Monday, September 10, 2007

you shall not pass

I wanted to give everyone an update to ask, once again, for your specific prayers. As time goes on - and I know Conor said this in the previous post - things just seem to feel worse, the darkness heavier, the uncertainties stronger. So prayer from the saints is all I can lean on. My own prayers, I suppose. But, as I've heard several times in this journey, I know that sometimes, you will have the strength to pray for what I can't.

We received the good news - and I say "good" with a sense of its relativity... certainly we are not elated to even be having a discussion with anyone about any of this - that when Copeland is born, we will be able to keep her with us for as long as the Lord allows us to. There will be no NICU admittance. The charge nurse that I spoke with assured us that, in these cases, parents are permitted to "call the shots." I am grateful. And I believe this is the result of your approaching the throne on our behalf. Knowing that as long as Copeland breathes, I will be there, Conor will be there, and that her life will not be interrupted by any sort of medical ridiculousness is a blessing. I confess it makes me a great deal less anxious about our time after delivery.

It may be evident in my tone, but I am definitely struggling. I say this to you because I never want to look back on this and wonder why I wasn't more authentic, why I wasn't more willing to just share my heart? I have found immense strength over the past 12 weeks, and I have no doubt that it's because you have been willing to carry as much of the burden as you can. But I confess I wake each morning hating that this is where we are, hating the situation, longing with all I am to just make it go away. I'm sure this is natural, to be expected. But it's exhausting.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about this outside of the group that gathered at my parents' the night we learned Copeland was suspicious for trisomy-18. In the doctor's office, literally in the darkness of the sonogram room, I remembered a scene from a movie I think I'd seen one time, the first installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. That film released about a month after Conor and I were married, so back in December of 2001. I'm not a sci-fi fan; I've actually never even read the books themselves. In fact, it's a irony that I'd remember much of the movie at all, other than those gruesome orcs and the incredible special effects. But I did. I thought of the moment when the Fellowship of the Ring is crossing through those dark, demon-possessed underground passages, running desperately from one seemingly inconquerable foe straight into the path of another. One such villain is a demon of incredible might and power, and as you watch, it's apparent that the little band of heroes is unlikely to get past him. It's only when Gandalf stands firmly fixed between his friends and the towering monster, shouting like a mad man, "You shall not pass!" with his staff banging frantically against the ground, that the rocks crumble, the demon falls to his death, and the Fellowship is free. Certainly there's more to the story - two movies' worth - and Gandalf's opposition to the demon costs him a great deal, but the image remained etched on my memory for years, so much so that it was what I thought of as I lay on the table in the sonographer's office, waiting to hear from the perinatologist about all the complications our little girl had.

Like I said, I'm no sci-fi fan. I hadn't seen the movies in almost six years. Conor and I had neither been talking about them or listened to the soundtrack recently. I sincerely believe this scene rose up in my mind because the Lord wanted me to remember those words: "You shall not pass." I know it may seem odd or even a little quirky to say that I do, in fact, believe in the supernatural, the stuff our eyes can't see. That afternoon, that room wasn't simply a doctor's office furnished with a few cold pieces of medical equipment. It was apparently a battleground. And the Lord was apparently wanting to signal to me that, no matter what happened, there would be something He wouldn't let pass. I don't know what that something is. I thought at the time it would be the trisomy-18. But the tests came back positive. I've thought, to this day, that perhaps it will be the words "incompatible with life." Maybe Copeland will defy the odds. Maybe she'll be born healthy, or even if she is affected, maybe she'll live longer and happier than doctors would have ever expected. I don't rest in that, but I can see how telling the Gandalf story years from now, looking at a perfectly healthy daughter who was thought to die almost immediately upon birth, would make for a very dramatic twist.

But as I sit here, 2:30 in the afternoon, the sun shining outside, my husband and daughter safe and healthy in this world, I am compelled to think that there's something greater, something far more sinister and more menacing than even death that wants permission to skulk into my life. I am a strong believer. I don't say this to pat myself on the back or to puff myself up; I say it because it's true, and I've been that way for a long, long time. But this is a whole new ballgame. It's easy to believe in a God that loves you and that wants the best for you when things are going well - even when things are going semi-well. But this is different. We have exactly eight days until we bring Copeland into the world. Eight days. It feels like a vast distance away and also like someone's knocking at the door, and I can't decide which terror is easier to live with. Maybe there's more than one "something" wanting entrance into our world; perhaps doubt, defeat and despair.

I need you to pray that this terror, this fear, this anxiety, this anguish, this heartache, this incredible burden the Lord has asked us to bear, will not be able to "pass" - will not have control or a hold of us. You are not Gandalf. But you know the One who is. Please ask Him to "stand in the gap," as my sister has so often said, and cast Himself between Conor and Sellers and I and the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. I am not naive about the incredible darkness we may walk through in the next few months. I need you to pray the Lord will equip me to leave my house. To put earrings on. To go on dates with my husband. I need you to pray that Sellers will see Conor and I cry and laugh and endure a hardship with a belief, steadfast and unshakeable, that will influence her for years to come. I need you to pray that in the moments when I am completely alone, when Conor is alone, when we can't distract away the pain, that there will be no foothold of resentment or anger between us - that while he goes through his own private experience of grief, and I go through mine, we will still be knit together.

Most of all, pray we will walk with eyes fixed on Jesus, even when we are angry with Him, or confused, or frustrated, or unsure if He even cares. Pray we will be able to remain completely afixed on Him, so that nothing - no desire or hope, nor even future blessing - will detract from the glory He wants us to witness in Him.

30 comments:

Melissa said...

precious boothe,
my heart is breaking for you right now as i can feel a glimpse of your pain through your words. yet, once again i am moved to my knees by your vulnerability and perspective. i think about you constantly and for that i am grateful...i believe that the Lord is continually reminding me not only to pray for you but to keep my focus on the greater battles that are going on around us in this world.

i love you and remain committed to praying for the specific things you have requested.

thank you for allowing us into this difficult season with you.

-melissa platt

Constance said...

My prayers continue for your family.

My father was telling me that our own children need to see our faith and trust lived out in our own lives, before them. Having generations of faith filled examples is a good thing but they need the first-hand faith that only we as parents can give them! Who will teach them if not us? Our Pastor always says that God never wastes a hurt and I believe that to be true. God wants it all, not just our talents and gifts. He wants our doubts, anger, questions, fears and anxieties as well. He wants us to lay it before Him on the altar and give it to Him. I was offended by that when the Holy Spirit first taught me that. I thought that I was only supposed to bring the most lovely of things to sacrifice before the Lord, not the ugly, hidden and dirty stuff that only He & I know about. He already knows it why not offer it up to Him as well.

Maybe what "shall not pass" is many things...

God's strength and resources.
God's omniscience.
His fathfulness.
His mercy.
His loving-kindness.
His unfailing love.
His heart that breaks for us,
His children.
His presence.
His Grace.
His compassion.
His omnipotence.
His righteousness.

In His Grip,
Connie Hopkins

Chels said...

Sis, I am standing in the gap for you and conor and sellers. Heath and I know we cannot bring anything to the table that will make this better - but we serve a mighty Father who can. We will continue to stand in the gap and sream "you shall not pass" you freaking piece of crap satan. You SHALL NOT, in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior have anything on this marriage. You Shall not touch one hair on Sellers head. You shally not speak self-doubt or resentment into Boothes ears or Conors. You SHALL NOT PASS. YOu Shall not stand in the way of our Lord's glory and the amazing blessing He is recieving and bringing upon the Farleys by the life of their babygirl.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

We continue to lift you up and pray against these things. We continue to pray for her health in this life. For her life to be long and full and I will not stop believing and praying until He tells me so.

You are strong sis. Remember all those lifting you up. Read your email - and rest in the fact that there are hundreds lifting you up today.

I love you so much!

Erin Weston-Myers said...

Boothe,
I am standing in the gap with you.

I went through my prayer bowl, a glass bowl I have at my desk where I write down prayers so I don't forget to pray for them, and as I went through it today I found so many prayers for you and your family. The prayers have been going on for a long time...and it made me think of ALL the people who are praying for you...and how long they have been praying for you. I hope that I can take all those prayers out soon...because they have been answered.

Right now, for YOU, I pray for peace. As I sit with the Lord right now, that is what I feel I need to pray for. Even a mere 2 minutes of peace. I pray the Lord allows you to be embraced in His arms, where you feel His love. I pray you feel His hand touch your stomach, so that Copeland can be at peace for 2 minutes as well. I pray you see His light, in your darkness. I pray for stillness, for even a mere 2 minutes. I pray for peace.

With much love and prayer,
Erin

Angie Luce said...

Boothe,

I hurt with you and for you. I grieve for you and Conor and Sellers because of the pain that is to come. But, just as I know God as been faithful to carry you 12 weeks, and to carry me 4 weeks since we found out, I know He will certainly be faithful to carry us all the way! I recently read a title to one of my grandfather's sermons that said "God is not Fair, but He is so Good!" This has brought me a lot of comfort over the past week, and I hope it will bring you some as well. I love you and will pray for you often every single day!

Angie

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
You don't know me but your story has been shared with me and I want you to know how deeply I have been touched by your writings. Please know that there are more people praying for you and your family than you will ever know.

Mary Alice said...

Boothe, my sweet sister in Christ. I love you.

Oftentimes, I find that I wake in the morning with you, Conor, Sellers and precious Copeland on my mind. Last night, I went to bed with you on my mind and a prayer on my heart for you.

Your sweet email was the last thing I read last night before falling asleep and I am amazed by your ability to continue to comfort and make others around you feel comfortable. God has gifted you with His peace - so much so that you are somehow finding it within yourself to think not only of yourself and your situation - but of others. This is amazing to me. You may not always feel peaceful, but it is truly evidencing itself in your life.

You are such an encouragement to me, Boothe. Your honesty, transparency and willingness to hurt out in the open are a reflection of the Father's love in your life.

You and your sweet family will continue to be in my prayers as Copeland's birthday approaches. I am honored to stand in the gap for you as long as is needed. I am confident that you are being firmly held by the Father in his big, strong, loving arms.

I love you,
Mary Alice

Hillary Kouba said...

Thank you for sharing. We will be praying for you all this week.

whitney burrough akin said...

boothe-- i have no words, but thank goodness He knows our needs and intercedes for us in so many ways. i am committed to lifting all of your fear and worry and sadness and what have you up Him who knows your and your family's needs.
thank you for being so vulnerable.

Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

The Ultimate Authority has you in His hands. may you feel His hands.

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you...our prayers are all we have to offer but we are faithfully making your requests known to the Lord....and believing with you for miracles.

Christa said...

Conor and Boothe,

I recently found out about Copeland and my heart goes out to you guys. I will be praying for your family, for Copeland, for Sellers, and for grace.

I want to thank you as well for your unintended inspiration - I hope that someday, if ever faced with a sorrow as deep as you are facing, my husband and I can rely on eachother and on our God with the same strength and determination you both are.

My prayers are with you.

Lots of love, Christa (Conner)

Christy Nockels said...

Boothe, Conner & Sellers-
A friend shared your blog with me and I've kept up with you these last few months.. My heart is aching on your behalf.. I will continue to pray specifics for you.. I have the date marked on my calendar to remember you that day in fervent prayer... I ask that the peace that passes all understanding would guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus - protecting you from any terror, fear, or anything that would try to steal from you in this season. You will reap tremendous joy because of your faith, your tears, and your willingness to abide in Christ in the midst of this darkness. Precious Copeland has already touched my life and my family...I will continue to pray for her safe entrance into your arms..

love,
Christy

Anonymous said...

My family and I will be praying for you, and with you, in the incomparable name of Jesus, for peace that passes understanding, for unity and deep love, and for rest in the hope of a purpose beyond what we see.

Curt Masters

Anonymous said...

Your family has many, many people praying for you. You don't know me, my family, or my church.. but we're ALL praying for your family.

brown bear said...

Boothe/Conor
meg and i are praying. i'm not usually the praying type in the conventional sense and certainly would not consider myself a "prayer warrior"(as long as you are being open and honest i suppose i will too), but reading these posts has brought me to my knees. i think of your family everyday and pray for each of you by name whenever you cross my mind. and you cross my mind a lot.

there are two things jesus said while he was on earth that have comforted me recently and i share them with you - honestly, because i don't know what else to say.

john6:39-40"This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time."

john 14:27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

boothe and conor, i pray that in the week ahead and beyond you will be filled with the comfort of the holy spirit, that you will feel sheltered from evil and darkness, that you will feel held and lifted on your feet. our god is real, our world is fallen and full of hurt, jesus has been right where you are in this darkness... he, where noone else can, will comfort and carry each of you through this.

i love you so hard.

Anonymous said...

Prayers are being lifted up daily from our family for baby Copeland as well as for the two of you and precious Sellers.

Michele Burns

Parker and Libby Rhett . . . said...

Boothe and Conor,
I am a high school friend of Whitneys. She emailed me about what you are going through. I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you as you and your family go through this time. God can work miracles!!!!

Emily said...

Boothe, there are no words. I know that perhaps better than anyone. One of our pastors said he has learned to go more than he thinks he should go and say less than he thinks he should say. I believe that's all we can do sometimes. Today, I'm going to the Lord in prayer for you. If you decide you need someone to literally come to you who will not be afraid of what is to come, who cannot be surprised by the battle that Satan will wage against you for standing for the Lord the way you do, I am here. Call me in the middle of the night or the middle of the afternoon. Satan shall NOT pass. God sent our girls for a more beautiful, more sacred, more earth-shattering purpose than that. May you cherish this evening with your family of four and know you're covered in the armor of prayer.

Emily, Mom of 3 Miracle Girls
www.caringbridge.org/visit/millergracecassetty

Ann said...

Boothe and family,
I don't know you but I am friends with the Sheets. I have been blessed by your writing and your honesty, not that that was your purpose, but know that you will never know how many you are blessing as you hold firm to your faith in Jesus Christ. I am praying for your family and will continue in the days ahead. Please continue to let us know what to pray for so we can indeed pray over you when you just don't have the words. Please tell Copeland how much she is loved by so many that don't even know her. You are an amazing mother. May God give you increased strength for today.

Sherry said...

Boothe,

I continue to pray for you, Conor, and Sellers as I'm sure you have very mixed emotions in the last week of your pregnancy. There are obviously so many people praying for all of you. I pray that you will have peace next Tuesday and just enjoy the time you have with sweet Copeland. I pray that you will have the perfect words for Sellers to understand what is happening. All of you are so precious and have been such an inspiration during your trying time. I feel so helpless, but if there's anything I can do, please let me know.

You are a blessing and an inspiration...Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Sherry Luttrell

julie davidson said...

My Boothe, Conor, Sellers and Copeland,

I call you "My" because that is how i refer to everyone that is in my circle of family and friends ~ people i love and care about. Each of them is standing in the gap. You know many of them - most of them you do not know. That is God at work on your behalf! Each of the Prayer Warriors in your life has their own circle that is lifting your sweet family up into His loving arms for strength and comfort. I can visualize the tremendous army standing in the gap right now- on their knees in prayer.

Love you,
julie

Laurie said...

Dear Boothe and Conor,

My prayers for your family for these next 7 days will be for each request of yours written here. Above all, I pray Gods peace that passes all understanding over you every minute of every day. I am thankful for your desire to spend each moment after Copelands birth uninterrupted. to have been answered. I am still believing for a miracle, I have to because I know He is able and children are most precious in His site. I pray that your relationship grows so close that only His breath can pass through you both. Continue to bring your hearts to the table and lay them in His care, He loves you so much. I thank Him for the courage you have to come here and ask for what you need. Who could say no to this. May Sweet and Blessed Rest fall upon you in each day ahead and Copeland feel the love waiting for her on the other side of her birth.
Love and Prayers in Ca. Laurie

Anonymous said...

Boote, Conor, Sellers & Copeland,
I am a high school friend of Katie (Hawkins) Beall and just learned of your story today. I sit in pure awe of the humbling effects of God. Just this morning I was tired and having "one of those mornings" and wow, how my God can put things in perspective. Please know that many people in Troy, Alabama are lifting up each specific prayer for you all right now. I will be taking these prayers to church tonight and MANY will present these requests at His throne!! I am always comforted by Jeremiah 29:11 and I am quite sure that you have read, heard, or thought of that verse many times through all of this. But it always comforts and overjoys me to know He "knows the plan I have for you, plans to grow you and prosper you, to give you a HOPE and a future"!! My prayers and my love go out to you all!!

Lauren Kilcrease

Laurie said...

Hi Conor,
I want you to know my prayers for you specifically these next 6 days are for God to give you a complete peace in your heart about how He will gently and tenderly guide you through all of the details ahead. I ask for Him to keep you "in the moment" so that you are able to experience each detail of your precious little girl, uninterrupted by cares and anxiety. I ask Him for the desires of your heart to be fulfilled somehow, His way, I don't know how, but I ask Him to bless you with so much peace that you will be able to find rest, and that He will guide your steps. He knows your heart Conor and loves you deeply, this I know. Prayers for you are many and daily.
~*~Gods Peace, Love and Hope to you today and the days ahead~*~ Laurie

Laura Roberts said...

Boothe,

Betsy Powell shared your link and your story with me, while requesting prayer for your family.

It breaks my heart to read of your pain, but what a blessing it is to read of your faith and courage!

This has to be the most difficult time you have ever gone through, but God will use this experience to bless you and others in ways that you can not even imagine! He will draw you closer to Himself than He ever has before!

My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Know that there are many people all over the country praying for you, lifting you up to God, "standing in the gap" on your behalf.

May God bless you abundantly, and hold you tightly through the next weeks.

Laura

Anonymous said...

I am lifting you up, standing in the gap, as well as so many people in auburn that have never even heard of you or may never meet you. I've become passionate about standing for you guys and I know that the Lord is going to be revealed. He shatters our dreams in order that we would give up everything, have nothing left, but Him and in that place- that is where we find true joy as believers. Know that I will be on my knees over the next 8 days. He brings rest not fear, hope not darkness, wherever he is the devil must flee. He will not let Satan take over you. I am praying out loud right now that the devel would hear me: In the righteous name of the king of all the universe Jesus Christ, satan you must flee from the farley's home along with every one of your demons. Angels cover this home, every room, every heart, every nook. be there with them. Holy Spirit we know that you reside over this place. Be there...allow them to be filled by you. That they would be so drenched in your spirit and grace, in your light that even in the darkness they would only see your eyes and the hope and comfort they bring. We trust in you, in you alone. You are the faithful provider and your compassion for this family and this little girl is more than we will ever know. amen.

ali tanner
tanneam@auburn.edu
615.300.6502

Heidi and Kirk said...

Boothe-

We've been following your blogs and praying for you and your sweet family. You are especially on our hearts the next few days. I will be fasting and praying for you the day of Copeland's arrival. You have many standing in the gap for you.

Love to you, Boothe.
-heidi (& kirk and kiddos)

www.blessingsfromethiopia.com

Anonymous said...

Boothe, We do not know each other. I simply sat behind you in a Great Books class at Auburn. I remember your face. I remember your incite into the literature we were reading. I knew some of your friends and I knew that you were a believer.
I have now read many of your blog entries and I pray for you and your sweet family. My words are small when I place them beside the heartache you have endured. Nonetheless, your faith is an encouragement to me. I am praying for you daily during this time. Thank you for your authenticity and vulnerability, Boothe. I have learned so much from you and Conor.

tfoss said...

Boothe,
I feel your urgency and need! Please know that we are here, on our knees, praying for your whole family. We are praying fervently on your behalf. I pray that you feel the strength that only our Lord can offer. I pray for unity amidst this trial. I pray that you feel Jesus' presence in your steps. Please feel my hand outstretched toward your body as you walk towards delivery, praying for every aspect of the delivery and for Copeland. I am praying for you all!!!

Andrew said...

EBBF and Connor,

I will pray. Dilligently. Boothe, I remember a verse you wrote me on a note at BA during my own dark time that read "You sent troops to ride over our broken bodies. We went through fire and flood. But in the end you brought us into great wealth and abundance."

It has been one of my favorites ever since that day. I love it because it expresses the sheer torture we go through in such graphic detail. But we don't stay there and I pray you all won't either. I have always appreciated the depth of your thought and your keen insight and even now in the midst of your darkest hours I pray that your expressiveness is an outlet to express your pain. You have such a gift to communicate. You are a dear friend and I will remember the three of you in my prayers tonight.

The Lord bless thee and keep thee... may his face shine upon thee....

In His grip,

Andrew Parrish