Thursday, February 17, 2011

First breath of spring

Today is a good day. The sun is shining and the snow and ice is melting into muddy puddles. It's one of those days God lovingly turns up the heat a little, and you feel like if you listen close enough you can hear Him whispering to the world, reminding it to keep on turning so spring will come at just the right time. You know it will snow again, maybe even tomorrow, but just for today the hope of warmth and growth and a new season is enough. I have a few windows open, and we blew bubbles on the front porch and took down our little snowman flag and replaced it with one with butterflies and flowers.

I am rushing around trying to get my family and myself ready for my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic tomorrow. I am on a liquid only diet so by now I have a blood sugar headache and have lost most of my steam with miles to go. Danica was up at 2 am last night and tossed and turned and fussed the rest of the night, so I am pretty much ready for the kind of sleep they will put me under tomorrow.

I have the usual anxiety about surgery. I have a history of issues with anesthesia and pain control. I found out Tuesday I will have five incisions. The surgery will be at least three hours. Dr. Falcone will literally pick the disease off my organs. I am most anxious about leaving my children, especially Danica, and needing to stay down and recover after. The girls will go to my parent's tonight and stay for the next few days. Dan will be with me before and after surgery and taking care of me the first few days.

I have prayed and prayed for the measure of health and strength I need to care for my family. Over and over through the years God has humbled me with my fibromyalgia and with this chronic endometriosis and multiple surgeries. I've felt frustrated that I can't be "DOING" more for Him. I'm not even talking about the "big" things I'd like to do. Just helping in Delaney's class at school or with a Sunday School class or having people over to fellowship has been an impossibility. I've been so uncomfortable about continually receiving instead of giving. I guess you can say there are times I have fought God tooth and nail over my personal circumstances thinking I could write our story better any other way than this.

Something has changed. I feel different. Our family is feeling different. It's more than maybe a spot of light at the end of this crazy long tunnel. It's more than just NOT being on Lupron anymore. (Wow, has my mood changed!) It's more than blind optimism. It is the POSSIBILITY we are promised. All things are possible. ALL things. Because of Him.

I remember sitting in my counselor's office sobbing last spring. I was truly ready to snap. I was working full time from home and caring for Danica and managing the maze of the Chiari world and Danica's new bone diagnosis. I was physically so sick. My sister Heather had encouraged me to add a "paypal" button to our new blog. I prayed long and hard. We weren't those people. We worked hard. We could do this. I could do this. My dear counselor said, "What if you made your need known and see what God does?" This seemed too scary and so not George Mueller. Still, through other encouragement from friends and family who wanted to help we took that step of faith and God has done the impossible over and over and over. Month after month when each need arises someone steps in and cares for us with God's hands. When we think the love is surely going to be used up or we will be forgotten there is another "bag of rice" at the back door to feed us. It's been crazy love. I'm not talking about God's people sending us their leftovers, their muffin stumps, their discretionary love. I'm talking about an insane amount of love for a simple family who has had some really long hard years and tough stuff.

I don't quite know what God wants us to do with all the love and hope and faith He has planted over here. I'm sure to most it still looks like the aftermath of a horrible storm. I'm sure many are wondering what could really have survived the wind and the rain, the snow and the ice and the digging and the pruning and breaking God has brought our way. I can tell you we can feel the tiniest movements beneath the earth. Something is really going to blossom here. We know it.

Shauna Neiquist writes in her book Cold Tangerines, "Life with God at its core is about giving your life up to something bigger and more powerful. It's about saying at every turn that God knows better than we know, and that his Spirit will lead us in ways that we couldn't have predicted. I have known that, but I haven't lived that. There is a loosey goosey feeling to the future now, both a slight edge of anxiety, like anything can happen, and a slight bubble of hope and freedom that, well, anything can happen. There are moments when I feel, suddenly, lucky and thankful and shocked at how happy I am. I have called this the hardest season in my adult life, which it is, and it is not what I had planned in the least, but it is also a secretly beautiful, special season at the same time . . . I am afraid, sometimes, about the future, but at the same time, I surprise myself with how okay it is and how okay I am with not knowing exactly what will come next."

One of the things people have said to me through this journey that has made me the squirmiest is, "This is just a season in your life." In my mind a season is three or four months, not three or four years, but I can really feel it changing today. I can really feel the hope and breathe the truth in and out.

Today my prayer is something like this, "God, thank You for the moments when Your voice so clearly reminded me how blessed and grateful and happy I really am. Thank You for making me okay with not knowing what You have planned next, because I believe it is perfect. Thank you for doing everything you have promised you would do and so much more for Danica and our family. Thank you for the parts of our life hiding just below the cold ground waiting for You to push them through the earth and warm them into blossoms. Thank You."

Thank YOU for your prayers over the next days and your constant crazy love.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I have obviously had a lot of catching up to do! Please know that I am approaching the Throne of Grace for all of you! Your faith, courage and continued vunerablity are so heroic!...Thank you for writing your journey!
    In His Love,