It is always so much easier to talk about, write about, report about something, after it has happened. When you know the answers, the ending and the outcome. To share the praises and the struggles all in light of the bigger picture.
I am not there today. I can’t see the bigger picture yet, the journey is feeling long and I feel small. Really small, not knowing the next step to take and just hanging in the heaviness of now.
Izzy’s sickness has knocked me more this time than it has in a long time. I am tired, actually I would say more weary. I feel the responsibility of looking after her while she is sick, I feel the distance we are away from the doctor like a weight on my back. Making the right decisions regarding her health, is becoming harder and more complicated each time. One infection after the other is taking its toll on her little body, the infections are getting worse, the antibiotics are getting stronger and I in the midst am weakening with her. Something she said over and over again this week was, “Mama, hold me” and as I sat on the couch at the guesthouse with her little hot head on my shoulder, I prayed, “Jesus hold me.”
Another infection worries me. Will the next one be in 12 more days and be worse yet again? I just don’t know. It feels like there is so much right now that I don’t know, and yet my little girl looks to me, as if I am in charge of it all and I feel nothing but drained.
Last night was the first night that I didn’t have to keep watch over her as she rambled with a fever and tossed and turned in the bed. I sat out on the couch, thinking, praying and reading. Trying to pull my thoughts together, I brought my shattered week before the Lord and asked Him to heal the infections, bind my worries and show clearly a path before us.
I think of the VBS we had to leave on Tuesday morning when we had an emergency flight out of the village. I felt bad that one of the ladies in the village had to teach my lesson last minute, as I had to leave. A lesson on Gideon about facing our fears in light of God’s power! I feel bad that our co workers had to pick up a lot more ministry as we were not there. I wish we had been there, to help and to have fun with the kids, to be a support to our friends as they taught the children. I wish that Danny’s Mom and Dad could have seen a lot more of the village and our life there, the more, “normal” part of our life. I had a lot of different plans for these weeks. Wishing, wanting, worrying, it is not the way of peace and joy. It is not the road to contentment. I squirm with my own thoughts. I wrestle with the present.
These are the words I read last night in a book I have been wanting to read for the past months, by Ann Voskamp. The book is entitled, “One Thousand Gifts.”
“To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice our understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent. A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perpective and raises hands in praise anyways – always. A sacrifice is, by definition, not an easy thing- but it is a sacred thing.”
“Lays down our perspective…” These words really stood out to me. From my perspective this has not been a good week. Izzy has been really sick, Danny’s parents haven’t had the time with us that we all hoped for, we didn’t get to be there for the first VBS in the village. Danny can’t teach at church this week or at the outreach next week…..and there are lots of other things that seem silly to verbalize but these are on my mind too. I feel like I have let a lot of people down, including Izzy. But, that is my perspective tonight, when I am tired and weary and not seeing the next step forward.
“Thank God for everything because he is benevolent.”….
God is good. Always good. Eternally good. I harbor this truth within the wells of my heart but these truths are deep down there sometimes. It takes work to draw them up and raise them to the surface. It is a choice to think on the eternal and not the moment, to think on His goodness and not the grind, to dwell on reality and not on my ever so limited perspective.
There is a lot to be thankful for this week. I made a mental list in my head last night. I labored to pull them up from under the heaviness of the worry and weariness but they are there. Once I started thinking on them, they came a little easier and quicker. It lightened my load to think gratefully, to think on God and His goodness. My perspective doesn’t always allow me to see that so well. I want to be able to lay my perspective down and offer Him praise, anyways, always. Not because I know the end of the story and how it all works out, but feebly tonight, from my weary heart, I want to praise Him because He is God and He is good. I believe that with all my soul.
Danny’s parents are here, and this is a wonderful blessing from the Lord. Yes, it wasn’t the vacation we had planned for them, but this is what God has for all of us. He knew we would be tired and need help and support. It is so much easier to leave little Judah-man with Grandma and Grandpa while we run back and forth to the doctor. I am so glad I could hold Izzy all day long, when that was all she wanted, and Judah got to be held too by Grandma, while Danny was running around town tracking down doctors and buying medicine. God knew we would need them here this week and in His goodness He worked this out months ago for us. Tonight, I thank God for Doug and Dixie being here with us, eating chicken and rice daily, chasing ants out of Ziploc bags and discovering Magnum ice cream bars together. Grateful.
Facebook. Some people hate it, some love it, for me it is a great connection to our other homes and families. This week I was able to, “update a status” and within minutes there were people all around the world praying for Izzy. Comments left with promises of prayer, and “likes” given in praise to God for a little girl waking up with no fever and an appetite. Support from afar. Grateful.
Grateful for; available guesthouse rooms, good weather flights, capable teachers in the village, supportive co workers, medicine, air conditioning, money in a friends purse to pay the small fee for a blood test when I had forgotten my wallet, a package from home, 36.5, my baby boy’s restful nights, a doctor’s office still open when it should be closed, a negative test, another negative test, pacifiers, a lab tech willing to come to the guesthouse, white blood cell count dropping and strength to carry a little girl from pillar to post and back again. Thank you Jesus.
Today, I can be grateful for the things I see that God has done and is doing for me daily. Tomorrow, I will leave in His hands, the thoughts of it all can get overwhelming and stressful if I look too far ahead. Tests I am not sure about, dates I can’t pin down, results I am fearful of. And yet, tonight I have faith. Not in me, not in my strength but in my Heavenly Father and His promises; that when I get to the middle of those moments ahead, He will give me grace and gratefulness. That He will help me to lay down my perspective and He will tenderly draw my heart and my mind to Him and to eternity. These days can seem so big, and I may feel so small, but with a deep breath and a clear mind, I lift the longings of my heart and I hand them to Jesus, in thankfulness for who He is. Knowing He understands more than I will ever have to, what it means to endure what is set before Him. Grateful for the cross.
My week has not changed anything of who He is, not even one little bit, but my weakness shows me yet again, that I need more of Him and less, so much less of me. I need Jesus. Always. Moment by moment, in every area of my life. I need His love, His strength, His wisdom, His forgiveness and His grace. As I walk with Him through all these unknowns regarding infections, in a medical world that is way over my head and made a little more complicated by being in a foreign country, I rest in this moment; that I can be grateful to a good God. Not because I am drawing from past experiences, or wisdom from the books of creative writers, but I rest because He is alive in me. This good and gracious God is drawing me to Himself. Lifting my eyes to Him and allowing me to see Him in the now. I will follow after Him step by step, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling but falling on Him. Dependent on Jesus.
Yet again tonight I write this blog post for me. This is my way of sifting through my thoughts, throwing away the lies, drowning out the voices, honing in on the Truth of God’s Word and handing the few seeds left over to my Heavenly Father; asking Him to water, nurture and redeem that which can be used by Him, for His glory.
In a week when I was taken up with service, God uprooted my world, brought me to my knees and showed me He wants my surrender.
I am still in the midst. Still needing your prayers as we make this way forward to seek to find out more about how we can help or stop Izzy from getting so many infections. We fly to Manila this week to meet with some doctors there, please pray that God will guide us to the right places and that the tests will help to give us answers. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for Isabela and prayed for us. We are so grateful for you all and give thanks to our Heavenly Father.
Humbled by His goodness.
|Grateful to have Grandma and Grandpa here.|
|None of us expected to see our house from the air after just a few days stay in the village.|
|Izzy waiting to get her blood taken to test for malaria. She didn’t make a peep and the test was negative. 🙂|
|Starting to show signs of recovery. 🙂|
|By morning, waves of relief and gratitude to see this little smile and no fever.|
|So grateful that despite getting 4 new teeth this week, little Judah boy has been one happy little chap.|
|Can’t believe our little baby boy is 11 months old now. He brings us so much joy.|
|Grateful beyond words for these two little treasures.|