Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Letter to Katherine

I have debated about whether or not the following is too personal to share, but decided that the significance of this day is too great to let it pass without some acknowledgment and reflection. One year ago today, I was told that it was very likely that our daughter Katherine would be "on a machine" or in a coma following her catastrophic AVM rupture. Thank God we didn't realize at the time that the much greater possibility was death.

To commemorate the day that "Katherine Lived," Jay has asked those of us who were still in the lobby of UCLA Hospital in the wee morning hours of April 22 to write a brief letter to her about that time. Since I am currently without a laptop, there is no opportunity for me to write an in-depth blog reflecting back on the experience. Because of that, I have decided to share this personal letter to Katherine, quickly written yesterday on a borrowed laptop.

For those of you reading this today (the 22nd), please do not say anything to Katherine about it, as Jay is planning on printing the letters out and giving them all to her tonight.

As I write these words, Katherine and Jay are at UCLA meeting with the doctor who will perform the very intricate and complicated surgery next Wednesday. With God's help, we have come very far from where we were a year ago...but there are still many miles of wilderness ahead. Our entire family sends you our deepest thanks for your consistent concern and prayers during the course of this journey.

Bless you!


Dear Katherine,

It seems like 100 years ago...and like yesterday. April 21, 2008...our last ordinary day.

Some parts of it are blurred into a hazy dream-like recollection, but other parts are crystal clear. I remember hanging up the phone after talking to Big J, and walking around the end of the bed. As clearly as if someone had spoken to me, I heard the words, "Talitha Cumi" in my head.

I wonder what was going on in the heavenlies at that exact moment.

I wonder if that was when Jesus said "No!" to Satan's plan to take your life.

He exercised his God-given authority over all of creation and poured his life back into your body, as it was pouring out its life's blood.

Just yesterday, my daily reading "happened" to be Luke 8. "...But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, "My child, get up!" And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up!"

You did not stand up immediately, as did Jairus' daughter, but I believe that you received healing at that moment. Obviously, you are coming into a complete healing "little by little, so that faith may increase." It has not been easy. You have had to endure many unendurable things.

But I do know that the night of April 21, 2008, was full of miracles. I don't think we will know about all of them until heaven.

Even though the morning of April 22 seemed horrific beyond our worst imagining, the real battle had already been won. The Lord proclaimed that you would rise again and "declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

And that is exactly what you have done. You have reached more people with the Good News of God's love from this position of weakness than you ever could have from a position of strength. What Satan meant for evil, God has used for good.

There are many things I (thankfully) don't remember about the morning of April 22, 2008. I remember our conversation with Dr. Gonzalez like a strange nightmare. I remember hearing a loud screaming in the lobby, and then realizing it was me. Then, Amie waking up and screaming "Is she dead???" in a horrible, hoarse voice. Mia holding her. I remember lying on the floor of the chapel, collapsing on the floor of your room in ICU. I remember prayers being sobbed outloud, people watching us.

I also remember being surrounded by a circle of love like a soft cocoon.

But, most vividly, I remember all the prophetic words that were Andrew and JT and Big J and many more....

Katherine WILL rise up again...she WILL have a ministry...she WILL have abundant LIFE!!!

All Praise to God, our dear Father, who always keeps his promises!

How grateful I am to Him today for giving me the gift of Katherine not once, but twice....even though He himself "did not spare his own son..."

I am so very thankful that He spared my precious daughter.


Love you forever,


plilr said...

I am almost with no words. Almost.

Your post makes me cry, as usual. Any time that I feel like I have come a little bit closer to comprehending what Kat is going through, I read something that is posted some where and I realize just how little an understanding of all of it that I have. I remember when I found out that this had happened to her--I literally said out loud, "No, no, no, not to Katherine". I have no idea as to why this has happened to her and to Jay and to your family, but I do know that I am so happy that she lived. We aren't what you would call close, but as I'm sure you've heard from other people, I admired her from the moment I met her and that admiration has increased exponentially ever since. I think about all of you very often and you are always in my prayers. I have the highest hopes for Katherine and her future. I do really believe that she will be able to walk again some day and be able to do all the little things that we all so often take for granted. Once again, thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to your posts and to Katherine's updates and I am so grateful that I have been able to be a small part of your lives.

Much love,


B Webb said...

Today's Devotional from Sanctuary by David Jeremiah (April 23, 2009) The Man With a Plan Phil. 1:6 He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. When a young teenage girl named Joni Eareckson broke her neck in a diving accident, she thought it was the last step on her road to life. In reality, her mishap was actually the first step on a path of fruitfulness that she could not have imagined at the time. From her wheelchair, the quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada has touched millions of lives through her books, art, music and advocacy for the disabled. Joni's story is more dramatic than anything most of us will ever experience. But the depth of her suffering serves all the more effectively to illustrate the point: The day we think life has come to an end is the day God's plans and purposes are brought into even sharper focus. What we call "accidents" in life are nothing of the sort if we mean that accidents are random occurrences outside of everyone's control - unpredictable events with no more meaning that a ricocheting steel ball in a pinball machine. The same God who has every hair on your head numbered has the days of your life numbered as well. The child of God should rest in the knowledge that our Father in heaven has a plan - and He is never late. While Katherine's story wasn't caused by an "accident" she has touched so many with her bravery and courage. May her story continue to minister to and encourage all of us for years to come. May God continue to bless and heal her.

Kim Godawa said...

Thank you for sharing your most intimate thoughts from last year. I continue to pray for you and your family..

In Christ,

suzi rocketteu said...

I too am almost with out words and find it hard to write as the tears flow
....oh how precious is the love of a mother to her child.(children)
My prayer for all of you is to feel the outpouring of love and prayers for not only Kat but all of you who are running this race with her.I pray the victory lap is soon and stand stedfast on the side lines praying and cheering you all on every step of the way. I ask our dear Father to heal every part of Kat's body. And to give you and the rest of the family a full measure of strength, and comfort. Much love Suzi

thedailychelle said...

I am not sure if I have ever commented here or not, but I have been following your blog, and the site from the very beginning. My name is Michelle and I am a law student at Pepperdine, and even though I am not married, I know Katherine and Jay through these "married students in george page" nights they used to have.

I just wanted to say that your posts are amazing and always fill my eyes with tears. I've heard Katherine is working on a few books, and I really think you should write one as well. Even your lessons that you've written about such as cleaning up James' mess... I sometimes wish I had them in a little devotional type book that I could read again and again.

tatiana said...

ok, now that i've wiped the tears from my eyes & blown my nose (several times), i can write 2 u & say that ur words speak volumes.... ur feelings & emotions pour thru this letter 2 katherine like the most healin' of waters.... yes, He saved ur precious child & she will do many gr8 things.... tho she may b beautifully broken, her spirit is not shattered.... even if u might feel cracked & shattered every now & then, "BLESSED ARE THE CRACKED FOR THEY ARE THE ONES WHO LET IN THE LIGHT!".... & wat amazin' & powerful light it is that u all let thru.... it shines on our hearts & on our souls.... it renews our hope.... bless u 4 that....

Linda Abney said...

Dearest Friend,
I do remember clearly April 21, 2008. I remember Howard sharing your and Brooks' phone call with the Monday night Bible study and the profound silence as everyone took in the news. And, then, I remember the prayers and the love from the hearts of each one there reaching across the miles to our Saviour and to all of you. So much has happened since. I agree wholeheartedly that Katherine's testimony of faith and the entire family's faith, love and support has reached thousands of caring people around the world. "How can we pray" kept repeating itself as family, friends and total strangers joined together to "do battle" in the heavenlies. We still are. Wednesday will be covered with prayer by all who are agreeing with you tha our Lord is still healing today. We love you all so much.
Linda and Howard

Ginny Evans said...

Praying for Katherine as she has her surgery tomorrow...praying for the surgeons, anyone attending her, you and each member of your family, Jay, Baby James and each member of Jay's family and waiting with anticipation for the beautiful outcome God has already planned for Katherine. God has used your family in a way that is far beyond anything you could imagine or hope for. Kim, you are an amazing woman of Faith and I see Jesus in all of you!! Thank you for being "Whose You Are"

JRT said...

So many prayers are being lifted up for you all. Thank you for sharing.

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

Dear Kim,

I am coming to this post a little late, but I did know about Katherine's surgery and was praying for her during it. I am so glad her surgery turned out well even though I am sure recovery will feel like a long slow process. I am so thankful Katherine is such a fighter, but even more I am thankful she knows the One who fights her battles for her even when she is too weak to fight for herself!

I am so sorry you have had to watch your little girl struggle. I am so sorry Katherine has had to lose so much, and is having to crawl back by inches to achieve a "new normal."

I admire so much your family's standing close by one another during this short-term and longterm nightmare and all it entails. I admire you so much as you are close to my age and yet are watching over little James often like a mommy not a grandmommy; I cannot even imagine the physical endurance that takes on top of all the other stress of being there for Katherine as she struggles to walk through her losses even as she strives to achieve her gains.

I admire Brooks for having to love so often from a distance while his precious little girl is fighting to hold on to her "self" every day. I also admire Jay for his love, diligent caretaking, tenderness, humor and compassion toward the woman he adores even as he walks through new challenges of grieving and facing their losses together even while being a consistent and patient, fun and faithful loving daddy to James as James walks through each developmental task of a child while not understanding all the changes his mommy is having to grapple with; at the same time he is taking his baby steps, she is having to take hers as well.

I also admire Katherine's tenacity and courage as she walks through unexpected losses along with each day of new unknowns. It absolutely amazes me that she has not lost her humorous, bubbly self that radiates through all of her writings, on top of her radiant faith in the Holy One who is so close by her side and yet works in mysterious ways at times that don't always line up with our will nor our understanding.

And Kim, I am so thankful that you have the strength of faith and character, and love that you throw open your heart to us for all of us to see the struggles (and the joys) of what you are going through AS you are going through it. I am gaining so much comfort to my faith and benefiting so much from the insights and lessons poured into you and out to us from your Heavenly Father. Thank you for that selflessness, that trusting candor, and that willingness to let God flow through you to us in the midst of your agonizing mommy's heart. Your self-effacing genuineness/authenticity is so refreshing, and your humorous perspective provides us with delight even in the midst of our agonizing for you and with you.

What a window into the soul you provide of one of God's precious children who so loves Him, agonizes with Him, and yet radiates to us so much of who our Father is to his children in pain! We can't thank you enough for this gift you have given US in the midst of your incredible pain.

May God bless and hold you all together, protecting you under His wing of love, tenderness, and grace.

Much love, and continuing to pray for each of you,