Friday, September 23, 2011

What Hindsight Can Do to One's Faith

In August of 2000 Noelle became very ill. Since then our family has been through much graver illnesses like Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and kidney failure with a subsequent transplant. I have been the care-giver for two transplant patients, since then — two! 

Me — the one who dropped mom off at the periodontist's office for gum surgery and then picked her up two hours later and promptly fainted dead away just listening to the doctor tell my mom with her slightly swollen jowls not to swish because it might disrupt the stitches.

Since then, I have given countless shots to Mike, three of which were mistakenly with an IV gauge needle (oops!), pulled raw skin away from a port with medical tape on a daily basis, and unstopped drains that were clogged with hair that fell out in clumps. Not to mention vomit duty, and all without fainting or even a squeemish stomach.  We do what we must when we're surviving.



This week life has been busy and trying, and I'm sure it's no accident I stumbled upon this story I wrote as an email to ask for prayer for my kids eleven years ago when Noelle was two.

Once upon a time in a time and land much like our own, a beautiful baby girl was born to a very proud mommy and daddy. Mommy and Daddy, overjoyed with this perfect gift from God, enthusiastically began to meet her every need: 2:00 am feedings, diaper changes galore, Tylenol for fever, an occasional antibiotic for an ear infection, many hours in a rocking chair with lots of singing ....

And every night before bed, Mommy would pray, "Thank you, God, for your good and perfect gift to us; thank you for keeping her healthy and strong. Bless her as she sleeps and grows (you grow during sleep, you know that?) into a beautiful young woman that will come to know you and love you and serve you. Cover our home with your perfect peace and protection tonight, preparing us for all that will come tomorrow. Amen."


Then Daddy would pray, "I plead the blood of Christ over my daughter, our house, our cars, our possessions, and our family."

As the baby girl grew into toddlerhood, she added her prayer to her parents', "For this day. For Mommy. For Daddy, For toys, for [insert everything she could think of here]. Jesus' name, AAAA--Mmeeeeeeen!"

Then one day, the little girl got sick. Mommy rushed her to the emergency room (twice) where they ruled out leukemia and meningitis (Whew!), but found that she had pneumonia. A bit of antibiotic and back to living happily ever after. But two weeks later, the fever returned, peaking at 105.4. This was cause for admitting baby girl to the hospital. Four days later it was determined that she had a whopping sinus infection and a severe kidney infection. 

Further tests, which involved 2 1/2 hours of begging a recently-potty-trained two-year-old to pee on the X-ray table to no avail, detected renal reflux caused by anatomical deformities. It seems her urinary apparatus did not develop into the finely-tuned machinery God created it to be. But being the courageous young heroine she was, her body had quietly and persistently made a gallant effort to overcome this disadvantage all by herself since before she was born.

Had she continued to barely win the battle alone, she would have developed kidney failure. In fact her urologist was surprised that her kidneys were not already damaged.

Feeling better after 5 consecutive days of Rocephin injections

But God sent pneumonia, 105.4 fever, and a bad sinus infection to protect her from kidney damage and impending kidney failure. In the middle of the night, in a chair beside a hospital bed much too large  for a two-year-old, the mommy found herself praising God for things like pneumonia, emergency room trips, and scary-high fever. She realized God's provision had shown up in things rarely recognized as "from God." She even thanked God that her baby was losing the fight on her own. (Who is ever thankful for losing?)

She remembered two and a half years of nightly prayers for health, growth (she was off the bottom of the growth chart since three months of age without explanation), and protection. She thanked God for answering her prayers with, "No." 
She repented for praying things just because that's what one is supposed to pray for. She asked God to give her faith to believe He is always at work, even if she was unaware, as she usually was. She asked God for faith to respond with worship and gratitude for things He is silently orchestrating in His perfect wisdom that may not look on the surface like gifts of grace.

The family will face extended medical treatment, not only for the little girl, but also for her brother and sister because this condition is hereditary. So in "real time" the family hasn't lived happily ever after yet, but is trusting in God's blessing and promise that they will. -- The End.

I've learned this week that stories are much more entertaining when they are not our own personal experience. But I have been effected by living this story in ways that watching it on TV or reading it in a book never could. I praise God for the work he's doing in Noelle and in the lives of our whole family. Please continue to pray for us as we seek God's healing in Noelle's body and perhaps Adrian and Reagan as well. They have a 40% chance of having the same condition. We are praying that God will bring glory unto himself in every aspect of this trial and complete his work in us through it. (written August, 2000)
It appears I was already gaining the fortitude when Noelle was a baby to withstand dire medical diagnoses and treatments without fainting. There was no way I could have known back then that God was preparing me to nurse and comfort my husband and guide my young children through their dad's cancer.

With hindsight I see that God was up to more than I knew at the time. That renews my strength this week when I've grown weary. It's good to see growth and remember that God is at work even in the midst of trial. That's encouraging and I definitely prefer it over fainting in the dentist's office any day.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
   but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

   




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