Last week, I wrote to you about fear. I mentioned a doctor’s scary diagnosis and an unknown journey. As many of you were reading my words, my husband and I were headed south with our oldest son for an appointment with an eye specialist. That day will have forever changed our lives.
Less than forty-eight hours later, I lay hunched over my little boy’s hospital bed preparing to say goodbye. They had found a tumor on his brain that was causing spinal fluid to build up. He was about to go into emergency surgery to remove it. Although the prognosis was good for him to make it through the surgery, he would be on the operating table for six-plus hours and brain surgery is, well, still brain surgery.
I begged God not to take my baby. I knew He could use this for His glory (the truth of Romans 8:28 and 2 Corinthians 1:4 ringing in my heart), but I didn’t want this to be part of our testimony. My mind went to all the things I would miss. I was afraid I would forget the sound of his voice. I was thinking about what he said to the doctor that morning about starting his own Christian bookstore when he got older and how his favorite subject in school was reading. I was thinking about how much his little brother would miss his best friend.
But as I left him outside the operating room, I leaned over and said what I say every night before he goes to sleep: “Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. And Jesus loves you the most.” Not knowing if I would see him again alive, I was saying goodbye and releasing him into God’s hands. Earlier that morning at his bedside, I listened to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, and this was my heart’s cry:
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
That evening, when they came to tell me that the surgery went well and Austin was (alive) doing well, I let out a huge sigh of relief. It felt as though I had been holding my breath for the past ten hours. When I reached his room and held his hand, my heart melted. Praise God!
That was four long days ago. Many unknowns still lie before us. I don’t know if my precious son has cancer. I don’t know if more surgeries lie in our future. I don’t know if he will ever fully regain his eyesight or read again like he is used to enjoying. My heart still beats with fear and my mind floods with anxious thoughts. But an amazing thing has been happening–God’s grace has been strong and sustaining. At no other time in my life have I felt more like someone has been carrying me.
My Bible reading has taken me to Job this week. I think I can understand his anguish a little more (although not completely)—the confusion, the hurt, the discouragement and hopelessness. One thing I know for sure, I have way better friends! Job said, “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14). There has been no holding back here! Instead, there has been an outpouring of encouragement, love and support in the past week. We have needed every ounce.
“Yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”
This morning, I sat in the sunroom on floor six of Children’s Hospital. With my Bible open on my lap, I watched the world wake up in the city around me. Last night, I went to bed weary from the long days, unanswered questions and small defeats. Today was a new day, but the questions still remained. I didn’t have any encouraging updates to share. I turned to Psalm, a place where I have found much comfort and words to my unspoken prayers. Immediately, my eyes fell on Psalm 143 (in the New Living Translation). My prayer sounded something like this:
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea!
[Yes, Lord, hear my cry for healing!]
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you.
[Lord, I’m not perfect and neither is Austin. We don’t deserve anything, but I’m asking . . . please.]
My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
[Help Austin to see! Let it not be dark in his world. Defeat this enemy.]
I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.
[Stress paralyzed is a real thing!]
[Help us to keep going. Don’t let us be discouraged, but to keep fighting.]
I remember the days of old. I ponder your great works and think about what you have done.
[You have done incredible works in my family’s life in the past. I remember the moments of rejoicing.]
I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.
[I need you now!]
Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you
[Yes! Thank you for a new day!!]
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
[Guide our steps. Show us the right choices to make.]
Rescue me from my enemies, LORD; I run to you to hide me.
[You are my true support. You are my Rock. Keep me safe in your arms.]
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
[Let this day come to pass with a strong foundation beneath us. Give us answers and good progress.]
For the glory of your name, O LORD, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
[Thank you for saving his life. Let this all be for your glory.]
In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.
[Lord, give us the victory over this! Amen.]