She was only five-years-old when I was pregnant with John. Abby was, and still is, my dizzy and busy little lady, running around the house, making people laugh, and taunting her younger brother, Caleb.
But today Abby was acting differently.
It was a windy, rainy day in April 2011. She was sitting still (for a change) at the messy kitchen table, drawing a picture with crayons on a plain white sheet of paper. Her dark brown eyes were holding back tears when she showed me the picture she had drawn. She asked, "Since baby John's heart is broken, is Jesus going to get out?"
That's when it dawned on me how a mom's emotions and straightforward talk can affect a child. Abby was confused and trying to make sense of why her mom was crying all the time. I sat down with her, held her hand, took a deep breath, and did my best to explain the three different kinds of hearts.
1) I told her the heart she drew was the kind of heart we see on Valentine's Day. It's a symbol or a shape that represents love.
2) There's also a muscle in your body and it's called a "heart" too. It's about the size of your fist and God tucked it behind your ribs to protect it. It's very, very important because it pushes ingredients, like oxygen, all the way to our fingers and toes. The reason I've been so sad lately is because baby John's heart muscle doesn't work the normal way, and doctor's are going to try and fix it after he is born.
3) The third kind of "heart" is really hard to explain because it's invisible. Sometimes I use the word "heart" instead of "soul", but they both can mean the same thing. The body of Jesus doesn't actually live in a Valentine's Day heart or the heart muscle, but rather, the invisible Holy Spirit lives in the souls of those who love Him.
The above happened shortly after our son, John, was diagnosed in utero with the severe heart defect, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). I share it with you, dear reader, because in this blog, I plan to embrace the three different kinds of hearts. Obviously much of the focus will be on our little John's heart muscle, but I will also touch on the other two kinds of hearts. John gives more love, hugs, and kisses than any other six-year-old I've ever met. It's as if every day is Valentine's Day around here! And naturally, since I can't honestly tell John's story any other way, I will dig deeper, vulnerably sharing the ups and downs of my spiritual walk through this journey.
Welcome to this blog and thank you for coming! I benefit so much when others are brave enough to share their stories with me, so please don't hesitate to reach out. Please invite those you know who could benefit from this community to join us as well!