Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blessing Counter

Reason # 5,908 I am blessed: my child.

Recently, I've been touched by a family in Texas. I feel so close to them, yet I've never even met them. I've never spoken to them. I've never even seen them across a crowded room. But my heart breaks for them.
A few days ago, I found myself crying in the shower. Crying for a little girl named Layla. I had only known about Layla for a few days. But, in those few days, her story touched my life.

You see, Layla, a beautiful little two-year-old, was diagnosed with nueroblastoma last year. After intensive chemotherapy at the end of 2009, the Marsh family was given only a few months with Layla.

But, those months were taken, as Layla's doctor discovered two more tumors in February. I came into the picture just as Layla was making her exit.

I happened upon her family's blog, Layla Grace, and couldn't pull myself away. I read many of the postings, going back to the first post made. And I was amazed. And it hurt me.

I was amazed at the beauty of the little girl, and her eyes that were so full of life. And I was hurt by the recent family pictures. Though absolutely beautiful, how difficult it must have been knowing this would be some of the last photos with your little girl.

I was amazed at the faith the family had. Despite their circumstances, they continued to lift up the Lord's name, praising Him for their gifts, and trusting in His perfect timing. And, I was hurt, because I had to admit, if I were in their shoes, it would be very difficult for me to do the same thing.

I was amazed at the outpouring of love, and the compassion in every comment left on the blog. The entry from March 7, the last before Layla passed, had over 1,000. Who knows how many stumbled upon the site and didn't comment. And I was hurt because I didn't feel like words were enough to heal their hearts. I wanted to fly to Texas, and do something. Anything. But there was nothing I could do.

So, I cried. I cried in the shower because I felt like my own heart was breaking. I cried because it didn't seem fair. I cried because my little girl was sleeping just down the hall, while Layla had left the arms of her family. I cried because they were so strong, and I was weak.

I would never wish their story on anyone. But I can't stop thinking about their ultimate devotion. Even in their utter misery, they managed to encourage me. Me, some 1,000 miles away. Not in the same position. The Lord used them to speak to me.

And, each day, I've hugged Ansley a little longer. I've laughed with her a little more, and I've tried to make each day precious. Even when she is crying and won't take a nap, I'm trying to remind myself that Ansley is not mine. She has been given to me to care for and love, and despite my objections, that time is not guarenteed.

So, remember the Marsh family, as they adjust to life apart from Layla Grace. And tonight, count your blessings. I know I will. And I'll probably throw a few extra in, because I'm sure I've forgotten more than I can count.

This post in honor of Layla Grace Marsh.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Tiffany. As if it were me saying these exact same words. I chanced upon Layla's carepage a week before she left to play with the angels. Like you, I went and read right from the first blog entry. I read posts by Shanna, by Ryan, by their friends who also had site access. They tell their story beautifully and I cheered Layla on, praying to God to make her better. I was doing chores when THE tweet came... and my heart broke when I read of her passing. I cried a lot ~ this family is so beautiful and so brave, and I thought many times since getting to "know" them, that I could never have their strength. The connection I feel towards them amazes me for I do not know them, yet I felt like I lost a child of my own and it was heartbreaking in ways I couldn't understand. And I wanted to be there for them, to be with them, yet I couldn't because I am a continent away. So I cried. For this beautiful family; for their amazing strength and faith; for believing so much that God was working wonders every single minute. Everyday after that, I pray a little longer, kiss my kids a lot (I have a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl), hug them tighter, spend more time with my husband, complain less, extend extra patience when the kids drive me crazy, and just be thankful for everyday that is given to us. Blessings indeed abound us, and when I think about the down times I have, I am reminded that I still have much to be thankful for. God bless!