The family I’m praying for tonight has no idea there is a storm brewing over the horizon. A storm so violent, life will never be the same for them again. They will lose one of their most prized possessions–their child.
How do I pray for a family like that? I almost feel as if I have some inside information on their lives that even they are not aware of today. They will go to bed tonight and without thinking about the tragedy that lies ahead. Who knows what will happen tomorrow as they go about their day? Their child will likely disobey, talk back, whine, or have a stinky attitude that needs to be addressed. There will be sibling rivalry, fighting, and disputes over who gets to ride up front or get their turn next. Will Dad lose his temper and escape to the golf course? Will Mom utter things she swore she’d never say? Maybe.
But mothering a dying child brings a new perspective to everything. I still lose my cool and say things I wish I could take back. I still wonder what in the world I was thinking when I brought home three little girls all the exact same age. But, suddenly, in light of the reality looming on my own horizon, I am compelled to live a life of no regrets.
When we brought Rachel home from China, we simply didn’t know how long we had. We decided ahead of time that what we could not change in quantity, we would make up for in quality. More than anything, we wanted Rachel to know the love of a family, to know that she had a mommy and daddy committed to walking through the dark days with her. And, above everything, we wanted Rachel to know that the love of Jesus was with her, no matter what.
The reality is that parenting a house full of children demands a lot discipline. Rachel had much to learn in order to “unlearn” some of the terrible habits formed inside the walls of an orphanage for 7 years, not to mention the many things she must learn for the very first time. Living within a family unit requires a lot of work, even when learning begins at birth. Our home is certainly not all hugs, kisses, and chocolates, and I’ve yet to be nominated into the Parenting Hall of Fame, but our home feels so much different than ever before through the lens of a new perspective. When you are committed to living a life of no regrets, you make different choices all together!.You choose to see life differently and to live it differently. If that heart never comes and we end up losing our Rachel, I want to remember this time for what it was–precious. I want to embrace every precious moment and look back with no regrets!
We could be the family I wrote about at the beginning of this post, living life completely oblivious to all that lies ahead for myself or for the people I love so much. I have not been promised any special immunity to loss. I am humbled that as I pray for the healing of my own child through a new heart, I will only receive it through another’s indescribable loss. And I wonder, why should God give life to my child and yet take life from another? Kate has offered her own heart for Rachel several times! I tell her that is unacceptable. But, is it more acceptable only when it happens to someone else? This subject makes me terribly uncomfortable, but it haunts me every time my thoughts turn toward the “new” heart we pray for so many times a day.
Tonight, as I pray for a new heart for Rachel, I am strangely not in such a hurry anymore. God has been so merciful and has kept Rachel strong while she waits. “No hurry, God!,” I whisper, “Thanks seems enough for the sweet summer we’ve shared and for the joy that fills our home, simply because Rachel is in it! Let the parents who will soon face the fate none of us want enjoy this summer with their child too! Fill their home with laughter and sweet memories so that when the impending storm blows through, they will look back with no regrets! And if your plan is to take Rachel home instead, Lord, help us to embrace each moment you choose to give, so that our lives will be filled with love and no regrets.
Lori McCary is a full-time Mom to 6 children, a writer, and a speaker for ministry groups across the country. Lori writes and speaks from her fascinating set of life experiences and has a deep passion for adoption and ministry to orphans. Her testimony inspires woman to be “real” and brings encouragement and hope to her audiences. Weaving powerful stories from everyday life into memorable messages, her transparency will bring laughter, tears, and a fresh perspective on trusting God. Lori has shared her journey with her husband, Doug, for over 28 years. Her three biological children have all left the nest, but Doug and Lori continue to enjoy their three adopted daughters from China at home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Follow Lori’s blog or contact her at www.LoriMcCary.com.