Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Wall of Fire

Zechariah 2:5, " I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its glory within.'

That scripture is what I have been standing on since one of my prayer partners sent it to me three days ago. Because when she called, it had been the first day I had felt peace in weeks. It was the first day I had felt really, really calm. Too many nights without sleep, too many days of differing opinions, and too many hours knowing that we were going to walk in this place but I thought this time the miracle would be….well, that it would be easier than before. That we would show up, they tell us we finally need a new liver, we would get on the list, get one and finally take the journey out of the hospital and on to new ground. A new mission field that we might be called too.

But as reality starts to seep in…well, I realized we were going to be walking this road a little longer than I hoped and I was not walking it with joy. Actually frustrated. How do you really walk through this? I know there are so many people that have walked through harder things in life. I know I don't necessarily deserve to walk through life without any hardship. I committed a long time ago, "Lord, Send Me" and I meant it, and still do, with all of my heart.

My mind knows all of those things but, this is not me laying in that hospital bed. I wish it were. That would be so much easier. Because I know everyday I would not like it but, I could weather the storm. But not my child. There is nothing more heart wrenching than watching your child suffer. No matter if it is playing a bad ball game, friends not being nice to them, whatever hearts their heart or body….being a Mom is not easy. Frankly, you do hurt worse than they do.

The hurt and guilt only increases when you have to make decisions for them that will be a tough love thing. Dean and I made the decision to get Olivia a port. Because of the benefits of having one out weighed her not having one. But the procedure did not go well, she got very sick from it and it was horribly sore. All I could think was "thanks Lord, could you help me out here". In the next few days she will be getting an insulin pump. When we talked about it tears just started rolling down her face. But, she will do it because we have told her the benefits will out weigh not having one. Her sugar is way out of control. She needs it…all I can think "Lord, could you help me out here?" We have told her she needs the transplant and she is not happy about that. She does not see that it will make her better. And all I can think is "Lord, could you help me out here?". Because one day, all of this is finally going to overwhelm her. One day, she will look at us and know we made those decisions and she paid the price. She endured the pain. She walked through the struggle alone. Because we could not walk with her, where she has to go. Then in a glimpse, I see my Father. I see his pain. I see His Son having to walk to a place that He cannot go and He told Him this was the best plan. And Jesus bore that pain for me. And though it does not erase the hurt, the guilt, and the pain it does bring comfort to this hurting heart. That my God get's it. He understands it and Jesus can and will be with Olivia through each and every step we cannot take with her. Though I may not see it, the trace of His Hand is evident each and every day.

So, how do we get to that "wall of fire" from here? We don't. That wall is built by the prayers of the people surrounding us, me, Olivia and Dean each and every day. That wall allows me to see through the confusion, the influences that are not of God and stealing my peace and gives me the opportunity to share my Dad with anyone who will listen. Because to me, He is my hope, my help, my comfort in my hour of need….

It is amazing to me to watch the influences around me, surround me. When Donna called and told me about the scripture, I just stopped. Then, when I got alone I realized that so much confusion had been surrounding us. That every Doctor was saying something different. That every time I would say to a Doctor "but she is stable, right?" they would not quite meet my eyes. They would just start talking about what they thought they might try today. But the fervent prayers had not been realized yet. Almost like the time in the Bible where Michael came and said "I have been trying to get here for 30 days to tell you the answer but was held back". Before I even knew what was happening in the Spirit World with all the confusion, God had already started sending Angels to be that wall of fire around us so that His glory could be seen. What an incredible magnitude of the power of prayer. What is amazing to me is the way God walks in and just does His thing without me realizing it.

I am no longer frustrated. I am no longer without joy. God sent a message to me that He has it under control and all of this is for His glory. For His story to be told. And His story is that He is a Dad, a Father, My God, My Healer, My comforter, and my Friend. Through all of this, at the end of the day not matter if I scream, holler, get frustrated, lose my joy…that wall of fire will protect the Glory that God wants to tell about himself. Because in my vulnerability God can talk. And without Him…I promise…no one could walk through this. Thank God, I am not walking alone.

Tell your story, give God the glory, allow your self to be real and vulnerable. You will be amazed at what will happen. Because your story is yours and no one will be able to live it like you do.

In His Grip


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Season of life

I am sitting in this little 10x10 hospital room taking in all the smells, the sounds and the chaos that surrounds us being in the hospital. I look around thinking that in some ways this has become such a normal routine. Some kids go to summer camp. Some kids go to karate. We go to the hospital. In a way it is a good thing. You know your nurses, your Doctors, you have established family with these friends. Just yesterday one of the chaplains was singing in the hall, just because, Dean joined in then two more and two more…it was a church service right in the middle of the hospital. But here, they get that. Here, you can talk about an Almighty God. They see Him all day working in and amongst these kids lives. They are not ashamed but depend on the miracle of who God is. It has also become an expectation that we will bring Him with us as well. We are asked "Can you talk with this family?" , "I want to introduce you to this Mom", " This baby has no one here, can you hug on him/her a bit today?" and I am more than willing.

We have been ministering in this hospital for ten years. I would say we are missionaries in a mission field that not just anyone can enter. You can pack your bags and study the Chinese language and go into missions. You can become a tent maker in the middle of Africa and what a beautiful testimony that can be. But not just anyone can enter the hospital and call it a mission field.

I don't always see it that way until they come flooding in my room. The nurses and techs want to update me on their lives and what is going on. They want me to pray for them. Most of all, they want to know that all t he hard work they put in for these kids means something. That someone sees past their scrubs and knows they are people with lives and are doing this because they love it. It is one thing to come in and volunteer but it is a completely different circumstance when you walk with them and they walk with you through some of the hardest things you will ever endure. The same is true of the parents on the floor. No just anyone can relate to the hardship they are enduring. Only when you have had those hard nights and long days of no sleep, no real rest, and Doctors coming at you with all kinds of issues that you can't even begin to understand can you really reach them and hopefully share the one and only comforter with them. Because you have earned that right with them.

So here I sit, in my mission field. But I am a little sad. I feel the Lord changing things. I see Him getting us ready for transplant and I believe with all of my heart that this will end this long hard journey. At least the most difficult part. We are moving to a different floor on Monday to be with the CF patients to get Olivia's lungs ready for transplant and honestly I don't like that floor. My family is on the 6th floor. But I know that is also something God may be doing to get us ready to separate from this hospital world. WOW, I said it out loud. I have never been a missionary but I think we have all had seasons in our life that have become known, comfortable because we understand it…maybe we did not like it…but we knew this was where we were meant to be for the moment and made the best of it. Then God changes our "known" to walk a new path. And I am going to be gut honest, I am more than a bit scared. When I allow myself to think about a second transplant, a new healing for Olivia, a normal-regular life that could be ahead. Just the dreams that I have had on hold…the "life" we have put on hold….I get overwhelmed. I want to dream and dream big. I want to have to get up, get school done, go to Homeschool COOP, make some ladies meetings, and have coffee with my friends. They may seem like simple dreams to you but to me, they are huge! If nothing else, over the last ten years I have learned the true meaning of relationships and friendships and there is not price to that.

But in my dreams, in my moments of talking with the Lord I am wondering where that next mission field will be. I have always lived my life with the thought of reaching people for the Lord. But more of a missionary mind than just sharing the gospel with them. I know what it means to have the hands and feet of the gospel presented to you. It changes you, your heart and your life.

I have lived in this bubble so long that the thought of painting a new canvas in my life seems strange and impossible. But all these years have taught me that filling your life with color, with different brush strokes, with beauty from the ashes opens up your heart to live, really live. All over my house I have this saying that is most common these days but means so much to me "live, love and laugh often". This to me is the beauty of life. It brings to mind all those hurting parents, nurses, Doctors lives we have been a part of. It is all those kids that I love to love. It is all my friends that surround me with their support and prayer. It is the essence of a life well lived.

Because when you can live when you think you can't take another step, when you can love beyond your outstretched arms, and laugh wholeheartedly because you are confident and happy…my friend you have bloomed where God planted you and you have lived a beautiful life full of God's grace.

Have a wonderful Easter! Sunday is coming! Praise the Lord!

In His Grip,