Sunday, May 3, 2015

What Stitches, Cancer, and Broken Fridges Teach You about Life

There are these young boys named Chase & Joshua that have had a grip on my heart for some time now. They are strong, brave, childhood cancer fighters.

Their parents and siblings are my heroes.

They've endured unfathomable pain, hardship, fatigue, and instability. They've had countless doctor and hospital visits. Joshua is now years past it and can hardly remember those days since he was 2. Chase is still fighting the battle of not knowing how long this remission will last or if the tumor that he still has will grow and he'll need more treatment.

Their little bodies have been through A.LOT.

This past week as we were already spiraling from some hard news the week before, and as everything seemed to fall apart left and right from our fridge breaking to Tim's car needing hundreds of dollars worth of work to Elijah twisting his ankle... we then had a bad accident on Monday with Elijah that sent us scrambling even worse.

There was a lot of blood. A lot of screaming. 1 ER visit. 4 stitches on his lower lip. 2 bumped back teeth. A pediatric dentist specialist. A chiropractor. Phone calls. Checking on insurance. Tears. Worries.

Hard news at work. Hard days in our marriage as we were both on the edge of exhaustion and stress. Financial concerns.

Thinking I was pregnant for a couple weeks only to find out we were wrong.

So then, the hormones. Oy. Right alongside Elijah's accident.

Let's just say, I'm really worn down. But in a different way than I have been before. Because God keeps showing me and reminding me of his truths, and I'm listening, feeling, and clinging to him.


4 of them. In his lip. And he still managed to give high fives and blow kisses to the nurses and doctors as we left the ER.

As we hovered over him in that ER, holding him down, trying to help keep him calm, reassuring him that he was going to be okay... I thought of all those parents. Parents like Chase and Joshua's. Parents who have to fight daily and pray constantly that their child will be okay today. That they won't have anything else happen to them. That the world would stop spinning long enough that they could just hold their child and know that it wouldn't be the last time.

I looked at the machines and prayed about the kids I know who are fighting some major illness or cancer and just wanting to have a normal life again.

As I've been thinking over this week and Elijah's two teeth that got knocked out of place, I have agonized and tortured myself about that moment he smacked into the corner of the coffee table and wondered what I could have done differently. How else I could have protected him from that hardship. How I'd give anything to go back in time and make it different for him.

Do the parents of kids fighting cancer deal with those questions every day? How do they face such horrific hardship? Especially those who do not have our hope in Christ?!

I cannot fathom it. And it's painful.

Our pastor and a team from our church have been on a tour (though they just got back) called Risen for the Nations (#risen4nations). They were going around to other church plants from our church around the world in Israel, Malyasia, Kenya, Nepal, and Haiti. They had just left Nepal within less than a week before the earthquake. In Haiti they still saw the devastation of the earthquake there years ago.

They were showing highlight videos. Slums. Poverty. Starving kids. Dark places.

And our fridge broke.

Frustrating days while trying to save money and having to eat out constantly because we can't have fresh food and I don't have the time or energy to figure out other ways around it. Eating anywhere that has kids meals with milk so that Elijah could at least get that into him.

Yet, we are full. We have all that we need and more.

I see these videos and I ache for the people who struggle to even have shelter and food for their families at all. I can't help but weep over the kids who fight cancer and wonder if they'll ever live normally.

I look at my child's busted lip and bumped teeth that make me sad and wish it had never happened to him because this could mess up his mouth for the rest of his life.

And then I remember I have NOTHING to really worry about. God is in control, he is sovereign, he cares for me and for Elijah. There are simply worse things in the world.

Way worse.

I felt so ridiculous complaining at all about our fridge... yet it was admittedly so hard and inconvenient for us, in part because the timing with everything else was just so terrible.

God wants our best. All he asks is that we obey and listen. I have to say I've been whining with him lately. And I know I can't stand it when my son is constantly whining.

Oh how God must view us. So thankless. So discontent. So whiney.

I'm learning a lot these days about life. About who my real friends are. About who I can trust. About God, kids, marriage, jobs, future dreams, life. About laughter and sunshine. About how our hard really isn't that hard when we get our perspective right.

I don't want stitches, cancer, or broken appliances to get in the way of who God wants me to be. So by God's grace, I'm learning and growing.

Tomorrow is a new day. Full of promise and hope.

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