Our first Halloween in Alaska was 1993. Here are my sweet girls in their ballerina outfits, ages 3 and 5. They sure did love each other!
The next Halloween, Kaitlyn insisted on being ballerinas again because she wanted to wear Lindsey’s tutu from her ballet recital. It was either a hunter in camo or the Tasmanian Devil for 18 month old Daniel. He wouldn’t have needed the costume for the second idea . . . the boy kept me on my toes.
I was in the kitchen — I don’t recall if I was cooking or cleaning. Daniel was taking a nap. The girls were playing in the living room, not 10 yards from me. I heard a thud and I went running in to see what happened.
I didn’t find out until later that the girls were trying to jump from the couch, over the coffee table, and on to the carpet in front of the fireplace. And by “later”, I mean THIS PAST TUESDAY. Oh the things your kids tell you (that you may not want to know!) when they’re grown up!!
Quite a big aspiration for 4 year old and 6 year old little girls, wouldn’t you say? Did they think they could fly? Apparently Kaitlyn went first and quickly discovered she could NOT.
Her face looked like Charles Manson had paid us a visit. Blood was everywhere. All over the floor, the coffee table, the couch. I could see her skull, and blood was shooting out of her forehead, right between her eyes, in spurts with every beat of her heart. I’ve said many times, and I will say many more I’m sure — parenting ain’t for the faint of heart.
She wasn’t crying, and she never did shed a tear. She just looked at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes and blinked in the pouring blood.
I picked her up and rushed to the kitchen. Speaking soothing words to her, I held her head over the sink and tried to close the wound and slow the bleeding. I assured her she was going to be okay. She watched her blood pour in a steady stream for a few seconds until she calmly and quietly asked,
Mama, am I going to die now? Is that ALL my blood?
My heart clenched as tightly as if someone had punched me in the chest.
No, sweetheart. You aren’t going to die. That’s not NEARLY all your blood. You have a LOT more! You have so much you don’t even need this blood! As soon as I get the bleeding slowed, we’re going to get you some stitches and you’ll be just fine.
It wasn’t until then that I realized what Lindsey was doing. She was on her knees on the kitchen floor, crying out to Jesus for the life of her little sister. She had never seen that much blood either, and she too thought Kaitlyn was dying. She prayed as hard as she could, eyes closed, hands clenched under her chin,
Lord Jesus, PLEASE don’t let my sister die! Please don’t let all her blood come out! Please take ME instead of her. Let ME die!
Again, my heart felt like it would break! I simultaneously squeezed Kaitlyn’s cut closed and turned to Lindsey to calm her fears, trying to assure her Kaitlyn was going to be okay. But she wouldn’t stop praying. She wailed,
Jesus, I don’t know if my sister knows You! She’s so little! I know that I know You and I’ll go to Heaven to be with You, so take me instead! TAKE ME!!!!
The faith of a child. And the love of a sister. It was the first time I realized my children had inherited my bent to love so deeply it hurt.
After a trip to the ER, Kaitlyn was good to go to the Fall Festival with a band-aid covering her 7 stitches. My little trooper!
I remember when my friends Ricky and Susan Marshall’s daughter Allie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 10. Ricky asked the doctor if he could take out whatever works in his body and put it in Allie’s. He would rather carry that illness than watch his little girl carry it. Maybe that’s why we lost him to a heart attack so young. His heart couldn’t contain that kind of love this side of Heaven.
The Apostle Paul loved that deeply as well. In Romans 9, he said,
2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people
Paul loved his people so much that he would trade his life, even his salvation, for them to be free.
However, it doesn’t work that way, does it? Lindsey couldn’t exchange her life for Kaitlyn’s, Ricky couldn’t take Allie’s dysfunctional pancreas, and Paul couldn’t give his countrymen his salvation. As badly as it hurts to watch people go through hard times, we can’t go through it for them. We all have to walk our own paths.
As always, I write to preach to myself. My heart is heavy, and I wish I could carry the burden of people I love. But like my sweet Lindsey, my dear friend Ricky who is with the Lord, and the Apostle Paul, I carry deep anguish in my heart — pain that I can’t fix.
Thankfully, I know the One who can. This is the prayer on my heart today. Maybe you’re burdened for someone you love as well. If so, you can pray this with me.
Lord Jesus, we hurt when we watch others hurt. You know how that feels. You bore our pain and sin on Calvary. It’s too much for us to bear at times, so we give it to You. We claim Your Word in Isaiah 41:13,
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
We lay our loved ones at Your feet for You are our Healer, Our Comforter, our Helper. Thank You for reaching down to lift us up. Please do for them what only You can do. Heal their broken hearts, draw them closer to You, make them stronger and healthier. Not for us, but for Your glory and in Your Name, amen and amen.