For Katie the Warrior

Drowning Rats

I was at a conference the other night and one of the speakers told the story below, I found it summarized online so I’m giving that version:

“In the 1950s, Curt Richter, a Harvard graduate and Johns Hopkins scientist, did a series of experiments that tested how long rats could swim in high-sided buckets of circulating water before drowning. Dr. Richter found that, under normal conditions, a rat could swim for an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off and let them rest briefly, and then put them back into the same buckets of circulating water, the rats could swim an average of 60 hours. Yes, 60 hours. If a rat was temporarily saved, it would survive 240 times longer than if it was not temporarily saved. This makes no sense. How could these rats swim so much longer during the second session, especially just after swimming as long as possible to stay alive during the first session? Dr. Richter concluded that the rats were able to swim longer because they were given hope. A better conclusion is that the rats were able to swim longer because they were given energy through hope. The rats had a clear picture of what being saved looked like, so they kept swimming.”

– Isaiah Hankel from Black Hole Focus

I can’t stop thinking about it. It feels so true. The last few weeks have been rough for me personally, hence the radio silence. I’ve had a mountain of questions and not a whole lot of answers. Kate, (my sister emerging from a coma if you haven’t read up in a while), continues to improve slowly, slowly, slowly but we claim that as a victory. We’re in the midst of some insurance battles, some placement battles, some battles over confusion and hopelessness but it really does feel like we get to that 14th minute and God pulls us out of the water. We find our hope and we get ready for the next sixty hours.

The conference I went to last week included one night that had an emphasis on healing. Pretty much nothing I had hoped would happen ended up happening. Let me be blunt, absolutely nothing happened that I begged God to let happen! I left so deflated! But since then it seems some things we’ve been praying for have broken free. My mom was with Kate late into the night past visiting hours while I was at the conference and she needed to be there at a very specific moment (health episode) to speak for Kate. That only happened because I was at a prayer conference. So if it seemed God wanted to send Dan and I 90 minutes north so somebody would be visiting Kate when she needed a visitor, we say “yes” to that provision.

It helped us see that this is not the end of this story. She’s not out of God’s care. I tell her nearly every time I see her through sobs that she is precious to God, that she is loved and not forsaken, that nobody is giving up hope of restoration and that we all keep fighting together until we win. I say it when I question if it’s true and when I’m certain that it is. I thank God out loud over her when it seems cruel that I get to leave and when it feels absolutely true that he’s been faithful. I’m convinced the longer that we walk this road, that out of me she needs someone willing to stand with her and pray, to remind her of truth. Whether through gritted teeth or sobs she needs to know I’m still standing while she lays.

I beg of you, keep praying! Keep standing with us as we make really hard decisions, as we fight like hell, and as we turn into puddles. We so value your loyalty to our family, your kind words, your thoughts and ideas. We couldn’t support Kate like we are without you!

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For Katie the Warrior

I Met a Hero!

So today was a day for the books. I spent the afternoon with one of my dearest friends getting pedicures for their birthday. I should clarify that she took ME for a pedicure for her birthday which is just insane. It was so lovely.

Then my mom and I drove 90 minutes to Alexandria, VA to meet Katherine Wolf. As in THE Katherine Wolf, the author of Hope Heals, the book I’ve been obsessing about since Kate got sick. If you don’t remember, she had a crazy brain stem stroke at the ripe old age of twenty six while her six month old slept in the other room. She has had a miraculous recovery in a thousand ways and she and her husband founded the ministry, Hope Heals. They travel around now sharing their story of Gods faithfulness. There are so many parallels between her story and Kate’s that it is actually startling. Anyway, I emailed her when Kate became ill and we’ve been pen-pals ever since. I saw that she was coming to the east coast and my mind was made up; I had to meet her!

So my mom and I made a date of it. We drove down and raced to the front of the church where she was talking with a few people. I introduced myself and within 30 seconds we were all in tears; so happy to finally meet. I thanked her again and again for her sweet words and encouragement and she shared how happy she was to be on this side of the encouraging and how desperately she’d begged God on Kate’s behalf. We were all a bit weepy to say the least.

When she and her husband Jay started talking, she stopped the show and said “where are Ashley and Robin? wave your hands!”. She explained through tears how humbled and blessed she was that we drove to meet her (nuts!) and asked everyone to pray for Kate. It was just crazy, what a night. Such a precious time of encouragement for my mom and I. Such hope for what is to come. There is nothing more beautiful for us to hear, than “I was in Kate’s shoes, I remember the trachea, I remember the feeding tube, here I am, God is a God of miracles”. We’re so desperate to sit next to Kate and have a back and forth conversation and I’m so hopeful that I will get to do that one day! It may take a while but that’s okay!

What a day. I’m exhausted but just had to share what a sweet evening we had. I’m so thankful for people who are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to encourage people in their chaos. What a gift! I hope this is the first of many meetings!