Faithful

This weekend, my husband and I took our kids and headed to his parents house. We both grew up in a small town and actually lived across the street from each other throughout high school. ūüôā Our little hometown has an annual carnival and parade that we loved and looked forward to each year growing up. I haven’t been to it since my dad died 8 years ago and it was time to introduce most of our kids to this tradition.

While we were staying with my in-laws, I had quite the deja vu moment. It was late Friday night and I couldn’t seem to sleep. As I laid in the guest room I found myself in yet another middle of the night battle. It seems fear just lurks around the edges of my day, waiting for the perfect stillness of the night to rear it’s ugly head and attempt to steal my peace. I was reminded of the last time I had laid in that very bed, in the guest room of my sweet in-laws and it brought fresh tears and a deep peace when I recalled how faithful my Lord is.

13 years ago, we made the ride to Scott’s parents in silence, except for the quiet verses of “Shout to the Lord” playing in the background. It was the only noise in our car. I clung to each word of that song, because I knew that no matter what was wrong with my baby inside of me, He would be the only way that I could get through it. After driving for over an hour on winding mountain roads, we finally arrived at their house. I don’t remember much of it except telling them through a lot of tears that something was wrong with our son and we didn’t know much else. The words hydrocephalus, CMV , Toxoplasmosis, pressure, fluid and brain damage were foreign to me. I choked them out as best I could and it felt like some other person was doing the talking. I remember Scott’s mom hugging me and seeing her cry along with me. I honestly can’t recall anything else except getting into bed that night. We hadn’t wanted to make the drive home where it would become real and where we would deal with it on our own. We opted to crawl into the guest room at his parents with my sweet 2 year-old tucked in beside me. I remember feeling like my body had betrayed me when I looked at my swollen, pregnant belly. I was scared for my baby son’s future and what life would be like for him and for us. He was eerily still in my belly and the flames of worry whipped up and threatened to consume me. I was exhausted and restless all at once. I cried myself to sleep that night.

Now,¬†nearly 13 years later, I was laying in that same bed and once again I was fearful. It wasn’t the same fear, but fear nonetheless. As I laid there, the Holy Spirit brought me comfort, reminding me of Joshua 1:9 and Isaiah 41:10. ¬†Sweet reassurance that my God is with me wherever I go. He reminded me of His faithfulness as I laid in that bed. He reminded me that in overwhelming situations, He is my¬†strength and He holds our futures securely in His mighty hand. I thought about each and every miracle that happened in the life of my son and in my own life during that season.

God had allowed us to find the problem at a routine visit to my OB, a visit that I nearly cancelled. We heard his heart rate slow and skip during the few seconds the nurse held the doppler to my belly. The tests they ordered came back normal but the OB wanted to be cautious and ordered a level II ultrasound for the following week. During that ultrasound, they found the hydrocephalus. Two weeks after that, we happened to be near the high-risk OB¬†and my aunt, a former NICU nurse, insisted that they do an ultrasound and check the pressure on Luke’s brain, (they hadn’t checked him since they had found the problem). Thankfully, they let us have an ultrasound and saw that he was under tremendous pressure and needed to be delivered asap to prevent any further damage to his brain. That was on Friday, Luke was born on Monday. He was born without any sign of a rash that would indicate an infection, a huge relief! He survived a large brain bleed, small brain bleeds, a large blood clot in his brain, hydrocephalus, weeks on the vent and even a week on the jet vent because he was so sick. His lungs improved and he learned to finally take a bottle for his feeds without having bradycardias and turning a dusky blue color. We worked for over three years to learn to crawl, to use his right side, and to walk and talk. Through it all, the Lord showed up in meaningful ways, both big and small ways. He gave us talented doctors and nurses, alerted us to problems and held us together. He surrounded us with people who opened their homes and hearts to us; people who encouraged us, babysitted for us and kept us fed. He showed up in a note from a nurse after a particularly rough night when Luke was not doing well at all. I came into the NICU to find that my son was very sick. It was devastating. Our sweet nurse, Tiffany, had taped Isaiah 40:28-31 to Luke’s incubator.

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall
31 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 be faint.

He showed up, He was faithful. When I couldn’t see tomorrow because I was so overwhelmed with today, He carried me. As I recalled His faithfulness, I was filled with peace. I don’t know how this adoption journey will play out. There’s a million questions that I don’t have answers for, but He does. I know He is already in tomorrow, He sees every day of my life spread out and He is walking with me every step of the way.

 

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Stepping Out

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I can almost feel the spray of the water, hear the rushing and roaring of the waves in my ears. My trembling hands gripped tightly to the solid feel of the wooden boat. My heart full of icy fear and doubt, whispering, “If it’s really you, Lord…”

“Yes, come”, he says.

Come and follow me. Leave behind the safety of your little world. Deny yourself; your dreams, your plans and your desires. Take up your cross and follow me.

How many times this past year have I repeated those same words that Peter uttered, “If it’s really you, Lord…show me, make it clear, give me the courage, change hearts, open doors, provide what I need.” The list goes on and on. Over and over again He proves himself faithful. He gives me just the scripture I needed to hear, just the bit of encouragement to continue. Provision at exactly the right time. Doors opened, hearts changed. I sit in total amazement of this Jesus who is my Lord and who loves me like no one will ever love me. ¬† He is so good and He has poured out grace upon grace upon grace in my life. I know that. It is like bedrock for my soul. He is the anchor for my life, holding me steadfast in turbulent seas. But the doubts, boy do they come. They come at me fast and angry in the stillness of the evening when all of my babies are tucked tightly into their beds. While I lay under the thick blanket of the night, alone with my thoughts. What if I can’t? I don’t deserve this blessing. I haven’t been faithful. I am not a good enough mother. What if, what if, what if??? My fears, my doubts are because of my weakness. I know full well how broken I am, how faithless and how still steeped in sin I am. It smacks me in the face and drives me straight to my knees. In the darkness I cling like a terrified child to His promise.

”¬†…I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the¬†Lord¬†your God is with you wherever you go.‚ÄĚ Joshua 1:5,9

While I am weak, He is strong. While I am faithless, He is faithful. I know His grace is sufficient for me, that His power is made perfect in weakness. ¬†I know that when He calls, He equips. So while none of this may make sense by the world’s standards, I know that I will follow Him, no matter where He takes me. It most certainly won’t be easy but I can rest in the promise that He will never leave me. He will be with me and that’s enough for me. It compels me to loosen my grip on the familiar, to stick one wobbly leg over the edge, followed by the other. To feel the joy and the exhilaration as I find myself looking into the face of my Savior and standing atop the raging seas.