Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Just" pray

Emma passed her pre-op appointment this morning for her surgery next week.  It's starting to feel a lot more real, which is the point where I start to get a lot more weepy.  There have been lots of surgeries in that past 5 years, some big some little ... this one's big.

People ask, "What can I do?"

That's a hard question to answer.

We feel very blessed when people bring meals and we are so thankful when Emma has visitors in the hospital (although I'm not sure what that will look like this time around, seeing as she'll be in ICU, sedated ...).  And I am grateful for the people who can help with our little Dude while his sister is in the hospital recovering and for the people who offer support in many ways once she's home.

Beyond that, I find myself saying, "Just pray for (whatever I'm worrying about at that particular moment)"

"Just" pray.

"Just" go before the God of the universe and bring a request before him on behalf of my little girl.

"Just" enter His throne room with a humble petition for healing.

"Just" call the Great Physician into a small operating room to oversee and protect her body.

"Just" ask the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace to work miracles in Mom and Dad's hearts.


I mean, I get it that the phrase "just pray" is often spoken to mean "there is nothing else you have the power to do to help the situation."  But, additionally, I think it sometimes diminishes the power of prayer.

Because there is, in my opinion, a BIG difference between an off-handed "Christian platitude" and actually kneeling before the God who sent his Son to walk on this planet to heal it, acknowledging His power to move and begging him to do so.

There's a lot I don't understand about prayer.  I don't get "how it works" in many ways.

But I know that there is power in prayer.

And I know that we are commanded to do it.

And I brings me to tears when I think about the people who approach the Throne of Grace with confidence, asking our Father to help our Emma.  He's so much bigger than the big-ness of this surgery and He loves that girl so fiercely ... I am confident of his involvement in the situation :)


Very specifically, if you feel led to pray:

  • Pray for the Spirit to guide my parenting in the next week.  Charlie still needs his Mom :)
  • Pray for no "bumps in the road" with some blood work that will need to be done before the procedure begins.  
  • Pray for Emma to have no adverse tummy reactions to the antibiotics that they will be giving her throughout the surgery
  • Pray for the IV team's hands 
  • Pray for Emma's airway and the anesthesia team's intubation process
  • Pray for the nerves in Emma's spinal cord to be protected as they release the tethered part
  • Pray for the moment Mom and Dad meet Emma in the ICU while she is still sedated and intubated
  • Pray for wisdom as the doctors balance all the factors in the decision of how long to keep Emma sedated.
  • Pray for the process of waking Emma up
  • Pray for Emma's gut.  Her GI system does not like sedation.
  • Pray for pain management as she wakes up
  • Pray for recovery
  • Pray for a full return of her motor skills.
  • Pray that God is glorified by the outcome, whatever happens. 

I am in awe of the fact that our God hears and answers prayer.  He is an awesome God.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Not Sad

I had a really really great weekend.

I had good times with family and good times with friends.  We didn't go anywhere on vacation or do anything expensive or extravagant ... we just had a very nice weekend.

There was even a moment where some people I love and I spontaneously got out some musical instruments and sat and played and sang and were goofy and maybe even worshiped a little bit ... impromptu living room church :)

And I was filled with joy.

It feels a little weird, having this surgery looming on the horizon.  It's going to be awful.  She's going to be sedated for a day or two after surgery.  I'm going to have to see her intubated.  No mother should ever have to see that.

And I am sad that it has to happen.  I'm mad that it has to happen.  I've shouted swear words at Satan and shook a bitter fist at this horribly broken world and wept at the sin that breaks this world and HATED the fact that this surgery has to happen.

And those sad moments feel ... correct.  Justified.  It feels like I'm not only allowed to be sad, but I'm supposed to be sad about it.

And that's okay.

But what confuses me is the fact that there are many many moments when I am NOT sad.

I laughed at Emma's silly dancing this weekend, and it wasn't bittersweet ... shouldn't I be sadder?

I danced a silly jig with a friend when practicing for worship team this weekend ... shouldn't my heart be heavier?

I listened to a loved one's happy story and was honestly genuinely happy with them ... shouldn't I be more bitter?

I praised a great God, who is altogether Holy, with my church I love ... shouldn't I be less joyful?


If you were to see me at Starbucks with a friend this week, you may see me sad about this chapter in Emma's journey ... but you'd be more likely to see me laughing and smiling.

And that sort of makes me feel self-conscious. For some reason, I have this nagging worry that I should be sadder.  I feel like, if someone were to see me laughing at Starbucks, they would wonder if I'm taking this situation seriously enough.

That sounds crazy, typing it out ... am I the only one who feels that way sometimes?

Anyway, here's the deal: sometimes we wonder how a good God could let bad things happen.  And that's a question worth asking.

But sometimes, I feel the opposite question nagging me.  I feel the weight of this broken world; I feel it in my family and in the newspapers and in the people I love around me, and I wonder how there is ever joy.

The world is broken.  I know of no one who would argue that we live in a world that is "as it should be."

But, for some reason, there is joy.

It's confusing, isn't it?

Why on earth would there be joy?  Or laughter?  Or love?  

We have this treasure in broken vessels to show that it is from God and not from us

Even in the midst of stinky stuff, I am SO thankful for God-given joy

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Emma update...

(...or, a list of things God is bigger than)

Last Thursday, Emma had a couple of sedated procedures to figure out why walking has been a struggle lately.

Josh was out of town, but Jesus-with-skin-on showed up in the form of some very very dear people to me, reminding me that I am loved and never alone.

The first test (EMG) was measuring nerve reaction to stimulus in her legs.  She looked like a pin cushion when she came out, so I was so glad she was asleep!

That test showed indications that she may be recovering from a bout of Guillain Barre Syndrome, which would explain the trouble walking.

But the second test, an MRI, showed that Emma has a tethered spinal cord, which could also explain the walking issue.

I'm not sure if we'll ever know which issue caused the symptoms, but it doesn't really matter at this point. The Guillain Barre Syndrome will go away on it's own, and the spinal cord issue requires surgery.

Even if the spinal cord issue is not to blame for the trouble right now, it will be a problem later.  So we need to take care of it now ...

And, just for good measure, we're having some GI issues today, landing us at the hospital for some x-rays just to be sure everything's okay in there.  It is, and we're home now.  Just another long day.

Remember Veggie Tales?
God is bigger than the boogeyman and he's bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV, yes God is bigger than the boogeyman and he's watching out for you and me.

Someday ... some glorious day ... when the Lamb is the light of the City of God and there is no night ... when He who is worthy to open the scrolls finds every knee bowed and every tongue confessing ... when there is no more sickness ... when He wipes away every tear from my eyes and makes all things new ... on that day, these will feel like light and momentary troubles.

Today, we are leaning on the everlasting arms

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Emma update

Emma is still not walking well.  It's been about a month.

She's got her sass and her energy back, and she wants to get back to running around, but something is stopping her.  It could be balance, it could be muscle weakness, or it could be that she's gotten used to being carried ... we really just don't know.

So it's time to find out.

Later this week, we're going to sedate her (again) and run a bunch of tests to see if we can get to the bottom of this issue.  She will have a lumbar puncture, an MRI of her spine, and an EMG.  The EMG is a procedure that involves lots of needles in her legs to measure muscle weakness due to a problem with her nerves ... I think ... 

I'm very thankful for general anesthesia.

I'm also thankful that she's not particularly unhappy (unless you put her down and walk away from her ... then she'll stand there and panic).  And I'm thankful that her other skills have not regressed.  She did great at speech therapy this afternoon, and colored with sidewalk chalk during OT.  She's doing wonderfully ... except with the walking.

She's a mystery, that one ...

An adorable, sweet, and oh-so-loved mystery