10 months // 25 weeks

posted on: Monday, March 17, 2014



i've had more tears than words today, as i've laid here in this hospital bed. until i'm able to better string my words together, this is something my Granddaddy wrote today. his preacher's heart beats raw as he pleads for some mercy from the God he has so faithfully served all his life. 

as for me, though the past year has made me feel like a fool for doing so, i fearfully dare to try and hope for my precious baby Lyla Mae. 

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Encouraging Words from Phillip Morrison, #56, March 17, 2014
Oh, Dear God in Heaven, Please….

I don’t know whether to begin this special issue of Encouraging Words with an apology or an alert, but think I should tell you that this one is different. Ordinarily I would be thinking of words of encouragement I might pass along to you, but this time I’m crying out for your words for my family. I seldom cry, and when I do my sobs are usually so muffled no one knows. But this morning, on this day that has such special meaning, in the shower, I wept tears I could not control, tears so copious they seemed to rival the output of the shower head.

Ten months ago today, my daughter Bryn and her children made the most heart-rending, gut-churning decision any human being has to make for another. For four days husband and father had been barely alive. Physically fit, active men in the prime of life are not supposed to suffer fatal strokes, but Keith did. Every test, every high-tech image, every consultation with Mayo Clinic doctors ended with the same conclusion: Keith would never again be Keith – not in this world. Heroic medical efforts and fervent prayer efforts combined were not enough. With a courage I had to admire from a distance, Bryn, Emmy and husband Nick, Joe and wife Melissa, Annie, Jesse, and Abby said their goodbyes, allowed Keith’s life to end naturally, and organs to be harvested to enrich and perhaps save the lives of others.

That was ten months ago today. And today Keith’s daughter – our granddaughter, Dr. Mary Emily Kreidel Fleming – is lying in a hospital bed in the mammoth San Antonio Military Medical Center where she is an Air Force physician. She is in her twenty-fifth week of pregnancy with her first child and our first great-grandchild, and will have to maintain bed rest for at least another eight weeks. I am so glad that when Emmy and Nick knew they were having a baby girl, they went ahead and named her Lyla Mae, because her name reminds us all that she is a real person. Not quite ready to leave the safety of the womb or the security of the umbilical, the ultrasound clearly shows a person, a lithe, feisty baby girl, eager to get on with life. We’re not praying for a blob of tissue, or even for a fetus; we’re praying for baby girl Lyla Mae.

My prayer in the shower this morning was hardly the longest or most eloquent I’ve ever uttered, but it was without doubt the most honest – Oh, dear God in heaven, please… please… please.

I don’t mind telling you that when our prayers for Keith were not answered to our liking, our faith was strained if not shattered. The fact that God apparently did not answer the prayers of his servants long ago or even the prayers of his own son in Gethsemane did little to ease our pain. I’ve tried to learn from the Old Testament book of Job how to act when family is taken, but how does family act when their Job is taken?

Both of our daughters were students at Abilene Christian University when Keith called one night to talk with me. “I would like permission to marry your daughter,” was his nervous request. It didn’t help him a bit when I blurted out, “Which one?” We quickly sorted that out and gave it a special place in our family lore. I always introduced Keith as our son-in-law so as not to confuse people, but we really thought of him and loved him as our third son. We don’t expect to ever get over the pain of Keith’s death, but by the grace of God we will get through it.

Thirty years ago, when Emmy was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where her parents were missionaries, Mary Margaret and I made our first trip to see our first grandchild. As we were leaving to return to our home in Memphis, a scene from Alex Haley’s television series Roots kept filling my mind. Remembering how the slave Kunta Kinte had held his baby daughter Kizzy high above his head and told her she was seeing the only power greater than herself, I took Emmy to an uncrowded section of the international airport in Rio, held her over my head, and pledged to always live before her in a God-honoring way, and to always remind her that God is the only power greater than she. Lyla Mae doesn’t know it yet, but she has a date with her great-granddaddy.

There’s something about the tribal custom of a Kunta Kinte that reminds me of the aged Simeon holding the baby Jesus and praising God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…” (Luke 2:29-30).

Oh, dear God in heaven, please… please… please.

36 comments:

  1. Such rich loving words.Trusting in my big, big God and praying for your sweet girl. (and for you and Nick's hearts and nerves)

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  2. Heart wrenchingly beautiful Emily. How very blessed you are to be surrounded by such strength, love and wisdom. Continued prayers for you and yours.

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  3. Delurking to say how much I hurt for you. Praying for you, Nick, and Lyla Mae. Ephesians 3:14-21 comforted me as much as anything could during my high risk pregnancy. (And I know some wonderful micro preemie moms who have beautiful, healthy babies if you want support from someone who really gets it.)

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  4. Not sure if I've ever commented before, but I just needed tell that you and your little girl are prayed for all over the world, even here in Holland.
    I'm also 25 weeks pregnant, but with a little boy, and I my heart just breaks for you that you're going through such a hard and scary time. I can't even imagine.
    But what a blessing your granddad is, his words are so beautiful, so honest and raw. You've got a good one there!
    Thinking and praying for you and little miss Lyla Mae!

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  5. Beautiful, heart wrenching words. Thoughts & prayers for you & Lyla Mae (love her name!)…keep growing, sweet baby girl!

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  6. I've always been a lurker but I just have to comment and say that I'm praying for you, Nick, and Miss Lyla. Sometimes the prayers are just "STAY IN THERE BABY STAY IN THERE" but I'm pretty sure God's okay with that, too.

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  7. I have been a lurker too...this is incredible. What an amazing heritage you have. Miss Lyla has an important date with her great-granddaddy...I will certainly be praying for all of you, especially over the next 8+ weeks. There is nothing God cannot do. He has Lyla Mae in His hands. He loves you all more than you can understand and will carry you! Praying!

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  8. Such powerful words, they brought tears to my eyes as I sit here praying for you and Nick and sweet baby Lyla! I can't wait to hear about Lyla's date with her great granddaddy. You are so blessed and loved by those that don't even know you! Hugs to you and many prayers!

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  9. My goodness, Em. I've never commented before, but I have to tell you how beautiful this was to me. What a true, incredible blessing to have both Lyla Mae and your sweet grandfather in your life. Prayers from NYC.

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  10. Your grandfather just brought me to tears...

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  11. Beautiful. Praying for you, Nick, Lyla Mae, and your entire family.

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  12. Your grandfathers plea brought tears to my eyes. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I am sure that your baby already feels the amazing love that her family has for her. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. I've never commented before, but I've often read your blog over the last few months. I am so so sorry for all of the pain and grief you're going through and I join your grandfather in pleading to God for dear Lyla Mae's life. <3

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  14. What a beautiful prayer. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man. I don't often comment on your blog (but I do read) and I just wanted you to know that you have an arsenal of strangers praying for you, Nick and sweet Lyla Mae all over the US. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to sit in bed for 9 weeks, but you can do it. You rock lady. Keep incubating!! ;)

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  15. Absolutely beautiful, wonderful, touching words! Thinking of you, your husband, your baby girl and your family! Stay strong!

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  16. Beautiful. Prayers of healing, comfort, peace and health going up.

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  17. "Lyla Mae doesn’t know it yet, but she has a date with her great-granddaddy." that did me in. Such a wise and wonderful man your grandpa is. Someone i would like to know one day. You know I am praying for you and thinking of you every day. You can do this. I love you

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  18. Oh Emily, I can't imagine what your grandfather's words did to you since I am sitting here a body filled by chills, eyes filled with tears, lump in the throat. What a special legacy your family has and what a date Lyla Mae WILL HAVE will her great granddaddy. So much love to you as you pray and wait for the weeks to pass and the time to come, never too soon, to meet your little love.

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  19. Incredibly beautiful words spoken by what seems like an amazing man. We are rooting for you and little Lyla - praying that she too gets her time to shine.

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  20. Emily, long time reader but have never commented. Your writing and your honesty are inspiring. Tears in my eyes after reading this. Can't wait to see your Lyla Mae--love the name. Wishing you all the best. xo.

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  21. Emily, you don't know me...but I am praying fervently for you and sweet Lyla Mae. May His peace surround you and Nick and your precious baby.

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  22. I'm sobbing over here. I can't stop crying. Its a bit of the ache for a friend, being moved from these words, and the understanding from one mother's heart to another. My prayers will be with you every day till Lyla makes it safely here Em. Love you!

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  23. To be honest, I am not much of a pray-er. But after reading your grandfather's beautiful words, I feel compelled to pray for mercy. I certainly hope that someone or something is out there is looking out for your sweet little girl. And for her mama too. Stay put little Lyla!!!

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  24. Thanks for sharing with us, the world, what's going on in your world. I am praying for that date, for continued hope, and for strength when feel like you just cant stand it anymore.

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  25. Your grandfather is a very good writer. I am praying for you and baby Lyla. Love her name.

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  26. Such beautiful words. You are so lucky to have a grandpa like that! I am praying for your family and your sweet precious little baby girl.

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  27. such beautiful words!!! Love her name!!!

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  28. What lovely words. Good thoughts coming your way in keeping that baby put for a while so she can grow bigger and stronger. A close friend of mine also has a Lyla...what a pretty name!

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  29. That was beautiful! Lyla is so lucky she has you as her mama.

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  30. Dear Emily, God is with you. I know it seems hard to believe or feel that sometimes, but He is. The ONLY thing He wants for us, His children, is that we embrace the blessings he gives us. In the whole scheme of things, staying in bed will be so worth it. You are struggling for your daughter. Give that struggle up to the Lord. He will take it from you. Enjoy this time - the ONLY time you will ever have a chance to lie in a bed for days on end - because once Layla is born, it's over. Please stay strong, please give the Lord your problems and try not to worry. I am praying for you in New Prague, Minnesota.

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  31. So many tears reading this and so many prayers being sent to you and your baby girl.

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  32. Oh no this is worrying news. Let go of that shit magnet! You keep that baby in the pot lady. Superglue that's what you need, superglue! Laughter is the best medicine :-)
    Keep strong. Heaps of positivity to you from Wales, UK.
    Di
    X

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  33. What an amazing Grandfather, they are such a shining light in our lives. I have been praying and thinking of you guys over here for a long time now. I pray that sweet Llya Mae countinues to flourish and grow, and hope that all 3 of you can feel the love everyone is sending hold you up.xo

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  34. So so beautiful Emily, I'm praying for you and sweet Lyla Mae.

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  35. I think our babies could be birthday buddies. I was 25 weeks on the 19th :) I have to go for my anti-d injection and a glucose test in the next few weeks.

    Sending up prayers for your family and for Lyla Mae that she hangs on in there.

    We are having a surprise but I think baby is a girl - I keep wondering if I'm just going nuts and she will actually be a he.

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