Updated: Jan 7, 2019
One of my favourite things to do with Kiara when she was a newborn baby was to place my finger in her soft little hand and feel her squeeze it. I remember my sister, who had been studying baby development, telling me that was just a reflex. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” she said, “because she won’t always squeeze your finger.” She was wrong, of course, because Kiara is very affectionate and loves touch, so even though she lost the reflex after a few weeks, she would still squeeze my finger by choice.
On Christmas Eve, while Kiara was having her first brain surgery to remove the fragments of bone in her brain and reconstruct her fractured skull, my husband and I came home to reassure and see to our other daughter and five young sons. We tucked them into bed and lay waiting for the call that the surgery was over. Richard went back at 1am to receive her out of surgery while I stayed home with the sleeping children.
It was a moment of reckoning with God. It was 9 hours after the accident and the first time I was alone. I cried out to God, desperate, on my knees on the bathroom mat. I clung to my Bible and begged God to give me a Word.
Psalm 37:3 says, “Fix your heart in the promises of God.”
“But what is your promise, God?” I pleaded.
Psalm 37:7 “Quiet your heart in his presence and pray; keep hope alive as you long for God to come through for you.”
Keep hope alive. A directive from my King. Something I could do.
Verse 4 reads, “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.”
That was hard. Because I know what it means. If God is the utmost desire and pleasure of my life, then what I desire the most is to please him. To surrender to him. To trust his will. But we all already know we want that. Richard, me, Kiara. He is our utmost desire and pleasure greater than any other.
Nonetheless the Word is, ‘Keep hope alive as you long for God to come through for you. Quiet your heart in his presence and pray.”
I haven’t always been obedient to that Word. I have dropped it a couple of times. But the thing about a true Word from the Lord, is that it has life in and of itself. #keephopealive has life of it’s own. It flits from mouth to mouth, from prayer to prayer. It has landed itself on t-shirts and profile pictures. Did you see that the silhouettue in the logo is actually Kiara? Richard and I broke when we saw that.
We are nervous. How high do you let hope carry you? We’re not sure how many times we can take the full fall from high hope all the way to the bottom. We’re still bruised and sore from the fall on Christmas morning when she was rushed back in to theatre with brain swelling after the first op. The fall on Boxing Day when we heard her heart had started failing. We’re ascending the hill of hope, but it is with fear and trepidation.
Last night, I went to hold Kiara’s hand and I thought I felt a barely perceptible squeeze, and then a slight turn of her wrist. I smiled sadly - it reminded me of when I first felt her kick in my tummy, but I wasn’t sure if it was really her. I stroked her arm and spoke to her, and then said good night and started to pull my hand away. She closed her fingers onto her palm and caught me, gently but firmly. She held on for a few seconds. It was just like the kicks in my tummy that first day! Two barely perceptible, and then one undeniable!! Hope.
As always, our hope is not built on these little signs. She has been responding to a light pain, a very low-level response. To believe this was an intentional response is precarious at best. Our hope remains in God alone.
Today they start weaning her off of her sedation, to see if she will come out of her induced coma. The infection she has picked up in her lungs complicates things, because it means she needs the ventilator a bit longer. We are praying that she is calm, that she responds well to the gradual switch from sedation anaesthesia to pain management meds. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for covering us. Thank you for helping us to #keephopealive.