Leah Whyte

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Leah Whyte

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Leah Whyte

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Author/s: Vicky Whyte


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by Vicky Whyte


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“God loves me unconditionally and when I hit rock bottom – He is the rock.”

Three significant things happened in Leah’s life over the last two days of 2012 – she turned 15, she had a blood test that changed our lives forever and she was interviewed on Roe Valley Christian Radio about what it meant to her to be a member of L.O.S. T. – the Limavady Outreach and Service Team.

Today I discovered the notes that Leah made while preparing for that radio interview and they are oh so precious.

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She quotes from her favourite Christian worship song at that time –

‘You Never Let Go’ 
By Matt Redman

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know you are near……….

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me.”

Could any words have been more apt or more comforting for a girl who was very soon going to have a potential death sentence pronounced over her head?

Leah’s illness, death and her loss from our lives devastates us. Yet, the many clear signs that God was preparing her and strengthening her for all that lay ahead brings me comfort.

 

 

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by Vicky Whyte


Original Post:

One of the saddest and loneliest experiences of my life was returning home without Leah from the Children’s Hospice on Thursday the 16th January 2014. As we turned in to our drive I caught sight of our other car – a seven seater family car – and the realisation dawned “our family doesn’t need a car that size anymore”.

It had been twenty days since I had driven away from the house, with our two elder daughters. There had been an air of excitement in the car, as that night we were going to a large family get together – our first since Leah’s bone marrow transplant in August. This was going to be a very special occasion.

The rest, the say, is history.

I was by now totally exhausted, both mentally and physically. I managed a few hours sleep that night. When I got up on the Friday morning, I felt bewildered and disorientated. I had no script for what to do next. Like every other day I snatched a few moments of quietness to spend with my Saviour, reading and praying, in the hope of finding some help and strength. My concentration was very poor and I struggled to focus on the words on the page. My reading for that day in Streams in the Desert‘ was Daniel 6:20:

Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you?

Daniel had spent the night in the lion’s den as his punishment for praying to the living God. The King had gone there first thing in the morning, hoping that Daniel was still alive, which he was.

The phrase which was highlighted in my reading that morning is that we serve a ‘living God‘, one who is unchanging and who is always there. In the reading George Mueller is quoted as saying:

In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him, He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.

This past two years have been rough, I continually grieve and mourn for Leah. I mourn too for others that I’ve known along the way who, like Leah, have had their lives cut short by illness, by accident or by suicide. I don’t understand why there’s so much suffering in the world, I don’t understand why some seem to experience miraculous healing while others, equally loved and prayed for, die.

Still, I believe that God is a good God and that many things in this life are a mystery and beyond our understanding. I believe that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love which is ours in Christ Jesus. One of the passages of Scripture that Leah and I read together most often during her illness was Romans 8:35 – 39.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36
As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rend Collective, Leah’s favourite band, have a song based on Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” I heard it at New Horizon in Coleraine the Summer after Leah died and I thought the words and tune were really encouraging:

 

MORE THAN CONQUERORS

We are more than conquerors, through Christ

You have overcome this world, this life

We will not bow to sin or to shame

We are defiant in Your name

You are the fire that cannot be tamed

You are the power in our veins

Our Lord, our God, our Conqueror

I will sing into the night

Christ is risen and on high

Greater is He

Living in me

Than in the world

No surrender, no retreat

We are free and we’re redeemed

We will declare

Over despair

You are the hope 

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by Vicky Whyte

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Does God Answer Prayer?

Recently my husband was speaking to somebody whose wife had a cancer diagnosis and asked him how his wife was doing.

This man replied that his wife was doing really well and had returned to work. He finished off with the statement “God answers prayer.”

That kind of took our breath away. Not the fact that his wife is doing well – we are very happy about that. It’s him telling us that all of this happened because God answers prayer.

Do people think that we didn’t pray for Leah to be healed?
Do they think that our prayers weren’t good enough?

Or was it just a throwaway comment, expressing his faith in God and not in any way meant to undermine ours?

Once I had calmed down, I reasoned that the last explanation is the most likely.

We’ve encountered many and varied responses from people of faith to the fact of Leah’s death. One leader in a church that I occasionally go to, informed me a few months after Leah died, that she had died because of “lack of faith”.

He then quoted the Bible verse

And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.Mark 6:5

You see, for some people, the illness and death of a child doesn’t fit into their neat “I’ve got all the answers” theology.

Even before Leah became ill, I never liked the idea of confining God to a denominational box.
In my opinion, God is way bigger than our pet doctrines and statements of belief.

Yes, I do believe in belonging to a local church and getting involved in the body of Christ.
The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25 GW

“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”

It’s just that I don’t like the idea that any one denomination has got exclusive rights to God.
I think that God is way bigger than the boxes that we sometimes try to squeeze Him into.
For the record, I do believe that God answers prayer. I continue to pray regularly for many people who are unwell.

I don’t know why some people get better and others die.
I don’t believe that Leah died because of “lack of faith”.
Leah herself certainly did not lack faith.

There were hundreds of churches and thousands of Christians praying and believing for Leah to be healed.

However, God isn’t like a genie in a lamp. It isn’t as simple as us just telling God what we want and then abracadabra – we want it, so we’ve got it.

The Bible says in Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV

“There are some things in this life that are always going to be a mystery”.

My Journey: victoriawhyte.wordpress.com

My blog grew out of a private Facebook page of the same name, that my 15 year old daughter Leah and I set up in the Summer of 2013.

We live near Limavady in N. Ireland.

In April 2013 Leah was diagnosed with paediatric myelodysplasia with monosomy 7. This is a very rare haematological malignancy.

We were subsequently told that this had been caused by an even rarer GATA2 genetic mutation. Click here to learn more about GATA2 deficiencies.

Leah’s brother’s bone marrow was a 10/10 match and Leah had a bone marrow transplant on the 1st August 2013 in Bristol Children’s Hospital. This transplant was successful in curing her myelodysplasia and monosomy 7,

Leah however, had several post-transplant complications.

Nevertheless she appeared to be recovering and the doctors were hopeful.

Sadly, on Friday 27th December 2013, I took Leah to a routine outpatient appointment at Belfast City Hospital, from which she never returned.

Within 24hrs Leah was in ICU, struggling to breathe due to pneumonitis, a rare complication of transplant.

On Thursday 16th January 2014, in the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Leah died in peace and dignity, surrounded by love.


Check it out at victoriawhyte.wordpress.com


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