When we were in the midst of it with Gabe, with no hope- my Mom sent me a song by Amy Grant called "Better than a Hallelujah."
Here are some of the lyrics:

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

I wish so bad right now that I could give Adam back to his parents. I wish I could bring him back.

I am so angry right now.

I am so angry because Adam's heart was finally fine.

He went through so much, through a transplant, through coding, through rejection, and finally healed.

He was literally about to finally go to HOME HOME, not the Ronald McDonald House, but true home.

But he died.


We thought he just had a cold. They took him in, he was admitted.

He coded.

He was put on life support, but he was already gone. The brain bleed he had was unsurvivable... and all of this was from an infection that had been secretly brewing.

I want to give my life up so that this family can have their little boy back.

They gave us all of their diapers.

They gave us all of his clothes he was about to use. He should be using.

And his heart was perfect.

After all this fighting, after 19 months of fighting... It's all over.

And I can't do anything to help them.

And I know if it were us, no one could say anything to help us.

People ask me, why does God let this happen?

And in some sick twisted way... I feel like pain- pain is meant to happen.

For every single second we fight for Gabe, we love him more.

For every single second we spend giving up something for the life of our son, our love grows.

And how would we know how lucky we are, if pain didn't exist?

If no one ever felt pain, how would we ever know true Joy.

How blessed you are to have a baby.

How blessed you are to have a healthy baby.

How blessed you are to be healthy.

Pain is beautiful.

I may sound twisted...

But without pain, I would never know how broken I am. I wouldn't need God.

Without sickness, death, loss... I would never need Jesus.

And whether or not it makes sense- I understand pain. I understand battles. That we are able to fight them. And it's okay if we lose them- because in the end- we fought for love with all we had- and that was worth 1 minute- or 10 minutes of life. A lifetime of emotional pain is worth a moment of bliss. It truly is- in my mind.

If Gabe doesn't make it to 2- or to 6- I will experience pain that I cannot imagine. There will be a hole in my heart that will never be filled until I see him again in heaven... But it will be worth it.

It is worth it.

And when I saw Adam with his parents for the first time, I knew that he was worth the fight. For even one minute.

I am so glad they fought.

And I wish I could give them their Adam back. But I know he is at peace- with Jesus. I know he is laughing. I know he knows how deeply he was loved. I know he loved his parents deeply.


Talking to God.

Cold rain.
Many Seattl-ites are not fond of the rain, or the coldness... But I am. I love cold rain. I love the feeling of it on your hands, the way it wakes your senses up violently. I love it when it's pouring, when it drenches your hair and soaks through your clothes until you can feel it in your very bones. Awakened is the word- I suppose.

I love it in the dark, in the rain, beneath the moon. I always dance in it, lean my head back, put my arms out- spin. I spin and breathe in the air and for one second- I rise above everything and everyone and I can just think. Just think, freely, clearly.

And then- I can talk to God.

In the rain, he almost always talks back. Usually, the wind blows when I start to hear His voice, the one I recognize. I recognize it because it soothes the senses. Calming, gentle, commanding, truthful, loving, honest- and sometimes it inspires chills. Usually, when I hear Him, his voice is calm. It's like a whisper.

This time I stood there, soaking, and asked him... "Where have you been?"

I knew the answer before I heard his voice, and He knew I knew it. But still, he answered. "I've been here. Right here." I could feel his presence in my heart.

"I am so tired of feeling this way. I am so tired of fighting the same battle." I said. He was silent. "I need joy. What happened to my joy? The one that miraculously kept me going- kept me upbeat through all of this?" He was listening, I think. He's a good listener. "God, I need Your joy. Pour it over me. Give me joy."

Without a word, I felt a warmth cover my whole body. A strength, a newness. I felt a rushing of peace and love and comfort going through my veins.

But His voice spoke softly again. "It's not a fix. You have to lay it down, every day. Ask and you shall receive. I will give you all that you need."

I've always wanted to grow out of this- depression- anxiety. I've had times where it doesn't effect me for months, but it always comes back. Sometimes with a vengence. Usually, it comes back when I have ignored it for so long that I begin to pretend it doesn't exist.

But the fact is, I have to lay it down- constantly.

Nick and I talk about this a lot. About my depression issues, anxiety, and even just past experiences that haunt my mind. But this last bout hit me like a ton of bricks.

Nick and I talked, me crying- and he told me about how people in the Bible struggled too. He talked to me about how Paul had a demon who wouldn't leave him, and how God used it to bring Paul closer to him. Paul had to keep laying it down- every day- and eventually Paul thought it was a blessing... Because in the long run- it drew Paul to where he NEEDED God. Every day.

I wish I didn't have this burden. I wish it would go away. But I know it will be mine to continue to fight, with God. And I know, if I let it, it will bring me closer to Him.

God gives us our struggles so we can learn to draw nearer to him.

What you are going through, it has a purpose. As I've said many times in this blog, when you go through something difficult, you can let it tear you apart and ruin you- or you can let it soften you, grow you, change you- draw you closer to God.

Here's to our struggles, and the deep relationships they give us with God.


When evil sneaks in

Evil sneaks in like a blanket of sorrow eclipsing your entire body.
The blanket of sorrow holds many names.

At first, it feels like irritation.
Then it turns to anger.
To pain.

The lies fill in the gaps around you, sneaking up your feet.
At first it feels like a friend- the lies.
At first they feel a lot like the truth.
But then you realize suddenly that you are going down a dark path- as the blanket begins to cement you to the floor.

If you are lucky, you realize before it is too late what is happening.
That the devil had gained a foothold, which turned to a firm grasp, which turned to this blanket.

It's a cold blanket that never gets warm.
Self pity is in it's wake. A self pity that feels justified.

But the TRUTH is that the King has set us free from this.
And when you realize that what depression is- it's satan gaining a foothold.
It's satan that is trying to pry your marriage apart.
It's God who restores.

God who warms.
Who brings hope.
Who heals the broken hearts.
Who restores happiness to the sorrow-filled hearts.
Who brings light in a darkened place.

Thank you God for what you have revealed to me lately.
Thank you for my husband.
Thank you for bringing me closer to you through my own struggles.
Thank you for setting me free of the burdens that I let get to me.
Thank you for my babies.

Julia Opal.


If I never met you.

Dear Gabriel.

I've written to you since long before you were born. I wrote to you about how much I loved you- how much I hoped for you, I dreamed for you.

Today, I read that the testing available for early pregnancies to determine whether or not babies have downs syndrome through their mother's blood- it could eliminate downs syndrome. As in, parents would abort their babies before they ever breathe the air. Their tiny, beautiful, perfect babies.


I won't lie to you. You were born with a condition, one that many parents have taken their child home to die when they find out about. HLHS is complex. Scary. It's prognosis- for you- is grim.

Everyone wrote you off, Gabriel. Everyone but Daddy, and I, and your family. We loved you, Gabriel- we loved you before you were as big as a fingernail.

The doctors, they told us your life was not worth it, Gabe.

But yesterday, holding you in the bath, watching you smile and stare at your toes... I sang to you a song just for you.

"You are love for me.
You changed the way I see
The world around me.
If I didn't know you,
who would I be?
You are love for me."

Gabriel, you changed our lives.

Gabriel, when you were born I told your Daddy that I knew that you were too sick to live. That you would die. I lost faith- but still cried out for God to save you. I looked at your swollen eyelids (you were allergic to the antibiotics they put in your eyes)- your poor taped up cheeks, your sad little face, and I couldn't see you getting better.

I was so afraid- afraid to love you.

I knew that if I hoped you would live, that if you died... I would never be the same.

But I should have hoped anyway. When you lived, when you beat the odds, when God healed you, when you came off oxygen... When I realized I was staring at a miracle... Gabriel I love you so much.

I watch you with Judah, and I wonder if Judah will soon be able to tell that you are different. That it takes you a lot longer to do the things that he could do so easily. But all Judah does is love you, his baby. He thinks you are so cute. He smiles at his baby, wants to hold you, kiss you, say hi to you...

Gabriel, one year ago today we found out we were pregnant with you. I was so afraid to be pregnant again. I hadn't recovered fully from having your brother, and you were such a surprise.

But the second that test said 'pregnant', we wanted you.

What if we had never met you, Gabe?

Gabe, if I had never met you... I would never know how much love can endure.
I would never know how much love can fight.
I would never know what it meant to have half a heart and be living.
I would never know what it meant to have a baby with downs syndrome.

I have been taught about what truly matters, from you Gabe. That even though Daddy lost his job and Mommy and Judah and Gabe and Daddy all share a room- that love is what matters.

I would never know that there are people all living in this big house in Seattle, going through extreme situations... Watching their babies and children be as sick as sick can be.

I would never know love like I do now.

Gabriel, some people will think your life is not worth it. Not worth this fight.

But we made the choice to give you the chance to live, to fight.

We made the choice to let you have hope.

Gabriel, I would pick you. Out of all the 'healthy, normal' babies in the world, I would pick you all over again.

Judah would pick you.

Daddy would pick you.

We will never ever stop loving you. Stop fighting for you.
Please don't stop fighting, my sweet boy.


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