Thursday, August 23, 2007

the end of the world and a gentle whisper

I know it's a bit abnormal for me to write something two days in a row. I don't know why I'm compelled to do it now, other than the fact that, in sharing it, you might pray more specifically for Conor and I.

As we sat up late talking last night, I listened to him describe what he feels the most unsure of right now. I was suprised - although now, looking back, I shouldn't have been - at his worry for me, for Sellers, and for my ability to get through this, as a wife, a mother, even just the girl he's known since she was 19. My heart ached. How can I carry that burden? I long so to be strong, to feel that sensation of rising and to know I will, in fact, get through this, that we will get through this and all will be well again. Soon. But as we approach September 18, I realize I am completely not up to the task. I've said this before. But as the days pass, I realize it - feel it physically, even - more than ever. We laughed at how we both, albeit unknowingly, have a strange, almost apocalyptic perception of Copeland's birth: it's like we both somewhat expect not to live through it. Literally. I saw a preview for a television show premiering on September 25 the other day and, without even realizing it, thought to myself, "Well, we'll miss that." It's like we are preparing to slowly begin a disintegration into - what? nothingness? - as soon as our sweet girl is gone. We know this isn't true, of course, but the feeling is there. And it seems strange to even consider that life - even stupid things like t.v. programs - will just keep on coming afterward. That our own hearts will keep beating. Looking at Sellers is perhaps the only evidence that God intends to make this so.

Listening to my husband talk about his worries for me, I turned to him and asked, simply, "Are you scared?" I admit I did so because I have never been so afraid in my entire life. I don't know what I wanted him to say, but when he turned and said, "No, I don't think I'm scared," I felt a mixture of immense relief and immediate concern. What does "not being scared" mean? Denial? Ignorance? Emotional repression? No. It just means we're made from different stuff - man and woman, husband and wife, Conor and Boothe. The burden I feel for him, to be the girl who used to laugh easily and run into his front door at Auburn, my greatest worry about a term paper, is there because I love him, because I want him to survive. And the burden he feels for me, to lead me through this incredible ragged landscape without scarring too terribly, is because he loves me. He wants me to survive. So just when we begin to see our differences, we realize our commonality is our love for each other - our deep desire to see the other live abundantly, to smile and giggle and know it will all, in fact, be okay. I know your prayers that we would be knit more fully together are being answered. Satan will not have this marriage.

I have believed that most of the challenges or "trials" I've walked through before (although, as I told someone via e-mail this morning, they all seem like breaths of air now) have been joint efforts between myself and the Lord. I bring what I can to the table and then He makes up for the rest. It's like that old adage, "God helps those who help themselves." I have liked that phrase, the sense of accomplishment I get from it, from relying, in some capacity on what I can actually do. But suddenly, it's total hollowness stares me straight in the face as I realize I have literally nothing - nothing - to bring to the table this time. I am completely, utterly unable to do this. A lot of Christians might say, "Yes, you can." No. I can't. Don't try to talk me into it. Conor and I are both incapable. And I don't mean that in a dainty, falsely humble kind of way. I can't do this. And yet, even as I hear myself speak those words aloud to him, as I hear the tears in our voices and the incredible sense of inadequacy choke out any strength I thought I had, I realize now is the time I will remember for the rest of my life, the time when the Lord showed Himself to me in a way I never, ever expected, never even asked for. If there were even a table to bring something to, I'd be lying underneath it right now. This will be God's doing. Pray that we, like Moses, will see Him act in a real, literal, even soul-shaking, way.

27 comments:

whitney burrough akin said...

B-
So many prayers for you guys have already been answered. He is truly at work in the midst of all of this. Thank you again for your honesty and authentic faith! We will be praying for Him to conitnue to make Hmself known to you all and to other through precious Copeland.

Love you so much. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see you soon!

Whitney

Laurie said...

Hi Boothe, Once again you have touched my heart with your honesty in sharing your heart here. I continue to ask God for a complete miracle over Copeland as I know He can. I continue to ask Him to cover your marriage and family with His love and Peace. And you are so right in knowing that you and Conor are incapable of handling the road ahead.
But I know that the Lord is preparing you by drawing close in love to one another, determined that Satan will not get a breath in edge-wise. Lift each other up always and this, you both can handle. The days ahead are in Gods hands and He already knows His plans for you. He has a way where there seems to be no way. Trust Him with everything you have and don't have in you right now. Love on Copeland each day and let her know how dear she is to you, a true blessing from God. And love on Sellers big time too as I am sure you already are. The rest and the best is in Gods hands as He brings all of you into a new and more blessed understanding of who He is.
~*~In the midst of all that is ahead, Peace and Joy and Love pour over you to overflowing this day~*~ Laurel in Ca.

julie said...

I am a friend of Angies, and I just wanted you to know I feel blessed to hear your story from her and to be able to read your thoughts. Please know that as much as my husband and I are praying for Poppy we are praying for little Copeland.

Kaylane said...

Reading about your fears, frustrations and uncertainties is what makes all of us out here admire you more. It's OK to be scared...even mad with God...because He can handle it.

Even though you feel that you are at your weakest moment...I am not...so I will be strong for you and will continue to beg God for a miraculous healing over Copeland.

Ericka said...

Hi Boothe~
I just discovered your blog and am so touched by your words... I've thought about you, Conor, Sellers, and Copeland a lot since we met last week. I would love to get together soon. Paul and I praying for you.

Love, Ericka

christen said...

Boothe,
I am embarrased to say that I have not really had too many opportunities to sit down and read your blog. I just had the opportunity to sit for a few minutes this afternoon while Cate napped and i am truly amazed at your words. The Lord is using you in such a mighty way, Boothe. It is pretty incredible. Your faith continues to amaze me and your friendship has come to mean the world to me. what a privilige it is for cole and i to call you and conor our friends. Walking with you through this season of life has been such a blessing to cole and i. While I wish more than anything that you were not walking through this, i can already see how the Lord is using you and Conor and sweet Copeland to further His kingdom....
you are in our prayers as always. we love you.

Emily said...

Sweet Boothe,

I don't have to tell you that I can identify with what you're saying, to an extent, of course. Keep doing what you're doing. It's hard work. Keep fighting to clear your path as you make your way through this jungle. Embrace Conor's concern for you and embrace your marriage in general. I know I will be praying for the Lord's protection over it. It's not a one time deal either, just keep praying these same prayers over and over, being renewed each time you feel empty. You're right that you have nothing to bring to the table, but what you must realize is that none of us have ever had anything to bring to the table. This time, in this circumstance that is just easier to see.

Your normal will never be the same after 9/18, in fact, it will be entirely different, but it will be more sacred somehow. No one has to tell you that your life is more blessed because of Copeland. There's a line in a Sara Groves song that's been speaking to me lately that says "But the places that used to fit cannot hold the things I've learned." The place where you're standing now will change because it cannot hold what you will learn, just as the place where you stood last year couldn't hold you now.

Since we entered this crazy new reality with the first devastating ultrasound back in May, I've almost been able to envision the Lord pushing Matt and me along. We don't have the strength to do this, just as you nor Conor have the strength to walk the road you're on, but God will keep pushing and He'll keep hemming you in, behind and before. Cling to every word of Psalm 139... some parts will speak about you and others about sweet Copeland, all precious words in a love letter from our Father to His children. You are loved and you are being lifted up and, impossible as it seems, you were made for such a time as this.

I'm just an email (or an hour's drive) away.

In Christ,
Emily

www.caringbridge.org/visit/millergracecassetty

roland lundy said...

Boothe and Conor,

I continue to be amazed at your writing and expressions of your feelings....I almost feel like I am sitting there with both of you as you talk....while at times difficult to read it does give me a prespective of what to pray for in a more specific way....Sarah, Rob, Jessica and I continue to pray for you and your extended family...

Roland

Chels said...

I heard a word this week and you need to hear it...and stick with me. Luke 15:1 says "...the tax collectors and the 'sinners' gathered to hear him. "Sinners" in this sentence isn't referring to the generic "we are all sinners", instead it speaks specifically to the "sinner" class; the untouchable, deformed, diseased, unclean. All those that would be "unworthy" to present themselves to the Lord - THOSE were the ones gathering to hear him. Also (vs. 2) came the Pharisees...who had "everything to bring him".

Jesus tells 3 parables; The parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost / prodigal son. In each story, there is one thing lost...one lost sheep out of 100, one lost coin out of 10 and one "lost" son who turns his life upside down. The beautiful part in all of this, is that none of the stories say "forget that one coin or sheep", none of them say "these other 99 or this other son will be good enough". All three stories tell of the sweetness found when ONE of these things is returned. Specifically the story of the lost son...he returns deserving nothing, asking for basically nothing and bringing NOTHING but himself home and the Father kills the best animal and throws the best party ever. Our Father doesn't require us to bring anything to the table. And believe it or not, He helps a whole crap load of people that aren't helping themselves. People who aren't capable, willing or wanting to help themselves. He wants your heart and He wants you to do as you've already written - just turn to Him.

Sis, don't walk into these next few weeks and months defensive b/c you fear that this state your in isn't enough; for Him or someone else standing and observing you. We don't serve and God that says "get up, start getting on with this and when you get to me, I'll help you out". He provides it all. And because you are coming to him - continuing to walk in the unknown but where He is leading you - He has met you where you are and is listening to your worries while calming your fears. He gave us emotion so that we could express ourselves, but He gave us peace that surpasses all understanding and give us the strength to be carried. Just like in Luke 15, when the son returns it says " BUT his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet." The father doesn't listen to the son say " I'm unworthy, treat me as your servant". Instead he moves right past the excuses and says my son has returned. Give him everything I've always given him, let him be known that he is still my son and lets celebrate! Our Father is doing the same. He's not listening to you tell him how unable you are, he's telling you how able He is. He is so able, Sis and Conor. He is in control and He will give you the strength to walk through this. And we will carry you in prayer - Satan has nothing on your marriage. He has nothing over Selly - she will rock through this with the precious simplicity that she has been given. She will love you and Conor without compromise and she will continue to show you the ability of our Father! I love you so much! Cant wait to hug you guys sometime!

Jennifer said...

Boothe and Conor,

I've been reading this blog from the very beginning. I have been moved to tears and to prayer time and time again by your words, your vulnerability, your faith, and your commitment to each other, your family, and to God. I have stopped to write a comment several times, but each time I can not find the words in me to express my heart.

My pregnancy with Braden was difficult from day #1. I was hospitalized the first 4 weeks of my pregnancy and almost died. I was on bed rest for most of the rest of the pregnancy. I remember being so worried about his health and whether or not he could just hang on in there long enough to become viable outside the womb. It was the scariest stretch of life I've ever known and because I was approaching it as a single mom, I felt very alone in spite of how much support I was receiving from family and friends.

Yet through that entire ordeal I had a keen sense that God was working out His plan. I didn't understand it and I didn't like that He was pushing me and my body to the limit, but I felt a serene sense of calm that I was right where I was supposed to be -- whatever the outcome.

My story had a happy ending. A fullterm healthy baby boy. The answers to my prayers... and the prayers of so many others.

I think that is why I have struggled so much when trying to write a comment. Although we love and serve a God of miracles and anything is certainly possible, your story will most likely not end in a happy, healthy baby being born. It just breaks my heart for you, for Sellers, and for your extended family and friends, and I think I struggle a bit with what they call "survival syndrome" when I think of what you are facing.

But what I can say -- and feel very strongly about -- is that God is working out His plan and that you are exactly where He wants you to be. It doesn't make sense to any of us this side of heaven, but one day it will all become crystal clear when we see the infinite ways He has used and will continue to use your story and the precious life of Copeland to bring people to their knees.

I know it may sound cliche, but it is true - we are a body of believers. When one of us suffers it is like one of our own limbs being hurt. We compensate for each other and try to provide strength to the part of the body that is hurting.

The irony is that although you are the ones who are hurting and being carried by the prayers and support of so many others, I hope you both realize that it is a two way street. There are those of us who may be struggling in different ways -- perhaps a crisis of faith, perhaps a lack of discipline in prayer -- and your words, your story, and your steadfast commitment to serving God are providing STRENGTH in ways you probably don't realize.

Again, I am sorry that I haven't commented before now. You have been in my prayers and in Braden's.

God will see you through this... That is His promise.

Much love,

Jennifer Cooke

Nathan Luce said...

So many of your comments in this post really hit home for me. Also, it reminds me of how difficult it can be to try to console someone when we begin to understand how unique each situation is and how deeply the emotions flow for each one. I hope it is encouraging to you just for me to say that Angie and I continue to pray for you.

Laurie said...

Hi Boothe and Conor,
I just want you to know as we begin a new week you are tops in my prayers for you. I specifically pray for the fear you are experiencing to somehow be replaced with peace and excitement. I know that sounds so strange to say excitement, but I feel in my heart that Copeland already knows the miracle she is and is able to sense all you are feeling inside.
Not to fake it by any means, but for the Lord to truly remove your fear in His wonderful way and lead you into the new normal that will soon be here. Come as you are, just how you are right now, to the Lord and continue pouring out your hearts to Him. He will continue to lead you through this unknown, one minute at a time and never let you go, ever. Hold on to Him with all you have and don't have. Love and Prayers tonight for you. Laurel in Ca.

Constance said...

What a difficult time this has to be! There are many things in this life that can make us run from God or run TO Him! Unless someone else has travelled down your road, they really can't fathom the pain that you're in. Thankfully God can and does! I hope you don't mind but I'm including a link for you if you are interested.

Last September, I was made aware of a young woman who was pregnant and how their family needed prayer. Their son was diagnosed, in utero with Potter's Syndrome and they had to deal with a lot of the same issues that your family is dealing with. He was delivered stillborn. If you go to Susan's site, her posts are listed under Potter's Syndrome. I will warn you though, they posted pictures of their son, with their family afterwards. It might no be something you can handle right now but I wanted to at least gve you a resource, another young mother who has had to deal with a similiar situation. Sometimes, satan tries to convince us that we are alone and we are anything but.

Continuing to pray,
Connie Hopkins

Constance said...

Oops, forgot the link. Connie

http://susangodfrey.blogspot.com/

Erin Faubus said...

Boothe & Conor,
Everything you write is so completely real and honest and touching that I feel inadequate just commenting. But I want you to know how amazing I think you both are. I sit hear and read your blog every time you update it, and find myself touched and honored to have such an intimate insight to your thoughts and struggles. I admire both of you so much. I have no idea what the future holds for Todd and I, but having the two of you as examples of what it means to live by faith is more comforting than you'll ever know. I praise God for you're faith and sole reliance on Him during this time. I know that I cannot find words to truly help comfort you right now, but I want you to know that I am deeply touched every time I read this, and I cannot keep the tears from coming...so much that I have yet to have commented on here. But they are not just tears of pain for what you are going through, but tears of joy that the two of you are clinging to the one thing that that can get you through this, your faith in Jesus Christ. I love you both.

leigh ann said...

Dear sweet boothe,
i have no advice or great words to tell you. all i know for today is God will meet you there and i am so proud of you and conor. i love you!
leigh ann

JUST A MOM said...

I havn't forgotten you,,,, I can only pray for you.. HUGS

Big Daddy D said...

This is Kaylane's husband David. I don't know that me reading this at work was the wisest since I am sure to get inquiries as to why I've got tears streaming down my face at work.

Kaylane and I pray daily for you. I wanted to share an excerpt from each of our prayers yesterday:

From Kaylane - "Watch over Boothe and Conor today. Heal Baby Copeland and strengthen her body so that she will be strong and healthy come September 17th."

From Me - "I pray also for Boothe and Conor. Please give them a miracle. I refuse to believe what the doctors say until that baby is held in their hands. I refuse to believe that the situation is beyond a miracle!!! Surprise them! Give them a healthy baby. Show the doctors that you are above all else in this world. Give them a miracle. Give them a miracle. Give them a miracle!!!!"
---

My heart goes out to you both; I feel so tiny right now offering these prayers up. I pray that God holds you both tightly right now. Please now that we both are praying for you and pleading with God on your behalf.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are constantly with you guys... literally, every other second God brings you to my mind. May His peace that passes all understanding be with all of you and may He show Himself mighty in your lives!

Carla Breland

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
I just want you to know that my heart is so heavy for you guys. My daughter was born on September 18th almost 13 years ago and that day has been such an exciting day for our family. This year I will have a different perspective because of your journey on that day. I'll hug her a lot more, love her more deeply, and be so much more grateful for that blessing. Stay strong, dear sister, you are on a path that only our prescious Savior can carry you through. But please know that there are many walking beside you, praying for you and caring for you.

Michelle

Bonnie Keen said...

Most beautiful Boothe,
My memories of you are when you
were Sellers' age...living next
door to me...coming into our house
and up the stairs unannounced, absolutely delightful!I have not seen in you many years, but from
a distance watched you grow into a woman who mirrors the beauty of the little girl. My heart weeps
with you, prays for you and Conor
and Sellers, and your precious
Copeland. My spirit longs for resolution and miracles, and having
lost six friends to heaven this past year, a part of me says 'yes
and amen' to the unbelievability of
what is allowed this side of heaven.
Thank you for allowing so many that
love you to pray for you, to join
with you in tears and doubt and ultimately in faith that God is in control no matter how the world turns.
May He give you and Conor all you need, especially as the calendar
page has turned to September.
I do praise Hiim for Copeland's life, as I know that nothing is
wasted in His hands, and there are
no accidents.
With all our hearts we will pray
for you and continue to be a grateful member of those believing
God for all He is and can do.
Bless you precious, lovely Boothe.
Strength, courage and angels be with you dear.
In our Jesus,

tall girl hugs from Bonnie
(keen-king)

nancy guthrie said...

Boothe—

What a beautiful spirit you have toward God and toward this incredible gift he's giving you in such a painful package. I know its scary. If you ever want to talk, give me a call. 376-4884

Laurie said...

Prayers continue for you out here in California as Copeland's arrival draws near. I pray God blesses you and meets every need you have during this time He chose for you to be Copeland's parents. I am still asking for a complete miracle of healing for this precious little girl. And I am asking Him to surround your marriage and family with His complete peace and protection these next two weeks, to hold you tightly to His Heart and give you the strength you need day by day, and Hope, His hope of the future He has for you. ~*~Love and Many Prayers to you~*~ Laurie

thad said...

I was able to meet your lovely and strong husband the other day and he told me of your blog. I read it and realize what a fortress of faith your family is. Its srtengthens the fabric of body of Christ. Its at times like these I wonder how to actually put into function the command to "carry each others burdens". Surely there must be something stronger than prayer. Something that I can get myself under and take on some of the weight. At the same time it shows me the power that prayer must have, if in such situations it seems to be the appropraite response. However my heart is in petition that God's will be done and your hearts find joy in that somehow. love, thad

Emily said...

There are no words to tell you how heavily you have been weighing upon my heart. Know that you are being lifted up, day and night.

Philippians 4:13

keely said...

i am praying daily for you all. we love you from afar.

Jenny said...

B-You've been prayed for today. I love you so much.
Jenny