Monday, July 27, 2009


Talking is an amazing act of the brain, vocal cords, tongue, and mouth. It's what we use to communicate our heart, our feelings. By using this tool we convey to other people who we are. We base our opinions of people a lot by what they say. We use quotes from people who died many years ago. Sometimes we are not sure what to say, and the wrong words come out at the wrong time. We want other people to share their feelings but we might have to ask a simple question first. That simple question is the bridge, a bridge into people's hearts. Picture with me an old concrete bridge-the kind with big round holes in the bottom for boats to pass through. There is a break in this bridge. Across the gap there is a skinny two by four. Caring questions are that bridge. They open the way to meaningful conversation, heart feelings, intense struggle. They might be what that person needs to feel God right at that minute. A person can be intensely lonely but a question can change it all around in minutes. A person might be hurting but a question can bring that person out of despair and straight to Jesus. One might be thinking nobody cares, but your kind question is an act of "a little of Christ" to him or her. We are generally scared of talking, especially in anything involving intense pain. We are scared to ask that simple question. On the other hand, if asked that question - some of us are afraid to be honest. Bridging the gap is so intense because Satan loves to make us feel alone, lost, and in despair. Martyr style is great for him. Jesus wants us to bridge that gap; He calls us to be caring, gently guides us to ask questions, and gives us the strength to relay our feelings to others so they know how to care for us. Talking also connects happenings in our lives. Situations change us - to talk bridges that gap and connects us to the person we are talking with. It connects us because we feel care, love, and concern for each other when we talk.

Today two people stand out in my mind when I think about talking. Both of these people wouldn't have had to ask me any questions, they wouldn't have had to share personal experiences with me. But they did, they braved it and looked me in the eye. They cared enough to take the time to encourage me. They were "a little of Christ" to me. The one person I met briefly maybe twice. The other I had never met before. In turn, I listened intently to their words, their story. I cared about their pain in ways that I wouldn't have before. If only I could have been like this without being in such intense pain myself. Jesus did it-I want to do it to. Matthew 5:15 reads "Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Kira was just turning into a little lady. She was leaving the two year old world and entering the world of a three year old. Linda, my sister-in-law shared a memory with me this weekend of the last time she had been with Kira. When we arrived for Christmas, Kira came up shyly beside her and said: "Hi". So sweet, so her. I can feel her beside me now saying: "thanks for supper, mom". I guess God makes the little ones who are more high maintenance sweet so the good outweighs the bad. They are heart melters.

Thanks to all of you who bridge the gap bravely in our lives. You are daring to walk onto that narrow path holding us by the hand. You have encouraged us gently to talk - to share our feelings and intense struggles. We will never be able to repay you but you have drawn us to Jesus. Thanks especially for praying for us last weekend. The hole Kira left is huge and it hurt so much to go on vacation and have a good time without her. But again, talking with our family helped so much!

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, July 20, 2009


We say it all the time-coincidence. We believe it as we hear a crazy story. We act as if it were coincidence when we tell something that happened. We walk down the road and just happen to see a friend. We call someone and they were going to call me-it just happened..? We read a book and it just happens to meet a need. We open our Bible to read and find just the right verse. Do things just happen? Is there anything like coincidence? The last four months I have been thinking a lot about the whole ordeal and since then. The many things that have happened were so right. When I called 911 - I believe God arranged which operator would answer. She responded with exactly what I needed; she has touched me in ways I didn't expect. In a matter of three minutes my neighbor was charging in the house - I didn't even know him then. He came complete with an EMT license and a bag of medical emergency stuff. In seven minutes the ambulance was here and Kira was in the ambulance. It wasn't coincidence...this is amazing...this is God. This was so fast for everything to happen! I know all this because the emergency operator was timing it. In fifteen minutes Kira was at the hospital. At Hershey she didn't just happen to have the right nurses. They were all so gentle and caring. I firmly believe we had the perfect nurse for each day we were there. Coincidence - no...God! The doctor she had was exactly the right one-the more he learned about her, the more he loved her. He sorrowed and wept right with us. God knew we needed him - it was no coincidence. Since then I could recall countless times when I received cards with exactly the right verses and words from people who care. I could tell of numerous times when my devotional in the evening was exactly what I had been thinking all day. The one night after writing a blog and using a verse, that same verse was in my devotional. Coincidence - no...God! God is so much bigger then we think He is. It is so beyond our comprehension how insignificant we are, how God can be everywhere at one time, and how much He cares for us. These things I mentioned here are from God. I don't believe in coincidence anymore. There have been too many. I firmly believe that God is the controller of this universe and every little detail that happens in it. Yes - bad things happen. Bad things happened to me - but look how God cared for us in spite of it all. I can't get around it-I honor the God of heaven and earth!

In the morning when I am doing breakfast for my guests I miss Kira so much. She often woke earlier than the other two. If I was finished making breakfast I would hold her on the rocking chair and rock and cuddle her. I would sit there as long as she wanted. It was her "momma time". Last week I was thinking so much about it and missing her. What do you know, that morning Anna woke early and has been every morning since. Coincidence - no...God! No, she won't replace Kira but it was a touch of heaven to me. I miss those momma times with Kira...Jesus, please hold Kira for me. Oh, the pain that goes with trusting that Jesus knows how to care for her is beyond words.

Merlin's bad days are definitely getting fewer. Praise God with us for that! Thanks so much for caring and praying. The next two weeks look trying to us, since both our families will be spending time together; and so, our first family vacations without Kira. Please pray that we would feel God's grace in real ways. In some ways it looks impossible....

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wanted: a Map

Today is my birthday. On my birthday I like to plan a little about the next year. What will I do, who will I become, what would I like to change to become a better person? Today, July 13, 2009 I wish for a map. A map that would tell me where to go in life, with all my feelings and thoughts. A map that would give me some kind of direction of how all my sorrow and pain will become redeemed and beautiful at the foot of the cross. A map to tell me how to let it be redeemed-how to let it become beautiful. A map to direct if I should go east, west, north, or south. Right now I feel like I am being pulled in all directions. They are interpreted by denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and the most encompassing one: acceptance. The acceptance one is a pull that feels like all directions at once. Also the most confusing - because I will never be okay with what happened to Kira. My acceptance has to do with being redeemed by Jesus. I wish this map would also tell me who I will become after this fight. How do I know what to feel if I can't see the end result? I have no idea who I will become, or who I am even trying to become because I am not trying to become anyone and yet I am changing. But really what has changed is the direction I am goal is heaven more then ever before. There is a map to heaven - it is the written word of God. That can be frustrating because I have trouble absorbing what I read. So that brings me back to the beginning: I wish for a map. But alas, there is none to tell me exactly where to go, what to feel. It is uncharted territory. I have never been here before. I have no experience. No one else does either because every situation is different. Sure - advice and insight help tremendously but really in the end it is us, Kira, and what happened. And the power I tend to forget about, the one who will guide me if I just let Him, the one who waits until I ask for direction: Jesus. I have been thinking about this for weeks already and already God brought a major happening into my life that was far beyond anything I imagined would ever happen. The healing I experienced from the happening was amazing and real. From this experience I can trust more easily that God is in control. But it takes a tremendous amount of trust and being okay with the "lost" feeling.

Last year on my birthday we went to Chili's restaurant. We took the girls along. We had a great time, only I never got to eat my food. I had to bring it home and eat it later. We were so busy keeping the three girls happy I didn't even mind eating it later. If I remember right the keeping happy became a joke: Marlea fussing, Kira's tummy hurt, and Anna was crying. I wished for it tonight. We were only four tonight and each of us was quite well behaved in comparison. The fifth person would maybe have been acting like a little lady, too? It was almost like I could reach out and feel her presence. And yet if I tried it was unattainable, just beyond my reach. The hole.....

Pray that we will continue to trust our heavenly Father, and that we will feel His deep love for us. Pray that we would see glimpses of His Map as a touch of His reassurance that He does indeed love us.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, July 6, 2009


Disconnected-that's how I feel. Over four months later I find myself wondering "Did this really happen to me, am I sure it happened, is it just a bad dream?" I look outside and see someone walking past on the road or next door-maybe it happened to them and not me. I see someone at the store-maybe that was their child I heard about. I meet a car on the road-maybe it is them with an empty car seat. I have trouble remembering who I am. I have trouble remembering what the pain is that I am feeling so strongly. I get mixed up and upset about strange things that have no significance in comparison to the real pain that I feel. I have trouble identifying the issue when my children are upset...after all - what really are they feeling? How am I to know when their little minds don't understand everything. So I falter, guess, and guess again. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am way off. Usually they are just like me: confused, searching, and hurting. Sometimes I need to be reminded that it is summer and not fall or winter. How would I know when I can hardly recognize beauty? I look at a picture of the five of us and wonder who those people were. I wish with all my heart to feel the middle child on that picture and know her now, today. In that I remember the pain, reality, the happenings of the last months. Today I remembered it by reading the blog from Feb. 24th. Tears came, I couldn't deny that it's not true. It sounded too familiar. I am the mother, we are the family, it is our child/sister. She is gone, my worst nightmare became reality. I am not the same, and I never will be. I am confused, hurting, wounded and it's okay. Someday there will be no more pain, sickness, death, sorrow, or crying. I will live today with life in perspective of heaven because there is no other way to live. I will live today knowing that God has me in the palm of His hand because there is no other way I can survive. I will live today because I am blessed to have two little girls yet to care for and a husband who loves me.

As I lay in bed tonight putting Marlea to sleep I was reminded of Kira. She was sometimes scary to lay beside. Not so much the last six months as before that. If she was mad at you for some reason, you needed to watch out. She had strong legs and very good aim. Somehow, she always managed to get me in the stomach with a good sound kick. If it wasn't the stomach it was my face. The aim was impeccable and produced some kind of fulfillment for her. Her mother - on the other hand - was not at all amused.

Everyone's encouragement to us is very uplifting. We continue to thank you all for it. It is so nice to read back over all these encouraging notes when I need an extra lift. Words can not express my gratitude. Merlin is still doing okay. He took another blood test and the infection antibody levels remain about the same. That was a bit discouraging, it would be nice to see improvement. Pray that we will not be discouraged!

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna