Thursday, April 2, 2015

when life does not go according to plan

On Monday he lost his first tooth and rode his scooter around the driveway with a big snaggletooth grin.

Hard to believe that only two days before we were scurrying from one medical facility to another - me carrying him in and out of waiting rooms, on and off of x-ray machines, afraid to make any sudden moves because he would scream.  It began in the middle of the night - the severe pain in his right leg.  I woke to his crying and listened to it off and on the rest of the night.  When it was no better by morning we headed for urgent care.  After 24 hours in and out of medical facilities on very little sleep, we were both exhausted.  It had not been an easy day.  When we finally arrived back home I told him to take it easy and rest a bit because I didn't want us to wind up back in the hospital.

Why not?  he asked.  I liked going there with you.

Wow.  Really??  What should have been a fun day of Easter egg hunts and going out for pizza and a movie with mommy had not gone anything like we had planned and yet - he was okay with that.  Not only was he okay with it, he actually liked it.

I think when your kids sense that you trust God they don't mind going there with you - into the unknown, the strange, the unexpected, the painful, the scary - anywhere.
Our kids are never more confident in us than when we are confident in Him.
Do you want to know some of the greatest evidence of God's work in my heart?
Left to my own devices last weekend's events would have left me scared, frantic and impatient.  Oliver would have sensed that too.  As I waited on doctor after doctor who warned that my son might have juvenile arthritis impacting him for a lifetime or a septic hip requiring emergency surgery to prevent any further damage to his cartilage and growth plate, I would have been completely undone.  We already have one child with a chronic health condition and for a brief moment I had to consider that we could be living with two.

Did my heart sink?
   Yes, absolutely.
Did my head start spinning?
   Of course.
But I know the Spirit of God has taken up residence inside of me because within moments there was a sense of peace and hope that lifted my heart and stilled my head.  I came back to my senses and what my senses know after years of experience is that God is sovereign over all things.  That's a fancy way of saying that he is in control of every big gigantic thing, every tiny minuscule detail, and all that falls in between.  Everything.  That includes hips and children and diagnoses and the days that don't go anything like you planned.

Once the reality of the situation settled into me there was a thought that surfaced above any fear or anger or doubt.
That thought was not - NOOOO - I can't handle this! {Although, left unto myself I actually couldn't.}
It was not - Why is this happening to us?? {Although, it would be perfectly human to wonder such things.}
It was not - This is not how I wanted to spend this day! {Although, truly, who wants to be stuck in a hospital with a hurting child while everyone else is outside watching spring unfold.}

My prevailing thought when faced with the possibility of another major crisis for our family was this - OK God, let's see what you will do.

Do you know why?
Not because I am particularly strong or super 'spiritual' or some kind of saint.  On the contrary, I was feeling pretty weak and weary and useless.

The reason I could rest in the hope of seeing what God would do in the middle of a disaster of a day, is because
     I have seen what he has done.  

Every time life has not gone according to plan I have found him there.
In the places of uncertainty.
In the chapters I would have never written for myself.
When I'm sitting in a dark and stale place while everyone else seems to be breathing fresh air out there in the light.
I find him in the most tender of ways reaching out a hand to me and walking right by my side.  And never have we just endured the crises of life, always we have grown closer and my faith has grown deeper and my life has grown richer and my soul has found meaning.

God gives purpose to every breath we breathe if we allow him access into those places.  If we acknowledge him there in waiting rooms and doctors offices or wherever your latest crisis finds you.
When I first discovered that the prognosis could possibly be very bad and we would have to leave from 5 hours in urgent care to more intensive testing at the emergency room I told Oliver we were on an adventure together.  I asked if he was ready and he said yes.
I wasn't lying.
I really believe it.

We are on an adventure together.  Sometimes it will take us places we would not have chosen to go and sometimes we will have to do things we would not have chosen to do but there can be excitement in the unexpected and there can be triumph in the trials if we trust that God goes before us in ALL things - not just the ones we had planned.

It was not juvenile arthritis.
It was not septic hip.
It was an unusual manifestation of a viral infection that was diagnosed as transient synovitis.  With some heavy doses of pain medication and rest it was gone within 48 hours.  We were grateful.

But we had still missed the egg hunt with the inflatables and shaved ice.  Instead of going out for pizza and a movie we had to skip dinner completely and watch bits and pieces of Netflix on my laptop.

We could look back on the day and, yes, there were
painful blood draws and
sleepless nights and
unfamiliar people and
strange places and
situations outside of our control
and LOTS of waiting for answers,
but there was also time to be silly on the crunchy paper of the examination table and
opportunities for tiny hands to tuck themselves safe inside of mine and
chances to be brave and overcome fear and
uninterrupted hours worth of looking into each other's faces and cuddling up close.
The stitches that knit my son's heart closer to mine over the course of that day can not be counted.

Sometimes life does not go according to our plans,
 but that does not mean they are not going according to A plan.   

In those moments, or days, or weeks, or years of living out what we did not plan
we can grow scared or angry or impatient
or we can grow deeper and closer.

The way we choose to live out the unplanned seasons of our lives will determine whether we will look back with bitterness and contempt or instead say with confidence
  I liked going there with you.