Thursday, August 19, 2010

1 Year Ago Today

Just wanted to share my thankfulness today for how the Lord has blessed our sweet little Ella over the past year. August 19, 2009 may not mean much to most people, just another day, but for our family and for especially Ella it has huge significance. It has been one year ago today since Ella had her shoulder reconstruction surgery at Scottish Rite in Dallas. I know for most people not knowing specifically about all that this surgery entailed for Ella it is impossible to really appreciate what it has done for her and the impact it has had and will have on her life. But, we feel so blessed and thankful for what the Lord has done for her by providing amazing surgeons that He equipped to help Ella and others.

Last year on this day we woke up early to send our baby off into major surgery that we had been anticipating and waiting for since the day she was born. I remember having a sense of complete dread yet at the same time knowing that this surgery would change her life. None of us knew what to really expect since Ella's shoulder deformity was extremely rare and her surgeons had never done a shoulder reconstruction like this EVER. They admitted to us months before that they had ONLY seen or read something about Ella's deformity in literature but had never actually seen it for themselves. Awesome...You would think that would have made us nervous but it didn't because these surgeons at Scottish Rite are some of the best in the world in this area of orthopedics so I was confident we were in the best place for Ella. Plus, if these surgeons had never seen it or done this surgery then for sure no other doctors had either so what were really going to do? However, knowing that we were in the best hands and strongly believing that didn't make it any easier to let her go into a long, complicated surgery.

I knew her life would never be the same after this day. What her surgeons were able to do physically for her was incredible but even more, it gave her a chance to live a different life in this world that can be very cruel to those with differences or disabilities. I remember after she was born and we found out about her deformity I for one was an absolute wreck. I pretty much had a panic attack in my hospital room not only because of the shock of it all but also because of everything else she was facing and the fact that I was laying in my bed on a different floor while she was laying in her bed down in the NICU with her organs out of her body waiting for surgery. I have no idea why I had a panic attack. Weird...I know. :) Anyway, I kept thinking how will she survive in this world with this? What will people think? How are we going to deal with this? I CAN'T do this. She's never going to have a chance, you can't have something like this and survive in this world. The images running through my mind were of the beggars I would see everyday on the street in Bangkok, Thailand where I grew up. All of them were disabled in some way either blind, missing limbs, deformed, you name it. They didn't have a chance, were not accepted, and like in so many other countries you could say treated like dust of the earth. This is how I believed the world was going to view my precious baby dust of the earth, dirt. My heart was broken and I was a total mess.

Looking back on that day seems like it was only yesterday even though it was almost 2years ago. Now I can't believe it's actually been a year since her shoulder surgery and in a way I can't believe that any of that actually happened. I'm still processing things. The Lord has done mighty things for Ella and our family this year. Ella is healthy, she is eating and hasn't used her feeding tube in 2 months now. I know, can you believe that? Thank you Lord! She is using her left arm really well and continuing to gain strength in it. There are still some major limitations and she doesn't have full range of motion but there is hope that more can be done in the future to help that. I used to really worry about little things which is ridiculous like how she was gong to put her hair up in a ponytail, will she be able to swim, will kids make fun of her at recess because she can't do the monkey bars. I still wonder about how she will do those things but I refuse to be bound by worry. I'm not saying I've mastered that because I haven't but I know the Lord is faithful and is trustworthy so that is the path I want to choose everyday. I have learned to be so thankful for what she DOES have instead of what she DOESN'T have and she has A LOT. She is blessed beyond measure and it took me awhile to be able to say that because I was so overwhelmed with all of the problems and it felt like the black tunnel I was in was never ending, but the Lord has gently brought me along and revealed to me that He made her perfect for the purpose HE has for her and that is all that matters.

I am so thankful for the deliverance the Lord has provided and the love He continues to lavish on us. I know we are immensely blessed and I pray that I don't take that for granted. I write these feelings down not to shock people but to remind myself because I don't want to ever forget or be too far removed from the hurt and pain that I know so many others around me and around the world are going through. I want my eyes to be open to how I can use what the Lord taught me in my dark days to help others. I'm listening and trying to be obedient. He is so faithful and is so patient with me. I'm so so thankful and I know He has much more in store for all of us. I thank Him everyday for giving me sweet little Ella Hope, I love being her mommy! :)


Kelly said...

It was so good to see you and your family yesterday. Congrats on the 1-year anniversary! What a story this sweet girl has! I loved this post. It's amazing to me how when your child struggles at something that many take for granted, your perspective can be forever changed. Thank you for that reminder today! Blessings and prayers for continued improvement and new experiences!

Chesley said...

For me... reading this is like when the troops come home and they are hugging people in the airport.
I always tear up when I see them and reading this felt the same. You know going through something bad and finally being at a much better place. I can't believe that was a year ago and I am so thankful she is bouncing around and doing so well. What a testament your family has.
Precious Ella! :)

Ashley said...

In biblical times, they laid a stone to mark where a miracle had occured so that when others saw it, they new God has done something in this place. May your blog serve as a testimony to His love and faithfulness. May Ella's life serve as sign of His miracle.

Love you and your sweet family

Jodi said...

Oh my goodness gracious, Amy, you can WRITE. I am so impressed with how in-tune you are with what you're feeling, where you've been, where you're headed, and how you can put it into words. I really struggle with that! Anyways, this post was a GINORMOUS blessing to me. The faith of the Carders is astounding, and I for one am a better wife, Mommy, and Christ-follower for witnessing it. And for having witnessed (and continuing to!) God's LOVE in the human form of your sweet Ella. She is just yummy. :) May our God of Healing and Comfort and Joy continue to POUR OUT blessings on my friends the Carders! Thank you LORD for your amazing gifts!!!!!!!

Jamie Ridgell said...

Oh Amy...I just love reading what you write. What a miracle Ella's life is and what a testimony of faith, endurance and hope you and Rick are. It IS absolutley amazing to see how far Ella has come this past year. Thank the Lord for light at the end of dark tunnels! LOVE YOU FRIEND!!

Ann said...

Beautifully written, Aimes. I was pretty emotional on the 19th, I'm not going to lie! I had tears streaming down my face as I remembered that day a year ago and all the emotions of such a difficult and awaited day. And then quickly there were tears of joy as the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness at His faithfulness and at truly answered prayers came to unbelievably powerful to me. God is so good. I thank God for the hope He has given you and for His continued faithfulness in healing Ella day at a time. We love you guys so much! Thanks for a beautiful post--like Ashley said, a stone that points to Him--a marker of a miracle.
And LOVE the family pic!

Art Lynch said...

Thank you, Sweetheart, for this post. You are precious to me and I am so very glad Mimi and I are here to enjoy the children and watch you and Rick parent.

Cox Family said...

I love reading your blog Amy! I have been through some of those same thoughts, fears, etc.. Ella has come so far, and she is such a beautiful girl. Both of your girls are just adorable. The Lord has blessed us! You have such a great testimony!