On a Prayer..

Dear Pastor H,

I am writing this letter to give my ten year old daughter the voice she will need to sing the praises and prayers that have been hidden within her..

If I had to guess, I’d say you probably get a couple of hundred of these heartfelt, devastatingly tragic letters every month… maybe more. Probably a good bit more than you could possibly have the time to read… Still, I hope somehow this letter finds its way to you. And when it gets there I hope you’ve got time to read..

My name is Amber. I live in small town Mississippi and my youngest girl believes that you will one day change her world.

Miss Sandra Grace Howell has been Gracie since the womb, and she’s brought me more happiness and joy and pain and worry and fear and an utterly unfathomable love within this life than I could have possibly imagined. More than any single soul could really ever need..

She is my anchor, my hope, my sorrow and delight. She’s so much more than what she looks like and I wouldn’t give her back or change a thing..

But if things had been different…

Gracie was born full term (38wks, 3days) and with an APGAR score of 8 and then 9 after two minutes of life. Being insulin dependent, I was inundated with amniotic fluids and, after about 7 hours of labor, had to have a c-section. The next time we saw her we were told she had had some complications and that she was going to need some specialized care. At 4 days old she was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital in Jackson, MS.


She was more than a month old before we got to bring her home with us. The Drs still weren’t sure it was a good idea, but we’d spent enough time in the NICU and her daddy and I wanted her at home.. if she wasn’t going to live she still had five siblings to meet and who wanted to love her.

The day we left the Dr looked her daddy and I straight in the eyes and told us we would do well to simply “hold her and love her and keep her comfortable”.

It was 5 months later when she finally woke up. She started smiling more and sleeping less and she was beautiful. Every couple of months would bring some new and incredible things we weren’t prepared for and it was crazy. She was smart and aware and not blind or deaf as we’d all imagined.. She would likely never walk or talk or feed herself, but she was a miracle.

I do apologize for being so long winded, Pastor, but I had to tell you that to tell you this..
Last month we went to an orthopedic surgeon. (She has a bursa cyst on one knee and I want it gone).. So, off to orthopedics we went. Always the skeptic, I regarded this new doctor like the quack I had so quickly assumed he would be and prepared myself to comfort my child in the wake of his obvious shortcomings.

Boy, was I wrong..

It would seem as though Dr Ortho is the answer to our prayers. With an incredible 90% success rate in regards to the surgery left dangling like a carrot, I couldn’t be more excited or more afraid for what’s to come. I mean, 90%.. I am utterly blown to pieces every time I hear myself say it out loud..

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Well we’re scheduled for November and I couldn’t be more terrified and thrilled and leery if I tried..

Essentially, they’re going to put her to sleep and reconstruct her legs from about mid-thigh down to the arches of her feet. Crazy isn’t it.. Try imagining that through my eyes. This is a BIG deal. Big enough to stand before Him (and as proxy, before You) in hopes that you might take some time out for my girl.

And so I ask you, as a mother, as somebody who has not been blessed with faith enough to move this mountain on my own, would it be possible for us to come and lean on you? On your voice? On your strength? On your unfaltering relationship with our Lord in this mess…?

If you can find time you between now and Halloween, I will be more than blessed to afford my child the opportunity to hold your hand and even possibly to hear you speak her name in prayer. All you need to do is tell me when..
I sincerely appreciate the time that has been taken here today. We’ll need all the prayers we can get, and somehow Grace thinks your prayers are special..

Many blessings,
Amber and Gracie Howell ♥️

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