Happy Birthday Hannah

At The ER

“She is no more…She is with the Lord!” The words that came out of my mouth must have sounded like rocks hammering away on a failing heart. Those words ripped my husband’s heart apart. Blood oozed away from the periphery of his body and he became pale like a dead man. He opened his mouth to say something, but mumbled something and nodded his head in disbelief.

Attempting to bridge the gap between reality and disbelief, he shook his hands away from mine and asked, “They couldn’t do anything to save her?” “No”, I nodded, trying to be composed, and accepting the tragedy of my daughter’s body pronounced dead a few minutes ago, by the chief of the Pediatric Trauma ER.

This Was Not My Idea Of Life

“Mom, why do you go for work? Why can’t you stay home with me?” She asked me from under her covers, her muffled voice directed at me, as she was just waking up, one morning. I was already up and making preparations for the day. I had written down Hannah’s schedule for the day, handed it to her grandparents to follow through, made sure the baby had enough milk thawed out for the day and was heading to the transitional care center, where I worked as a Physical Therapist.

The day was packed. Six hours at work, come back, nurse the baby, take Hannah to the library, take the grandparents out for grocery shopping, dinner plans…My mind was already shutting down at the pace of our life. But, this was America. The land of opportunity. “Need not think more, everybody does it and still survives! Just go on with the rat race of building our lives.” I comforted myself. I was just not sure, if God had called me to do the same thing everybody was doing around me.

“You stayed home all day for so many days when the baby was born, why not now? Please can you take me to the park today? “Hannah’s pleas were further complicating my clouded mind. This was not my idea of life. I was sucked into so much activity and did not have the time or energy to invest in what was most important, serving my husband and building our children.

Determined to bring a change, I looked at Hannah and nodded at her. I walked to the next room, picked up the phone and called the clinic where I worked, requesting for a day off, if their schedule allowed. The supervisor did not think so. My heart sank. I walked back into the room, wanting to console Hannah, but the phone rang. This time my Supervisor thought she could tweak the schedule a bit, so I could stay home. Hannah was excited as she learned about the prospect of a picnic with her mother and all the fun she was going to have with me!

God is Sovereign

I felt a thud, lost control over the steering and the car swirled, I felt like I was in a high speed carousel swaying me, only, it was tragic! Was my foot on the gas or brakes? Or did I leave all control and let the event take its course? Nothing I did could stop the swirling. I was on a trajectory! I turned my gaze over to the back seat in the midst of all this commotion. There was Hannah … with her eyes closed…so graceful! I knew she was gone. It had only been 2-3 seconds, but it felt like eternity for me to get to the back seat.

I managed to make some phone calls, do some resuscitation on her, scream at the top of my lungs for help, ran like a mad dog between the car and the street, not wanting to stop resuscitation, but wanting more help . I remember the truck driver calling 911 and then joining me in the back seat as I was screaming and calling on God to revive her, while my hands pushed up and down on her little chest. He prayed with me as I called on the top of my voice, “God have mercy and revive her.”

In a few minutes, I was sitting by a social worker in the pediatric trauma ER of Harbor-UCLA. She was sent there to prepare me for a possible shock and help me cope with the possible death of my daughter. I knew what was coming up. My brokenness had already set in. I embraced the sovereignty of God in one hand and the plea for mercy on the other. I bargained, I pleaded, and I cried, I promised, all the while my heart sensing vanity. My knowledge of the most Holy made me know that He was a sovereign God and He knew what He was doing. A few minutes ago, in the van, with the paramedics intubating her, I gave her over to God to do what seemed best to Him. The knowledge that He is sovereign, translated as peace that He will also sustain. As soon as I stepped into the ER, there was peace that He was in control.

In between the lines, tubes, the doctors, the nurses all the commotion and noise, I saw her…so graceful yet so unresponsive. The chief asked me, if I wanted to hold her hand while still alive (medically) before they pronounced her dead. I held her hand with the knowledge of the Most Holy sustaining me at perfect peace. A friend from church, Anita, who happened to be one of the nurses resuscitating Hannah held me tight and cried over my shoulders, as I took Hannah’s lifeless hands and cried out to God, “ God have mercy on me, be merciful to me and raise her Father, in your Son’s name I pray, Amen.” Nothing happened. I saw the eyes of the nurses and doctors tearing up, as they took off their gloves, wiped their eyes and patted my shoulders or hugged me to console me. They had called off the resuscitation and pronounced her dead.

That day I prayed to God in the name of Jesus whom I had trusted since I was 14 years old. A friend had the guts to walk up to me during recess and ask me if I knew Jesus. She shared the joy of her life with me. I did not have to think twice. I was aware of the vacuum in my life. Growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother who tried to patch up in whatever way she knew, I was a problem kid with a scar. A scar, that resulted from being misunderstood, and unloved. When I heard the gospel that day, I knew only He could heal my broken heart. I heard I was created in Him before the foundations of the world and that He had a purpose for me. As a fourteen year old girl my life was changed radically. My folks thought I was insane and assured themselves this was just another passing season of my life. Many seasons have come and gone, knowing Jesus was never a passing season in my life. After nearly two decades, Jesus continues to be my stronghold, and my commitment and love for Him has only grown since.

At every crossroads, God appointed mentors for me. My friend’s mother who showed me, that there is another way to live life, the one that is lived in obedience to His Holy Spirit, for His purpose. Life in our home was centered on verbal abuses, harsh language, tip toing around the insanity of alcoholism, fearful of abandonment, insecure from unjust blames and guilt. That day Jesus began lifting those burdens and patterns and clothing me with a new nature. A new nature, that He will finish weaving, and grant to me when I lay aside my “tent” and see Him face to face.

God led me to place far from home for college education. There I learned the first lessons of standing alone for God and not following the crowd. I took quite a few punches of oppression as I was singled out as a “Jesus freak” and “not so cool.”

In time, God blessed me with a God fearing man. His home was so much different than mine. The parents loved their children selflessly. The mother was sacrificial and submissive. I am blessed to be part of a family that knows God, worships God and lives to glorify God. My husband had a different childhood than mine.

In his own words he says,” I was raised with good morals and values. As I grew up I found myself as the obedient son, always doing the right things and getting the right grades. My brother shared the gospel with me and put me in a bible believing church as I left my parents in Dubai and came down to Kerala for my college education. As I started attending that church, the truth of the gospel helped me examine my heart. I discovered that “self” was on the throne of my life and I was living for my purposes. I was not aware of a Maker who made me to fulfill His purposes in my life.

The scriptures taught me that my good deeds were like filthy rags before God and that I was sinful even with my “ best obedience and best grades” All I could do was cry out to God to save me from the death that I would face, because the bible says the wages of sin is death. God was merciful to forgive me my sins and accept me as his son because His Son died for me and paid the penalty for my sins. “

Together we have walked quite a decade as partakers of this grace of life. We know God has a purpose in our marriage. We have gone through some real trials in our marriage and lives. We have seen lives been born and die. Yet, we do not exalt the death of our child, but we exalt the death of Jesus. The death of our child cannot save anyone, but the death of Jesus can.

A Counter Cultural Vision

Our focus is on displaying the beauty of God through our marriage. God chose the example of marriage to show the relationship of His son to the church. It is lofty in His eyes, so we take this institution seriously. God has also put in our hearts, a counter cultural vision of seeking His name and doing what pleases Him as we live for His glory.

(This picture was taken on her 6th birthday)

Today we celebrate Hannah’s 10th birthday in her absence. There would have been balloons and presents, had she been with us today. She would have grown up some more…There is pain when I think of her growth and what she would have been to all her siblings. I accept God’s sovereignty. Our lives have changed tremendously since God has allowed this in our life. He has made us ministers of His hope and grace to many. I yield my life to Him knowing its is His and He will bring beauty out of ashes.

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1 Comment

  1. isnt this wat we call 'extravagant worship!'

    As a youth who accepts Christ we have the zeal to conquer the world for God. Growing into young adulthood we discover that world is full of challenges n opportunities.. thats when we begin to work hard to make our lives colorful with relationships, assets, career, reputation etc..trying find 'our' place in the society.

    One of the hardest thing is to find a balance… Jesus came that we may have life n have it to the full. The Key is spending time in His presence and loving Jesus more than all we have.

    Following Him has a cost! a narrow path that is filled with peace, love n Joy of His presence.

    Like

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