Friday, December 16, 2011

Hearing His Heartbeat

After Caden came home from the hospital with a feeding tube, we had to use a stethoscope to "check placement" of the tube, to make sure it was in the stomach before putting medications and food through it. After noticing (from a blog post of course) that we were using the fantabulous yellow plastic stethoscope they gave us at the hospital, a sweet nurse friend of ours offered to let us use her own stethoscope.  Caden, praise the Lord, doesn't have his feeding tube any more; but sometimes I still like to use the stethoscope just to listen to his heart.

I wont pretend to know exactly what I'm hearing, but as I listen to the gentle thump-thump-thump of his miraculous little heartbeat, I am filled with awe. I can scarcely imagine that the surgeon's hands could be steady enough to make that heart beat, to swap teeny-tiny little arteries and stitch up teeny-tiny little holes. And even more than that, I am flooded with a sense of wonder at a God who carefully knit together my son's bitty little heart. He made no mistakes. Not even in the murmur, the abnormal cadence of his special heart.
It's harder to hear his heart beat, to recognize his murmur, than I thought it would be. I have to send Jayci out of the room. Wait until Caden stops flailing his little arms and screeching his sweet baby sounds. I have to focus. To breathe deeply and listen closely. And only then can I hear it: Lub-dub with swishing and regurgitation, almost musical. Again, I don't describe it accurately or medically. I only know that I can hear my son's heart. And it is miraculous.

I gently lay my fingers over his raised scar; touch his sternum, bumpy and bound together with wire. I can feel his heart trilling lightly, and I listen at the same time: thump-thump-thump-thump.

It's the same way with the Lord, I think. I have to listen so closely to hear His heartbeat. Tune out the distractions, focus my gaze, still my own heart. I have to put my head to His chest, breathe softly, and listen. Thump-thump-thump. There it is I think, as I sneak a cookie from our wrapped plate to give it to a homeless man on the street corner.

Again I hear it as I watch Jayci dance around excitedly, offering all the kiddos hot chocolate and making sure they all got marshmellows. Thump-thump-thump, I hear it when we hand a jar of caramel and homemade cookies to the drug dealer on the corner and hug him merry christmas, no strings attached.

As hustle and bustle surround us, particularly during the holiday season, it can be hard to hear it.  But, rest assured, it's still there. His heart still beats for His children, and if you listen closely you will hear it. Thump-thump-thump. In unexpected places you'll hear it. His heart beats for the least of these, for the forgotten, the lonely.
 I watch fourteen and fifteen year old mamas in our neighborhood: babies holding babies, and I think I hear the Lord's heart faintly thumping, with promise and hope despite pain or perhaps because of it. I imagine another teenage mommy, over 2000 years ago. Her heart racing as she cradled her beautiful baby, counting his tiny toes and exclaiming to Joseph over his little fingers. I wonder at the pain she must have felt, knowing she held the Saviour, and knowing she would have to give up her son.

I recognize my own pain mingled with joy as I imagine how she must have felt. I understand intimately this year how her heart must have ached, and yet been flooded with a certain peace. How she had to rest in the Lord's mighty arms, secure in her status as highly-favored and deeply loved. How she gently wrapped her Creator in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger to watch him slumber, the Lord's heartbeat loud in her ears.

The shepherds heard it beating, surrounded by a brilliant angel chorus. The sheep and goats heard it coming from their food trough, tiny coos from a bitty baby. And when I wonder how in the world can our little tiny light reach such a dark neighborhood, I remember that the Wise Men followed a single star that led them to the Savior.

Thump-thump-thump, His heart beats for each of us. For His children. For His son, sent to save the world. For our kiddos, for all those who wont have presents under their tree or a family to hug them tightly this Christmas. For the tantrum-throwing toddlers and the less-than-patient mothers. And for my son, I hear His heart beating loudly. I hear His heart matching Caden's own special heartbeat in a beautiful chorus that proclaims that God is good and the Savior is come.


  1. what a lovely post....thank you so much for sharing those words.

    It's a great reminder to us all.

  2. So beautiful! I will never listen to a heart beat the same way again! :)

  3. You just made me cry.. but in the nicest possible way! Your heart is so very much like my Carla's. As I am writing this, she is visiting a little one she has come to love over the past 5 years who is in the hospital with pneumonia. She, too, has a problem with her heart and her parents gave up their parental rights when she was an infant. Carla loves her so much. I would so much appreciate it if you would say a prayer for this little one who Carla refers to as "Her Five Year Old Self"! Your children are so blessed to have you as their mommy.

  4. I love how you can put your beautiful thoughts into words so wonderfully. Your posts put me in awe. You make being a heart mommy so much easier.

    BTW - speaking of feeding tubes - Treys has to go back in. He will now only eat 2 ounces at a time and doesnt wake to eat at night. Total bummer. Wondering if it will be out before he starts college ;-)

  5. Wonderful post Becca.. I like how the word "cadence" has "Caden" built right into it. What a blessing that baby boy has been been to so many, and what a blessing your family continues to be in my life. Love you guys, (despite never meeting you :)) Have a wonderful Christmas.

  6. Truly beautiful Becca. Having a rough night tonight, and this just brightened my evening. OH, how He love us!

  7. I think I just figured out what I love so much about you. "No strings attached". That's you, and that's Jesus reaching out through you. No strings attached in how you love your God.. you lay Caden on His altar and see the blessing in being highly favored. No strings... no "I'll shout Your name from the rooftops..IF you spare Caden". You would be up there shouting no matter what. And no strings attached is how you love His people. No judging. Sadness, yes. But to hug a drug dealer and wish him Merry Christmas? I just think I would have to throw a lecture in there. But you open your heart, just as we're commanded. You always move me when you write, but tonight you opened my eyes to who you really are. You..are MY Mary...

  8. Beautifully said. I feel the same way when I listen to Logan's heart.


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