Sometimes God throws people into your path and you aren’t quite sure why.
Chrissie came into my life in away the was undeniably orchestrated by God. Shortly after the earthquake I began receiving comments on my blog from someone named Mattie. I assumed, as I can often be accused of, that this was simply a woman who had stumbled across my blog and was showing her support. So imagine my shock when the following comment was left by Mattie…
“I will totally pray for you! I have been reading your blog for awhile and really appreciate your honesty. The truth is, we all need a little prayer and encouragement sometimes! I am in love with Espwa Berlancia. You are what I hope to do, Rhyan. I am 12 years old and we are in the process of expanding our family to a big ol' 14! We all have a heart for Haiti and hope to adopt our 7 kids from there.
I couldn’t believe this was a 12 year old! I knew I needed to write to her and get to know this special girl!
Little did I know how Mattie, and her entire family would impact me in the short time I have known them.
Chrissie is Mattie’s baby sister. The Patterson’s adopted her 7 months ago from a Siberian orphanage. When they accepted the call and decided to adopt Chrissie they knew that she was very sick. Chrissie had a heart defect that would require an extremely complicated surgery. They were never assured that Chrissie would live long, in fact they knew she probably wouldn’t. And yet they opened their hearts and their home to her. Oh, how I pray for a heart like theirs! I struggled with this very concept when Sabrina came into my life. I’ve struggled over and over again, choosing to love while knowing that letting go loomed ahead. Loving a baby here comes with knowing that they will not be yours forever. I will admit there are times when I just don’t want to do it because, selfishly, I don’t want the pain their leaving will bring. I wish I were more like Lorraine. She heard God tell her to love this baby, and so she did. Never holding back, never guarding her heart from feeling too much. Her brothers and sisters embraced her into their home and their family. She was Chrissie Patterson, daughter and sister. She belonged, just as she had dreamed of. They gave her all they could, all the love in their hearts, all the while knowing what lie ahead.
Chrissie’s heart surgery was scheduled for April 19th. On that day Chrissie’s Mom and Dad stayed next to her until the moment she was wheeled into surgery. She saw their faces as she closed her eyes. On April 19th Chrissie died while in surgery. Chrissie was dead and then God chose to give her back. She was placed on life support and her Mom and Dad were by her side. For the next 31 days, through procedure after procedure Chrissie was never alone. After 31 days of life support, doing the dance of one step forward and two steps back, Chrissie finally took her grandest and largest step, into the arms of Jesus.
Chrissie, though I have never seen her sweet little face in person, has changed my life, she has rocked my world and impacted the way that I will live every day. I refuse to live in the fear I had before. I refuse to hold back, what every precious child deserves, to try and save the pain of goodbye. Today, because of Chrissie, Mattie, and Lorraine I will love more than I have ever let myself. I will not hold back. I will not find things to fill up my days that are “more important” than just holding them. Today, I will bring JOY that I have learned from the life of Christyn Joy.
My heart breaks for the Patterson family today, I know the pain that they are feeling wants to overwhelm and capture their hearts. I also know that God is bigger, bigger even, than the death of a baby. God is bigger than the pain and his promise are bigger than the lies the wicked whisper. The promises of hope that he gives are greater than any despair the enemy can pour out. We have home for Chrissie and for those who love her today!
I will share again, the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I have clung to so many times…
This is not at all How we thought it was supposed to be We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place, by God's grace
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again
And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...
We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...