ANNIE GRACE SABIN - March 30, 2010 - August 1, 2010

ANNIE GRACE SABIN - March 30, 2010 - August 1, 2010


Friday, June 25, 2010

But If Not

Annie came through today's surgery just fine. The surgeon did the procedures that I described in my last post as well as an aortapexy (tacking the aorta to the back wall of her chest cavity in an effort to give more relief to her bronchus where it is compressed). Last night, when Dr. Burch called to talk things through with me, he let me know that while he does not feel extreme optimism that today's procedures will do the trick, not doing anything is not an option and will surely gaurantee failure. This morning Annie weighed what she did on the morning of her very first surgery at the age of three-and-a-half weeks. She is losing weight every day right now. The bottom line is that this has to work or Annie will be in a very scary place in a short amount of time. The IV situation has not improved- even the anesthesiologist was unable to place an IV in the operating room. The doctors are nervous, and hope that Annie remains stable through the night, as otherwise, this could quickly become an emergency situation for her. If the chest tube drainage slows over the next few days, things should get better with the IV situation as well, as they will need less access for meds and nutrition. We are all praying for that!

I keep thinking about a talk I heard in general conference several years ago, titled, "But, If Not..." In this talk, Elder Dennis Simmons told the story found in the Bible of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nago. These men were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace because they refused to worship anyone but the true and living God. They had absolute faith that their God could save them from destruction, that He was far more powerful than any earthly force. Their faith was remarkable, but the most striking part of the story was in their ability to say "but, if not." When faced with imminent destruction, Elder Simmons states, "the three young men quickly and confidently responded, 'If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand." Then, Elder Simmons noted, "That sounds like my eighth-grade kind of faith. But then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is . . . . 'But if not, . . . we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' That is a statement of true faith."

Elder Simmons went on to say, "They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn't turn out the way they hoped. They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him. Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him."

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew they could always rely on Him because they knew His plan, and they knew that He does not change. They knew, as we know, that mortality is not an accident of nature. It is a brief segment of the great plan of our loving Father in Heaven to make it possible for us, His sons and daughters, to achieve the same blessings He enjoys, if we are willing. They would follow God; they would exercise faith in Him. He would deliver them, but if not—and we know the rest of the story."

I loved this talk when I heard it the first time. I remember thinking how I wanted to have that kind of faith, the "but if not" kind of faith. Not just faith in the good times, but faith when things didn't work out like I thought or hoped they would. Well, now I have this baby daughter and more than anything, I want her to get her miracle. I want her to be delivered from her sickness, from the ventilator, from this bed and from this hospital. I have never wanted anything like I want this. I have complete faith that God is capable of granting this miracle, but what if He does not? What if His plan for Annie and our family is far from the desires of my heart? I have spent much time thinking about this lately. While it is impossible to predict exactly how I will feel if things turn out poorly for Annie, I will never be able to deny that the Lord has been with me in this. I really know He has. Every day, I pull into the parking lot here at the hospital, and before I even get out of the car, I put my headphones in my ears and turn on a song that helps me feel the Spirit. Somehow, this seems to soften the edges on this whole hospital experience and makes coming here just a little more bearable. And every day, I feel like the Savior meets me at the door. He climbs the steps with me and walks down the hall and comes into her room with me every day. So, while I still get scared when I think too much about what the future holds for Annie, I feel like I can say that no matter what comes, my faith in Him will still be solid. I have had too many sacred experiences to ever feel otherwise. I know He is capable of granting any miracle that we could ever wish for Annie, but if not, He will be with us through it all. I know what blessings I want for Him to bestow on my baby girl, but if not, I know that He will bless her still. I know as Elder Simmons knows, that while "we don't seek tribulation, if we respond in faith, the Lord strengthens us. The but if nots can become remarkable blessings." I know what I hope for Annie's future, but if not, I know that I can trust Him to meet us at the door, climb the steps and be with us every day. Every single day.


  1. What beautiful and inspiring words Amy! Thank you for sharing this conference talk- I will never think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego the same. When I hear their story I will always think of their "but if not" faith.

    Your precious Annie has touched so many people and taught not just you but so many (even people like me who live far away!). You truely have given all those who read your blog a gift by sharing your amazing testimony and your gift of writing.

    I will continue to pray for your miracle and pray that Annie can keep fighting. I am grateful to have such amazing people as friends who inspire me and teach me.

    Love you lots,

    Marci Daley

  2. I also remember this talk vividly. Sometimes the miracle a loving God has planned for us isn't the one we have planned! Having faith to say, "but if not" and truly feel that way in the face of amazing adversity is a miracle to me. That said, I still pray for more healing miracles for Annie.

  3. I'm sad to hear Annie had to go through another surgery but I understand why and I'm very hopefull that this does the trick. Annie (and both of you as well) is always on my mind and in my prayers.

  4. I am so sad to learn about your sweet little girl's struggles. I do not know you, just came across your blog. I also have a heart baby with HLHS and is doing well. I have a friend who is up at primary"s right now. Her son is ill and they don't know what is wrong with him. He is only 22 months. I don't know if you can, but I think it would mean the world to her if she could talk to someone who is also going through tough times. Her name is Melissa frasure and her little boy is Dexter, she is on the 4th floor. Thank you for your time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet baby!!

  5. Amy, you have already demonstrated that you have this kind of faith and I have no doubt that you are strengthening many others faith in the process. May God grant you your hearts desires for Annie and reward your mighty faith.

  6. You are such an amazing person, to be able to think of others and share your testimony, when others would be entirely consumed with this huge trial you are going through. I pray for your sweet little Annie and pray that a miracle is in store for her.

  7. Your faith has never wavered. I have been in constant awe of your strength. I am praying for the miracle that Annie is so deserving of receiving.

  8. Thank you, Amy, for your example and your testimony. I am so lucky to have a friendship with you and have been touched by your example through this journey with Annie. What a sweet visual of Christ meeting you @ the door of the hospital. May Christ always be at your side, comforting you and strengthening you.

  9. we're always here for you Amy and Cam.


    Janna and Jerry

  10. HI Amy,
    I just left PCMC two weeks ago with my baby Gideon. I met you and your husband a few times and I saw your beautiful baby girl there. I was hoping when I came to check out your blog I would read that you were on your way home. What beautiful words you have written! One of the best things about our hospital experience was meeting people like you and your family. You and Annie have been in our prayers. I know from experience that while that is not much it is also everything. Please know that you and your baby are loved even by mere acquaintances. It is really comforting to read your words and feel your strength.


    Teala and Gideon Wilson and the rest of our family :)

  11. Dear Amy and Cam,
    It is so nice to read all the comments Jerry and Janna have posted over these past 3 months, as they pretty much know, at least very closely, what you and your family are going through. I will never forget that cold late January day many years ago when they lost their sweet Emma Kathryn. She, just like your little Annie Grace, was a perfectly beautiful full term baby girl, and I remember feeling so very sad, but also knowing I had not really a clue as to what they were truly experiencing.

    This time it is all a little closer to home, and hurts more even. Still, not having had your experience myself, there is no way I can completely understand. This I do know; God gives and he takes away, for reasons we often will never understand.

    Should your answer be found within the words "But if Not", I know your faith will never allow you to be bitter, and will see you through to the very end. I have no doubt of it. Love, mom

  12. Amy, in your struggling you lift and inspire me. Thank you for your example. I know you have down days, but I am amazed at how many uplifting things you share here. You are right, God will never leave us alone. Thanks for your courage and willingness to share.

    Annie's so cute. So so cute. She reminds me of our little angel baby...perfect except for a couple of deal-breaking physical problems. Those spirits are gifts to ours. I hope as you do that you will bring your angel home soon.

    Much love and many prayers,

  13. Oh no...this is what makes me scared of blogs...

    I only meant that Annie and Susie have similar things to teach us - to help us define what we believe, what we hope, what matters in life. They also remind me of each other because I'm in awe of them both.

    Susie's problems were deal-breaking. We have faith and believe that Annie's aren't. But if not, may it be sweet for you like it was for us.

  14. I didn't read your blog until after I saw you last Monday and had no idea that Annie was struggling so much. I wish I had asked the simple question "How is Annie today". I'm so sorry for the days of fear you have experienced since then. I am amazed by your faith. I am in tears as I read your updates and know you can feel the love of those praying for you desperately during this overwhelming trial. I wanted to share with you the struggle I had to achieve the “but, if not…” type of faith. When I was pregnant with my twins, I fought a daily nagging fear for their safety. I was high risk because of an incompetent cervix which was diagnosed after the loss of our first son, James. He was developing perfectly but I delivered prematurely because of my condition. I know from experience the care and love our Father in Heaven has for each of us. When pioneers speak of His power pushing them along; how they came to know God through their struggles, I understand that. A passage of scripture brought me great comfort at this time. When the Savior comforted his dear friends, Mary and Martha, at the time of their brother’s death, his compassion and love for them was manifest in His tears. He knew that shortly He would perform a miracle and restore Lazarus to life, but he felt their pain and sorrow as no mortal could and he wept with them. I felt that compassion; He knew my grief and sent His angels. I knew then that He would love me and comfort me no matter what trial I experienced later on. So, with each successful pregnancy my fear subsided until faced with a multiple birth. The fear rebounded and despite pouring through the scriptures it would come and go. Sometimes I felt peace and sometimes the “what if’s” would overwhelm me. I knew that I would be sustained if the worst happened, but I also knew the pain of losing a child and all the hopes and dreams you have wrapped in that child. Despite not holding that child in my arms with life coursing through him, I knew his spirit and the loss was hard to bear. My arms ached to hold him. When I was pregnant with the twins, I read scripture after scripture that explained that fear and faith do not coexist. I felt guilt when I couldn’t fully trust God and His plan for me and my children. Your beautiful testimony of faith is what I had hoped to achieve. Thank you for teaching me again that we can trust in our Father’s plan for us. I’m sure you experience the fear and heartache just as frequently as the peace and faith. I pray that you will receive your miracle and Annie will bless your life with hers for many years to come.

    Sending you love and prayers,
    Kristen Smeltzer