Friday, April 23, 2010

What Faith Can Do

So sorry for not giving more updates today.  We actually left the hospital from Noon-10PM!!!  The cardiac surgeon and nurses visited with us about how important it was for us to get away from the hospital, and while they really wished we would have spent the night away, we just couldn't do it.  They did explain that if there's anytime that it's "safe" for us to leave, it was today because they had Chrissie stabilized on the ECMO machine (life support), and they weren't going to make any big adjustments to it.  Plus, if Chrissie were to take a turn for the worst, they could still keep her alive for a couple of hours using the ECMO machine, so we could get back to her if something did happen.

They plan to leave Chrissie on the ECMO until Monday.  Right now the ECMO is doing the work of Chrissie's heart and lungs, so they're hope is that during this time of rest for Chrissie, that her heart will heal from all of the trauma and be strong enough to beat in sync and pump properly.  Chrissie is being given blood, platelets, and all kinds of medicines.  We have a full-time ECMO specialist in here at all times, who is constantly monitoring, tweaking, and making all types of adjustments.  The ECMO machine actually draws blood out of her body, and then it circulates it through the ECMO machine where it oxygenates it and removes carbon dioxide, then it returns the fresh blood to Chrissie's body.  Chrissie's heart is being told to beat by the machine and with medications that control her blood pressure, organ function, breathing, and all sorts of stuff that I have no clue about.  For the time being, she's considered stable, in a medically-induced coma on life support and about 14 or 15 different types of medicines!!!  She is being kept stable by the ECMO machine (life support machine) and all of her medications, and even with all of these outside supports, her blood pressure and heart rate, rhythms and patterns fluctuate greatly.  I am so grateful for the nurses and ECMO specialists who are constantly making adjustments to things, keeping Chrissie in stable condition.  Would you please pray that when they take Chrissie off of the ECMO machine that her heart and lung and entire body from head to toe would work the way God intended it to?

So back to today, around Noon, Matt and I decided to leave the hospital and go home to see our family and then attend our 10-year-old son's baseball game Friday night.  We turned up K-LOVE (Christian radio) and knew that would comfort Chrissie since it's her favorite radio station, and the K-LOVE tune would bring joy to her heart as well as the ministering words of the Christian songs that deliver amazing hope.  We live about 2 hours from the hospital, so it's not convenient for us to just run home for something or to see the kids, so we felt a little timid about leaving, but we knew this was the best time to go and we really wanted to love on our other children.   It's tough being gone from home, but it's tougher to be away from the hospital.  Every second there's something happening with Chrissie, and her words, "Momma no leave me" continously ring through my head. It's SO hard to walk out (even to go get food in the cafeteria), but it was delightful to see all of our children.  It felt great to hug and kiss them and love on them and play with them.  I just wish we didn't have to tell them good-bye!  I wish we could all be together like "normal", but we were so thankful for the short time we got to spend with our kiddos.

We are continuously amazed by the character of each of our children,  and we're most grateful for the arrangements God has made to take fabulous care of the home front!  Our amazing friend, Stephanie Hall, lives in a house on our ranch, and she teaches our children for us.  (We'd planned to co-teach, but with our being gone to Serbia last fall and then in and out of the hospital so much, Stephanie graciously took over teaching full-time, and our children couldn't have a better teacher in the entire universe!  Stephanie loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, and she serves at Forgotten Saw Ranch with joy and selflessness.)  Stephanie is staying in our home while Matt and I are away.  All of our kids, which includes Emily Hall (Stephanie's daughter who is one of our pseudo-adopted daughters!) work together to hold down the fort.  Each of the kids trade off caring for Kiefer (our newest child, from Haiti, age 23 months, home 3 weeks), and Stephanie has night and early morning duty with Kiefer.  In the midst of this, they're able to manage to get an amazing amount of school work done (you should hear them recite The Lord's Prayer in Latin!) plus take care of the animals and chores at Forgotten Saw Ranch.  And they do it with joy!  They wouldn't trade their lives for anything.  God is good like that.  He has planted the desires to serve with joy in our children's hearts, and then He grants them the desires of their hearts.  For years, Mattie has prayed she'd be able to have a "baby" brother or sister to take care of, diapers and all, and guess what?!?   God has given Mattie the desire of her heart!  Mattie is taking such wonderful care of Kiefer, and Emily steps in during school hours to take care of him.  It's an amazing plan, and while it's not ideal for Mom and Dad to both be gone (we had planned to take 2-day shifts, alternating between hospital and home so one of us would be with Chrissie or the other kids at all times), it's working.  When Chrissie died on Monday and God brought her back, we knew we couldn't leave Chrissie's side.  And God prepared our children beautifully for this sudden change to our plan of trading off.  They stepped up and took over and everything is running like clockwork because of the glorious pre-planning of our gracious Father.  They are truly amazing children, and I'm in awe of how God has given them the ability to serve so faithfully, all with a joyful heart.  Would you please pray for God to continue holding up our children so gracefully under such stressful circumstances, and please petition Him to continue to give strength to Stephanie to continue serving as mightily and joyfully as she has so faithfully done time and time again.   We are so blessed and humbled by God's magnificent plan for our family!  Oh, and Kiefer is doing AMAZING!  He is such a sweet, sweet boy who adores his siblings, and loved on his mommy and daddy like we had never even been gone!  (He's always preferred his daddy, but he would give me lovin' and zerberts and sweet kisses, and when we left, he said, "I love you."  Melt my heart!)

After our son's team won their baseball game, we kissed all of the  kids goodbye (HARD to do!) and headed back to San Antonio.  On our way back to the hospital, George from K-LOVE Christian radio station called to ask us about Chrissie's story.  (Mattie and my friend, Nicole, had asked K-LOVE pastors to pray for Chrissie.)  I visited with George about Chrissie's story, and he said he wanted to get K-LOVE listeners to pray for Chrissie.  I am in such amazement about how our Lord works.  I am humbled that he chose me to write this blog, to parent Chrissie, and to be a tiny instrument in His desire to reach the world through Chrissie's precious life.  We weren't sure what K-LOVE would do with Chrissie's story, but we prayed God would be glorified.

We got back to the hospital where Dr. Porisch (Chrissie's God-sent cardiologist) gave us a good report about Chrissie's day, saying she remained stable on the ECMO machine with no emergencies, which was such a relief.  They are working to reduce volume in her heart as there's more blood in the heart than they would like, but it may just be a result of the compressions they did for an hour while they revived her Thursday morning.  They still want to clear a lot of that excess blood out of her heart, which they're trying to do using the ECMO and meds, and Dr. Porisch is really hoping that Monday will be the "magic" day for Chrissie to get off the ECMO machine and begin life on her own with her new heart.  Would you please pray for this glorious day to go gloriously?!?

Shortly after Dr. Porisch left, we heard Chrissie's story on K-LOVE!!!  We only got to listen to the tail-end of the story, but we were again amazed at how God is lifting up prayer warriors across the world to pray for our Serbian Sensation!  I pray He'll use Chrissie's story to bring people to know Him better and to bring glory and honor to His mighty name.

After the K-LOVE blip about Chrissie, they played an amazing song by Kutless called "What Faith Can Do", which brought Matt to tears as we listened to the amazing lyrics that ministered directly to our hearts.  We're claiming the line "broken hearts become brand new".  This song must have been written for Chrissie and our family!  (I've heard it many times and God has actually woken us up to hear these lyrics throughout the night at the hospital, but hearing it played in a "dedication" sort of way directly to Chrissie was so touching.  I will leave you with the lyrics of this touching song:

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do


It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise


Chrissie, sweet angel, you may have fallen, but we pray for God's strength to enable you to rise, sweet girl!  When the world tells you that you can't, we say you CAN.  Don't you give up now, you're stronger than you know!  I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered (and thousands of cries to our Lord from people around the Lord who are interceding for you, precious baby girl), BROKEN HEARTS BECOME BRAND NEW...That's what faith can do!!!  We love you, princess, and we pray you'll walk out of here a living testimony to God's MIGHTY miracles and what faith can do!!!


25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still praying and praising God for who He is yesterday, today, and tomorrow... Monday!

-Andrea

Anonymous said...

That is the perfect song to play with Chrissie's story on K-love. That is my favorite song already, but I know I will never be able to hear it without thinking about her again. I am praying for Chrissie to wake up and to run, play and enjoy life the way kids were meant to.

Kayla

Anonymous said...

"What Faith Can Do" is my all time favorite song. Let the words remind you of the power of prayer and faith and let them be a testimony to the staff working along side little Chrissie. You just never know who is listening who might not be a Christian! Stay strong and know that there are so many people praying for Chrissie and your family.

Love in Christ,
Mary Wusterbarth

Anonymous said...

Lorraine & Matt,

We're so glad that you had the chance to spend some time with the rest of your family. I know that was encouraging!

We would also encourage you to take care of yourselves while the doctors keep Chrissie stable. We know how hard it is to leave, but Chrissie needs you healthy, too. Have you checked out the local Ronald McDonald House? It's a great place to grab shower and sometimes a complimentary meal, and it gives you a community of people who can share your concern and prayers (as you share theirs). The Ronald McDonald Houses were a real blessing to us.

Meanwhile, we continue to lift you and Chrissie up. God never lets go--that was our theme song during our difficult period...

Love,
the Linams

Sandy said...

I haven't commented often since I started reading about Chrissie over the past 3 or 4 days, but I have checked often and prayed more specifically for all of you.
God is Faithful and this is bringing Him glory and prayerfully bringing His children closer to Him through reading this story. And bringing new children to Him....Praise and Honor to our Mighty God.
Be encouraged!

Karin said...

Praying for your Serbian Sensation--checking your blog throughout the day for updates. I am so blessed by your testimony and know that God is using your and your story for His glory. We have adopted 10 children, and two of them have heart defects that have required open heart surgeries, so I can enter in a bit to what you are going through (not to the extent you are experiencing--just the part about not wanting to leave the PICU even to eat, etc.) Continued prayers going up for you all...

Anonymous said...

~When our Gabriel was in the CICU in Atlanta we were an hour from home and our other three children. We too struggled with going home to hug/kiss/love on the siblings who needed so much to get a touch from us to reassure them. I am glad you did recharge yourselves too. I know how hard that was on both ends.
At the end of the long, long days my husband would read the emails from people (we had a similar page) and they would fill my heart. God is so good... and I feel in some weird way I was so ment to see that email urging me to pray for Chrissy. It's my honor. Her white candle is still burning brightly here.
Rest in God's peace. Maryann Foster

Jean said...

Praying, Praying, Praying for your sweet little girl!

Carla said...

Lorraine,
I am happy to hear that y'all were comfortable enough to leave the hospital for just a little while. I know it is a definite NEED. I learned the hard way. I am sure it was wonderful to be home for even a short time with your other children!! I am praying for a beautifully working heart on Monday! And that y'all are able to get some more rest this weekend. It is beautiful here today, so get out and take a walk!! Listening to K-LOVE and hoping to hear Chrissie's story!! Hugs, Carla

The Gotch 5 said...

So glad you were able to get away and get a refueling of the heart from the home front! God has placed so many special people in Chrissie's life. I will continue to pray that God gives Chrissie's heart complete healing like only he can give. Prayers from Illinois.

Leslie said...

AMEN!!!! Your prayer is also mine. I am standing in faith along with you that Chrissie WILL WALK out of that hospital a LIVING TESTIMONY of God's goodness and healing power.

In Christ,
Leslie
Bella Vista, AR

Tracy McCain said...

Reading your story brought back so many familiar feelings! When our daughter was hospitalized and hanging on to life, the hardest part was definitely, the fact that we had another child that also needed us and missed us terribly. It was so hard to know where we needed to be at any moment.
By God's strength you WILL get through this! And, what an awesome testimony you will have! My husband and I realized with our daughter, that we had prayed God would use in ways he doesn't use most people, and to do that , He was going to have to allow us to go through things most people don't
Praying for you in Arizona!
Tracy McCain
http://tracylmccain.blogspot.com/

Faith, Hope, and Love said...

Praying, praying, praying for your Serbian Sensation!!!

How great that a window of opportunity opened for you to give and receive love with your other children. It sounds like God is blessing you with a wonderful support system! Yeah!

I have to share with you that my 14 year old daughter (adopted from China) is performing in the 8th grade play this weekend "The Wizard of Oz". As I watch Dorothy's "ruby red shoes" dance across the stage...I can't help but think of your daughter's "ruby red boot". It causes me to pause and pray that her ruby red boots will soon be dancing once again for you.

God is good all of the time!
Love to you and yours!
Robin

Debi said...

Glad you got to "get away" for awhile to love on the other kids and for the good report when you retured.
Praying with you that Manday would be the "magic day" when everything in Chrissies's body would function as it was intended. God is mighty and He is able.
Love and hugs and prayers,
Debi

Shawnie said...

Praying for Chrissy and your family. We know how tough our little Serbian is so I am SURE yours is too. You are an amazing family and God absolutely chose the right child for you.
Shawnie (Max's mom)

Rachel said...

praying for your angel girl...sending hugs from indiana.
rachel mom to isaiah,matthew,nilam,anya,aiden, and josie.

jones family said...

Hi, my name is savannah, i am 13 and live in washington. I stumbled across your blog a while ago and read it a lot! I have been praying for your family and Chrissie every night before I go to bed.

I just thought I would leave a comment and tell you that I am praying!

Jodi said...

Thinking of Chrissie today and PRAYING for her full recovery!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

PRAYING!

~Steph said...

I've had Chrissie and the whole family in my prayers since surgery day.
I was listening to Pandora radio yesterday when this song came on and it made me think of y'all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW95hekG-Y4&feature=related

~Stephanie
HHBC family

Kat said...

Praise God! No updates today either! I'm going to take no news to be good news. We're still praying all the way up here in Canada.

Larry Barcroft said...

Last night we had a group Home Bible study about living fearlessly because of God's promises and grace.
I was able to share with everyone about Chrissie and her story.
We all went on our knees and held hands as we lifted up Chrissie to our Lord,and ask the Lord for her healing.
It was a very precious time together with the Lord,and God touched our hearts with compassion for Chrissie, our little sister in the Lord.
We will continue to pray and trust God for Chrissie's life.
Love in Christ, The Barcrofts

Larry Barcroft said...

Last night we had a group Home Bible study about living fearlessly because of God's promises and grace.
I was able to share with everyone about Chrissie and her story.
We all went on our knees and held hands as we lifted up Chrissie to our Lord,and ask the Lord for her healing.
It was a very precious time together with the Lord,and God touched our hearts with compassion for Chrissie, our little sister in the Lord.
We will continue to pray and trust God for Chrissie's life.
Love in Christ, The Barcrofts

Debi said...

A couple of corrections from my last posting: It should have read when you returned, not retured and Monday instead of Manday.
Need a spell check for my blog posting.
Love and hugs and prayers,
Debi

Allyria said...

Lifting you up in Fort Worth. So glad to know you have the support and prayer of so many people. I am very blessed to read how God is moving in all of this, and how faith continues in the hearts of your family as you wait to see what He does next.

blessings, Shannon

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