It has been four months since Lexi passed away. This past week my mind has been flooded by the memories of her battle with liver failure. While she was sick I prayed so many things out of complete desperation! One specific day stands out to me right now. I remember calling Donna to check on Lexi because I was driving back to school at the end of my Christmas break. She informed me that Lexi was getting worse. At this point she had developed a severe infection that was not getting any better & would once again be flown back to St. Louis. When I hung up the phone I began to sob uncontrollably! I remember screaming at God. "Lord heal her! You can fix this! Just snap your fingers & give her a new liver! End our pain! Stop allowing this! Please God help her! I'll do anything! Please!" As I drove my mind was flooded with the possibility of losing Lexi. I didn't want to let myself think about that. Instead, I continued to tell myself that Lexi wasn't mine. I love her with all of my heart & she as well as everyone else in her family had become a precious part of my family, but they have become mine because God placed them in my life for a purpose. I began to quote Psalm 139 to myself, reminding me that God had knit Lexi together & had a specific plan for her. My role in this difficult time was to trust Him to take care of His child. I was beginning to understand that although this precious little girl that I loved with all my heart had a terminal illness, she was also the little girl that God loved with all His heart, a little girl that He had created to spend an eternity with Him.
I was so desperate for a sign that God was going to heal Lexi & allow her to live a normal life that I would read the stories of the miracles He performed in the Bible over & over again. I read of the Father who brings his child to Jesus in Mark 9 & prays "Lord I believe, help me with my disbelief." This is where I truly was! I believed with all of my heart that He would heal Lexi whether it be on this earth or in her permanent home, my struggle was the disbelief I felt. I had a deep desire to control the circumstance! I wanted to make her well! I wanted my plan for her life to be God's plan. When we received her liver I was convinced that God was finally answering our prayers for healing. This horrific battle would soon be over & I would enjoy watching Lexi grow up into a Christian woman. A week after she received her transplant my hopes & dreams were shattered! I have never been so crushed in spirit as I was when I received the phone call that my precious baby girl had gone to heaven. All the words left my body & I fell to the ground & sobbed! So many things were going through my mind. I remember feeling as though I was having a nightmare. I kept telling myself "This can't be real! Wake up! This isn't happening! She got her liver!" As the next several days went on & I came home to be with her family the reality that I will never hold Lexis again on this earth became evident. Everything I had ever dreamed of for Lexi had been shattered!
Since losing Lexi so many people have commented on the strength they have seen in all of us, but to be honest four months later my emotions have not changed much! I have spent this entire time trying to convince everyone around me that I am okay with this tragedy, because I love the Lord. I've always viewed ministers as the people who always have it together & I felt like I had to live up to such a standard. I had to keep it together in the midst of tragedy. I've spent the last week at summer camp with my Contact kids. As always in ministry, your faith gets tested. A set of 7 year old twin girls went to camp with us. One of the twins wears glasses & the other doesn't, like Lexi & Lindsey. They also have blonde hair. One of the twins was in my cabin. I had met these girls a year ago & told them that our family had a set of identical twin girls too. Not knowing any different, Hailey, asked me how our twins were. Before I could answer one of my other 7 year olds, Cathleen, said "Lexi passed away this year. She had a bad liver." Then she turned to me and said, "Miss Kayla, you aren't so sad anymore! God is making you better! I remember when you cried while you prayed in front of the Church before Lexi's funeral." My response was, "I'm sorry you had to see that Cathleen." She went on to say, "You had to cry! I remember when you prayed you said you wanted to praise God even though Lexi died."
For the first time since Lexi passed away I have come to the realization that it is in my brokenness that God's glory shines! And because of that I can be real about my pain! The reality is that I do not have it together at all! I miss Lexi so much! My heart aches about the things I will never see her do! Every time I put Lindsey to bed I can't help but look at the left side of her bed & realize that Lexi should be laying there beside her. But I serve a God who has never allowed me to walk on my own! He has always carried me through the things I cannot do on my own & once again He is right here saying "Kayla, I will carry you!" Even though it will always be hard to look at Lexi's side of the bed & see it empty, the empty space she left in their bed reminds me of an empty tomb that was left by my Lord. There was a day when God gave up His child to die upon a cross & three days later a tomb was found empty. Because of that empty tomb someday I will hold Lexi again! When I put Lindsey to bed the other night she said, "Lexi's in heaven! She not want to come home cause she loves heaven!" I started to cry & Linds said, "Kayla, not cry! Your body will wear out too & you can be with Lexi in heaven." In the past week I have thought so much about the words Lindsey told me that night. She is right! Lexi doesn't want to come home! She was not created to spend a life here, but rather to spend a life in Heaven with her Father. Until I get to join Lexi in my heavenly home I will strive to trust God to carry me through this loss. He will carry me through the pain, the questions why, the longing for what used to be, & the desire to change our circumstances! He is my rock & my salvation. In Him my heart is fulfilled!
Psalm 73:23 "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, & afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh & heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever."