Friday, August 17, 2007

It's All a Matter of Perspective

For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
From the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:3,4)

Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling when the front end of your car crashes into another vehicle? ("Oh no! This changes everything.") Or perhaps have you ever been the subject of a dull headache when something that you'd forgotten to do comes to mind and you then hadn't the time to finish it? ("Well, this messes it all up!") Or the 'classic:' you're sitting in the car or airplane, well on your way to your destination, and that "What did I forget to pack?" thought finally dies away when you remember what you did indeed forget? ("There's a wrench thrown into this vacation.") The troubles that come with these instances are usually trivial and, at worst, inconvenient. They are also a weak comparison to my recent shift of perspective, but I hope that they will help you begin to understand what happened in my own life on July 25, 2007, a day I'm sure I will never forget.

Wednesdays are usually very uneventful for me: I go to work, I eat my chicken sandwich for lunch, I go home and hug my wonderful girls. This Wednesday was different, though; at the doctor's office we would learn whether Marianna's new sibling was a boy or a girl! I left the office before the morning was in full swing and Angie called my cellphone; we love to talk to each other when we're both in the car, so this was normal and fitting. Other than both of us fretting over whether I'd make it to doctor's office before Angie was taken to the ultrasound room, I don't remember much of our phone call. But I do remember one thing: Angie expressed concern and said, "I hope everything is OK." Stepping into the "everything will turn out fine" shoes that every husband wears from time to time, I appropriately told her, "everything will turn out fine." I wouldn't say that I was wrong in fact, but I would say that I was wrong in my perspective...

You know what happened. After visiting two different doctors and crying many tears, my perspective changed. Not, of course, like my earlier examples, but in a way where the norm of everyday life comes wildly and painfully screeching to a halt. Not trivially, not inconveniently, but totally. My morning perspective had been happy and excited and carefree; my afternoon perspective became sorrowful and nervous and anxious. We couldn't yet put a name on our dear Poppy's condition, but we could clearly see that she was not as we expected. Everything had changed.

I've since thought about Psalm 139, where David speaks to God:
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I have always believed those verses, but I've never believed them as now. Poppy herself is no accident; her condition is no mistake. Sure, this disease is the result of sin, but God Himself has formed our baby with His wisdom. Much as a skilled artist's practiced hands weave a beautiful tapestry, but far better, is how God's hands have woven our dear daughter.

So, I was wrong about what I said. Everything had not turned out "fine" as I had meant it. But, everything has turned out "fine" considering God's plan. Moses wrote, "His work is perfect," remember? I believed that before, but it's changed me now.

I was wrong about my perspective, too. Not everything had changed, just everything that Nathan had planned. The doctor's findings hadn't changed Poppy. Truth hadn't changed. God's plan hadn't changed. God's provision hadn't changed. Neither had His word, or His strength, or His comfort.

Poppy is beautiful. I don't care what anyone says, she's perfect and she's whole. I might have thought before July 25th that I wouldn't want her to be the way she is, but she is the way she is and I can't change her. God has made her, and I don't want her any other way.


Linda/Emme said...

Oh, my dear son, how I hurt for you and yet rejoice at your incredible faith and perfect perspective. (I just this moment noticed the title of your post.) I know that God is well pleased w/ you and Angie for your continued dependence upon and love for Him and His special plan for the life of your family.
I love you all...Mom

Jana said...

Nathan, I love you dearly. What else can I say?

Roderick said...

Nathan, you quoted from my favorite passage of Scripture: Psalm 139, which has given me the same eternal perspective and hope that you have received from it. In fact, I once memorized the entire chapter. I need to do it again! Each of us is, indeed, "fearfully and wonderfully made (vs. 14)." I love you all! Uncle Rod

Greg said...

It's good to be able to read your words about this, Nathan. You're right on track, as far as I can tell, and I'm sure God is so pleased with the way that you and Angie are dealing with your trial.

I know I'm very forgetful about things that aren't right in front of me, but the strength you and Angie are sharing with those that care for you and your situation is unforgettable to me. I pray for Poppy every day, and I thank God that He's shared her with you and Angie, two people who are capable of loving her despite the difficulties. I love and pray for you both.

Mandy said...

Hi. I found your blog from Copeland's mom, Boothe. I am so sorry you are walking this road right now. My husband and I lost our little girl, Madeline Grace, to T18 on June 8. She lived for 12 precious hours and we would not change her and that time for anything. She was perfect to us and we love and miss her so much each day. Please let me know if I can help you in any way. I will be praying for your strength, peace, and healing.


Sarah said...

Nathan and Angie, what an honor to be able to pray for you guys during this journey. We are so blessed by the strength and hope you are expressing in the midst of such heartache. Thanks for sharing your heart so we can pray for you so specifically! Please know that we love you and are praying not only for the two of you but also for your families and sweet Poppy!
Tim and Sarah S.

Anonymous said...

Nathan & Angie-

I found out about your blog through Brandi (McBroome) Reaves. We recently lost our precious baby on March 15th of this year. She was born with Trisomy 13. We did not know anything was wrong until after she was born. I carried her almost to term (37 weeks) and she spent 3 weeks in Ark. Children's Hospital when she was born. She was with us for 8 wonderful months. I am thankful for the time I had with her, and I know I will see her again. She is our own little angel watching over us in heaven. You are in our prayers, I know God is watching over you. Jenny Buhler

Jeanne & Phil said...

Nathan and Angie....God has done a beautiful work in you and through you now. Your faith is active and alive. Thank you for your unselfish act in letting us see through this blog, a window into your hearts as you walk through this journey. We love you so much