Monthly Archives: September 2015

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From My Heart to Yours — Walking Alongside is a GIFT

As I think back over the past couple of weeks, they seem to me to be a blur. Having been home for three days now, in some ways it feels as if I never left, except for the fact that we’re about to enter the month of October. In other ways, being out in California, taking care of our sick college-student daughter, it feels as if I was away from my regularly scheduled life for a long time.

Without my normal distractions (four sons), I had plenty of time to talk to the Lord and plenty of time to think.

It was Day 6. It happened to be our youngest son’s 10th birthday. When I left the house six days earlier, Jake asked, “Will you be home in time for my birthday?”

He turned 10 without me.

He turned 10 without me.

At that time we thought I’d fly out for a few days and be home for part of the weekend. “I’m sure! I can’t imagine needing to stay with Hannah for that long.”

We were wrong.

And there I was, feeling all sad and sulky about not having returned home in time for this special day. With tears pouring down my face, I began to pray and think (really…I don’t think I ever stopped praying and thinking). It felt unfair that Hannah wasn’t getting any better. It felt unfair that I couldn’t be home. But, having known the Lord for as long as I can remember, and having danced through some serious highs and been carried through some serious lows, and being a lover of His Word, I know who He is. I know He can be trusted.

So, I told the Lord that I knew He had a purpose (or purposes) in all of this. A purpose that would prosper us and not harm us. A purpose to give us hope and a future. I told the Lord I trusted Him with my time. I trusted Him with my son’s tender heart (he was missing his mama). I trusted Him with my daughter’s health. And I told the Lord that my heart was broken. That this felt like too much.

I expected what came next. He held me in that moment. He assured me that as a Father He understood my pain. He reminded me that grief is a part of life and He just let me cry.

There is something healing about tears.

As I lifted my tear-stained face, the burden felt lighter.

However, I did not expect what came next. It was one word…gift.

Gift?

Gift.

Lord, how is this a gift????

His gentle words to my soul encouraged me to remember. To look back over the years of Hannah’s life and health journey.

As I did, I realized that through every one of Hannah’s medical issues, every time her symptoms have baffled doctors, every time she’s had surgery, every time she’s needed to be woken in the middle of the night to take meds, every time she’s needed to be taken care of for an extended period of time, I’ve been there. I was the one carting her around from doctor to doctor. I was the one kissing her cheek and praying over her as she lay on a gurney. I was the one waking her in the middle of the night, bringing her water and medicine. I was the one taking care of her.

The Lord reminded me that to be Hannah’s mom, to journey with her in times of health AND in times of sickness is a gift.

There was no sudden healing, there were still no answers, but, in that moment I realized I should treasure being there…in southern California…walking alongside my sweet girl in this time of sickness.

A gift to be with Hannah for blood work.

A gift to be with Hannah for blood work.

A gift to be with Hannah in the ER at UCLA.

A gift to be with Hannah in the ER at UCLA.

A gift to be Hannah's mama and to journey alongside her.

A gift to be Hannah’s mama and to journey alongside her.

What a GIFT!!!!!

It doesn’t end there. You get a 2-for-1 today. 🙂

Just one week before Hannah got sick, I had been feeling as if I wasn’t doing enough. I began asking the Lord to give me Kingdom work to do.

Not only did the Lord speak clearly to my heart about the gift of journeying alongside my children, but He reminded me that my job as Mom is Kingdom work.

I don’t know what kind of “walking alongside” you’re doing. It might be teaching littles at home; it might be going out to work, then coming home to cook and clean and tuck into bed; it might be taking care of a sick one; it might be disciplining a wayward one; it might be down on your knees, begging the Lord for reconciliation or restoration. Whatever your walking alongside looks like, you’re likely tired today.

So, hear this:

Keep trusting. Keep resting. Keep walking. Walking alongside is a gift. And…YOU ARE DOING KINGDOM WORK!

*Update on Hannah: Still struggling with neurological symptoms — extreme fatigue, tingling and numbness in legs, tingling in chest and face, back and eye pain. We meet with her doctor Friday morning to try to figure out who to see, what to do next. Thanks for your prayers!


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From My Heart to Yours — To All My Mama Friends Whose Babies are Far Away Today

To All My Mama Friends Whose Babies are Far Away Today,

I feel like we belong to some sort of club. As I’ve watched you post pictures of your goodbyes the past few weeks, I’ve cried with you. I’ve been there. I AM there.

I spent three years saying goodbye to our eldest as she studied at Westmont College in California. Watching siblings hug and kiss and cry. Rip. My. Heart. Out!

Less than three weeks ago, I said goodbye (again) to our second daughter, Hannah — she’s studying at Pepperdine, also in California. I miss her. Her little brothers miss her.

This brother misses Hannah a TON when she's far away.

This brother misses Hannah a TON when she’s far away.

These goodbyes have become part of our normal around here, but they’re still hard. So hard. I get that pit in my stomach, that lump in my throat, those tears that I can’t contain.

I hate saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye to these precious daughters is so difficult to do.

Saying goodbye to these precious daughters is so difficult to do.

Yesterday I got a call from Hannah. She’s sick. All I could do was pray with her over the phone, assure her that we’d continue to pray for her throughout the day, tell her I love her and remind her to stay hydrated. Last year she got the flu and had to be taken to the hospital, suffering from severe dehydration, so that’s always on my mind when she gets sick. Before she had been diagnosed (last year), docs were concerned about meningitis, so they did a spinal tap. She called. Scared (mostly because she knew it would hurt). She cried. I cried. There was absolutely nothing I could do but pray. That far away felt even farther away!

Last night she texted to say she had passed out and the school called an ambulance. Paramedics mentioned meningitis and whisked her away to the hospital. Here I am again…3 states and 18 hours away. Unable to do much. Hannah was scared about the possibility of another spinal tap.

Docs discovered pretty quickly that she has an infection that’s easy to treat and “flu-like symptoms”. The rest of her blood work came back clean, so she didn’t have to have another spinal tap. *high kick*

I hate saying goodbye. I also hate not being able to be there for my sick daughter. For the first 18 years of her life, I was the one who was up in the night with her, comforting her, cleaning up her messes, giving her medicine, praying with her. Now I can only lie here in my bed, waiting for the next text or phone call of information, praying that the Lord will somehow comfort her when I can’t.

You know what I’ve learned? He does.

Rest assured of that today, Mamas. He’s got our babies who are far away. They may be sick, they may be healthy, they may be struggling, they may be full of excitement, they may be making poor decisions, they may be making wise decisions, they may be sad, they may be light-hearted, they may feel lonely, they may feel loved. Whatever they’re feeling, whatever they’re experiencing, whatever they’re going through, they are not alone. The Lord is with them. He’s on their side. He will fight for them. Rest in that, sweet Mama friends whose babies are far away today.