One of my first thoughts this morning was that today was the 13th of September. Now, that may not have any significance to you, but this a very special date to me.
Five years ago, I started in college--young and immature. Although not a homebody, and not given to homesickness, I remember being very anxious about being away from home. You see, I was waiting for a very important person to make an appearance in our household and I thought for sure it would happen before I went to college.
My baby sister's homecoming from the hospital was the first I'd missed in the previous 4 siblings. When I got the news, I was disappointed I wasn't there, but excited to see her at Christmas. But, all was not well. I got the news that my newest sister was terribly sick. She had to have surgery to connect her esophagus tube to her stomach within hours of birth. She also had three holes in her heart: two closed on their own, but doctors had to close the third. She was in the hospital for days.
It was during this time that God showed me several things. The one was the love and care shown to me by people in the church I was a part of during college. The fact that these people--who I was virtually a stranger to--would be concerned for the things that happened in my life and would pray for my sister, touched my heart in a very real way. My Dorm Mom was the one who had it put on the church prayer list, and the fact that she went to trouble of doing so made me realize that she really did care. If I had doubts before, they were surely erased with this kind gesture.
The other thing made real to me was the power of prayer. When I went home for Christmas that year, I had to handle my sister softly. Anything would wear her out, and she was to exert as little energy as possible. Coming home also made me feel closer to the situation, and I fully realized the importance of what was going on. The semester wore on, and just before I went home for the summer, my sister was able to get in for her surgery. For the first six weeks of the summer, my sister was held sparingly. We had to be careful when picking her up, handling her like fine china. Slowly, but surely though, my sister was on the mend. Each week you could tell she was stronger than the last. She has an incision scar on her chest and around her side, but rather than causing sadness, I am reminded of the goodness of God and how through the prayers of many, the Lord made my sister well.
Today, my sister is FIVE years old. How the time has surely flown. She is one of the sweetest little girls I know. She is loving and is lovable--I know that if you just saw her, you would fall in love with her. You might call me biased, but I can find people who agree :) She has a laid back kind of personality, and is pretty quiet. She plays quite nicely with those around her and loves to be with her siblings. She does, however, have a stubborn streak and likes to have her own way and this can be cause for sibling rivalry :) She gives awesome hugs--and kisses too--, putting her whole self into them.
Because of her heart surgery, she was a little bit behind in development. Although she has a little bit of trouble with her speech, she has grown and changed so much from the tiny, helpless, sick baby to a vivacious 5 year old who can do almost anything she sets her mind to.
God blessed my family when He gave us Ruth. He blessed us even more when she was a Downs.