Allie is a former neighbor and my boys’ favorite babysitter. She is the kind of young lady who would, every once in awhile, refuse payment, saying, “I just want to bless you.” Her ‘magic’ tricks kept the boys completely mesmerized. (I’m pretty sure this involved her hiding things behind her back and pulling them out with flourish, but what do I know?) My boys are teenagers now, older than Allie was when she babysat them.
And we owe her a debt of gratitude we can never repay. You see, my youngest son is here because of Allie.
Save a Life
One night when I came home from work, Allie told me that there had been an incident. She said that my son, who was almost 4 at the time, had choked on a piece of apple and was not passing air. Being trained in the Heimlich Maneuver, she performed it and the apple came out. After, she prayed with my boys and thanked God for his protection.
I went to bed that night thanking God as well. My husband was out of town for work, and I was overwhelmed at the thought of the tragedy we could be dealing with. Instead, my babies were sleeping soundly in their beds.
The next morning, I said to the boys, “Sounds like you had some excitement last night?” They looked at me with blank stares. “Cameron choked?” I prodded.
“Oh, yeah,” shrugged my older son, “Cam got a piece of apple stuck in his throat, but Allie got it out.” He then proceeded to tell me about the games they’d played and fun they’d had with her.
This remarkable young lady had the God-given grace to turn a scary situation into a blip in their night of fun . How do you repay that? Thanks, gifts, flowers. Done, but insufficient.
We still can’t repay Allie, but I’d like to ask that you help me take a step in that direction. I recently told you that I’m praying for you (I still am, by the way). Well, I’d like to ask that you would pray for Allie with me. You see, she’s not doing so well these days.
In the past few years, Allie has endured two brain surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and more. She decided this week to stop her treatments and initiate hospice care. Allie is 26.
Hope is Hard
It hit me this morning that maybe the athiests have it easier. I mean, if you have nothing in which to place your faith, and you exist in a perpetual state of hopelessness, you’re never disappointed, right? If everything is just a matter of time and chance then not only must you expect that the worst things to happen sometimes, but when they do there is no internal struggle.
What’s the saying? “S*** Happens”? And without faith, when it does, your Godless worldview insists that you accept it without hope of a miracle. No hope = no disappointment.
And yet, no hope also equals no chance. No possibility. No future. I’ll take hope.
Still, hope isn’t easy. Hope keeps our hearts soft and expectant. A soft heart can continue to be hurt. And when our hearts are breaking, a hard heart might seem like a blessing. I’ll take hope anyway.
Why? Because our hope is in a God who is able. This is the God who spoke it and it was. The God who defied the laws of nature time and time again. He is strong and kind and worthy!
It seems like evil is gaining ground in this world every day. But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to bear. We have neighbors who have had two children battle and beat cancer. Years of carrying those burdens, with hope. Other friends have recently had to decide to remove a large tumor from the center of their 11 year old daughter’s brain. No parenting book prepares you for that, but we hope with them. And Allie’s family is hoping while honoring her choice to stop her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
All of these choices we shouldn’t have to make. Something within us knows that this is not the world God intends for us, and we long for that world. We hope for it even while our hearts break.
I can’t repay Allie for saving my son’s life. But I will pray that our good God reaches into our broken world and saves hers. I know he can.
Will you pray with me?
A light went out today. Our sweet friend Allie, whom many of you have prayed for as she battled the cancer in her brain, died this morning. We wept as we prayed for her family, and wept even more when we realized that the overwhelming grief of losing a child could have been ours if not for Allie being in just the right place to prevent it so many years ago.
When I think about living with purpose, responding to the fact that someone saved your life, I’m reminded that each of us is in that position. Jesus saved us. He saved you. If that doesn’t give some motivation to live a life of purpose, I don’t know what does. Allie was a vibrant force and an inspiration to live a life of purpose, and we’re so blessed to have been in her path.