Friday, December 23, 2011

Day Five: Hallie Lynn Green

(This is Chris. Katie will resume writing soon.)

I can't write a word until I thank all of you who have sent gifts to our house, texted, wrote on the Hope For Hallie Facebook wall, brought meals, and most importantly... prayed for our family and Hallie.

I've got to be honest, when I first saw the signs and hashtags labeled "Hope for Hallie," I was a little nervous. I guess I wanted to make sure people knew what to hope for. The prayers for a miracle of full recovery in Hallie's health have been a braver prayer than I honestly was willing to pray. Probably out of the fear that God might not "fix" her. I also didn't want to assume that Hallie's health was the indicator of God's goodness to us. We've seen God's goodness in so many ways, and greatly through each of you. The bottom line is this: please don't hinge your willingness to believe in God on Hallie's survival.

The reality is, she won't.

I want to follow that horrible sentence with this. Hallie's survival was never our "Hope for Hallie." We knew the day we heard the words "Trisomy 13," Hallie's life would be short, and maybe just hours/days if she survived birth. Our "Hope for Hallie" is that people would see life as a gift, and draw near to God. Based on your comments here, and based on the Facebook wall, I would say: mission accomplished. More people know Hallie's name within the last five days than will know my name throughout my entire life. Please don't feel sorry for Hallie...or us.

We will continue to enjoy every moment we are given with Hallie. We're heartbroken. Extremely heartbroken. We cry...probably hourly. God's purpose for Hallie does not exempt us from the pain of losing her. Don't be misled into thinking we're all laughing and celebrating all of the time.

Hallie is perfectly-made for us. She has a cleft lip and palette, no eyes, and we're pretty sure she's deaf. But she's still perfect to us. Her soul shines through her.

Finally, I'll leave you with a shot taken last night shortly after we arrived home from the hospital. One of our "Hope for Hallie" participants (and later found out, a close family friend) went to Bass Pro Shop to do some family photos with Santa. She was holding a "Hope for Hallie" sign in the photo. Santa asked about it, and was moved by our story. He wanted to help bring some Christmas cheer to our family. And...at 9pm last night, after working a strenuous, all-day schedule, he drove the 30 miles south to our home to make us smile.

This single act of selflessness and love has got to be a top-three moment for me in my life. I would compare it to the "Move that Bus!" Extreme Home Makeover emotion. Incredible. He came with two elves (thanks Kristin and Lauren), and brought gifts for our girls and us, prayed for our family, and then lead us all in "Silent Night." I'll have a video of the girls' reaction up...well...soon. Santa, thank you for honoring our family in such a sacrificial way. (I see God's love all over this.)

Here is Santa loving on Hallie, our Christmas miracle:
IMG_2280

Finally, I wanted to show you something all of our family has been able to experience. The trademark of Hallie, and the representation of her message to us. I probably have this same picture with six-eight different people:

IMG_2259

Thank you for loving our special daughter.

60 comments:

Hughes in Alabama said...

Prayers for you and yours ... Enjoy this most memorable Christmas. Your journey has made a real difference in my holiday season this year.

mckennah said...

crying with joy for you guys and for the good that is still in the world that little miss hallie is bringing out in all of us!

M said...

Chris and Katie,
I just read your post and as I write this I have tears streaming down my face. My heart hurts for you because my family and I have been where you are. I wish I could just give you a big hug and tell you that everything is going to be ok...but I can't do that. What I can do is pray for you to have strength, and to soak up every single second you can with Hallie. You seem to have accepted what I still cannot accept of my sweet niece and for that you are remarkable. Hallie is perfect and she is such a blessing. My Maggie Grace was also and she brought so much joy to our family in her 32 days than I have had in my whole life. God bless you and your family. I know that God is there with you holding you close and comforting you.

Be blessed today and everyday.

Monica Maggie Grace's Aunt Trisomy 13

KatAp said...

Thank you for sharing your daughter. I have tears streaming down my face -- no surprise, I cry every time I think of you all. What a beautiful job you are doing of bringing glory to God. Hallie makes my heart sing Hallelujah to our God. What a perfectly named daughter. I am so moved by Santa's kindness to your family -- amazing. I am thanking God for showering you with love, mercy, hope in what is True, and lavish kindness. We continue to pray for each of you, and we love your perfectly made Hallie alongside you.

V-Dub said...

I have never read anything more beautiful or moving than what you have written here, Chris. Thanks for sharing this with the world. Prayers for your family tonight.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your journey for the past week or so. I have been praying constantly for "the little green family." I know your joy is mixed with much sorrow. Your journey has ministered to me in a huge way. Thank you for sharing the most intimate details of Hallie's life and of your joy and pain. I know that God's purpose is being fulfilled in you and in those of us who are blessed enough to share, even in a small way, your journey. God bless all of you.

Anonymous said...

May all the angels from heaven shine down on you. I have a few up there that I will send for some extra comfort. God Bless you and I will remember you in my prayers.

Julie Tiemann said...

Chris and Katie, thank you so much for sharing Hallie's life with us. I am well aware you didn't have to. You could have kept a low profile. Many do in such situations, and I'm sure for them that is the best. But the fact that you have allowed us in to the innermost parts of this journey has changed all of us. I can't tell you how I am moved to read your posts, see your pictures, and see the ways that God is pouring out His blessings on your family. You have allowed Hallie to be a blessing to others - what an amazing, noble gift to her.

That picture of her with Santa is kind of amazing, by the way. And hearing what Santa and his elves did at Bass Pro Shop is the most selfless, kindhearted thing I've heard in a long time.

Hallie is bringing out the best in all of us, but mostly in you two. Love y'all.

Miriam said...

Crying. Speechless. Praying.

Aimee said...

Praying for you all right now. Soak up every moment.

Aimee Weathers
Mother of Sophie Ann Weathers, Trisomy 13.

Amber said...

Thank you for sharing your sweet girl with us. God's presence has been evident in her life since before she was born. She is a blessing to my family and me, and so are y'all. Thank you for your selflessness, for sharing your hearts, for bringing glory to God through it all. Love her. Love you.

Emily said...

Wow beautiful beautiful post zach and I are crying together both for the hardships you are facing and the beautiful act of kindness from that special santa. Praying for you all, always.

Anonymous said...

Hello Green family,

We have not met, but I have been following your journey for several months. You are a true inspiration. Congratulations on the arrival of Hallie Lynn. Be assured of my continued prayers of peace and strength for your beautiful family.

God bless you,
Jennie

Jana A (@jana0926) said...

What a beautiful picture with Santa. Praying for y'all.

Kait said...

Dear Chris, Katie, Bella, and Farrah,

Y'all are never far from my mind or heart and I am in constant prayer that this precious time you've been given with your sweet baby girl will be glorious. You are so brave and are doing such a good job loving your gorgeous little Hallie.

The only feeling Hallie will know in her life is that of being surrounded by pure, unwavering love. That is a very beautiful thing.

Destiny Pratt said...

My prayers are with you and your beautiful family, especially dear little Hallie. This was a truly touching story.

mbehm said...

Thank you for sharing your precious time with Hallie. What special memories you will have with her! I am praying that you will be able to soak up all of Hallie for the time you have her...and that you will have the peace that transcends all understanding as you face what is to come. Thank you for blessing all of us with Hallie's story.

Amanda Sanford said...

Chris and Katie-
Not sure how I found your blog several weeks ago, but I feel privileged to have prayed and continue to pray for your family. Your three daughters are beautiful gifts from God! I am deeply saddened for you that Hallie's earthly time will be short, but the testimony of God's love and comfort in these days is a gift, too!!! I know many will hear and be changed. Savor every moment. May all your memories bring joy now and forever! The Wants story is beyond touching...so great to hear God's people still at work in our world. Merry Christmas and many prayers your way!
"As for God, His ways are perfect." Psalm 118

Laura Hayes said...

Chris, you have such a sweet gift of words when your experience is impossible to pen. Reading that Santa came, brought gifts and prayed is so incredible to read. Yes, God is using Hallie for His glory and I am praying for your family everyday.
(Rebecca Hayes Moon's Mom)

Meg said...

Absolutely precious. What a beautiful picture of our glorious God, his grace in your lives is so very evident. May he continue to bless each and every moment with your beautiful daughter.
The story of Santa coming to visit is every kind of heart warming, God is good all the time~
Be blessed~

Anonymous said...

Chris and Katie,
I had a baby with trisomy 13 too. I understand your journey so well. The picture of Hallie with Santa is and will always be my favorite Santa picture ever. In fact, I think I believe in the old guy again!!

My prayers are with you all and your perfect, sweet Hallie.

Emily said...

You all just really made me love my life and my family that much more! I will never be able to thank you enough for that. I have never heard such a detailed story in all my life. How you all do it, I will never know but we really need more ppl like u in the world!!!!!!! Merry Christmas and I wish you many many more moments/days/weeks/months and years with little precious Hallie Lynn!

Kecia said...

What a beautiful and touching story!! I think your sweet baby girl has definitely brought many people closer to God! I know she has definitely brought me closer to him! Praying for your family!!! Your strength and faith is truly inspiring!!

Unknown said...

Crying with you. You are so loved.

Lisa Thompson said...

I have really been moved by your experience over the past five days..thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. "Santa" was amazing to show up for this selfless act of kindness. You have really put Christ back into Christmas for me. Praying for Hallie.

Anonymous said...

The most beautiful Christmas story ever! God Bless you, Hallie and the precious message you send to all of us! It just reaffirms the fact that God is alive and well and works miracles through precious vessels like you who are willing to share your joy and your pain with us! You have truly blessed so many, and my prayers and hugs and love go out to you all. God Bless you, and thank you!

leah said...

I don't know you guys, but I have been praying constantly for you this week. Praying for more sweet moments with your girls, and praying for your hearts. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Stephanie Heard Harvin said...

Your beautiful words have touched me in ways you will never know. My boys say Hallie looks peaceful like an angel. I would be blessed to have strength and love like the two of you have. God bless you during this journey. Please continue to share your thoughts they are truly inspiring.

Anonymous said...

As tears streaming down my face I want to say God is good n he will hold your hand through this and protect that special angel of yours! God bless you all.

jenelaw said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is so inspiring to see how open your family is in your surrender to God and His will for your lives. While I know that this journey is a hard one for all of you...God is being lifted up and others will be drawn to Him through Hallie. So many lives will be changed through your willingness to share your journey. Thank you for your faithfulness!

Sarah said...

How proud you must be of your little girl and how she has brought a community of believers in Christ to gather and pray for her and her family. I cannot imagine your pain, but I know God grieves with you. I don't understand why He doesn't change a situation when He has the power to, but I know that He loves your family so much. Praying that you will feel the power of His love and that it will carry you all through.

Kelly Ford said...

1st off... thats OUR santa! We see him every year and yes, he's the absolute BEST! I love him (and so does Rhyan! Mack will, in time)

none of us want to think of this day, but as i read that she has no eyes, my first thought was "how precious will it be that when she leaves this world, her first sight will be that of her savior". She will be made whole again, friends. And in eternity, you will get to see your sweet hallie made whole.
I hope that this thought is comforting and not upsetting.

We love you and your whole family so much. You truly have been such a gift to everyone watching. Because you've been real with people and shared that its devastating... but that you've also shared that your hope is placed in Christ, not in healing.

We should all hope to have such an eternal perspective. (and yes, i'm sure your struggle w/ this, too... but you've chosen to trust in your actions even when your heart want to deceive you.)

Treasure every moment. We're still praying and will EVERY DAY for sweet Hallie to find comfort in the arms of those who love her.

Deana Chamberlain said...

How lucky your children are, all of them, to have two real parents. And I mean 'real' as no disrespect to anyone. I just mean the true love you have for them, your hearts are pure. So many of us, including myself are blessed with healthy children that we honestly take for granted. Thats weird for me to say but I mean when we complain about dirty rooms or argue over things for the sake of just arguing we never look at them at these times, in their eyes, and think how lucky we are. Even when some children do well sometimes we forget to say, "Great job". Most of all, for no reason do we just say, I'm glad you are here, you have worth or just I'm proud of you." This is a lesson I need to work on myself with my 7 and 17 year old. I will pray for your love for eachother to stay strong. I will pray that Hallie enjoys every touch and hug as I know she does. Every smell of mommy and daddy and her siblings. These things are making her life great and as little as she is she is feeling love and her worth. You have worth. I'm proud of you<3

Lisa Marcia said...

Something truly powerful and special about Santa holding Hallie. God truly sends his love and support in all sorts of shapes, packages and people. :) Miss you guys tomorrow and always thinking about you. Hugs

Lori Hagan said...

Now this is A Christmas Story!

Jen Carrozza said...

Chris and Katie - so humbled by your transparency. Thank you for sharing your journey through this. It is such a beautiful display of faith and trust. I'm truly humbled. Praying for you often! Speechless at the Santa visit... Wow. God is good.

Craig-Jen said...

Oh my goodness...this is beautiful. Simply beautiful! My family attends Buckhead and I was sitting in the auditorium when Hallie's story was larger than life on the screen. As I felt the thumps of my growing baby boy, tears welled up inside. I had a dear friend lose a daughter to Trisomy 13. Praying for your family.

JJ said...

Our God is such a loving and faithful God. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving us all HOPE this Christmas season. This post is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read and Hallie is just as beautiful. Much Love and Many Prayers sent your way. JJ

fetzelbaby said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I knew nothing about Trisomy 13 until I read your story. Now I know a little more about it and how it affects everyone around us. My prayers to God is that you get the time you need to share with your beautiful little girl and know that she is such an amazing gift from God. Merry Christmas to you and your family and I will continue to pray to God that he gives you all the blessings he has for you. Thank you for your gift of sharing to open our hearts to this beautiful baby girl. Merry Christmas to you and God Bless you and your family.

Sherie Malcom said...

I am so touched by your comment cautioning others to not allow their belief in God to be dependent on Hallie's survival. This is such a misunderstood concept among so many. The truth, as you pointed out, is that God is good all the time and through every situation. Thank you for touching so many lives with the story of your beautiful family!

brendon and melissa said...

Chris and Katie,

There are moments in life when my breath has been taken away and this has been one of them. I don't even know what to say because everything I want to say feels awkward or not the right thing to say. My husband and I don't even know you and we are walking along side you praying. We shared your story on our blog and hopefully our love and prayers of our family and friends will comfort you and support you.

Anonymous said...

I first saw your story at buckled church when I realized I know your sister. I also went to central and recognized who you were when I saw the picture of you in your letter jacket. Since that day at church I have researched trisomy 13, read the stories of other families, and followed your blog almost daily. Your story is so touching, and it is incredible to see the putpouring of love from those you and even more of those that you don't know. I pray that hallie is comfortable at home and for strength for both you and Chris. You guys are incredible parents and hallie could not have been blessed with a better family. Congratulations on your precios gift and Merry Christmas to your entire family. This post was beyond touching and I know I am only one of many who was brought to tears. The goodness of people really is amazing sometimes.

The Smith Family said...

Chris, Katie, Bella, Farrah and sweet Hallie...wow...I'm crying my eyes out right now. This is amazing and such an amazing example of how gods love is truly all around us. He promises to provide for us and this is just what He is doing. We pray for you ALL every night....as parents and sisters...and for your strength. We love you! Merry Christmas Green Family;)

ablossom said...

Chris and Katie,
Sitting here with Sam at my mom and dad's in Illinois. We are all so gripped by Hallie. We yearn to hold her and shower her with even more love. We ache to know the best way to help you both. We are in constant prayer for you all. Incredibly grateful you share so much. Love you!

Jill said...

Such beautiful words, Chris. Hallie is truly living up to her name..and "Hope", what a powerful and TRUE word...one that I find takes new meaning to those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It's all we've really got isn't it? Hope. There is great hope for Hallie, both in the way her life is impacting this world, and what awaits her with our beautiful Savior.

xokarajo said...

My favorite memory verse and it makes me think of you and your Hallie. Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Kara Barr, Dallas, TX, acquaintance of Renya and her son Landon.

nicky long, savannah GA said...

prayers of peace and comfort go out to your family. i type this as tears fall from my eyes and hit the desk i type at. God will get you through this in His time. much love.

Linda Middlebrooks said...

Our God lives.

Allison said...

She will have your love always, her first sounds will be the voices of angels, her first sight - her loving Father. Beautiful post. Crying buckets and honored to pray for you guys, Katie & Chris.

Josh and Donna said...

what a beautiful testimony her sweet life is to so many! i am a friend of your friends and have been praying for you and following your family's amazing journey. much love and prayers for y'all from the mountians of north georgia.

Grancee said...

Thank you for sharing your story of life, miracles, love, hope, and the extreme faith that you and your family have in our Creator! You and sweet Hallie have given us all a glimpse of the innocence and goodness of Heaven. She WAS created just for this moment and GOD knew that her testimony would be displayed superbly by being place in your home. Thank you for letting GOD "shine" during the best season of all! Cindy Hendrix

Sue said...

Thank Chris and Katie for sharing your journey, Hallie's journey and we mourn with you. Your unselfishness have made Christmas so real this year.... The anticipation not of wrapped gifts but of "the gift"...t
reminding us of the gift God sent. Merry Christmas.... Holding you all in the light,
Peace.

Anonymous said...

I was only made aware of your little girl's story through a friend posting it on fb. Just wanted to let you know that you and your family are such an inspiration to believers around the world. What an amazing testimony you have and the love for your sweet girl is just amazing. Praying for you ever so faithfully as I know so many others are too.

Charlotte Cornett said...

crying as I read this, you are an amazing family. My prayers are with you all, God has blessed us this Season with Hallie and your family. Thank you for taking the time and sharing Hallie with us.
God Bless You all, Charlotte Cornett

Rachel Holcomb said...

Praying for you as you experience this week with your family. I can't imagine the mix of emotions you are having but one thing is clear...God has written this story for your family and you are loved. I hope you are feeling it.

Leslie W in GA said...

Crying. So glad she is home and with you. So thankful for Santa visiting your home for that special time with your girls - all three. Beautiful. Praying for God's peace, strength, and goodness for you all.

Miranda said...

Katie - thank you for allowing God's strength to be made perfect in your time of weakness. Your family's testimony is unbelievable. As I sat here and read this and cried my eyes out - I just thought of how grateful I am that you are allowing sweet Hallie's life to be such a testimony. What you have written on here, I know is not easy to say/write. I've been there. But thank you for writing it. Thank you for in the midst of all your pain, taking time out to consider the well being of your friends/followers and their relationship with God. Thank you for your selflessness in allowing God to so hugely use you and your sweet Hallie. You are in my heart and prayers constantly.
Love,
Miranda

Anonymous said...

This is probably one of the best Santa/Christmas pictures I have ever seen. When my husband first saw a picture of your Hallie, he said to me "That is one beautiful baby." I couldn't agree more. She was absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing your story. We pray that God brings peace and comfort to your hearts and that you know that your daughter had a purpose in this world. I am happy that you got to spend these few precious days with her. At some point we all must return home and Hallie is home with Jesus. God bless your family.

Lisa Cochran said...

Chris (and Katie)

I posted several days ago and explained that you don't know me - but, I'm the parent of a medically fragile child myself.

Your words, Chris, struck home to me in so many ways. They strike me as so brave and honest as I read them. My precious son is twelve - which in our world of mito is an amazingly long life, as affected as he is. You are so right that Hallie is perfectly made. Our earthly definitions of perfect lose all practicality when you look at your amazing daughter - as they should. Our Father created Hallie in His perfect way. And only He knows the plans that He has for her and for your family.

I do my best to live in reality with my son too. Never apologize for that. It is what keeps me sane and helps me deal with the day to day challenges. Many people say to me that they can't believe how strong I am. I certainly don't feel strong at all. God gives us the strength we need. It is funny though - it doesn't feel strong when you are the one in the trenches - it just feels like survival. Reading your post - it feels so strong.

You, like I did, have realized a very real reality that some see as sad - but, I see it as comfort and it seems that you do as well. A miracle isn't a definitive thing that we ask God for. The miracle is different in every senario. It may be an amazing miracle of complete healing - but miracles also come in form of tiny miracles that some would not even notice. Each day with my son is a miracle to me. He has not been cured and baring a real medical breakthrough that likely won't happen in his lifetime - he never will be cured. There is no cure. But, like Hallie, the miracle is in each and every moment. Her life, no matter the number of days, is a very real miracle. Each thing that she teaches each person that she touches is a very real miracle. Every moment that you have with her is your miracle. Hold on to the hope of each and every little miracle moment. I know you cherish them all.

Hang in there and thanks for keeping us posted. The pictures and your story are truly a testament of what God's loves is really all about. Thank you so much for sharing.

God bless all of you -

Lisa and Brett Cochran
www.caringbridge.org/visit/becauseofbrett

Anonymous said...

We as a family are praying for your family. Prayng for God to give you peace and thanking God for creating such wonderful parents for your girls.