One of the great decisions we made in the process was to live this insanity out loud. Frankly, we have such great friends that word would've spread without our knowing or willing, but we sent immediate texts and made a few immediate phone calls that guaranteed that this was going to be a public process.
I don't want to sound overly pastoral or be like the Clark Kent of the Kingdom or anything, but one of the reasons we went public and stayed public was because we believed Jesus was worth it. Genuinely, we were willing to walk this in faith to the very end, whatever that end was, and do so in everyone's view because Jesus is worth it. If it went well, we got to testify to Jesus' power and mercy. If it didn't, we got to testify to Jesus' grace in grief and ability to sustain the brokenhearted. We're so glad it went the way that it did. But either way, Jesus is worth it.
This blog and the Queen's blog served as daily check-in points for people. We wrote them for two reasons. The first is fairly mundane but shows our mental incapacities: we wrote because we wanted to remember what happened and what we were feeling. Trauma has a way of burying those memories under mental soil, the soil that grows thoughts and feelings that are always ever-so-slightly tainted with what lies underneath.
The second reason we wrote is because people had been in the process with us to get Maggie. And now they had the opportunity to stand with us and fight for her. And man, we needed them. The inclusion of people also includes Maggie herself. Both the Queen and I believe that one day she will have the opportunity to tell her story, so working through this publicly means there's a record for her to draw from.
That public struggle had its drawbacks. For us, it meant there were times when people showed up and we were in puddles or knots or shell shock or something else. Those times meant that we had to engage people even though all we may have wanted to do was find a quiet place - getting attention isn't always all it's cracked up to be. That's not a complaint on my part or my wife's. We believe that God is big enough and kind enough to give us what we need during those times. For those walking with us, living publicly meant that many of them hung on words that we typed, and they tied their lives to ours for all the good and all the ill those words might have borne witness to. They rode the crazy train with us.
But man, the public struggle had its benefits. We heard from people all over the country.
People prayed. We got cards in the mail from prayer rooms in churches that we had never visited but someone who knew someone had put Maggie on the prayer list. Gifts showed up for her and us that made us uncomfortable sometimes because of the generosity poured out. The Queen and I are fairly independent people, so receiving is not a strong point for us. We got the opportunity to grow in this area. Facebook proved invaluable for communicating what was happening and receiving back comments and encouragements and scriptures and offers to help and many more things.
It was a public struggle. But that brought public joy with the public victory.
People have rejoiced with us. They have fawned over Maggie. My BFF from college's parents went out of the way to come to our house because they had been praying and wanted to see her. Emails and Facebook messages have numbered in the dozens. Letters and cards have easily topped a hundred. Phone calls and text messages have broken AT&T, I'm sure, because there have been way too many to count.
No struggle is easy. And living it publicly provides the opportunity to be selfish and worship the idol of others' attention or make sure that Jesus is accurately represented throughout. Because He's worth it.
I hope we did that well.
Here's SAG's parents, stopping by our house, going out of their way, because they cared and prayed...