As she shares her journey with us today, don’t focus on the grief and pain, focus on the eternal hope!
March 13 at 5:07 AM
Please, please pray for my Riley. She is being flown to Children’s Healthcare right now!
March 13 at 7:10 AM
Riley was diagnosed with the flu yesterday. She has developed pneumonia and is septic. She is very critical. This all happened over the past 24 hours. Please, please pray for baby she is so sick and we are so scared.
March 13 at 3:32 PM
We are hanging in. The next few days are critical. Riley is in multiple organ failure. She is on dialysis and has had multiple blood transfusion. Liver failure is most concerning now. She is having a heart catheterization tomorrow to place a stent between the right and left atrium for better profusion. She has myocarditis. The flu virus attacked the myocardium. We have been prepared for the worst but fighting for a recovery. Primary MD is cautiously optimistic this afternoon. We have a very long road ahead of us but are taking it one hour at a time. Truly a parent’s worst nightmare.
March 14 at 3:06 PM
Awaiting a CT of Riley’s head. They have to make sure she has no bleeding on her brain. Please, please, please pray for no bleeding. Thank you. It will be several hours until we know the results.
March 14 at 6:10 PM
THERE IS NO BRAIN BLEED!!! Thank you, Jesus! We can stay on ECMO and continue to heal!
So, we are now being told to give this a few days and let ECMO, dialysis, antibiotics, and plasmapheresis work for her body. Her numbers are stabilizing with machine supports. This will allow her to rest and heal. We are praying that this will strengthen her heart and make it possible to wean her off some of the machines next week. We are clinging to that hope.
March 15 at 6:06 AM
Riley’s flight nurse, who literally resuscitated her in flight, is our ECMO nurse today. That brings us such peace! We are in the fight of our life but we have HOPE in our Heavenly Father that He will bring her through. (Lamentations 3:21-25)
“I wait patiently for God; Only He can save me… He is my Rock, who saves me. He protects me like a STRONG, walled city. I will not be defeated.” Psalm 62:1
March 15 at 12:16 PM
The hardest update a mom can make—Riley has had a dramatic decline in her condition. We have made the incredibly difficult decision to prepare her to meet Jesus. We are heartbroken. Please pray for us.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
March 15 at 2:16 PM
Sweet Riley is safe in the arms of Jesus!
March 15 at 11:22 PM
I want to express thank you to everyone who prayed for my Riley this week! We stand amazed at the mass number of people who called out to Jesus on her behalf. Jesus heard all of our prayers and healed her. I am shattered, devastated, numb, and heartbroken to say the least. But I am not without HOPE because the same God who is now loving on my Riley is my Savior! He, in His sovereign grace, chose me to be His child and He promises to never leave me. So, in my weakest and darkest hour, I will trust Him.
I am not going to lie and tell you that I haven’t questioned why, been angry at the loss of my baby, or even tempted to be faithless. I have done each of those things. I have been so blessed and have not experienced this depth of sorrow, ever before. A piece of me died today and I am hollow. I don’t know what to do next or how we will ever return to normal. However, I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and put one foot in front of the other. He will give me what I need for the next moment. Your posts, texts, messages, gifts, meals, snacks, and outpouring of genuine acts of love mean so much to me. They have brought me much comfort during this terrible time in my life. Please continue to pray for us as we try to process this horrible loss. We have some very hard days ahead of us. Hug your kids because life is just so very, very fragile!
March 16 at 10:49 PM
In my darkest hours, I am determined to praise God in this storm! Today was so very, very hard. The agony of planning each of the details of sweet Riley’s service was terribly painful. Yet, they were lined with sweet reminders that Jesus is carrying us through. I have HOPE because Jesus will hold me fast. I don’t know how I will face tomorrow and Monday please continue to pray for us!
“This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24
March 18 at 2:22 AM
Thank you to each precious soul who stood in that long line last night to love on us. There were literally hundreds if not a thousand people who stopped by. We are humbled and comforted. We feel Jesus in a way that we cannot describe. He is literally carrying us through because we cannot walk on our own. We have HOPE in our storm. I miss Riley so much. Everything is so painful right now. I yearn to see her, hold her, touch her, kiss her, and play with her, but am comforted by the fact that she is Home with Jesus! I don’t want to face today but I know Jesus will give me the strength to rejoice in this sad day. I love you all and thank you for your prayers and outpouring of love. It is well with my soul!
March 18 at 12:44 PM
It is a beautiful day! We had a beautiful service for Riley and Jesus was glorified! Jesus is our anchor in this storm!
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
March 19 at 3:37 AM
How do I describe yesterday? It was a beautiful day! From sun up to sun down (a magnificent sunset last night). Riley’s service was perfect. It was a wonderful reflection of who she was and where our HOPE is found! We were surrounded by hundreds of people. Many who drove long distances to love on us. Many who we met for the first time. Many who we will see much in the days and weeks ahead. Riley’s life on earth was not cut short, her life on earth has been fulfilled. We did a good job loving her, parenting her, and enjoying her. Thank you, Lord! We miss her! No parent should ever have to feel this deep, vast hole in our hearts. We are experiencing a peace and comfort that only Jesus can give! He is literally carrying us. We will cry often but please don’t avoid us or be afraid to see our tears. We are confident that we will be okay. Jesus is holding us fast!
March 20 at 3:35 AM
Yesterday, we did our best to begin a new a normal. We had a few things that needed to be done, made some phone calls that had to be made. So many people supporting us. Our pastor preached a beautiful sermon Sunday on God’s goodness in desperate times and we were able to listen to it. The three of us went and ate lunch together. It was a sweet time. We went back to the cemetery and reflected for just a few minutes. Sweet friends and family brought tacos for dinner. The cousins played and the family mingled, but we were all physically tired!
After everyone left, the reality of where I am at hit me very, very hard. This void is indescribable and does not go away. It is paralyzing and overwhelming. I cried and cried and cried. But then we gathered as a family of three and had a time of family devotions and prayer. We were granted that continued grace and peace only Jesus can give. We recognized our own physical fatigue and how that compounds our ability to think clearly. We all went to sleep and slept well. I miss my Riley, but moment by moment, day by day, Jesus will get me through. Thank you again for your love, support, prayers, meals, etc. They mean so much to us. We are broken but we are okay.
March 20 at 7:27 PM
I am shattered and broken. Evenings and bedtime hit me the very hardest. When the pain is too great, we gather as a family of three and have devotions. We then take turns praying. It brings us comfort but our sadness is intense. Reality is setting in. I know God makes no mistakes so I am trusting even though I cannot see or understand His plan. Your constant kind words and encouragement bring us comfort. Thank you!
Read more of Heather's Story: I Will Hope in Him (Part 2).
I've been reading It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa Terkeurst and I cannot recommend this book enough! Heather has been reading it too. If you know someone in the deep, deep well of grief, this is a great book for them.
“These seasons of suffering are not for nothing. They will grow you. They will shape you. They will soften you. They will allow you to experience God's comfort and compassion. But you will find life-giving purpose and meaning when you allow God to take your painful experiences and comfort others. You will be able to share a unique hope because you know exactly what it feels like to be them.” ―Lysa TerKeurst, It's Not Supposed to Be This Way
In her book It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Lysa TerKeurst unveils her heart amid shattering circumstances and shows readers how to live assured when life doesn't turn out like they expected.
"What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful?
Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.
Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she's also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to:
I think my biggest takeaway from this post is where Heather writes, "We will cry often but please don’t avoid us or be afraid to see our tears." So often, I feel like I don't know how to relate to or help people who are grieving, even though I've grieved myself. At the same time though, I remember being that grieving one and feeling like people were avoiding me because of my grief. I love Heather's advice here, "...don’t avoid us or be afraid to see our tears."
If you know someone who is grieving today, who is searching for HOPE, please share this post with them!
4/23/2019 08:10:44 am
Thank you for sharing Heather's heart-wrenching story. Her life is a lesson to me in the truth that Hope in Christ is not dependent upon my circumstances.
4/23/2021 07:39:03 pm
"Hope in Christ is not dependent upon my circumstances." <— I love that, Michele! Such a lovely truth! And, yes, Heather has exemplified that!
4/23/2021 07:42:34 pm
I'm so thankful for this, Boma! —> "that perfect peace of God that passes all understanding" I honestly don't know how people handle life without it!
4/23/2019 08:53:35 am
Oh, my heart aches for your friend Heather. May Jesus continue to come alongside her in the form of friends, family, and strangers who walk through her grief with her.
4/23/2021 07:45:49 pm
It's such a blessing to have friends, family, and yes, even strangers walk with us through our grief. Sometimes I wonder if these "strangers" might in some way be God's angels. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2
4/23/2021 07:47:21 pm
"But God!" Oh how many times I've been able to say that in my life! "It's important to fill our hearts and minds with Truth in the good times to prepare us for the hard times." <— YES!!!
4/24/2019 09:33:17 am
My heart breaks with Heather and her family. God is bigger than a human lifespan. His ways are highter and bigger than we can imagine. But the pain of loss and confusion is real.
4/23/2021 07:49:02 pm
I just have to keep telling myself, "God is bigger... His ways are higher..." He is! They are!
4/24/2019 11:20:27 am
Thanks for sharing Heather's touching story. May we all learn to see God even in our pain and heartache and even when we don't understand all that He is doing.
4/23/2021 07:49:59 pm
YES! —> "May we all learn to see God even in our pain and heartache and even when we don't understand all that He is doing." Even through the tears>
4/23/2021 07:50:19 pm
Thank you, Carmen!
4/24/2019 02:48:37 pm
The tears are flowing as I read this story. I cannot imagine the pain, but also the faith of this sweet mama. laurensparks.net
4/23/2021 07:51:27 pm
Faith is everything is a time like this, Lauren. You know it. I know it. Heather knows it. She is living proof!
4/25/2019 08:03:18 am
I am so sorry for this devastating loss. Praying for you all this morning.
4/23/2021 07:52:18 pm
Thank you for your prayers, Joanne!
4/25/2019 12:21:04 pm
This story resonated with me so much. I have a medically fragile son, and that decision to trust Jesus whether your child lives or dies is so very hard. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and your faith here today 💗
4/23/2021 07:53:42 pm
It is difficult, Erin.
4/25/2019 12:56:17 pm
Patsy, I remember reading about little Riley on one of your Facebook posts and praying for this sweet family. This is such a heartbreaking but also encouraging story. I also had to face a similar decision a few years back. My daughter was very ill and no doctor could figure out what was wrong. In the middle of my struggle, my daughter's teacher told me to not lose hope, and pray for healing. I told her I was praying constantly but I did not feel like God was hearing my prayers. That is when she told me that I had to accept his healing whether it was here on Earth or in Heaven, either way she would be healed. This was so hard for me to hear, but I meditated on it, and accepted it. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Miraculously God did heal my daughter. The doctors finally discovered what was causing her illness and got her on a good treatment plan.. She is now a sassy 14 year old dancer, drummer, and softball player. Praise God. Thank you for sharing this! I will continue to pray for this sweet family.
4/23/2021 07:55:53 pm
Thank you for praying, Angela!
4/25/2019 06:28:04 pm
This story brought tears to my eyes. Riley is safe in the arms of God, but her family is left here on earth in grief. May God be with them!
4/23/2021 07:57:33 pm
It's difficult for me to even entertain the thought of this amount of grief, Laurie. Heather's faith has certainly encouraged me in so many ways!
4/23/2021 07:58:04 pm
Thank you for your prayers, Tai!
4/23/2021 07:59:44 pm
His HOPE is beyond compare, and certainly difficult to understand if you do not have a relationship with Him I'm sure.
5/7/2019 12:24:25 pm
Thank you for sharing your story so boldly, pointing to and giving glory to Christ in your darkest moments! I am so sorry for your loss!
4/23/2021 08:00:15 pm
Thank you, Becca!
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