Hailey’s Purpose

February 18, 2010 at 2:29 PM 5 comments

To my readers: Finally, I’m taking time to write the post I’ve been longing to write. I hope that as many people read this post as possible – so please share with others if you feel led to. This is a long one. I tried to make it short, but I honestly could probably write an entire book about this post, and I know this post will still not do Hailey’s story justice, but it’s a start. So please take the time to read the entire thing if you can. Oh and you may be wondering why I’m writing in pink – I want to make sure this post stands out. 🙂

On December 4, 2009, when Hailey was three days old, in a NICU at the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, doctors told us that Hailey had full Trisomy 18, a lethal genetic disorder. On that day, our worst fear was realized, our baby was going to die.

QUESTIONS

There were so many questions I had and that others had and have in these situations. Why did our baby have to be sick? Why did she have to die? Why did this happen to her, a fragile little baby? Why did this happen to us, young, healthy, good people? Why did we have to lose our first child? Why do we have to experience this painful loss as young parents? What does this all mean? What good is there in this terrible situation? Where is God in this?

GOD SPEAKS

I prayed and prayed. I talked to God, a lot. I asked Him so many questions – many of those mentioned above. On December 29, 2009, when Hailey was 4 weeks old, I attempted to soak away my troubles and stress in a hot bath. There, alone in the tub, I broke down into heavy weeping and started a conversation with God that I wrote down in my journal and will never forget for the rest of my life. God will speak to us if we listen. And that night He spoke to me with clarity that I had never experienced before.


Here is some of what I wrote in my journal that night:

“God has given us our first child… a daughter…with a lethal genetic disorder…she most likely won’t see her 1st birthday…and all I am left with is: WHY????”

That is the big question after all – what everyone wants to know – WHY.

Here are the flow of my thoughts that followed:

“Is it punishment? Is it because God doesn’t want us to have kids? Then why let me get pregnant God? Why let us marry with the hopes of starting a family? Where are you in this God? Do you not want me to be a mom? Am I too selfish? too sinful? Does it have to do with problems and sin in our life?”

And then came my ‘conversation’ with God that I recorded in my journal. As I started having thoughts and questions – responses would pop back at me – thoughts kept coming into my head and heart out of nowhere – I believe this was God speaking to me. Here is what I wrote in my journal as I ‘conversed’ with God that night, a week before Hailey passed away:

Me: God, I wanted to be a mom so badly.

God: You ARE a mom.

Me: I wanted a child.

God: I gave you one. A special one. I let you meet her and spend time with her.

Me: Does she know I’m her mom?

God: Yes. She can’t express it to you now. She will know you in Heaven. She will experience more joy and love than imaginable when she goes. She’ll wait for you. You will be with her again. In perfection.

Me: But God, I will miss her so badly until then.

God: I will heal you.

Me: Why did she have to be sick? Why does she have to die?

God: I have a purpose. I created her. Your world is imperfect, and I will make her perfect in Heaven.

Me: But why send her here like this?

God: To show the world Me. What Faith is. Through Hailey. Through you and Josh.

Me: What if I can’t do it? I don’t want to see her die.

God: …You can. She’ll be better in Heaven….

I had more questions and things I wrote in my journal, but that was the end of God blessing me with understanding that night.

PURPOSE

There is a purpose, or maybe even countless purposes, in Hailey’s life and her death. Her life wasn’t a cruel punishment from God. The situation isn’t cruel and meaningless and hopeless. It’s all the opposite. He has a plan, even if it isn’t ours.

God poured out His blessings on us by giving us Hailey. He allowed us to become pregnant and have a child and have those awesome experiences of pregnancy and birth that not everyone can have. Before we even knew anything was wrong with Hailey, we were in awe of the miraculous creation of a baby. Having her, even in all her ‘imperfection,’ we were more in awe of God’s miraculous creation. God blessed us by giving us the privilege of being a mother and a father, and we will always have that privilege even if our daughter isn’t here with us.

When I saw and learned of all the health problems Hailey had, my definition of beauty changed, my perspective changed. Beauty is not perfection, as I had long thought and as our society teaches. Beauty is love. Love is beauty. Creation is beauty. Everything that God creates has beauty. The day I first laid eyes on my daughter, I saw the beauty in her. I didn’t see her through my ‘normal’ eyes – those eyes that had once feared what I would do or think if I saw an ‘imperfect’ baby. I didn’t see ugliness. I didn’t see imperfection. I didn’t see any of that. It was there. But instead, I saw Hailey through God’s eyes that day and every day after. I saw her through the eyes of love. She was beautiful. Life is beautiful, all life.

Her life, the fragile life of a baby, a life that we were told could be gone at any moment, taught us a lot about life. The cliches you sometimes hear became more real to us than ever before. She taught us to truly live in the moment. Treasure each day. She made us appreciate how fragile and unique and wonderful life is. She taught us that we’re not guaranteed anything but the moment that we’re in. Don’t take life, any life, for granted. Hailey made us appreciate things more. She made us appreciate life more. She made us have a greater understanding of God’s creation and how miraculous it is. She even made us appreciate the little things that we take for granted – like breathing, eating, etc.

People sometimes think it’s so normal and effortless for a baby to arrive here, for a baby to take his/her first breaths, for a baby to take a bottle or breast, for a baby to grow and develop, and so on. But each of those things are such miraculous accomplishments for all babies – our baby made us see that as she struggled to do those ‘normal’ things. Success for Hailey wasn’t learning to crawl or learning to talk – those milestones parents long for. Success for Hailey was redefined – success was her breathing on her own. Success was her taking a bottle. Success was her consuming more than 10ml of breast milk in a feeding. Success was her letting out a burp. People tend to dislike things like poopy diapers – we literally cheered when Hailey got a poopy diaper because  it meant her digestive system was functioning properly. People tend to dislike crying babies – we were happy many times that Hailey cried because it meant she was breathing. I could go on and on. Not many people could have seen her life as successful or thought she could accomplishment a lot – but she was and did.

Her successes showed us what strength and courage are – and that even babies have them. She had a lot of health problems and had surgery and stitches and I could go on and on. She had so much working against her. But God showed us His strength, courage, and healing in her. No He didn’t take away all of her problems or her disorder, but He worked a lot of miraculous healing in her. So much healing that we were able to bring her home and have many peaceful days with her that I will always treasure in my heart.

Hailey, and God, also changed our marriage. The night before Hailey passed away was probably the best night of my entire life.  We were all in bed together – I had my husband, my daughter in my arms, and our dog snuggled up in the blankets. My family all together in that moment. That night I felt an abundance of love, joy, peace.  Everything was “right.” Now, I should mention that Josh and I have struggled to spend time with God as a married couple in the past, and I had bought us a new devotional to read for Christmas. That night, God brought us all together, and Josh read the first day of our devotional while I held Hailey and Opie slept at the foot of our bed. It was wonderful, and we have not missed a devotional since. Every night we do our devotional together. The only thing missing these nights is Hailey, but we keep her picture in our devotional book, so she still remains with us in a way. That night was awesome for our marriage, I can’t really explain the greatness in it, so you just have to trust me on this one. Hailey truly brought us together as a couple. God used her to do that. Josh and I talk about that night a lot. To us it seemed like Hailey and God decided that night that her work here on earth was done, she could go Home now.

The most evident impact Hailey’s life has had on my own has to do with my faith. I have had my faith since high school, but never has it been as strong as it is now since Hailey came into my life. I pray more. I spend more time in His word. I worship more. God continues to use Hailey, her life, her death, and my grief to reveal himself to me and teach me about my faith – many of these things come through in a lot of my posts. God showed me what love is. God showed me His love. God taught me there is joy in sorrow and hope when it seems hopeless. He reminded me He is always with me. He worked so many blessings and miracles in Hailey and in our lives. He showed me that He will carry me, give me strength, and heal me. And He has done so much more…

I’ll briefly mention a little bit from the pastor’s message at Hailey’s memorial service – he focused on the question we were/are all asking: where is God in this? God was with Hailey when she was born (Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5) and is with her now (Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14). And God is with each of us in our grief (The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Pslam 34:18).

So what was the purpose of our daughter being born with a lethal genetic disorder like full Trisomy 18? What was the purpose of her short life of 36 days? Ultimately, I believe God used Hailey to reveal Himself to me, Josh, and many others. He used her to bring glory to Himself. God continues to use Hailey to do these things even though she is gone. Her short life full of struggles was not in vain. God could not have revealed so many things about life and Himself in any other situation… It’s kind of funny how many times in the Bible God used babies to do such great things. Such tiny, fragile, beings have such tremendous power – think of Moses and the story of his life as a baby, think of how the Savior of our universe came into the world – a way in which no one expected…

Even now after I’ve received a lot of clarity and understanding in this dark time, I wonder sometimes, why us, why did this have to happen to us. We are good people with morals and faith. We’re healthy. We work hard. Etc. And I get frustrated when I see parents with young children in stores who are filthy, clearly unhealthy, rude, mean, etc. and I can’t help bu get mad that they have their children and I don’t have mine. But I know why God gave us Hailey. He knew we would take care of her. He knew we’d keep her.  He knew we’d give her the best life she could have. He knew we’d love her. He knew we could handle it. He knew we wouldn’t see it as cruelty and pain. He knew we could find the blessings and the joy. He knew He could work good in it. Other couples and parents might not have been able to love Hailey like we did. Many end up choosing to end a life like Hailey’s rather than embracing it. It absolutely breaks my heart and makes me sick when I think about that… So… when I have those thoughts of frustrations about why other people have healthy babies, and we had our Hailey, those frustrations are brief and eventually go away. Because we know that God chose us for Hailey for a reason. We loved her like no one else would. And God chose to bless us in return by experiencing a love for her and a joy found in her that is indescribable.

To those of you reading who are blessed to have children, cherish them. Every minute. Cherish it. Love on them with all you have. Hold them closer, hug them tighter, kiss them more. To those of you who don’t/can’t have children or who have experienced loss like I have, I hope you find some encouragement and inspiration in what can be a very dark situation. I pray that everyone that knew Hailey or knows about her story will also see God’s love and know He is real and He is not a distant or cruel God.  And I pray that God continues to use Hailey to affect people’s lives for the better.

Many people have come to me in various ways, a brief conversation, a card, an email, etc. and have told me how Hailey has impacted their lives. I plan to write another post soon on that topic. It is all more evidence of God’s plan in using Hailey’s life for good…

My Miraculous Daughter

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Entry filed under: Hailey, Trisomy 18. Tags: , , , , , .

Punching pillows angry Something to read and think about…

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ileamarie  |  February 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    I love the pink! This post was so good to read because it’s nice to know that miracles are real. I loved reading your conversation with God and happy that for that instant you had the clarity you needed to make it through. I ask why about a lot of things, but what I am learning from you is that the why is not always the important question and that sometimes I need to back off and let life happen and trust that I can handle what comes. You are surrounded by such love and I am still really glad that you and Josh have been able to use your life with Hailey to be closer to each other-that in itself is a blessing. Keep holding tight to one another 🙂 Love you!

    Reply
  • 2. Krystle  |  February 18, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    This post is truly amazing. Krissy you are so right and I am so encouraged by how you have walked through this journey with God. What a testimony to His love, His faithfulness and His hand in everything. I am holding back tears as I write this. You have such a real understanding of God’s purpose now and sharing it with all of us is something I thank you for. Hailey is and always will be a blessed child of God and you and Josh are blessed as her parents. Thank you for sharing your heart – all of it – and thank you for your openness and honesty. Your story is inspiring. Makes me want to grow in Him in so many ways that I see my own weakness. I pray that God will continue to bless you and Josh through all of this and continue to use Hailey’s life as he already is – to show others real, true, and perfect love – the kind that can only come from Christ. Great job on the blog! Thank you!

    Reply
  • 3. Laura  |  February 18, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Krissy,

    You are so right about everything that you wrote. I wonder how God could give such wisdom and insight to someone so young…yet He does! It is so evident that God spoke to you. And I believe that God gave you Hailey because He knew He could trust you & Josh to love her. You are right in saying that would not have been the case with just anybody. And I marvel at the work God is still doing in your life and Josh’s life – there are many people who will be touched, healed, & ministered to by the two of you because you both are choosing to pursue God even in the midst of hardship, pain, and suffering. I don’t know what your future holds, but God has plans (and they are big!) for you & Josh. He loves you so much and cries with you and hugs you when you are sad. Thanks for sharing this…it encourages me to press on when times are hard and to know that God is good & loving & kind – even in the midst of the darkness in this world. May God continue to show you His glory! Blessings to you, Laura

    Reply
  • 4. kvanderlip  |  February 19, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    Scripture I came across last night that I feel reflects our situation and this blog post:

    “…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
    1 Peter 1: 6-9

    Reply
  • 5. Walt  |  February 19, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Thank you for your wonderful message. It encourages all of us to think a little more deeply into ourselves & our lives. Jean & Walt.

    Reply

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Dedication

"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." ~Job 1:21

In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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