It was a week before I could sing to her. Her song, the one I had picked for her while she was still growing inside me. "Be Thou My Vision" is my son's. I walked down the aisle to my husband to that song and I wanted it to be his anthem. Jesus, my child, keep your eyes fixed right -- there -- on -- Him. For her? I rolled a few others around in my mind, unable to settle on one (not unlike our search for her name). And one morning at church, we sang it and I knew.
I could picture myself, singing this truth to her while I rocked her to sleep in the dark of night. "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18) There is hope, sweet child, that while this life laid out before you will be hard and twisted and though your heart will betray you, Jesus paid it all, every last debt. You owe everything to Him and what freedom awaits you!
It was a week before I could sing to her because I didn't know. When I picked her song, I didn't know that really, God had picked her song. I didn't know how hard the words would be to tell her. I didn't know how much pain she would carry and how great -- weighty -- the promises would be for her. I didn't know how those words would feel like falling boulders instead of freeing wings in the midst of pain and struggle. I couldn't even sing it... I couldn't make it past the first verse...
I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in Me thine all in all."
I thought the song would be for her. And it was; it is. Jesus, I could hear him saying it, "You are so sweet, baby girl. Your strength is so small." I watched her breathing while she slept and tubes all everywhere and I couldn't even hold her and yes, I knew, her strength was so small. But really? My strength was so small. And I wanted to fall into a million pieces and instead, Jesus said, "Watch." Don't fall into a million pieces. Watch. Pray. Look at Me. Look at me -- and find.
Are you sure, Jesus?
For nothing good have I
Whereby thy grace to claim
Are you sure?
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb
It was a week before I could sing to her and even then, I barely made it through the second verse. We watched and we prayed and we waited on Jesus. We surrendered the strength we thought we had to Him and He gave us His strength and we watched and we prayed and we waited. We rode the roller coaster of hospital life and we kept going back, washing our garments white. And we drew from His power...
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.
The power that we saw was a healing power. Slowly, her body put itself back together and she could get rid of this tube and that warming lamp and those medicines and that doctor. The healing power of Christ was working in her... And it was working in me. The heart that I wanted to wall in and protect blossomed open, bowed down before the One who healed. Who healed her... and healed me. And even death lost its power in the face of that.
When from my dying bed,
My ransomed soul shall rise,
"Jesus died my soul to save
Shall rend the vaulted skies."
I would escape her sterile room for the fresh air across the street and under the bridge and the birds would sing to me. And I would look up to the sky and pray, and every time, I saw the skies split open at the name of Jesus. I could not save my daughter, and I could not save myself, but the power of the Lord would save us both.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.
It was a week before I could sing to her, a month before I could make it past the first two verses, and I still can't make it through the last one. We know now that she is going to be okay (whatever that means for any of us). She is healthy and happy and smiles and sits. We have jumped so many hurdles and high-fived so many victories and struggled through so many defeats and decisions and long nights. And we are "out of the woods" and onto the clear, open path.
Except for her hearing. We will get her cochlear implants (Lord willing) and she will hear with her bionic ears. But she will be deaf. She will live a life filled with the challenges that come with disability and you bet your bottom dollar I'll be walking right there with her, but it will not be easy and it will be a fight. We aren't scared; we have the power of God. But I still can't sing that last verse...
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.
Complete. Whole. I can't sing it. I can't sing it because I can't bear the weight of that. She will live her life knowing very acutely what it is to be incomplete. Most of us don't have that privilege. We at least get to cling to the delusion that we are "fine". But she? She will know. Every last day. Every time she has to ask someone to repeat what they said. Every time she gets stopped in the store about those weird things on her head. Every time she has to have therapy. Every time she takes off her implant and the world goes quiet. She will know that she is missing something.
I can't sing that last verse because I did not know what God really wanted me to know. He wanted me to know it too. He wanted me to remember that when I look at my daughter and see what's missing, I should immediately look to my heart and see what's missing. I can't sing that last verse because I can't imagine that moment, when all the blood red crimson is gone and I stand before the God of the universe and I am whole. Not fallen or trapped or stuck. Complete.
And in that moment, I will not say, "Look how great I did." "Look how awesome my life was." "Look at all the amazing things I did for you, God." Just like my daughter will not say, "Look how strong I was." "Look at all that power I had." "Look at everything I learned to hear and say." My lips... they will spill forth with the only truth that ever was and ever will be: "Jesus died... my soul to save." It will be all I can say. It will be all she can say. It will be what makes us complete.