Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Beautiful and the Heart-Shattering

Our sweet baby girl turned 8 this week. I took some time to look back over the last year in celebration. It has been both the best and the worst year. Our hearts have exploded with joy and been broken to pieces. And I realized, that is life, all the time, everyday. Joy and pain mixed up and stirred together.

Reese began Cannabis Therapy for her uncontrolled seizures just before her birthday last year. Honestly, there was no fear. We had researched this and waited for it to become legal in Arizona and then waited for the plant to grow—literally. The specific strain that treats pediatric epilepsy is given in an oil form with most of the THC (the part of the plant that provides the high) removed. What's left are the healing properties. So there was no lab that could whip it up. We waited for it to grow. It was like watching paint dry…except our child was seizing every day so we were REALLY ready.

It worked. Beautifully. A year ago, Reese was having 2-4 seizures a day, everyday. And that was her on 4 anti-epileptic pharmaceuticals, some of which have side effects of liver failure and blindness. Her seizures were so normal to us, such a part of our routine. “Mom, Reese is having an S,” was a normal conversation. (We don’t actually speak the word “seizure” in our home. It doesn’t deserve to have its name spoken). Cannabis oil has taken that number down to 1-2 seizures a week. To say it is a God-send, or an answer to prayer, or our miracle just seems too cliché. True, but it could be lost in the cliche. It has transformed her life and ours. Not only is she not seizing every day, but because of that freedom, her personality has emerged. She is communicating and connecting and loving people. This has been the best part of the year. [Ezekiel 47:12 "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."] Oh yes, healing in the leaves.

On the flip side, Reese’s respiratory health has been a mess. She has been hospitalized 6 times for respiratory distress or pneumonia over the last year. Every time we call the ambulance or rush her into the ER, my heart shatters. It is hard on all of us—the family, the routine, the mind, the body, and most of all Reese. Every time my mind asks God, Is this it? It has been a very hard year. We’ve learned how to do it now, which just sucks. Running your child to the ER in respiratory distress shouldn’t be a routine you perfect. It sucks big time. It has aged me, worn me down, sucked some life out of me.

I realized something in my reflection over this year though. Every time our hearts get shattered, they heal. They heal with a little scar tissue. There is the memory of that heartache and the circumstances surrounding it, but there is healing. Just like any part of the body that has been scarred over and over, it becomes bigger. And I’ve found that as brutal as heart-shattering is, a heart that heals over and over becomes bigger. I feel like that has happened to us this year. Our love for Reese is even bigger. Our love for our girls—bigger. Our love for our families--bigger. Our love for God--bigger. And interestingly, our love for humanity as a whole, especially those who are hurting—bigger. Such an interesting side-effect of heartbreak, if we allow it. And the truth is, there is only One who can provide that healing. Whether you know Him or not, He is the healer. And whether you allow him to heal you or not is up to you.

Joy and pain. Healing and heartbreak. I guess it will always be the rhythm of life. In our case, it just seems more dramatic. But it is the rhythm of all of our lives. I’m leaning into it. I’m not surprised by it anymore. I don’t expect life to be perfect, nor people to be perfect. Some days will be awesome. Some people will be awesome. And some won’t. So what. I’m embracing it all and allowing God to do His mysterious work on the inside. He is mysterious, you know. I don’t understand it all and I believe I wasn’t designed to. The beautiful transformation is when we can trust Him with all of it, beautiful and ugly, healing and hurtful.

So once again, I say Happy Birthday, Reese. You are my wonderful gift, my sweet perspective-provider. Thank you for another wonderful year with you.


  1. We are humbled again and agsin by this little life and Gods exquisite love and plan that goes to divine depths we can only glimpse this side of heaven.

    1. Thank you for your beautiful words.:)

  2. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!! Love you Reese!!!


Thanks for taking the time!