Casey’s name lit up my phone.
I had just ordered a number one from the Chick-Fil-A drive through and was stumbling to put my wallet back in my purse. She never calls, so I knew it was important. I dropped what I was doing, and didn’t let it ring twice.
“Hey, what’s up?” I answered casually, anxiously waiting for her to download her day to me.
I could hear her take a deep breath into the phone before she began to ramble. I could tell by just the tone in her voice that she was stressed and it had been a long day; a feeling she was all too familiar with. She quickly told me about how they had been in the hospital getting tests done for way too long, and Abby was losing it from having to be pricked too many times.
“I just felt like I needed to call you. Will you just talk to her?”
The phone muffled as she passed it to Abby.
“Hey baby girl,” I said into the phone. And all I heard back was a one of a kind Abby moan. It was soft, and painful. It was her way of raising a white flag letting everyone know she was done and just wanted to go home.
I pulled my car up to the window, paid for my food, and grabbed my bag as I said a prayer over the phone into Abby’s ear. I asked God for strength and for answers, but more importantly to direct the doctor’s hands and get this kiddo out of there. I ended with telling her how important she was and how I couldn’t wait to see her again.
She sobbed a little bit and with a tired voice told me she missed me.
I’m sure you’ve heard those words before. I miss you. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to their power, even though in my heart I feel like I am constantly missing people. I miss my parents when I am at work. I miss my friends while they are at college. And I miss Jimmy.
I’ve quickly learned that I miss you, means I love you…and to hear that from my sweet Abby girl meant the world and I was overwhelmed.
This child surprisingly, noticeably and relentlessly loves me and really, I don’t know what I did to deserve it. I am mean, and messy, and someone that not everyone knows how to love. But even when I am at my lowest, or when I feel like I can’t wash the day off of my skin, Abby still continues to point and say without a doubt in her mind “I choose Jessie.” Despite my flaws, and insecurities, with no reason or rational, she has declared me hers. And I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the gospel. Seriously, she is Christ’s love personified and it is a great honor to be adored by her.
I don’t know how else to put it into words other than, the bond we share is truly precious, and I hold it so close to my heart. I am her biggest cheerleader, and she is my number one fan.
I squeezed the phone a little tighter and told her I missed her too. I reminded her to hang in there because it would be over soon. Then we hung up the phone.
In that moment, I wished I could give her puppies, and all the ice cream and my little pony toys her heart could handle. I wished I could fix it and make everything better. And even the flesh side of me dared to wish that this wasn’t her story.
I’m not going to lie or sugar coat anything. Watching her walk through this journey is exhausting and I only experience it second hand. I’ve only heard about the hours that they spend in the hospital. I’ve never been in the waiting room during a six-hour long surgery, and I have only witnessed for a couple of minutes the moaning and the crying of our sweet girl. I can’t begin to imagine the stress the worry and fatigue.
But I want to assure you, Casey and Justin handle it beautifully.
They are tired but continue, worried but hopeful, emotional but steady, and every single day they are walking, breathing super heroes who are raising an overcomer. With every kiss they lay on Abby’s forehead, and every whisper they bend down to listen to, they make Abby feel important and heard. They repeat over and over again how proud they are of their little fighter, and are not silent about their confidence in the Lord’s goodness.
I think there is something to be said about loving the story you are in. Even if it isn’t perfect, and even if it is messy, and difficult. The McConnell’s are consciously aware that God has a plan, bigger than the one we might be able to see presently. This is only a fraction of the story, just a page in the book, God hasn’t finished yet.
Because the artist is just beginning to paint the masterpiece. The potter is just starting to form the clay. The creator is just setting up the miracle.
Lord, I repeat that Chick-Fil-A parking lot prayer over Abby. Please help her to be fully aware that there are angel armies lining up in her name tonight. There are people thinking of her, choosing her, praying for her, loving her and missing her. Please let her know she doesn’t have to be scared. That feeling in her stomach, as it is tying in knots, it is not fear, it is bravery. I pray for smiles, and laughs. For colors, for balloons, and for contagious joy to fill her hospital room. Let her continue to be fearless in the face of adversity, and to preserve through the journey ahead. Give her wisdom to see the bigger picture, and for her to know how endlessly You love her.
Lord, we also ask audaciously for healing over our Abby. We are comforted knowing you know the answers, and while we are afraid and worried, you are never surprised by outcomes. We pray you guide the doctors. Help them to be alert and awake, and give them revelation to see solutions. Give peace, and faith, and extra love to Wyatt, Madison and Aaron and give rest, and hope to Justin and Casey. Lord, we ask you to show up and show off in a mighty way this week. That when they point to the scans, they will reveal a miracle. One that can only be orchestrated by your power. We wait with expectant hearts. Let us witness your glory. We praise you for being a God we can have faith in.