My gratitude list today is in pictures. Gemma and I are home sick- we both have colds. I am on antibiotics and she is just snotty. We decided to get a little fresh air today since we've been cooped up since Saturday. After a walk around the block, we sat down in the driveway and had our own little popsicle party. I've never let her just have her own. She loved it! In the spirit of just letting her experience life, I took off her shirt, put a blanket underneath her and handed her a dark purple popsicle. Stains all over her chest and mouth are the result, and I love it!
I'm so thankful for her health- even though she's sick right now- her total well-being is healthy. I'm overjoyed to be her mama.
When Abe and I took Gemma to church, probably about a month after she was born- one of the only times we took her out in public, I remember begging God to heal her. I remember this so vividly- I was standing on the left side of the congregation- I was holding Gemma- I was singing. I remember begging, "God, please heal her. Please. Lord, please heal my little girl."
...and I heard an answer: " Of course I'm going to heal her."
and so we waited.
at 3 months, I tried to wean her off of meds, watched her aspirate in her swallow study... again and upped her meds for the first time.
at 6 months, I tried to wean her off her meds again- instead we needed to up her dose again in order to keep her from being in awful pain at night.
at 8 months, I watched her fail another swallow study and set up exploratory surgery to figure out why she was unable to swallow correctly. I had really thought that this was going to be the one where we saw God's amazing power just take all concern away.
Gemma is now almost 11 months old. In the past two months, I have been struggling with fear. Not only fear that something could hurt my girl but fear that God can't be trusted to care for her. I'm not under any illusions that good things happen to Christians because they pray a certain way or "name it and claim it". For some, that may be their experience but I've seen too many lives lost, too much pain, and too much illness to rest comfortably in that. What I do know is that God is good; God heals; God saves; and God is ever-present. And as I tried to wean her off her meds again at 10 months, I felt terrified. I had visions of her writhing in pain again- choking on her own reflux... the list is endless. The bottom line is, I was terrified.
And even as I was successfully weaning her, it took the wise words of my best friend- "Sarah, you need to cry out to God with this- ask Him to show you how to conquer this fear" to help me remember that promise from 9 months earlier.
"Of course I am going to heal her".
Now technically, she has not ever passed a swallow study, but we've cancelled the optional exploratory surgery due to possible anesthesia complications and have been feeding her thin liquids since May. She has NOT gotten aspiration pneumonia (the primary concern of all her doctors) and has now successfully weaned off Prevacid. So right now, she is just like any other kid who has no feeding issues. She is healed. Her healing may not look the way I thought it would but here she is and she is fine and thriving. How can I NOT trust this God who followed through on caring for my daughter? I needed to remember that promise and see the fulfillment of it here in Gemma's life in order to let go of some of these fears. I know that not everyone gets this kind of answer and because of that I am truly humbled. I'm not minimizing any suffering or anyone else's longings for healings. I can only speak from my experience and my heart.
I know that anything could happen to Gemma and I will continue to be smart and safe but I am really putting my trust in God. It will be a daily surrendering for me- forever probably, but because I love her so very much, I will place her in the ever worthy arms of Jesus. I will pray over her, love her, steward her, guide her, and ultimately show her the love of God in any way I can. AND I will choose JOY in the midst of it. That's my new mantra for parenting. In the midst of dirty diapers, fearful illnesses, a fallen world, and a whole host of other scary things, I will CHOOSE JOY.