Monday, January 21, 2013

    I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in the doctors office, waiting for the results to come back. We had a simple conversation just 15 mins ago about several odd symptoms I had been having. I was almost certain I had breast cancer and my time was up. Twenty six years old and I was picking out my funeral song. OK, I may have been a tiny bit dramatic.
      " Jess, is there a chance you are pregnant?" Shocked I replied " Heavens no, my body is in no condition and it isn't in our plan right now, we are not trying."  She replied " Well,why don't we take a little test just to make sure." I agreed, though I really saw no purpose. Waiting there to get negative results, I heard the nurse say something interesting to the doctor outside the door. " Does she know?" Clearly they were talking about the patient in room 3, not me. In walked the doctor, eyes bugged out staring at me. " Honey, you are pregnant." She said." No, are sure? No, see, you have it mistaken. Those are two lines. That is negative. " I said. She looked me straight in the eye, " you are pregnant."
    Lord, what are you thinking? You know the darkness going on in my life right now. Lord, I just got out of an inpatient eating disorder clinic, there is no way I can be pregnant. Now what? Like a flash flood a memory came back of words i had spoken a day earlier to my husband, as he was in one of his desperate pleas for me to eat. I remember turning to him and saying" The only way I would ever eat is if I had a baby inside of me, and they needed my nourishment." A day later, I was pregnant. At that moment as I was driving home, Selah's song " Be still" came on the radio. Instantly Psalm 46:10 immersed my brain. " Be still and know that I am God." Overwhelming peace came over me, and you know what I did? I went out and grabbed me the biggest, fattest turkey sandwich ever. A delicacy I had not allowed myself in over a year. In fact the only thing I had allowed myself over 500 calories in a day. I was still, and I knew He was God, and I knew a great thing had been done. A saving light had beamed into the darkness. A 98lb a anorexic girl was free to eat. I now had been entrusted with a little one,and I was going to give Him my best.
      Now I'm here, with 3 children and a loving husband. Life's circumstances have happened, and we find ourselves using terms such as the "bottom falling out from under us." Life has wearied my heart. Darkness has once again found my soul. This morning when the verse of the day happened to be our life verse, Psalm 46:10, I was saddened. I wasn't still anymore. I wasn't trusting He is God. In fact I wasn't trusting anyone. How Lord? How can I find that still soul again? How can this bruised tattered heart trust again? When can I see the light in the dark?
    The truth is, I don't have to go very far to find it. It is all right there for me. My fear is grasping it, and still hurting. Deep down I know that if I grasp that still trusting soul, it doesn't mean the pain will end instantly. It means that if I chose to know He is God, then I chose to accept that I'm not in this alone. I chose to accept He has a plan and   a purpose. I chose to see the light, rather than allow my pain to blind me. I'm required nothing but to trust in Him. In knowing that, I can once again allow myself to be enveloped in His love, and be still.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stained Hands

       I grew up as a tomboy type of girl. You know the kind that scraps her knee, takes a softball to the stomach, gets right up, inside dieing of pain, but making sure my face did not resemble that at all. It often followed with an attitude of “I’m cool, its all good.” I was in the stage where I believed the more blood the cooler I looked. Can I get an amen from all my tomboy girls out there?! In all actuality, had I truly thought it through, the more blood just meant the nastier the scar that is with you the rest of your life. After a while, I realized perhaps a leg full of "cool scars", wasn’t going to be the best drawing point to finding a future husband. Blood never really bothered me. March 9 2011, was the day that changed completely. The images of this event are ones that haunt me in nightmares to this day, and will forever cause a twinge of pain.
        My 18 month old daughter has struggled from the age of 3 months, when it was discovered her stomach had very little function. They tried NG tubes, G tube, GJ tube, then a broviac, but because of the numerous near deadly infections from her broviac tube to her heart, that had to be removed. She now lives off a tube to her intestines that she eats formula through, and a tube into her stomach that she drains stomach contents from. Her stomach has no functionality. At this point there is no cure for her disorder, other than a pure miracle from Jesus Christ, which I know is one hundred percent possible.
      I had remained so strong and steady through all of my daughters surgeries, which at this point total 12. I often felt I deserved to walk around with a red cape, because I had to be the ultimate super mom. Ok, Ok, I’ve since been humbled!  No amount of strength could have prepared me for that cold winters night. Both kids were tucked sound into bed, daddy and I had followed shortly after. We had become accustomed to Haven having episodes of dry heaving during the middle of the night, and had not thought much of it. However, this night it was not a dry heave. She let out the most faint whisper, which in a dead sleep seems nearly impossible that it woke me. I thought of just closing my eyes and drifting back into my slumber, but my heart felt a nudge to check her crib. As I felt down in the dark to feel her, I realized I was touching a wet substance, an unfamiliar one. I flipped on the light, and screamed as her clothes as well as her crib, were covered in her bright red blood. I screamed in agony to my husband “Honey, call 911, Haven is losing blood from her heart! “ I looked and realized her broviac tube that connected to her heart had split in half, and was steadily flowing blood. I lifted her up, placed my fingers over the end of the tube, and screamed “God No, Please not my girl, Please God!.” The Ambulance arrived, and realized mercy flight would be in order because of the severity of it. As the crew arrived back, they were stone white, they told us mercy flight was snowed in and unable to fly, our only option was ambulance. Before I would let them put her on a gurney, I picked my baby up and ran past the ambulance crew. Shoving them out of the way, I ran to the ambulance, jumped up on the gurney, and told the driver to get us there as quick as possible. At that point, an army of 3000 men on steroids would not have stood in the way of getting her to the hospital. The driver was respectful and went as fast as possible in the driving conditions. I remember clamping her tube with my fingers the whole way there just to sustain some of the bleeding as best I could. I watched as my clothes began to become drenched in her blood, hers was nearly all covered. I cried out “God help get us there! Please don’t leave us now, Please be here!” We arrived at the hospital where they were able to put a special clamp on, to stop the bleeding, and we waited until they took her into surgery to replace her broviac tube. I remember my husband told me to go get some coffee. As I turned around and looked, my eyes were drawn to her clothes. I quickly picked them up and threw them in the trash. I had forgotten that I too was covered in blood. As I went to use the restroom to clean up a bit, I looked down at my shirt, and felt lightheaded. It was then I noticed my hands. I had blood all over my hands, even under my finger nails. In the bathroom stall, I collapsed, and wept in a way I had never experience. My child’s blood on my hands, on my clothes, under my finger nails. A concept I could not grasp. I cleaned up the best I could, other than my clothes. When we were finally able to be discharged after her surgery, I remember before I could say anything as I entered my house, I ripped the sheets off the crib and threw them away, I tore my clothes and threw them away, and I cleaned every carpet with soap and water, so that there was absolutely no evidence of this event. For days, even months I could not enter my room without feeling sick to my stomach. I suffered nightmares. Every time I went to get her from her crib, I feared what I would find.
           It was in my bathroom that night as I cleaned underneath my fingernails to get the blood out, when my spirit grew weak. I suddenly felt a pain so deep for Mary, the mother of Jesus. My daughter had lived, but her son did not. Imagine what it must have felt like as she watched blood pour from her son. I imagine her trying to run to him several times to help him, but stopped each time. Can you imagine her making eye contact with him as his eyes were swollen with gashes and blood dripping from every crevice of his body. As He hung on the cross, she approached Him, perhaps when she realized, it was indeed to be completed. She knew it was God’s will, but her heart was that of a mommy. She was covered in her sons blood. I envision her kissing and holding his feet, with a faint whisper that said “  I love you my son, I am so proud of you.” As she pulled away, she would have had blood on her face and hands, and she fell weeping with John at her side. She heard him cry out His last words, and it was finished. He was gone. I picture her walk home, devastated and broken. Looking down at her hands thinking, my baby, his blood, my son.
         The scripture that ran through my brain that night in the hospital was Hebrews 13:5-6 “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.” I trust that each drop of blood that poured from Haven’s body, he was there. I believe he woke me and nudged me from a deep sleep, solely to save her life. I believe He gave me strength to push past everyone in the best interest of my daughter to get her to safety. The blood under my finger nails was a reminder of the blood Jesus poured out. A reminder that He truly would never leave our side. It reminded me, that He was there for Mary, that He gave her strength and comfort as she watched her son die. It made me ache for any mommy that endures such an experience.
           I share this painful experience all to say this. We live in a dark world. Tragedy lingers around ever corner. Pain is inevitable. The unimaginable, often finds a way to present itself. Hope and strength can seem almost unreachable in those moments. Comfort only seems to be a myth when our hearts ache in ways we never have experienced. I can testify that comfort isn’t as far off as I thought. When I truly looked at all the events of the evening, and all the ways God showed up, it turned from a situation that felt He disappeared, to a situation where His presence was everywhere. He never left Me. He wrapped me in his arms as I wiped the blood from my face. For every painful experience we face, He is there. His arms are spread open wide, longing for us to fall into them. Lord Jesus, may all fall into your arms tonight.