Olive Hope Polinder went home to be with Jesus yesterday evening. Our hearts are filled with such overwhelming sadness as we think about the incredible loss Rusty and Lynette must feel after these long months of strife, heartache, miracles, and prayer. It seems there are not enough words in the universe to describe the impact this little life has had on our personal faith in recent months. I've been grasping for them for hours now, only to find an ocean of tears.
Olive was born at the end of September 2009 to her missionary parents in Chaing Rai, Thailand, at only 28 weeks, and suffered a severe intracranial brain hemorrhage. When we heard of the need for prayer for her life, something captured both Jason and I and latched onto our hearts... Perhaps it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, perhaps it was our sensitivity to these friends and new parents in need as we were desperate to become parents ourselves... probably both. And so we committed ourselves to fasting and prayer for tiny Olive Hope Polinder, oceans away but tied to our hearts in a way that only the love of God can explain.
About a year ago, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my brain that (among other things) the doctors said could keep us from having children. We were devastated. We stated our faith, sought the prayers of friends and family and our church, and kept moving on with life, but in all honesty, it was a battle we sincerely struggled with very privately. Especially me. There were many days that my faith grew weak and my hope diminished, and I angrily stormed the gates of heaven with demands to understand the unfair anguish that had been cast upon us.
And then Fall blew into our lives with its swift, cool winds, and one day we heard the desperate cry for prayer from the Polinder family. We watched our Savior perform miracle after miracle in Olive's body and our faith was strengthened... We were reminded that God can do the impossible. We were reminded of His goodness in all things, even when circumstances cast their dark and eerie shadows. Little did we know that in the very days that we first committed ourselves to prayer and fasting for little Olive Hope, a new life was being conceived within us.
We consider Olive to be such an integral part of our journey over these recent months. Today the words are hard to find and the tears come freely as we celebrate what her life meant to so many. When I meet her in heaven, I can't wait to find out if she knows that she restored faith in my soul and hope for my heart. I can't wait to see her dancing in the streets of heaven next to the life that I am carrying within me.
Olive's life was the perfect example of the very purpose of human creation: She brought glory and honor to God. We will never stop telling her story.