected what happened that night. There had been no indication of a problem.

After my final push I heard Dr. Rogers say “Oh, oh. We have some problems.”

I sat up and got a better look at his body. His was missing his arms. There were hands coming out of his shoulders. His legs were pulled up tight and Dr. Rogers couldn’t straighten them. He was fat and purple and his cry was deep and loud.

“This boy has some healthy lungs. But he has some problems with his arms.” Dr. Rogers cut the umbilical cord and wrapped our boy in a warm blanket and placed him on my chest.

Through my sobs I leaned down and kissed his red nose. “Hey buddy. You’re a chubby little guy. Mommy loves you. Don’t cry baby. It will be alright.”

That was one of the darkest days of my life. The fear of the unknown gripped me in a tight hold. I cried out to God. “Why Lord? Now what?”

I didn’t hear an immediate reply, but in the years that followed I’ve heard Him clearly.

In the days after Gabriel was born we discovered the extent of his challenges. His birth defects are very rare with a long name – Pseudo Thalidomide Tetra Phocomelia.

He was healthy enough to go home on Easter Sunday morning. Although Friday was a dark day, Sunday was glorious.

We met my family at my sister LeAnne’s house for an early afternoon brunch. Our son Zane enjoyed finding hidden eggs in the yard and Gabriel was passed around from one loving family member to another.

Later that afternoon Steve’s family surrounded us with love.

In my darkest hour, like Mary Magdalene, I was unable to see Jesus standing right in front of me the night my son was born.

Through the love of a family and a good friend who later invited me to a Bible teaching church, I finally saw Him.

I really saw Him. Not in an untouchable way but in a new and personal way.

Then I heard Jesus say as He had said to Mary, “Gigi, why are you weeping?”

I recognized that He was there all along. In the days and years of uncertainty. He was there.

He caught every one of my tears.

He provided me with grace for every struggle.

Each Easter I am reminded that the Lord was with me in my darkest nights.

He called my name, Gigi.

He asked me why I was weeping.

And I am thankful that I finally recognized Him as my Lord.

And now, after twenty-one years of watching God use Gabe as a messenger of HOPE and teaching me to trust, I continue to tell everyone that I have seen the Lord.

He is Risen INDEED!

I pray that you will see Him in whatever you are going through today.

Because He is there.

God Bless Your Heart with Easter HOPE

Gigi

This post makes me even more excited to share Gabe’s book with you. (His Message is C.L.E.A.R.) His life has been a testimony of how God works in a soul surrendered to His will. And I can honestly say today, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL…

Easter Basket Contents to Change Your Life

Friday April 22 2011 11:18 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , ,

This morning I was reflecting about the season of Easter.

The beautiful lilies, daffodils, tulips, colorful eggs, patent leather shoes, and new dresses.

As one of ten children of a single mom, we purchased new outfits only a couple times a year.  Mom often received gifts of money to bless us during the Easter season which allowed us to go shopping for the perfect Easter attire. 

I remember going to Sears to pick out my white gloves, a wide brimmed hat with a pink flower to match the pattern on my mint green dress, anklets and shiny white shoes. Sometimes Mom could even afford a new purse that matched my shoes. I always felt like a princess in my Easter garb.

God always provided. Sometimes in unusual ways.

Mr. Justini, our neighbor across the street, or my grandma’s landlord Mr. Knight, usually gave mom shiny silver dollars to put under the grass at the bottom of our Easter baskets.

It was a very special time. The Montana weather was unpredictable and sometimes we searched for eggs in the snow. It was actually easier to find the colorful eggs against the crisp white backdrop.

Can you imagine twenty eager hands trying to dye Easter eggs? Many people often said my mom had the patience of Job. If you were anywhere near our kitchen table during the egg dying extravaganza, you would understand why.

But for me Holy week and Easter has not always been about dying eggs, Easter baskets filled with candy and toys, or new clothes.

It has always had an incredible spiritual significance.

All that stuff of the Easter, pales in comparison to the gifts we receive from Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve traded a few things from the Easter basket of old:

I exchanged my patent leather shoes for feet shod with the Gospel of Peace.

My new outfit is the Armor of God which includes the belt of truth and the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness.

Instead of the toys, my gift is life everlasting and the Holy Spirit who gives me love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

This is my prayer for you today. Receive the gift that God gave us and be filled with the many gifts the Holy Spirit offers us.

Your basket will be filled with gifts to get you through another day.

I’m praying for you this Easter week.

God Bless Your Heart with the Gifts of God’s Holy Spirit

Gigi

I love the book of Galatians so I leave you with this Scripture to ponder in Chapter 5 verse 22:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Day 230 Shame and Remorse

Wednesday April 20 2011 10:00 pm | Comments (0)

That convinced them. They called the apostles back in. After giving them a thorough whipping, they warned them not to speak in Jesus’ name and sent them off. The apostles went out of the High Council overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored on account of the Name. Every day they were in the Temple and homes, teaching and preaching Christ Jesus, not letting up for a minute. Acts 5:40-42 THE MESSAGE BIBLE

Think about Peter. How was it that he was able to go out teaching and preaching even after He denied Jesus three times?

GRACE

Jesus graced Peter with the ability to forgive himself and move on with courage knowing he had been given the honor to preach in spite of his past choices.

I think every one of us means to be strong and brave and do the right thing as we run the race of life. But then we mess up. We didn’t want to, but we did.

God doesn’t want us to stay stuck in the part of the race where we fell, standing there weeping over the delay or dwelling on our own shortcomings that became obstacles to the finish we had so desired.

Nope.

He asks us to pick ourselves up and press on to finish the race He set for us. No looking back.

He doesn’t remember our failures.

Why do we?

“Give yourself and all [the people] you have ever met a fresh start from today. Remember no more their sins and failures, or your own.” P243

God Bless your forgiving heart today. Keep running my friend.

Gigi

http://www.gigimurfitt.com/

The idea for this blog post came from the August 20 devotional in AJ Russell’s God Calling book.

Bless Your Heart

Wednesday April 20 2011 9:11 am | Comments (1) Tags: , , ,
God Bless Your Heart

I was thinking about you today.

And I hope you feel blessed.

I hope you know what a blessing you are to me.

So I’m passing along a beautiful blessing prayer a friend sent to me this week.

May you be blessed with the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation so you may know Him better.

May you be blessed with the eyes of heart being enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.

May you be blessed with the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power.

May you be blessed with a release of the power of the Father in and through you which is like the working of His might strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.

May you be blessed with the wisdom knowledge and revelation of the Father’s great love for you and made you alive in Christ and raised you up with Christ and seated you with Christ in the heavenly realms.

May you be blessed with doing good works.

May His power be released through you that will bring Him glory and bring healing to the broken hearted, abused and freedom to the captives.

May God Bless Your Heart!

Gigi

Numbers 6:24-25–The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;

Hope in the Aftermath of Uncertainty

Thursday April 14 2011 11:20 pm | Comments (0)

I’ve been meditating on the theme of Hope in the Aftermath of many things in my life.

Yesterday our youngest son Gabe turned twenty-one. I am amazed at God’s work over the years. He is faithful indeed.

I’d like to share a segment of my book with you. This is the section that covers the day Gabe was born and the subsequent uncertainty that loomed in our future.

Oh what a different day today has been. In the twenty-one years of walking with God through this season, the sense of His presense and purpose is overwhelming at times…in a very good way. I praise Him for giving me HOPE in the aftermath.

Hope in Uncertainty

It was a dark day. Deep wailing sobs caused my stomach and shoulders to feel tight. I ached all over. My head throbbed from a restless night. The hot water felt good. Leaning against the shower wall, I stared aimlessly at the floor. It felt as if my whole life was being sucked into a vacuum like the water going down the drain. I rubbed my eyes, only increasing the swelling and causing red welts to appear on my face.

With the hospital towel, I slowly dried myself off. I pulled my long hair into a pony tail and slipped into a cheerful white maternity gown with pink and blue ribbons on the chest. A heavy sigh pushed through my lips and I gathered the courage to face the day.

“Mommy, are you in there?” My three year old son, Zane, popped his head into the bathroom.

Startled, I mustered up a cheerful voice, “Hey buddy, yeah I’m here. Give me a minute and I’ll be right out. I can’t wait for you to meet your new little brother.”

I practiced my Devine smile in the mirror. The reality was that once again the smile on my face masked the agony in my heart.

As I was applying my mascara, the bathroom door swung open again and Zane ran to greet me, wrapping his arms around my legs.

“Hi Mommy, I missed you. Daddy showed me Gabriel. He’s cute. But he’s not a girl.”

Zane really wanted a little sister. I had prayed for a healthy baby. We’d both have to adjust to our new son. He turned around and ran back out into my hospital room, oblivious to the reality of the days ahead.

Still sore from giving birth, I hobbled across the room and eased myself onto the hospital bed. A cheerful nurse bounced into the room and draped a warm blanket over my lap.

“Thank you so much. I love these heated blankets. I can’t seem to get warm, even after a nice long shower.” My teeth chattered through my words.

“That is fairly normal after childbirth,” she replied. “You had a stressful night so your body is still in shock. I know you have visitors coming today, but please try to get some rest. I’ll be in later to check on you. Press the button on the side of your bed if you need anything in the meantime.”

As she left the room she patted Zane on his head. “You sure are handsome. That little brother sure is cute,” she said with a smile.

“But he’s not a girl. I wanted a girl. I was going to name her Kayla.” His nose was pressed against the incubator where Gabe was wrapped tightly in a white blanket dotted with pink, yellow and blue bunnies.

Steve gently picked Gabe up and brought him to me. I look down at my newborn’s beautiful face. His thick dark hair contrasted against the sterile white blanket as I laid him across my lap. A cute little button nose popped out of the blanket. His eyes were closed in deep sleep with long beautiful eyelashes poking their way out. He looked so peaceful, so normal.

Zane came over to the bed. He looked so darling dressed in a black and white pinstripe shirt and black slacks. His hair was neatly combed and parted on the side, just like his dad’s.

 “Mommy, is his name Gabriel or Gabe?”

“His name is Gabriel Steven but we call him Gabe.”

“Mommy, can I hold him?” he asked as he tried to grab the bundle from my hands.

“Put your hand under his bottom and then I will help you hold him.”

Zane pressed his hand against Gabe’s back and leaned over and kissed the blanket.

He immediately looked away and appeared more interested in his new stuffed bunny than in his brother. I hoped that Zane would one day be a good friend for Gabe. He’d need a strong big brother. Life would not be easy in a body like his.

We had no warning that Gabe was going to have any challenges. My pregnancy was normal with no complications. Throughout the nine months I had taken only a few Tylenol™ tablets for some regular aches and pains. I walked regularly and kept my weight under control. There was no reason to think there would be anything wrong.

A few days after my due date when my labor pains were consistent, Steve and I had headed to the hospital. The pretty, young receptionist took our information to admit me to the maternity ward.

“Oh! You are Gigi Murfitt, right? Dr. Rogers has gone home, but he left instructions to call him. He wants to deliver your baby.”

Steve and I walked the halls for about an hour and checked in with Dr. Graham who was handling my case until Dr. Rogers arrived. I was fully effaced and dilated to a four.

My youngest sister Patti arrived just in time. “Are you ready for this, sis?” she asked as she took the camera out of the case.

“I’m excited, Patti. I think it’s going to be a girl.”

Just then another pain hit hard. There was much activity in the delivery room. After an hour of fairly intense labor, I begged the nurse.

“Please!  I have to push. I have to push. The baby is coming.” I groaned through the pain.

Steve rubbed my forehead. “Just hold on, honey. Dr. Rogers is almost here. Keep breathing. It won’t be long.”

Moments later I heard Dr. Rogers’ kind voice. “Go ahead, Gigi, you can push now. It’s time. I’m here.”

I pointed at my sister. She gave me a thumb up. The camera was ready. Her eyes were wide and curious. This was her first time to witness the birth of a baby. She was mesmerized by the unusual guttural sounds I made as I pushed through the pains. I had chosen a natural delivery with no drugs. What was I thinking?

With one last push, I felt the baby’s body thrust forth. I was dizzy from holding my breath. I heard Dr. Rogers’ voice clearly say, “Oh-oh, we have some problems. You have a little boy but he has something wrong.”

What does he mean by problems?  Panic struck my face and I looked at Steve. When I turned to look at our baby I could clearly see what was wrong. His tiny hands stuck out of his shoulders. He had no arms. His chubby deep purple colored body was curled into a ball. Dr. Rogers cleared out the baby’s throat. The room was dead silent except for the sudden loud wailing of our newborn.

“Oh my God!  Oh my God!” I stared at his deformed body. Tears blurred my vision. The room began to spin.

Steve rubbed my face as he tried to help me catch my breath. “Calm down honey. You have to breathe. It will be okay. He’s beautiful. It’s going to be okay. Just calm down.”

The delivery room nurse slapped an oxygen mask on my face. “Breathe slowly sweetie. Take a deep breath in and out.” The smell of oxygen made me gag.

The stars cleared from my head and I could focus. After the umbilical cord was cut my precious screaming baby was placed on my chest, wrapped tightly in a hospital blanket. I was afraid to pull back the blanket and take a good look at his deformed body. I had never seen anything like it.

I kissed his head and rubbed his chubby little cheeks.

“Hey baby boy, it will be okay. Mommy’s here. Don’t cry sweetheart. Mama’s here. You’re so cute and so chubby. You are beautiful baby, Gabriel.”

His cry stopped as he recognized my voice.

The sobs kept coming in my throat like hiccups. Mascara smeared my cheeks. Steve rubbed my back as we both looked in shock at our new son.

Nurse Debbie took Gabe from my arms. “We need to take him for testing. He’ll be just down the hall.”

“Wait. What kind of testing?  Is he okay?”

Steve kissed my forehead and looked deep into my eyes and said, “Everything is going to be alright Gig. Let me go talk to the doctors. I’ll be right back. I love you sweetheart. It’s going to be okay. I won’t be long.”

Patti stood silently at my side while my doctor finished the stitches. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Dr. Rogers washed up and came to my side.

“I’m so sorry, Gigi. I’m as surprised as you. We didn’t see this in your ultrasound last week. These things are never easy. He looks healthy except for his arms. Dr. Cheryl Wright-Wilson is the pediatrician on call. She will be back to give you a full report once we have a better idea of what’s going on. I’ll make my rounds tomorrow to check on you. Please get some sleep. I’m so sorry.”

His voice was gentle and comforting. He blinked a tear away as he walked out of the room.

There was a flurry of nurses tracking my vital signs and applying ice packs to my stitches. It felt so good when they put heated blankets on my body. I stayed in recovery for over an hour while they prepared a room for me.

A nurse I had never seen before came in to the room.

“We were able to find you a private room. It is almost set up and we’ll move you there shortly.”

I was grateful for the special treatment.

Patti pushed the matted hair off my forehead. “I’m going to call our family. I’ll be right back.” As she left another woman approached me.

“Hi Gigi, I’m Ann, I am a social worker here at Overlake. I am very sorry about your baby. We are here if you need anything. Can I ask you some questions? Do you need any water or food?”

“No, I’m okay, thanks.”

“Have you chosen a name for your baby?”

“Yes, his name is Gabriel Steven. My husband’s name is Steven.” My head was throbbing from crying so hard.

“Are you and your husband planning on taking him home?”

“What do you mean?” I replied with furrowed brow.

“When a baby is born with severe birth defects like yours, some parents choose not to take their baby home. They don’t feel they can handle the situation. If this is what you want to do I need to know as soon as possible so I can make arrangements with foster care.”

The tears and the sobs interjected between my words. “He’s my son. He’s going to be just fine.”

“I understand. I’m sorry but I had to ask. I know you will make an excellent Mom. Please call us if you change your mind. She handed me a business card then picked up her things and left.

Another nurse came and checked my vitals. Then they moved me to a large private room.

Steve returned followed by a gentle grey haired woman with a soft voice and warm smile.

“Hello Gigi, I am Cheryl Wright-Wilson. I am the pediatrician on call tonight. How are you doing?”

“I’m okay. Thanks.” I tried to smile.

She continued, “I’m so sorry about your son. It appears there are no life-threatening issues but we’ll keep him in Neonatal Intensive Care through the night just to be on the safe side. We aren’t sure what is going on but I suspect the possibility of a something genetic. More tests will confirm our diagnosis. He is a strong and otherwise healthy boy and he is beautiful.”

She put Gabe on my lap and unfolded the blanket tucked tightly around his tiny body. He squirmed and let out a loud squeal.

She picked up his hand and explained. “The bones from his elbow to his wrist are called the radius and ulna bones. He does not have these bones. The upper arm is the humerus bone. This appears to be abnormally small. This is common in babies born with a syndrome called T-A-R which stands for thrombocytopenia absence of radius bone. The bigger problem for these babies is a low platelet count in their blood. We will continue to monitor this with more blood work.”

“What exactly does low platelet count mean?” Steve asked.

“The platelets in our blood help to form clots. When we are injured the platelets play a part in stopping the bleeding. So a baby with low platelets will bruise easily and a severe bruise could even be fatal. These babies have to be transfused often to increase the platelet levels in their blood.”

“I also suspect there is something abnormal in his legs. They don’t straighten. I think his hip might be dislocated. We’ll learn more about that after we can get some x-rays.”

“Do you see this red mark on his nose?  She continued. “That is called a hemangioma. It is a buildup of blood vessels on the surface just under the skin. In some babies it goes away and in others it gets worse. It isn’t serious but it is something we will watch. In the coming days we will know more.”

All the while she was talking my head was spinning with questions. TAR syndrome? Bleeding?  Platelets? Transfusions? Hemangioma? Will he live a long life? Dislocated hip? Will he walk?  Missing bones? Can they fix his arms?  Now what do we do?

Dr. Wright-Wilson interrupted my anxious thoughts.

“Let’s get him back into the N-I-C Unit. Get some rest and we’ll talk to you in the morning. Dr. Joslyn will be on rounds tomorrow and can follow up with you. I know this is hard but you’ll make it. He is a beautiful boy. I can tell already he has parents that love him. That is what is important.”

Steve hugged her.

I kissed Gabe as a lump formed in my throat. Dr. Cheryl wrapped him like a burrito in the blanket and took him down the hall.

I wonder if he’ll even make it through the night. Maybe it would be better for him if he didn’t.

I chided myself for that thought and tears drenched the blanket as I pulled it up to my face.

Steve and I sat silent for a long time. We cried in each other’s arms. Just after midnight he headed home where my mom was taking care of Zane.

“I love you honey. We’ll get through this together okay?” He kissed my forehead and rubbed the tears off my cheeks. “He’ll be okay. We’ll figure this all out one day at a time. Please try to get some sleep. I’ll be back with Zane early in the morning.”

He kissed me once more and left.

I lay there for what seemed like hours with thoughts rolling through my mind. Will Gabe die from this blood thing? Will he ever hold my hand and walk with me? Can they fix his arms? Will he ever have a girlfriend? Will he go to school? Will he marry? Will he ever walk? Will he have any friends? Will people make fun of him? How am I going to handle this? Will Zane accept his new brother? How could this have happened?  Is God punishing me?

Oh God please help me understand.

In the moment of my son’s birth, I knew one thing for sure. Life would never be the same. A cloud of uncertainty spread across the landscape of my future. But in the horizon I could see a glimpse of hope as the sun poked through a tiny hole in the dark clouds.

It was the hope passed down through family stories of how God had gotten us through hard times before. It was a hope that God will make a way even in uncertain times. With that hope in my heart I finally fell asleep at the end of a very difficult day.

~~~~~~

Thank you God, for working all things together for good. I am grateful.

Guideposts Books – Extraordinary Answers to Prayers

Sunday April 10 2011 10:43 pm | Comments (0)

I’m anxious to be able to share with you two books that contain my stories. They are in a series published by Guideposts Books titled Extraordinary Answers to Prayer.

Book 10 is Praying Together. It contains my story titled Wheels for Gabriel which tells about how my family and friends as well as perfect strangers gathered around us and prayed for provision for Gabriel’s first wheelchair.

Book 11 is In Times of Change. In this book I share my favorite story titled The Dance of Faith where my prayers were answered during a trying time as Gabe moved into the scary junior high school years.

Guideposts is releasing these books each month over the next twelve months. I should have them available on my website by late fall 2011. Come visit my website for updates on when they are available.

In the meantime, the other books in the series make wonderful gifts. They can be purchased at the Guideposts Books website

https://www.shopguideposts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=15401&catalogId=16903&parentCategoryId=150388&categoryId=320591

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