November 17, 2013 at 10:20pm
I didn’t get to go to church this morning. Nicky is sick again so another Sunday without church. But I told Nicholas I wanted to go to the coffee shop for a bit. It is my thinking place and especially comes in happy when I miss church because I can just sit in the quietness and read or write and take important time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness.
The past few days have been interesting. We have this very real “threat”… our doctor (who seems normally quite conservative) feels that there could be a serious problem with Lizzy. He wants us to go to Texas Children’s Hospital. We are giving it the weekend to see if it might just be rooting from breastmilk jaundice… so this “if at all possible do everything natural when it comes to childbirth and infants” momma is trying formula. Part of me feels it is silly to even worry. Breastmilk jaundice probably is all that it is. Yet the doctor’s words and concern haunt me. He feels it is a higher percent chance it is a serious problem than just breastmilk jaundice. Relatives this weekend keep saying they think her color has improved. “She is looking better I am sure of it.” So then I’m peaceful. But then Nicholas and I look at her again, in different lighting, five minutes later, and we wonder if we are just telling ourselves she is better.
The other day I looked up one of the diseases she might have. Bad choice. Right now God has not given me the grace for that issue. Nicholas and I both feel strongly that we can’t worry about outcomes that are not ours to carry yet or ever. So our official view these days is that we aren’t even mentally “going there” unless that’s what the tests show. In the past we have walked the road of panicky medical diagnoses. None of this is foreign to me. I have learned through this never to take on tomorrow’s concern because it could be nothing at all or it could be something entirely different and, either way, I don’t have grace for it today. But it is one thing when it is me the doctors are talking at. It is another when its about my little (big little) baby. So I’m fighting to stay away from the fear that wants to draw me in.
In the past I’ve told Nicholas that one of the things that would be so hard for me would be for our children not to be able to mentally enjoy the Classics and philosophy and theology. We have worked so hard to weave a wonderful educational plan for Nicky and Lizzy and, although we don’t have strong feelings on what Nicky’s vocation should be (although right now we guess its engineering based on how many child locks he has triumphed over) what is really important to us is for him and Elizabeth to be equipped to think wisely and logically and engage society with Christ’s truth. What happens if our plans on that have to change for Lizzy?
Or what happens if also or instead she has a short life expectancy. And she dies not able to breath because her lungs don’t work. And its scary and sudden even though we have lived years knowing she could die at any time. And maybe she leaves behind a young husband and baby. Or maybe she never marries and never gets to know the wonder of marriage and the wonder of being a mommy. What if we find ourselves burying our child instead of vice versa. That’s worse.
Or maybe its diabetes. And maybe that seems better in some ways. But I don’t want her to walk that hard road.
In my mind I’m trying to decide which disease is worse… as if somehow it is up to me to decide this.
What if it is one of these things?
If it is… Then it changes everything and nothing.
If it is
we will continue trusting – hoping – finding joy – praying – rejoicing – knowing God is faithful – reading “Will Gets a Haircut” to Nicky for the 80th time.
I still will still hope Nana will buy Nicky a trapeze for Christmas.
I still am going to buy Elizabeth felt mice for Christmas.
I still will sing Elizabeth her special song I made up for her.
I will still sing Nicky his.
I will still read Nicky his fire engine book again and again and again.
Nicholas will still deal with water purification.
I will still struggle along with how to cook well and healthy.
A goal this year will still be to learn to run.
I still want to paint the beat-up nightstand I bargained down to 3 dollars at that one garage sale – which I see character to and Nicholas see as a wacky example of the oddness of why women love garage sales.
I will still know so much as just the same.
And a lot will change.
I will see the profound reality that when we are at the end of ourselves God will show us Himself in such a powerful way.
We will become more eternity minded.
We will be given a new ministry world of moms of children with special needs – they will minister to us and we will minister to them.
We will learn deeply and early about really really genuinely trusting God to care for our children.
I will know the awesome reality of God’s grace. I have seen that grace. I’ve watched my own parents bury a daughter. I know what it means to look back in my wheelchair as my dad stands alone at the grave as her body is lowered. And I have seen him and my mom continue on. They are marked by it but have not allowed it to destroy them.
A lot will be very hard change.
Loss. Sorrow. Exhaustion. Fear. Unknowns. A
nd I wonder about Nicky’s reaction and how it will affect him.
And my world becomes the hospital again. But I’ve done that before. Both Nicholas and I both have faced very hard before. But not with our children and I know that facing the very hard when it deals with a child is different and I’m not prepared for that. But at the same time I actually am indeed prepared for that because, as my mom says, the way you “prepare” for hardship is by daily spending time in the Word, daily growing in the Lord and knowing the reality of His attributes because it is only those to which you can cling when you face the dark valleys. That’s what prepared her for my sister’s shocking death. That’s what prepares me for every day of my own life.
So this weekend as I help Nicky with his catechisms, at the same time in the back of my mind I’m wondering “what if or what if or what if” and in the process I’m risking missing the silly beauty of Nicky’s smile as he yells “mo mo” (more) as we practice head stands while reciting what the chief end of man is. And, you see, the answer to that question happens to be, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever” which I think is actually the answer to “what if”… if what if happens we will still seek to glorify God and will enjoy Him forever.
So today I’m not going to dwell on percents. And I’m not going to dwell on this as a threat.
This threat… although it is an earthly threat, is not a spiritual threat.
It does not threaten that Lizzy will be separated from God’s love. It does not threaten that His faithfulness will not be there for her. I, her own mother, know what it is like to lie in the dark in the trauma hospital in pain and with the unanswered questions of if I will walk again, etc. I have felt God’s powerful presence during my own personal “what if” moments about my own physical life. There was no threat to me then that God was not near and sovereign and good. And there is no threat of that for my little daughter, either.
Tonight before he went to night night, I held Nicky upside down one more time – partially for his sake and partially for mine – as he laughed and said “mo mo!” while walking across the floor with his hands. “What is our chief end in life? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever!”
Since writing this article, Elizabeth’s tests have shown that she is doing well and that, at this time, no further testing is needed as there is no longer concern that she has a serious medical condition. The Lord has been very gentle toward us! We are so grateful!