Angel Breaths

If you look closely, you can see a tiny baby figurine from Kyrie’s dollhouse wrapped in the towel.

It’s in the towel because she had to dry it off.

She had to dry it off because she is choking, Mama! She cannot breathe!

The baby was choking because Kyrie dropped her in my hot chocolate during breakfast this morning.

I think she is aspirating, Mama! Get her out!

But if you look more closely, you see a girl who appears perfectly healthy, against all odds. Her face color is bright and rosy instead of grey or blue or purple. Her hands match that same peach shade she was intended to be, and her lips are pink instead of blue. It’s a good day around here, even if that left eye still doesn’t always open as big as the other one since that last stroke.

She’s happy and well, and that’s a miracle.

Well, she is also almost three, so she isn’t always happy, but most of the time.

We were talking with the children this morning about miracles. They were trying to sort out the difference between Harry Potter magic and miracles. We talked about how miracles are not magic at all, but something given from Heavenly Father that we couldn’t do on our own.

We talked about how sometimes they are big things, like in the New Testament, but how we don’t even have the whole story about how those things happened. We talked about how most often miracles come about from matter being organized or reorganized, like it talked about in the cancer blessing I got, but how almost always they come from simple obedience to simple promptings to care for others in simple ways you have to pay attention to notice.

We reviewed some of the miracles of the last five years, and how most of them have unfolded because of people’s faith, and hard work, and little acts of service that turned into big things once God got ahold of them. We talked about my heart, and cancer, and Kyrie’s breathing. We talked about having sufficient for our needs, experiences of the impossible unfolding one step at a time, and the sustaining we have felt as we received support from so many everyday angels around us – through illnesses and fostering and two years living out of hospitals.

We even talked about provision and protection, and how we have had these blessings even when circumstances were hard.

But we also talked about how those blessings come to us as a family, and depend first upon each of us having faith in what Heavenly Father has done for us through the Savior, and how we show our faith through covenant keeping, and how how some blessings are dependent upon us doing our part.

They are filming the Jacob and Esau story today, and so we talked about how easy it is to give up big blessings just to get what we want right now. There were examples, of course, for us to process from the last week. But the point wasn’t to make them feel more guilt. It was to help them see how the atonement of Jesus Christ works, how we have hope no matter what we have done, and how all we have to do is just believe Him.

Mama, when Jesus loved us so much and He followed directions, it is like he dried me off of all my bad choices, like he does not let me aspirate on my own not following directions. He helps me breathe again, and I can do better tomorrow.

It’s true, what they said.

We can choke on all our failures, or drown in the consequences we have chosen, or we can breathe the promises He gave and believe His words.

And so we talked about how our choices are not just about that moment, like who ate all the peanut butter or whole stole the applesauce.

Our choices are really about showing Heavenly Father we believe Him, about caring for each other as family, and about living in such a way that we are prepared for temple blessings – even those we depend on, like provision and protection.

Nathan and I were called to teach the temple prep class today about ordinances. It was all young women and young men, and we were directed to let them ask questions rather than presenting a lesson. We talked some about what ordinances are, and symbols, and how what happens in the temple makes sense with what they already know. We answered questions for the few who had them, and hope that we shared what they needed. It was very different than a prepared and structured lesson.

Also, we had Kyrie with us, so that was its own challenge. But we tried. She fell off a chair, and I mentioned in the temple lesson that sex can be awesome, and also that if they are ever unsafe in a dating or marriage relationship that they don’t just automatically stay to keep getting hurt because that has nothing to do with covenant keeping. So I don’t know if that’s the lesson they had in mind, but we tried.

At least Kyrie left her potty in the car, because it all could have been worse.

The children were unusually quiet after church, which was lovely. They all scattered to their own places for a while, to read or nap or playing kitchen. Kyrie even still got her Nursery Lesson in at home, since she can’t be in nursery until after her next surgeries. She wanted to talk about temples since we had for the class, so that’s what we did:

Then she got her pajamas on, as did everyone else. While we waited for dinner to finish warming up, she played “eat real food with my mouth”. She’s so funny.

It was adorable, except with that shadow cast over our illusion of normal.

Here’s a bit for you, Mama. I will be the Mama and you be the baby. I will feed you. When you try to eat, you will choke and cough. Then I will hit you in the chest to make your heart work again. So just take a deep breath. Angels will wake you up and you will be okay another day because so many people pray for you. Let’s play, Mama, okay?

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.