Olivia and I are lying in the hospital bed together doing her favorite thing "talking". Since the moment is tender and she is listening I take this opportunity to find out what is in her mind and heart.
In the last five weeks she has been so sick, so tired, so worn out that even the event of rolling over in bed seemed to take her very last bit of energy. It has been so hard to watch this incredibly vivacious, fully of energy, stubborn girl of mine wither to the point of just a lump of emptiness. It is so hard to describe because it was so unimaginable that even I have been taken aback at how sick she has been.
But, the last two days that feisty attitude and that determination has come back. Oh, she is tired. The tired though is a good tired. She is talking, chatty even, moving her body more, socializing and being her vibrant self most of the day. By the end of the day she is worn out but to me it is a wonderful thing to see.
During this sweet time of talking we start talking about what she has been through. How hard it has been and what the future might hold. Because, darn it , we have that awful, ugly stent that is draining her liver's bile, getting rid of the infection and we have to talk about it because it is the "elephant " in the room. She was told it would only be very temporary. She was told two weeks for the stent and we are realizing that it may be months now. She was told a new liver would make her life better, she would feel better, have more energy and be able to have a life outside the hospital. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong and she barely feels like she did when she was really, really sick waiting on this liver. Big points of credibility weigh in the balance as we move through each day. For a fourteen year old, the ability to see beyond a day, week or month is so very hard. There is just not enough life experience to be able to view a time ahead.
Dean and I as her parents, have the privilege and heartache of helping her walk through all of this. The ups and downs. The disappointments and the heartaches. The fears and helping her see the victories. This moment in life seems to hold little hope in her eyes and more trust each day seems to ebb away at her heart. We discuss one procedure with her and then the Doctors decide to do another which throws another cog in the wheel of trusting and of trying to move forward. We are barely balancing all the plates in the air so we can stabilize her mind, emotions and spirit at the same time so she has something to "fight" with to get better. The Doctors are not helping. The experience of walking through this to me is close to fighting a war. But this is a spiritual war. This war is not about Olivia's body as much as it is about her heart and her spirit. This realization brings a new prayer to our lips for her. We are putting a fortress around her heart so that the enemy cannot take this opportunity to discredit God.
I never realized this as much as when we were laying there talking. When I was explaining to her about the stents, how they might stay but would not be years. I asked her specifically "Olivia do you trust me?" she answers "Of course" . The next question that just stopped me in my tracks "But, do you believe me?" her answer " A Little". Wow!
I get it. I totally understand where she is at. I have been there with God more times than I can count. Do I trust Him? Without a doubt. Do I believe Him, well, as I have gotten older and marched through so many wars, today I can answer an emphatic yes. But that answer took years in the making. But this is reality, is it not. We walk through this life and we have expectations. We read our bible, we go to church, we are a blessed people by God, so our expectations are high. But what do we do when our hopes, our dreams, our expectations that are honorable and just are not met?
I am realizing more and more we stand! We stand until it hurts. I can't tell you why one man suffers more than another. I can't tell you why God has taken my life and made it full of a walk of suffering. Then, my child is walking down the same path of suffering, which adds more suffering to my heart. I have been through more than I can write here on a page. I have fought hard and lost more times than I have won….I have sat and cried until there was nothing left. My heart has been broken and torn. But, God took a hold of my heart years ago and I will stand until I can stand no more, and even then, when it seems all hope is gone, I will stand.
Isa 40:31 but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
My commentary says this for this verse "Such a God is able to deliver and restore his distressed people if they will wait in faith for him to act. They are to trust in him and draw strength from him."
We have been walking through so much uncertainty. We want to get excited about each step forward but then we see four or five steps back. Is that not true of so many of our circumstances. We are walking through this huge event in our life and we know God is able but we cannot see even the "trace of His Hand" at times through the darkness. Some of my stand favorite verses through those times are job 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him", "Jeremiah 29:11-14…summarized says "I know the plans I have for you, a future and a hope….come and pray to me, and I will listen…You will seek me and find me…."
There is a 4HIM song "Couldn't we stand ?" Mark Harris penned a timeless classic in these lyrics:
Couldn't we stand to kneel a little longer
The time is never spent in vain
In the light of all we stand to gain
Finding the faith that only makes us stronger
Touching what we cannot see
Reaching to heaven from our knees
Couldn't we stand
I am praying that fortress over Olivia. Because today, she does trust Dean and I but she is having a hard time believing. Not just us, but God as well. I wish I could pour out the years of wisdom I have learned from God, friends, Pastors, teachers and my own walk so she could see past the moment and know that God is doing a great thing even though it seems so dark. What if we end of with stents, or another transplant or another problem? Those are the days that trust has to override our belief…and belief will come because my God has always proven that His ways are much higher than my ways. His expectations for my life are much higher than mine. Yes, I have suffered. Yes, I have lost battles. But I have never lost the war….remember, we win in the end. The books says so :)
In His Grip