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An End to Lent

alec vanderboom

Lent is already over for me. I remember this feeling from having Hannah three weeks before Easter. It feels almost impossible to rewind, and patiently retread the sorrowful mysteries during Good Friday, when you have a newborn in the house. Every part of me is singing. It's like baby Abigail's birthday brought us Easter morning early.

So while my heart is anything but in tune with the church calendar, I'm trying to better imprint the necessity of suffering into my soul.

I'm a weak girl. I tend to give up six inches from the finish line.

Since I'm a weak Carmelite "with a very little brain," God tends to put the dots pretty close together for me. I saw His hand on me during my latest c-section. I could see that by going through this extra suffering, by giving birth in such a public way--with so much medical attention--that other people benefited from my sacrifice.

Baby Abigail is the finale to Tessy's NICU experience, just like my Maria was the end to her older brother's second trimester miscarriage. Sometimes it's hard to say YES to God. Yet my YES means more when I know fully how much pain can be on the line.

When my son, Francisco died, my heart learned that just sometimes God's will meant that my precious babies would never draw a breath in this world.

When Tess got sick in the NICU, my heart learned that sometimes first birthdays come with incredibly painful medical conditions. Breathing can hurt. Heartbeats are irregular. Sometimes little newborns suffering a million pinpricks of IV needles before their souls pass through to heaven, like my little son Francisco.

It's harder to say YES to more babies after a painful experience with a sick child. That suffering, however, is what makes the YES more valuable.