Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Celebrating All Life

Type.  Delete.  Think.  Pray.  Type.  Delete.


I have struggled with how to share much of what we’ve learned about our Selah’s story.  Her testimony.  It is being written by God, not by me, and yet I have so much I want to shout to the world.


My flesh and His spirit wrestle.  They collide, blinded by the dirty goggles that I can’t seem to remove from my eyes, the ones clouded with all the filth of my world.


These feelings cannot subside in my own strength.  I want to strangle doctors for recommending abortions when a child is diagnosed with a special need in utero.  Why is ALL life not precious?  ALL are precious in HIS sight.  But too often we operate in the flesh.


Should this child suffer the loss of life by human hands?  Doctors and many abortion advocates would argue that this child should not suffer by being born to a “lesser” life.


I ask, “What is your definition of lesser?”


“Who gave you the right to define 'quality of life’?


“Who gave you the right to decide who should live and who should die?”


“Where has our sovereign God gotten lost in life?  He is the CREATOR of it!!!”


I struggle.  Over and over and over again.  Life is a celebration, children are a gift from God, a blessing.  We are not the ones to decide what type of children are a gift, what type of children are a blessing.  Truly, He says that ALL are precious in His sight.  ALL. 


Why then do we take it upon our human hands and hearts to decide otherwise?


Why was our Selah’s life spared?  What happened that preserved her life?  Her birth mother was not a believer.  She had no reason to not end this child’s life in utero.  Surely the doctors advised her to abort.  She claims the doctors wouldn’t allow her to abort the damaged fetus growing inside her womb.  I beg to differ.


Googling Selah’s diagnoses proves that doctors would have advised abortion.  Doctors would have taken it in their own hands to decide if this child should live or die.  Yet Selah survived.


Someone intervened.  I know Who that Someone was.  But why this child?  Why did Selah get spared from an early death by human hands?


Are the numerous insults to Selah’s brain that occurred in utero due to a failed abortion?  Did someone attempt to take her life, yet the Master and Creator of her life spared her?  I will probably never know, but the One who is writing her story knows.  I remind myself that’s all that matters, even though my flesh wants to know the whole story.


God has V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y revealed bits and pieces of the truth of Selah’s story to me.  He is very slowly stringing together His testimony of Selah’s life.  He, for whatever reasons He knows are best, has chosen to slowly and gently reveal portions of Selah’s history to us, piece by piece, like slowly unwrapping a gift to find there’s another box inside with different wrapping paper, and yet another box inside that box, with yet another type of wrapping paper. 


I don’t know how many boxes are inside this gift, how many He will unwrap before our eyes, how long it will take to finally reach the final gift inside, but I fully trust in the One who has chosen to bestow this precious gift upon us.  The gifts He slowly unwraps before our eyes are truth.  Truth about Selah’s history that reveal the miracles He has performed to add to the testimony of Selah’s life.  Gifts we don’t deserve to unwrap, yet He lavishes them upon us anyway.


The gift of celebrating Selah’s 2nd birthday yesterday filled me with many emotions.  Particularly because God chose to unwrap another box within the original gift just 12 days ago.  He chose to share with us the truth about Selah’s diagnoses.  Things we never knew.  How did we not know this after she’d been in our care for nearly two years?  We’ve visited with the very doctor who shared this information with us more times than I can count, yet he never chose to share the whole truth about Selah’s diagnoses with us—until 12 days ago.


We’d been told that this child should not have been born alive.  We’d been told that if she survived, she’d be a ‘vegetable’.  We’d been told, after Selah proved not to be a ‘vegetable’, that she would “never be in the top of her class”.


We knew Selah had hydrocephalus, that she had a VP shunt placed one week after she was born because she had 3 pounds of fluid in her skull.  The doctors waited a full week after Selah’s birth to place that shunt, believing she wouldn’t survive but a few days—after all, she wasn’t even supposed to be born alive.


We’d been told that Selah was born with just a sliver of a brain and that she had ACC—Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.  This meant she was missing the section of her brain that connects the right and left hemispheres.


Yet we were only recently told that Selah doesn’t have right and left hemispheres of her brain, that she was born with holoprosencephaly.  We weren’t told what ‘holoprosencephaly’ meant exactly, but thanks to Dr. Google, we now understand better.


We were also recently told that Selah has Chiari II malformation and numerous brain calcifications due to insults to her brain that occurred in utero.  She also has an official label of epilepsy, yet she’s been off her seizure meds for a year now, and she’s never had a seizure since her first month of life in the NICU, before we even knew of her existence.


How can this be?  If you google Selah’s diagnoses, you’ll discover that she seriously shouldn’t be alive.  According to Dr. Google, as well as all of the specialists who care for Selah, this precious girl really shouldn’t have been born alive. 


In fact, we’re not sure if there’s any other living child in the world with Selah’s diagnoses.  According to research, these ‘fetuses’ are aborted due to medical reasons/advice from doctors, or in extreme circumstances (where the birth mother refused abortion or the ‘fetus’ went undiagnosed with holoprosencephaly) they’re born dead due to natural causes caused in the brain by holoprosencephaly.


But Selah.


Oh sweet Selah, whose name in Hebrew means to ‘stop and listen, to pause’.  Some scholars claim that selah means literally ‘so every ear can hear and every eye can see’.  God just told us to give this precious baby the name “Selah”.  We did not know His plan, nor His testimony for our beloved Selah.  We realize now that she is truly a living testimony of God’s miracles, a life to pause and reflect upon, a life that every eye should see and every ear should hear.


My prayer is that every doctor who encourages an abortion will “stop and listen—pause’’ and think of our Selah’s testimony before they take human life into their own hands.


My prayer is that every birth mother who is encouraged to abort her ‘damaged fetus’ will HEAR and SEE Selah’s testimony and KNOW that our God is capable of so much more than any medical professional can predict or determine.


My prayer is that indeed EVERY ear will hear and EVERY eye will see what our God is capable of.  However, if we take life and death into our own hands, we are limiting our ability to SEE and HEAR God.  We are telling God that we do not trust in His sovereignty, we aren’t willing to fully submit to Him, we don’t want to believe that His will is better than our own desire.


Not every story ends—or begins--like Selah’s, we know this first-hand.  We had another miracle girl whose story ended differently than we prayed, whose life on earth ended sooner than we wanted.  But, through it all, God has proven Himself faithful time and time again.  Even when God’s will looks different than our own desire, He knows best.  He never makes mistakes.  Ever. 


When we let go of our will and wholeheartedly trust in God’s, regardless of the outcome, we begin to grow into the person He created us to be, submissive, trusting in Him and His sovereignty, relying fully on the One and Only Author and Creator of life.  We give God a chance to fully shine His glory in dark places.


Our character is shaped greatly by Him and the things He allows us to walk through.  It is a gift to walk through life, and death, with specials needs children.  There are things He teaches us through these experiences that cannot be learned any other way.  Our hearts are forever changed, looking much more like His than we could ever imagine, because that is His plan for us.  Our Father gave up His One and Only Son in order that we might have eternal life.  Jesus suffered greatly on this earth, far more than any of us could ever fathom, far more than most “damaged fetuses” could ever suffer, even if they’re given a chance to survive on this earth.  It is in our sufferings that we become more like Him, for this was largely a part of His life—and His death.


God’s Word reminds us that those willing to give up our lives for Him will have our lives saved, those willing to die to self will gain far more than this world has to offer.  I encourage you to die to the world’s definition of “life” and choose to believe wholeheartedly in His definition of life—ALL are precious in His sight.  Give Him a chance to prove that to you.  Do not walk away from the life He has planned for you.  Do not kill a baby because the world says he/she will suffer.  Do not listen to anyone but God, for His way is always best, regardless of our fears, regardless of our desires, regardless of what we feel is best.  Trust in His sovereignty, even when it looks different than you imagine.  He never makes mistakes.  Ever.


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