Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When Jesus Asks Us To Trust Him With Our Children...And Why We Should.

It was Day 13 of fever. 
High fever. 

I tip-toed out of her room and quietly shut the door. It was afternoon and I hadn't yet showered much less barely eaten. I was wearing my husband's sweatpants. Days old mascara and brown eyeliner crusted in the corners of my eyes.

 It was Day 13 and in that very moment, heat flushed across my face because I knew that this had become something serious. 

I walked across the hall to Lacey's room. Threw open her second floor balcony door and felt the fresh November air beckoning outside. I ventured out. Slid my back down the white rails and plopped down on the dirty decking, feeling the sunlight hit my face. I looked straight up to see the wind rustling through the big oak trees surrounding our back yard. I felt the weight of this un-named diagnosis, this mysterious "thing" that was wrecking heavy on my tiny daughter's body, sitting heavy on my shoulders. 

And then I closed my eyes and started to pray. Started to petition. Asking for wisdom. And like a dam, my heart gave way. And even though I knew that every symptom and troubling blood-work marker and growing rash and persisting high fever was pointing down a scary road, I was not afraid. 

But the unnamed needed to be named. 
The pediatrician had already sent us to the Emergency Room once. There we found infection, but no cause. An ultrasound revealed a swollen abdominal mass, but no definitive diagnosis. With no real answers, we were sent home to wait.  And everyone around me was troubled, but I had this ridiculous peace. 
But now, in this serene moment on the back porch, 
I knew that this unnamed illness had to be discovered.

She could not continue another day like this. 

And that's when God's whisper swooped in. 
On that balcony, I was reminded yet again of the truth that this mothering journey has most taught me. That this child is a gift. That God is in control. 

And that yes, even though it feels impossible, 
He loves her even more than I do.

And if we as mothers really believe that? It changes everything doesn't it? The truth in believing that the Creator of the Universe is holding my daughter's life in His very hands. That He knew the very second she would be conceived and formed her in my womb and orchestrated the very moment of her birth and holds the secret of the day she will leave here to be forever with Him. 

There in that moment, I gave him Annabelle yet again. 
Holding up my hands, with my palms wide open, holding her loosely. Remembering that I am not in control. Receiving great comfort in knowing that my Heavenly Father is the master of the sea and the sky and of my girl's very heartbeat. 
Master of the disease taking life away from her. 

And I rocked and cried. And rocked and cried. And repeated, "Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, my Redeemer, I trust in You." 

Beautiful song words that I had memorized came deep and slow, 
"You are bigger than all my fears. God of love. God my love. 
You are bigger than my dreams. God my hope. God my peace. 
Whatever will come my way, through each day, I will say. 
God I trust you."

And then He told me gently, 
"It's time to go, Jodi. You've waited it out long enough. 
Trust me. It's time to go. Now." 

And I got up and wiped my face and took a deep breath, knowing even though I was exhausted, I was ready to do what the pediatrician had asked us over and over for the past three days. Asked us after another round of blood tests showed a scary high white blood count and high platlet markers and disturbing liver  numbers. Asked us when she had stopped putting weight on her legs as warm rash ascended on her limbs. 

It was time to take her up to the Johns Hopkins Emergency Room. Time to discover, like the labs suggested, it was cancer. 

I crept back inside and checked on our two-year-old miracle. The baby I was never supposed to have. The one I call "grace". I have come closest to our Lord since her birth because I've needed Him so desperately to mother this tribe of four. And she's asleep, but her face is the color of a white sheet. The fever and sleepless nights and lack of nourishment have taken a toll on this 28-pound body. 

I silently walk downstairs. My eyes feel so weary. I think about what to pack and how to make arrangements (again) for the other three kids knowing the hospital can be a black-hole, a time-warp. 

And right then. 

My phone rings loud. 

It startles me. 

And I see her doctor's number and I suck in a quick breath. 
But I'm not prepared for what he wants to tell me. 

"Jodi, have you left yet for Hopkins?" 

I whisper no. 

"Good. Because we have news."

"That baby is fighting an infectious disease. But we know what it is.  Her Lyme Titer was positive."

And I hit my knees. The phone is still in my hand, but I use the other hand to cover my mouth. To fight back the sobs. 

"Annabelle has a pretty severe case Jodi. But I'm glad that Lyme Disease is what she has. It's not cancer. And the best part? If we get the medication into her right away, she will make a full recovery." 

And I have not cried that hard in years. 

Tears of joy and tears of thanks and tears of gratitude for God's picture-perfect timing. Tears, thankful that we found out what she was fighting at home before we headed up to the hospital again, 
be poked and prodded yet again. 
Tears that my child will find some relief from fever and rash. 
That she would walk again. 

Relief flooded my heart.  

Tears of gratitude that the unnamed, had a name.

"You are able to provide. You are faithful in perfect time.
Your goodness overwhelms. I am held.

Through the fire, you're my shield. 
Your protection never fails.
No power can separate. I am saved. 

You are bigger than all my fears. God of love. God my love. 
You are bigger than my dreams. God my hope. God my peace. 
Whatever will come my way, through each day, I will say. 
God I trust you.

I am yours. Use me Lord. 

You are the God who always sees us. Even in bare and desperate seasons. You are rock on which I stand."

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