Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Annie Taught Me

After a bath--August 2010
It's been almost five months since Annie died. Five months to reflect on her brief life, five months to miss her, and five months to think about the good things that sifted out through the bad. I learned much from that little girl.

She taught me that every person has value, no matter what their physical or intellectual limitations.
Annie could do very little for herself. She couldn't eat, walk, or talk. Her contribution to society--as if a person needs to "do" something in order to have permission to live--seemed to consist of one thing, and that was the daily testing of my character. Well, I guess her other contribution was that she was pretty darn cute.

She taught me to trust God even when the answers to my prayers were "No."
I love to get "yes" answers to my prayers--who doesn't? But often when praying for Annie, the answer was no. Or worse yet, sometimes it seemed like there just was no answer. But most times, even when the answer seemed to be out there floating somewhere, I felt His presence in spite of the incredible challenges of caring for Annie. And many times, I felt God's comfort and strength through the prayers you offered.

She taught my other kids compassion for people with disabilities.
They learned to not be afraid of people with disabilities; that people who have disabilities need love and respect--just like anyone else.

She taught us to treasure each moment with our friends and loved ones.
Because this life is brief, and our little reality can change in an unexpected instant.

She taught us that heaven is closer than you think.
Annie was a little girl who lived such a short time here on earth. However, her life in heaven has just begun, and with each thought of her comes the excitement of seeing her again very soon.


You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14


Gretchen said...

I love that you felt God's presence despite his (seeming) silence on many of your questions in caring for Annie. I remember you always doing your detective work to try to figure out feeding levels & med levels to nourish her & to avoid the pukies. I know there were many days & nights when you might've felt, "If I could just figure this out...".

I guess I learned from Annie, that as parents, we're here to serve, protect, & advocate for our children, while remembering that they are first HIS children. And His plans, though mysterious to me, are amazing. And they might not coincide w/my plans. It gives me peace to know that He has all their needs figured out long before we do. In short, I guess Annie & God have taught me that there's a difference between saying I trust Him, & living out that trust (no matter what).

What an incredible mother you are, Jean. Hugs & peace.

uncle jeff said...


Marilyn said...

Thanks for sharing! Finally finished "If God is Good". Thought-provoking read. I'll get it in the mail this week. Already got the recommend it to a "Why would God...." questioner!

Marilyn said...

Oops!....already got TO....

Dusty said...


Beautiful as usual. You are amazing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


Jean said...

Gretchen--I really did feel your prayers. Often, I would be in the middle of whatever and think: "I KNOW someone is praying for us!"
Marilyn--I think "If God is Good" is the best book I've read in a long time...I wish I'd read it sooner. Glad you've had the opportunity to pass it along.
Dusty--I never told you this, but your blog "Addisons Support" is THE most helpful resource on adrenal insufficiency on the internet. Just my opinion. Thanks for checking in on us. :-)

The Klassen's said...

Dear Jean,
My prayers are still with you and your family. God's Grace is so evident in your life. Your story has touched so many....and I'm sure that is difficult too. Realizing that part of God's Sovereighn plan is that Annie's life would do one thing....point others to Jesus. All things happen for one purpose, to bring Glory To God. Keep looking up. Love Tanis

pam said...

Jean, You are so articulate about your thoughts and feelings and observations. That alone is a blessing to those of us who struggle to put concise words to complex thoughts.
Annie (and you, your family) taught me that whenever someone's face pops into my head out of the blue, I need to immediately stop and pray for that person. No matter what. God works that way, doesn't He? He waits for us to intercede. So we best not delay when the prompting comes!
love you, Friend!

Jean said...

Thanks, Tanis. When I hear that Annie's life has had that effect, it truly redeems the hard parts. And if it helps people like you, who continue to go through the challenges of caring for a sick child, that is an encouragement, too!

Pam--I agree, we need to pray when people come to mind--it REALLY is a prompt from the Holy Spirit to pray. And they can feel those prayers--believe me.

Lana said...

Jean, your daughter lives on in spirit and the invaluable lessons that her struggles brought have made everyone around her better, wiser, more patient, compassionate and advocates for others who are living with the same challenges. I grew up with a disabled mother (from Polio) and so many of my friends were scared to ask questions. I had the one friend who was a best-friend that came over several times per month for years and years. Finally, as an adult, she asked me, with trepidation, "What happened to your mother...Was she in a car accident or something?" I was in disbelief because I thought she knew all along that my mother had been disabled by Polio as a child. My friend had been too afraid of asking, for all of those years. She must have been tortured by wondering and people's curiosity never bothered was the cruel side of people that grated on me, but children and adults with innocent questioning were never to be faulted. I actually appreciated their inquisitive nature because they are the ones who help create awareness and change.

Anyway, I am always so grateful to read your blog for so long and to know of your journey because in life and in physical death, there is still great hope and LIFE.


Jean said...

Thanks, Lana, for checking in and for sharing your experience about your mom. I agree that honest questions were/are always welcome. And that there is life after death--right now--for her and for us! God is good.