A Bruised Reed and The Broken Way. A Team Danica Update



I’m sitting in a hospital recliner facing my Danica’s bed in the PICU at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. She is resting comfortably, but I don’t want her to open her eyes and not see me here. She was in surgery for over six hours today. Just before 8 am I followed the anesthesia team into the huge operating room to hold her sweet hand. She looked up at the many masked faces and back to mine, and she began to cry until she breathed enough gas for her to drift off. In that moment my brave broke into a thousand pieces. I came out to hug Dan and see my dad and mom who were in the family waiting room, and I began to cry too. The doctors said the first update would come in an hour or so. It would take that long to place all her lines, prep her and get the initial imaging done before the first incision. I needed coffee and a distraction. Dan and I went right away so we could hurry back up to wait as closely as we could to our girl.

I stopped at the chapel alone.

Kneeling in the empty, dark and perfectly quiet room I prayed.

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s new book The Broken Way the past six weeks. I’ve had to take it in bite size pieces, because I am a bruised reed. I’ve been feeling like a sham…saying the “right” things about hope and healing in the light while secretly covering a spreading hematoma of doubt, fear and even anger. The leaking has gone deeper than the surface tissue. It’s become a blood clot in the main artery to my spiritual heart. I’m not just bruised. I’m broken.

This morning in the make shift sacred space, prostrate before the good God I’d been forgetting in my pain and my daughter’s suffering, I took a ragged breath of Grace, and the oxygen of Jesus fanned the smoldering wick back into a tiny flame. The blockage cleared in the yielding.

Ann’s words underlined, copied on a note card and carried with me in the Bible I’ve struggled to read echoed in my mind.

“What happens if you just let the brokenness keep coming? Surrender. Let the wave of it all break over you and wash you up at the foot of the cross. What if I lived like I believed it: Never be afraid of broken things–because Christ is redeeming everything.

I am cracked open yes but not trampled. With my head on the ground the Spirit ministered with the truth from Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” Gently Jesus splints my snapped soul with bandages of compassion.


Danica’s surgery went well. Exceeding, abundantly above all we could ask or think. The details are amazing. The “Gauntlet” bringing us here may even be a gift. I haven’t given up on that yet.

“The fellowship of the suffering believe that suffering is a gift He entrusts to us, and He can be trusted to make this suffering into a gift. The fellowship of the broken take up the fearless broken way, are not afraid of brokenness, and don’t need to try to fix anyone’s brokenness, or try to hide it or mask it or judge it or exile it…Never be afraid of broken things–because Christ is redeeming everything.

Thank you for being part of the “fellowship of the broken.” You were praying us into today, through today and will continue in the coming hard days of recovery. Thank you for being the given in our need. Our Hope remains.

I’m quietly playing the achingly beautiful song “Image of God” sung by Christa Wells and Nicole Witt. Still your heart. Close your eyes and listen. Play it again.

Dan, Danica and I attended an intimate concert with Christa along with Jess Ray and Taylor Leonhardt the week before we headed here for surgery. It was soul food for us all.

Christa Wells

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4 Comments on A Bruised Reed and The Broken Way. A Team Danica Update

  1. Rhinda Hayden
    December 1, 2016 at 1:02 am (7 years ago)

    Teary for you and for us! Yet these truths are precious! Rejoicing with you that the cross has changed everything! Praying for all of you and especially for Danica right now! Thank you for sharing and for continuing to uplift us!

  2. Cindee Snider Re
    December 1, 2016 at 1:51 am (7 years ago)

    Oh, Friend, I’ve been living a sham too – pushing through, resolutely marching on, listening through gritted teeth, stuffing frustration, swallowing exhaustion, willing my tongue to be still, but it spills over, seeps through, bleeds onto everything and everyone I touch. We are a mess. And I’ve been hiding. Tonight I came clean with God – opened my hands, not wanting, but needing, to relinquish control. Again. Still. These days can’t be about what I want or think I need. Because they are all about and for Him. His plans. His way. In His time. Recognition or not. Hurting heart or not. He must increase. I must decrease, but this cross is heavy. Rending flesh. Breaking to the marrow so others may be fed. Hard, but right in His inside out, upside down Kingdom. He is asking me to listen without opinion, where I’m quick to speak, to follow when I want to lead, to release and hold loosely what I’ve been clenching in my hands, to allow the tears to soften the brittle soil of my heart. And here…where I least expect it…peace rains soft and sweet. And here in the quiet of this long night, we gather across the miles in this small space – you at the bedside of your Brave Warrior, me in a houseful of teens/early 20s wrestling with illness and faith. Here in this carved-out space, my Friend, is grace. <3

  3. Angie Fette
    December 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm (7 years ago)

    I know many many parents of chiari and EDS little ones have felt this way at one time or another, or many times. I personally have 3 little ones with EDS and feel personally responsible for giving it to them. I have chiari and while none of them have been diagnosed with it yet, I am just waiting for that shoe to drop. 1 has pretty bad stenosis and is close to chiari 0, and just waiting for the symptoms to become bad enough to warrant the diagnosis. So I get it. But you are not alone and you are completely normal in feeling this way. It is ok. You’d be abnormal if you didn’t feel this way. But we are here with you. I am a Reiki Master as well as a Christian. I have prayed and sent much love, prayers and energy to you and your precious little one. We will continue to be with you, as is the Lord through this journey. Staying strong for her doesn’t mean not breaking down. It means being there and never leaving her. She knows you are there and always will be. God bless dear Mama. You are doing a wonderful job.

  4. Tatia Cook
    December 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm (7 years ago)

    Praise God for “Exceeding, abundantly above”! You’ve been on my mind and in my prayers.

    Thank you, Monica, for your honesty. I am almost undone by it…your words are encouragement to be real to this weary soul. Prayers continuing.


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