March 28, 2009

My friend Dick called last night to tell me that little Lisvi had died yesterday. My heart is so sad, and yet so peaceful at the same time. A while back, Dick had journaled that perhaps more than being in a hospital, she needed to be in the arms of the Father who loves her the most. That image keeps me from too much sorrow. Picturing her in the arms of our Father in heaven, no longer weak and starving, but whole and healthy. How I can't wait to meet her in heaven!

But I do grieve for her parents, who loved her so much and cared for her so well. I pray that they will know the comfort of the Father who loves them the most. I can't even imagine what Francisca must be feeling today. This is the third little one she has buried. I know there will be an empty place near their stove where Lisvi always sat to keep warm.

And I can't help but wonder why God brought her into my life at this time. It seems somewhat ironic that she would live six years and die shortly after we tried to get her help. I believe though that God timing is always perfect, and that our meeting was part of his plan for both of us. What I gave to Lisvi, I can't imagine. What she gave to me is immeasurable. Lisvi touched a part of my heart that I've kept hidden and protected from almost everyone. The part of my heart where I feel the most intense pain, but also the most immense joy. In a way, I think that through Lisvi God gave me back my whole heart.

Why did God let me fall so deeply in love with her, only to have it hurt so much? And I suddenly remember what I'd journaled on Feb. 6:
"As I prayed on the plane coming home yesterday, God showed me that Lisvi did not need to meet me. I needed to meet Lisvi. I needed to willingly let my heart be touched, and wounded, and trust that He will give me everything I need to heal. I needed to learn again to risk letting my heart be touched, knowing it might be broken, but trusting it will heal."
A month and a half later I realize even more how true those words are. Each time I look at her picture on my office wall, I feel a stab of pain at the same time I feel a surge of great joy. Gradually over the days since I've returned, the theme of my heart has changed. For so long it has been, "Lord, I want to serve you, but it hurts too much." I have held back in fear that if I gave my whole heart I would be hurt beyond what I could bear. During the days since my last time in Guatemala, it has evolved to, "Lord, I need your help, because serving you hurts so much." I believe my healing began as I held Lisvi for the first time. It continues each time I remember her.

In my flesh, I want to get angry. To believe that if they had just admitted Lisvi to the hospital, she would be okay. And then I laugh at my foolishness. How can I say I believe that God numbers our days, and then think any of us are powerful enough to change this? The Perezes did what they believed was the best thing for their little one. The sad truth is, it is better that she died in the arms of those who loved her, rather than alone in a sterile crib in hospital eight hours away from her family. We don't know yet what doors our encounter with this family will open for others who live in this remote area, but God does.

So I rest in that knowledge, and in the picture of her in the arms of the Father who loves her.

And I thank Him for the progress Lionel has made at Hermano Pedro, doubling his weight in the last 5 months, though his absence from home continues to grieve his family greatly.

And I praise Him for Zachary (my grandson), who is strong and healthy, and wants for nothing. And I pray that the Lord will place a fire in the Zacharies of the world, to love and serve and fight for the Lionel's and Lisvi's.

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