I get a little perturbed when people tell me or La Petite Belle to "be strong" or commend us for being so strong through this time. It's too much pressure to put on someone going through situations like this to tell them to "be strong." I just want to say back, "You be strong because I just can't right now."
Honestly ... I am not strong.
And, I'm realizing I don't want to be strong. It's exhausting. That's probably the reason why God doesn't want us to rely on our own strength anyway. It just doesn't cut it!
La Petite Belle has had some pretty emotional days the last couple of weeks; even more the last couple of days. I joke with her about how she has that 40-year-old-female DNA now, so she better be prepared for even more emotions. I can say that because I'm over forty. It's like some sappy cry-baby invades your body for good. Ah well. C'est la vie!
She had so many people telling her how strong she was and how strong she was going to be through this. Because of this, I'm pretty confident that she bottled up all of her emotions about what was happening to her. She rarely cried and if there were tears, they were brief ... usually about not being able to go to an event because of her diagnosis. But, after that, there were no tears. Really no emotions at all. She spent a long time at the beginning of our hospital time being straight-faced and all her answers were shoulder shrugs. I wondered what was going on inside her. I even suggested she talk to one of the counselors. Nope. She didn't want to do that either. Apparently, her daddy and I are good enough.
She really didn't want to talk about everything going on. We would read our devotionals at night. We would pray. I would ask about how she was doing, how she was feeling. Again ... shoulder shrugs. Then, there was the first breakdown last week where she cried for about an hour and a half, and they had to give her Benadryl to calm her down. I had never seen anything like that. But, it needed to happen. All of those bottled up feelings and emotions came rolling out.
I thought that was it. But, ever since she's opened that door, the emotions are flowing. It's actually a beautiful thing. I believe she has really just been trying to be strong this whole time.
But, even strong girls break.
We can be as strong as we possibly can, but to no avail. There will be a breaking point. There has to be.
I took this short video after the nurse came in and said she was engrafted. I was not prepared for the tears.
As I drove from the apartment to the hospital this afternoon, I drove by the Rice University running track, where I was able to get a couple of runs in a week. This time was precious to me.
As I thought about those runs, I remembered that most of them, I ran crying. Although my body was trucking along, my heart was breaking. I would pray. I would worship. I would call out to God. I cried just thinking about those moments.
I ran in a broken state. That's how most of us "run" every day. Broken. Trying to be strong. The difference is, I couldn't be strong through this. I clung to Jesus like I never have before. I was the picture of weak.
There were moments in the hospital room where La Petite Belle would be sleeping. And, in the darkness, I would break. I would cry. I would pray. I would call out to God.
There was no one who could help me. No words really could make a difference. I only had Jesus. I only had the hope God had given me. I only had His Word and His promises. Having those things were the only thing that provided any kind of strength. But, most of all, there were many moments of peace. I would pray for God's peace to dwell in that hospital room with us. When I was broken, I felt the arms of a mighty God and good Father holding me.
God's desire is not for us to be strong. God wants us to rely on Him for strength. We cannot do it on our own. It just doesn't work and, like I said, it's exhausting.
I mean ... you can go ahead and keep on trying, but it simply will not work forever. Just like my sweet girl broke, you will too.
It's in your moments of brokenness, moments of weakness, moments of fear, that God comes in and holds you up. When you draw near to Him, He's there. Always.
I have truly been living out "in my weakness, I am strong (He is strong)".
As this night comes to a close, there has been a lot of reflection on the last thirty-something days. And, the most precious to me are actually those times of brokenness when I just surrendered to God and said, "I can't do this." I will always remember those runs on the track and those moments in the dark.
There were many hard days. Seeing your child in pain and suffering is the most difficult thing anyone can go through. I'm not going to lie to you ... it has been pretty horrible, but it also has been pretty wonderful. God has proven Himself so faithful to us, just as He always has.
We still have quite a journey ahead. I just finished numbering our calendar to Day +100. It landed me all the way to the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people will think we're done and everything is fine and dandy. But, this is the most sensitive time for our girl. Her immune system is brand new, like a newborn baby. She doesn't have all the compenents you and I have, but they will be developing slowly. This brand new immune system hasn't been exposed to all the viruses, germs, and bacteria that we have all been exposed to and can fight easily. That's why she will be somewhat isolated. She can have visitors, but not a lot of people at one time. She will wear a mask wherever she goes. The only places she doesn't have to wear a mask are our vehicle and our apartment. We have to try to keep her as safe as possible from anything that could cause any type of infection in her body. After that Day +100, she can have more freedoms if she's doing well.
Check out these meds.
Mom and Dad have lots of responsibility taking care of her. I won't go into detail of everything. It'll just bore you. We'll be tag-teaming her care and taking her to BMT clinic visits three times a week, starting tomorrow.
Today, we are celebrating. There were more tears, but good tears.
If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, you can find more information here: www.gofundme.com/Katieg. All funds go to cover medical bills and expenses. Thank you for your prayers and support!