Today I took over 100 hats and many baby quilts to Shawnee Mission Hospital. As we pulled up to the special additions maternity entrance, I noticed a "Childrens Mercy" ambulance out front. I noticed it because it was colorful with childlike graphics, and because it was parked in front of the maternity entrance. I had a feeling they were transporting a sick child. In that moment of realization, I had strong feelings of pain for the parents of a child sick enough to be transported to a higher level of care than Shawnee Mission Hospital.
I arrived at the front desk to see my friend Susanna who was excited to get the boxes of hats and quilts for the preemies. As she and I visited about Lydia's Hope, a tiny baby was being wheeled out to the Childrens Mercy transport ambulance. The workers wheeled the baby boy right passed me. As I looked, I saw the most perfect tiny face with his eyes squinting at the lights while opening and closing his perfect little mouth. He was so small, in his enclosed bassinet. Susanna explained that he was 27 weeks old and very sick. He was 27 weeks old! He was barely 6 1/2 months old! He was tiny, but perfect in every way and beautiful, And somewhere in that hospital had to be a parent or parents who said goodbye to their son in hopes that a level IV hospital could serve him better than a level III. Off and on today I have stopped to pray for that little boy, and for his family.
I think I needed to see that. When I got the ball rolling with Lydia's Hope, (and I didn't get the momentum alone, I feel a need to clarify that) but I was so excited to be helping a group of nameless and faceless people who had a need that I could fill. Last summer I quilted about 10 quilts and with the start of school, my ability to produce as many quilts slowed tremendously. The great thing was new quilters were being added to Lydia's list of volunteers. As the holidays neared, and I got even busier, I had even less time to devote to this project. The knitted hats kept coming in great volume, and we took on a second hospital nicu to help. Then one of my knitting groups had to stop. To what could only be attributed to God's favor and leading, my remaining knitting group just picked up the slack. I didn't even ask them, they just did. Each time I lost help with this outreach, God seemed to pour out His grace on the project and the need for the preemies continue to be met.
Last month, I delivered my first batch of hats and quilts. Up until this time, I had hospital workers I knew as personal friends that I could hand the hats and quilts over to take to the nicu, but because of their work schedules and life in general, I wasn't seeing them to give them the hats and quilts to deliver. So I started doing it. up until this time, I had so little feedback about these efforts, I felt myself becoming discouraged. I felt I was doing something blind and couldn't report back to the knitters or seamstresses any encouraging news or helpful advice. Then I received the e-mail from Tina Moore (clinical mgr. SM Hospital nicu) and hoped it would revive all of you as much as it did me.
Today as I got to the front desk to drop off the boxes of knitted hats and quilts for the nicu workers to retrieve, I saw a tiny baby boy who reminded me why we do this. I wish I had all kinds of words of encouragement for all of you who work for Lydias Hope as a volunteer, but I really don't. I don't know a single baby or family these hats have served, but I know that God has helped me along in this nameless/faceless outreach each time I felt like 'why am I doing this?' I have seen His provision through all of you in the time you give to making these beautiful knitted hats and quilts. I've see Him motivate workers when some lost their motivation with this project. I am reminded that Lydia's Hope is His outreach meeting the needs of our community's premature children. Today, I came face to face with one tiny, sick, premature child and saw with my own eyes who it is that we are serving through this ministry. And I realized how much God cares for these babies and their parents to keep all of you going and using your talents to serve them.
Tonight I went to my sewing room and started piecing a tiny quilt top and started praying for the tiny child it would belong to. I don't know if I am the only one who needs to be reminded of Who is in charge here, but I pray that He is able to continue to encourage and bless the works of your hands. You are doing something beautiful here and I see His hand guiding all of you.