When the Storm Rolls In Part 2

This is a continuation of my post from last week.

I took the kids home on Saturday night, got them into bed with plans to drop them off with Grandma Cyndi the next morning in time for Matt’s dad Vern and I to get to the ICU at 11:00 AM. I talked to my mom for a bit, and settled in for a restless night of sleep.

On Sunday morning, I called the ICU to get an update on Matt’s condition. The nurse said he was stable, which was good news but it didn’t sound like he had improved much. We were pretty nervous heading to the hospital. I don’t remember a lot about walking into his room that day, just that he was pretty drowsy and out of it.

It was a really hard day. Matt’s condition did not improve, but it didn’t get worse, either. It was really hard to watch him stuck in a bed, too weak to even adjust his position. They brought liquids, but he didn’t take anything. By mid-afternoon, he was going to try to take a nap and told us that we could leave. So we got ready go, and as soon as Matt put his CPAP on, he projectile vomited everywhere. It was horrible. I couldn’t leave after that, so we waited as the nurses cleaned it all up. They had the best attitudes, they teased him as they wiped every inch of the ICU room.

Finally, we had to leave for the night. I picked up the kids and took them home. Once I finally got them into bed, I had a chance to cry. This was such a hard day, but two things happened to encourage me before I went to bed. I called our pastor and his wife and they prayed for me and Matt. Then I was messaging my good friend, and one of her friends texted me asking about Matt. Her husband is a doctor, and they helped me understand a few things as well as have a few questions to ask the next day. I felt much better after those two interactions.

On Monday morning, I dropped the kids off with my friend Steph. They love her and her house is so much fun, I knew they would have the best time. She hugged me and prayed for us, and I headed to the ICU again. I was a bit nervous to have another day like Sunday, so I blasted some worship songs that declared strength and victory, and I was ready to go.

Pastors Jonathan and Dan met me there, and we walked up together. Only two visitors were allowed in the room at a time, so I headed back to see if his parents were still in there. As I stepped into the room, I was shocked to see Matt’s face. The change from Sunday night was remarkable. His color was better, he looked more alert and was sitting up a bit instead of laying down. My heart leapt in my chest as I grabbed his hand. “You look so much better!” I said. I told him the pastors were coming in, and I stepped back out to eat my lunch.

After Pastors Dan and Jonathan left, Matt’s mom and I stayed the afternoon with him. I had to pick up the kids around dinner time, but it was much easier to leave on Monday than it had been just 24 hours before. I believe God healed Matt’s infection, and I was ecstatic.

My friend Steph gave us a meal as well as another friend from church, plus another wonderful friend gave us a gift card to help out. I was overflowing with gratefulness for all the blessings and care we received.

I will finish the hospital portion of the story in one more post, hopefully tomorrow.

He Never Ends

As we drove home from school a few weeks ago, Jack (6) asked me when God was born. I explained as best I could that God was never born. He has always been and always will be. The kids were curious how Jesus could be born but God was not, so I offered a brief explanation of the Trinity, how God the Son became a man and was born, but God the Father was not.

I said that God has no beginning and no end, and as soon as I said it, the enormity of the truth just hit me.

“Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?” Isaiah‬ ‭40:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The God of this world, this universe has no beginning and no end. The fact that I doubt His plans, that I wonder if He knows what is going on in my life is a bit laughable. How could He not know? It sounds overwhelming when I try to explain to my children that He knows everything about everyone and He cares about each of us. But this is the God who created something out of nothing. What could be too difficult for Him?

“’Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah‬ ‭32:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I can list 6-7 areas in my life right now that are open ended. We have prayed, we have asked God to work in this person or in that situation, and we are waiting months and years later. We still ask, we still pray that He will heal or we ask that He will provide a way out of struggle. Nothing is too hard for Him. Nothing. Not one thing.

The job that feels like a dead end with no way out.

The struggling family member who is caught in a never-ending cycle of destructive choices.

The ongoing physical pain that mystifies every doctor you see.

The pain of a child who wants nothing to do with you.

The trauma that continues to haunt your days and nights.

Not one situation is too difficult for Him to break through. Not one heart is too hard for His touch. I am well acquainted with the struggles that seem to never end. You pray, you wait, you pray, and you wait more. Can I remind you (and myself) that there is most certainly a purpose to God’s plan and to the way and the timing in which He works? He wants us to seek Him, to know Him beyond our desire to get the answer to our desperate prayers.

He has no beginning. He has no end. Marvel at the thought today, and remember that this ever present God catches each tear as it falls from your eyes. You do not walk this road alone.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalms‬ ‭56:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In the Silence

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I am a pretty firm believer that you don’t wake a sleeping baby. I feel like I am in the minority here, but I rarely check on my children while they are sleeping. I have no desire to accidentally wake a child from peaceful slumber, and I certainly need the quiet time myself, so I have chosen to just stay out.

Matt and I listened to a podcast by Dr. James Dobson a few years ago regarding strong-willed children, and a lot of it stuck with me. I have gone back to it on some of my really difficult days. Some of the mothers told great stories about their strong-willed children that reminded me I am not alone. I don’t know if it was that podcast or another, but I believe one of the moms talked about going in after her daughter was in bed and praying over her. That came back to me a few months ago, and I decided to try it with Isabella as I can use all the help I can get with her.

I was amazed at how much easier it was to speak words of prayer over her when she is in her peaceful sleeping state. The frustrations of the day and even the impatience of bedtime routines have faded, and I love to look at her sweet face as she slumbers. It helps me to remember that her obstinate behavior throughout the day is only a part of who she is. The truth is, most of the time I just stare at her and pray, “Help me, help me, help me.” I love to read and listen to experts on parenting and children, but many days I still feel I am doing nothing right and this stage of constant discipline and correction will never end.

Experts don’t give me hope. Jesus gives me hope. He reminds me to look hard for the blessings in each day, and over and over I am reminded that this time is short. She will not be a small, slumbering pre-schooler for much longer. Every once in a while I get a tiny glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. She will demonstrate that she is learning so much about Jesus and the Bible, and my heart swells with the knowledge that things are sinking into her mind that will impact her soul.

I will add that I do not do this with Jack. My two children are so different, and I have many moments throughout the day in which I connect with Jack and feel close to him. Those times are few and far between with Isabella. She is and has always been a much more independent child who rarely wants to cuddle or have a quiet moment with me. I am grateful I can take those moments even when she is sleeping and be encouraged by them.

I press on, day after day, and those small glimpses certainly give me the fuel I need to keep going. Kneeling beside Isabella’s bed, looking at her sweet face, I am reminded whose child she is and how grateful I am that He gave her to me.