Tuesday, October 13, 2009

God's Promises

I have been struggling the past couple of weeks. I think it's a combination of things. Of course, we are still dreading the upcoming holidays. And I keep thinking about "one year ago today." It was this time last year that Webb started getting sick, and we started taking him to doctors every week to run test after test. No one (except me) suspected a brain tumor. He just wasn't exhibiting the "normal" symptoms. As the weather gets cooler and school starts, I am instantly taken back to that time in my mind, and it has opened fresh wounds. We are still so vulnerable. Then, the weekend before last, Bo (who is almost 4), started complaining about his feet hurting. Within minutes, his feet were very swollen and started to bruise. I instantly prayed for a sprained foot, and he and Zac raced off to the ER. I couldn't go back - not yet, and not for a sprain. Plus, it was Friday night (don't things like this always happen on the weekend when doctors' offices are closed??) and I had to stay behind with Whit. Once Zac got him to the emergency room, he called and said the nurses did not think it was a sprain. It was now happening to both feet, he could not walk and had strange, red "dots" traveling up his leg, and they were going to run some tests. I hung up the phone, and immediately threw up. "Tests" in that emergency room, oh no. I couldn't even take it. I went into panic mode, shaking and crying. I hit my knees and prayed so hard for God to heal my baby. Not to take another of my children. To let it all be ok. I was pretty hysterical, and by myself, but I kept praying and praying and praying. At some point, I heard a small, still voice telling me to "Get up. It's going to be ok." Needless to say, I never heard that voice when I was on my knees 9.5 months ago, praying the same prayers for Webb. So I got up. I was still worried, but I had a peace, and I had a feeling Bo was going to be fine. Zac called back and assured me the nurses and doctors were treating us as the "low man on the totem pole." While this used to be annoying, it is now music to my ears. When we brought Webb in on December 23, the ER was more crowded than I had ever seen it, yet we had nurses and doctors all over us. We were the "trauma" that day. This day, we were just another family in line. So I started feeling even better. After 6 hours and blood work, Bo was diagnosed with HSP. I had never heard of it either (http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/HSP/). It's not the rarest illness, but they definitely don't see it everyday, and the symptoms are VERY scary. If you have kids, check out this website so you won't be in the same type of panic if one starts exhibiting these symptoms. Basically, Bo is going to be ok, and this was just one of those strange "kid things," as my pediatrician told me. Of course, why it happened to our family, when we are already so fragile - I don't know. In the depths of my distress that night, I screamed to God, "We've had enough!!" It was the first time I have been angry at Him this year. I know that's hard to believe, but it was. I was at the end of my rope. Enough is enough. I have experienced a set back. Another reminder that life is so fragile, that I have no guarantees. Yet in that darkness, I also heard God's voice, telling me I'm going to be ok. And I believe it, but it's still scary. This life is no longer all happiness and dreams for me - it is instead rooted in the grim reality that the worst does happen. Your children can die. More than one. Cancer strikes out of nowhere, accidents happen. I always "knew" it, but now I am living it.
I am doing a Bible study right now on the book of Romans. Faithful followers know I have relied on passages from Romans throughout this year. It is a book that gives grievers hope. And as I read in Romans last night, I was reminded again that God does not promise life will be good just because we are good, and He does not promise we will live a life without hardship and pain. But He does promise to use that pain and those struggles to build character, to make us stronger. He also promises eternal life if you put your belief in Jesus Christ. And He promises to keep His promises. God has never broken a promise. Not to me, not to anyone. When he gave me Webb, He didn't promise to let me keep him my entire life, and that is a hard thing to swallow. But I know God will be glorified in my story, some how, some way. I know I will spend eternity with Webb, in a place where brain tumors don't exist. I am standing on the promises of God. And in a world where everything else seems shaky and unsure, that is a pretty great place to be.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wish List

I cannot believe it is October 1. And yet, I cannot believe it is only October 1. This year has taken forever. I look back on the months of 2009, and there is little to separate them - I barely remember January and February, March is blurry and forgettable, spring happened quickly, and then all summer I dealt with the miscarriage. Is it possible an entire year of my life will forever be "missing" from my memory files? Part of me hopes so, and part of me is sad because I feel like I "lost" such an important time in Bo and Whit's life. Last night, Bo and I were lying alone on the couch and he asked me, "Mommy, does God keep Webbie warm in heaven?" It sort of came out of nowhere, so after I regained my composure, I replied, "Of course He does." Then he asked, "But, who puts Webbie in his crib?" and I answered, "Probably Jesus or one of his angels." Bo thought for a long time and asked, "Who is Webbie's mommy in heaven?" I didn't answer. I didn't know how - partly because I have wondered the same thing myself, and partly because it breaks my heart to think of anyone being his mommy except me. Who is taking care of our babies in heaven? Do they need taking care of? It is all too much for me to think about.
So instead, I still just ponder those thoughts, and I wish. I wish for so many things:
I wish I still had Webb.
I wish I never knew what actual heartache felt like.
I wish I could say, "Oh, I'll feel better tomorrow, or next week, or next year."
I wish Bo didn't have to ask me questions like, "Who is Webb's mommy in Heaven."
I wish Bo and Whit would know their brother.
I wish Whit knew what having a twin felt like.
I wish I wasn't the mom who lost a child.
I wish people didn't look down, or away, when they see me.
I wish someone could say something that makes me feel better.
I wish people wouldn't say things that make me feel worse.
I wish I could literally forget the time we spent in the hospital.
I wish I wasn't so tired.
I wish I had a guarantee I would never lose someone else I love.
I wish, I wish, I wish.

I am thankful for a living Lord who knows these wishes. I am thankful I have a God who also knows what it is like to lose a son and who hurts because I hurt. I am eternally grateful for the promise of everlasting life, even though I don't deserve it. And I know He is by my side as I trudge through this deep, dark valley which seems never-ending. I don't just feel it, I know it. So out of all the horrible pain and suffering, I suppose I feel blessed to truly KNOW what I previously accepted based on faith alone, and that is that Christ will not leave you and will carry you through your darkest hour. I hope if there is one person reading this who doubts that truth, that you will now believe. He is real. He shows up. He will not abandon your side. While I hope none of you are ever faced with a situation as horrible as mine, I hope you are at least blessed to hear the voice of God and feel His love carrying you along at some point in your life. It is the true miracle in all of this pain. And above all else, it confirms I will see my baby again. Because God keeps His promises.