I stood in church today during worship and wept. Cried. Tears pouring down my face. Overwhelmed with the week ahead – and wondering if I was strong enough. See, this week is HUGE for us. After having emergency surgery two weeks ago, I will board a flight with Shelby on Black Friday to fly to University of Wisconsin to see the Chelimsky team on Monday and Tuesday in hopes of answers and treatment for Shelby’s miswired body.
So much has gone into this trip. We have waited for the appointment with this team of doctors for a year. That also meant Shelby has been ill over a year. As I dried my tears that just kept running during worship, I asked God “Please let them figure this out. Someone has to know what is wrong with Shelby.” My mommy heart was broken. As the song “Your Love Never Fails” was sung, I got a little mad. The line “Pain comes in the night, but joy comes in the morning” was ringing in my head. I thought “When Lord? We chose JOY, but when will we know what is wrong – she needs to be better!?” Almost clearly I heard “I KNOW WHAT IS WRONG. I CREATED SHELBY AND I LOVE HER MORE.”
Took my breath away. God does love Shelby more than me – He gave me to her to raise. And as her mom, I want to know what is going on with her wrecked, dysautonomic body. But at that moment, and since, I have been calmed. God knows. God knows that is wrong. The God who considers the lilies of the field, the God of Abraham and David, the God who created everything knows what is wrong with Shelby.
As I sat down following worship, Joe, our pastor, began to speak from Proverbs 24. One verse stuck out clearly: Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Many times this year, as I shared our journey through dealing with pain conditions with others, I hear “You are so strong!” My boss told me a few weeks ago, prior to my surgery, that he did not understand how we did it – that he believed that something like Shelby’s illness would devastate his family. His last statement was, “You live your faith – and it is strong.”
When Joe talked about this verse, that conversation rung in my ears. The verse means that when one faces adversity, you must have strong faith – strong reliance on God – or you may faint. Now, I started laughing in church because literally Shelby does faint from her wrecked body causing havoc, and she is the strongest person I know! But God does not mean this type of fainting – but the fainting of pulling away and not giving glory and thanks to God for everything.
And that IS how we stay strong – acknowledging that God has allowed this journey and will give us strength to get through it while we give thanks for the blessings we do have, such as our wonderful primary doctor, the RMH House where we will and have stayed, the people that have so generously carried us financially this year when we needed help, the bed I sit in now as I write this, the meds that are keeping Shelby alive, the food I had for dinner that filled my tummy, the warm blanket on my toes…small things and big things. A heart of gratitude and acknowledgement that the giver of all good things is God and He loves Shelby, me, YOU more than we will ever know. This acknowledgement gives credit to God who makes us strong.
A year ago tonight I was in the ER with Shelby. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of doctors overdosing my child. Wednesday marks one year since 2 doctors tried to medically kidnap my child. Thursday marks the one year anniversary of having Thanksgiving at AMH with my mom after her stroke. Lots of cruddy, no good, crazy, wacky happenings that I still can’t believe happened. But now, a year later, looking back, we have not fainted. We are strong. We are stronger. And God made us stronger through the prayers of others, and has brought us tremendous wisdom as we continue to give thanks to God.
Another verse from today was Proverbs 24:5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. I ask for your prayers for strength. I ask for you to pray that we gain knowledge on how Shelby can live in her body and eat again, so that she can wage war on a life of pain. I ask that you pray for the many counselors that have guided us: doctors, friends, researchers, and other medical personnel – that they have wisdom and knowledge to share and that they know how great God is and how very thankful we are for their counsel.
We are strong. We are thankful. Strong and Thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!