I was brought up in church and attended Sunday school every Sunday. It was understood the expectation was to get up and go to church as a family. I learned the books of the Bible, learned the cute little church songs – Deep and Wide and so it goes… and wore my pretty dresses on Sunday with my adorable little white shoes and beaded white purse. I had a few tissues inside my purse because that’s what my grandma did. My granddaddy had to bring me lifesavers and juicy fruit gum to keep me quiet. I can still go through the motions of the church service today with the hymns in my head and the choir singing “Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow.” My parents kept the Christian legacy going by instilling Christ in my home, but I missed the most important part—a relationship. I knew all the answers about why I should accept Christ as my savior, and I did accept him into my heart as a young girl. For example, I had my umbrella (GOD), but I didn’t know to open it in the rain! Everything went well in my early life rolling along with no bumps along the way—no storms so I still had my umbrella folded. So, why use my umbrella (HIM), I had life figured out.
I moved out, went to college, got married and had Justin 3 years later. Cute little Baby Justin (Hutch) white hair and just adorable if I say so myself. Four years later, I got pregnant with Josh. Life still going great, my life still rolling “Oh, so smooth down life’s highway.” On July 3, at 5:42 pm, I delivered Josh, the doctor said, “We have a problem.” This was my first of many bumps in the road. The doctor called it “myelomeningocele.” Dr. King said, “His spinal cord was protruding out of his back.” I was speechless while I asked questions to myself silently. Pride jumping in, “I won’t have a perfect child.” You are probably thinking. HUMM her child is very ill and she was thinking that! We all do it, just think back. Examples of pride in our lives with our children include, making bad grades in school or not making that grand slam in a little league team. These are just a few that we all deal with. We want the perfect child and often compare ours to other children. We are all missing the bigger picture and that being that we should pray for our children that they develop a relationship with Christ.
This was first encounter of a real storm. Did I use God or not? I prayed, yes, but did I fully trust God? No, not at first. I really thought I did at the time. We are not supposed to set our lives on cruise control and coast into heaven. We are called to suffer, to labor, and to strive for the prize, which is yet to be ours in heaven. The Christian life more a battle than it is a joyride, despite the fact that we can have joy unspeakable at all times in the Lord. The promise of unconditional peace and joy for the believer is so remarkable because it transcends circumstances and is often in spite of circumstances. Plainly stating, the Christian life is a struggle…Nothing short of hard work. In (Isaiah 64:8) it says “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and all we are the work of your hand.” See God was trying to knead me, but I still had many imperfections. It’s just like making a pie, we have to keep rolling and kneading to get all the air bubbles out to make it work. In order for God to use me, I must get all the junk out of me…. sin. In other words, I needed to get me out of me.
Josh was flown to Atlanta and I had to stay behind. I got a call in the night that he had made a turn for with worse spiking a temp to 104 degree. Their thinking was he had developed spinal megeningitis from the opening in his back. He did recover from this and about 3 weeks later after a VP shunt operation and the operation on his back, I finally got to hold my baby Josh. We brought him home about a month later. Wondering will he walk? Will he laugh? I began to feel a little better for sweet little babies always makes us feel better, right? A couple weeks after we brought him home, he started making a very strange sound along with his chest sinking in which I had a gut feeling something bad was about to happen. After taking him to the pediatrician for this, he was soon taken by ambulance for paralysis of the vocal cords where he was on life support for several weeks. He was operated on again at 7 seven weeks old and had a tracheotomy until he was 2 years old. Still praying for my baby to be healed. I was wanting a lot from God and I had specifics in mind. After another month in the hospital, Josh got to come home again. For 2 years, I learned how to suction his tracheotomy. Josh continued to have operation after operation. I’ll never forget the time he got his first wheelchair. Never thought I would see this as praise, but I did. Finally, my baby was independent. I had to pick up my pace and chase after him. Things rolled along pretty well until.. a broken femur. To make a long story short, he developed MRSA of the bone. This is a time when I was mad with God. Bad things just kept happening even with me being a “good” person. While driving to the hospital, I was hitting the steering wheel. “Where are you GOD?” Softly, he said, “I’m here, where are you Lynn?” I will never forget that day; I remember the exact spot on hwy 88. From this moment, I knew that I had to get rid of the me in me, so God could do some work on me.
I saw Josh begin to develop a love of Christ and saw Christ in him. It was never about having a perfect child outwardly, but instead having a God loving saved by Grace child. We all want our children to be perfect on the outside because it makes us look good and ups our ego. Don’t get me wrong; it’s ok to have a successful child. In (Proverbs 22:6 ESV) it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” See when the Lord returns, Josh will be made perfect with no blemish because Josh has accepted him and Josh will meet Him in Paradise – In Revelation 21: 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away.”
My parents trained me, the entire time as a small girl even though I didn’t use Christ until I had nothing else to hold on to. I gradually began to get me out of me, so the potter “Christ” could do his work. The clay MUST YIELD to the potter’s hand if it is to become something useful. I’m not going to make it sound easy cooping with the daily struggles of taking care of a young adult with a disability; it’s very hard some days. How do I deal with it some days? I think of the struggles Jesus had. Jesus knew that life was hard. They tried to throw Him off a cliff, they mocked Him, and they brutally executed Him, and He told us just that, saying that in this world, “We will have trouble and tribulation (John 16:33).” Have you ever gotten upset with God because things are tough, and they don’t seem to be getting any easier? Yet, Christ has told us it would be this way. Why do we go on expecting things to be easy?
Through all the storms with Josh, Proverbs 3:6 is what I relied on “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:6 NLT)
Better prepared for my next storm August 20, 2015. My oldest AKA Hutch had been having some “stomach problems.” After seeing numerous doctors, we pressed on insisting something was not right. I’ll never forget this day either for it was so vivid, the floor we were on, the direction of the hospital and even the color of the room. The doctor came out and spoke to me, “Well, I found the problem, but we have a lot of work to do.” It was the dreaded C word for I still having trouble even typing or saying the word. The doctor and I went in to tell Justin the news. It was a large tumor in his colon. Of course, our first question. “Has it spread?” Of course, the doctor could not answer this for we all knew that required waiting and more tests. Never had I thought about cancer until the night before his procedure, I was awakened in the night and “Cancer” was revealed. I felt that I was being prepared of what was to come that next day. He was admitted to the hospital a few days later to have his tumor removed. I was in the place a year earlier with bad news about Josh, which is an entirely different testimony! Anyway, the doctor came out pretty quick from surgery. This didn’t really make sense to me for taking a tumor out should have taken much longer! The doctor said that the tumor was very complicated attaching to the bladder and surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Basically, he left the tumor as is. Over the next months, Justin received radiation daily and took chemo. I began to see my baby out of pain.
I’ve had a peace the entire time about Justin and his cancer. It’s because I stopped trying to figured everything out and do it my way. Was I mad at God this time? No, it was a peace that passes understanding. Yes, I’ve cried oceans full of tears and experienced sadness on days, but the difference is that I’ve had gotten me out of me and replaced it with Jesus.
About a month later, we went for the results of the PET scan…. the longest day of my life. As soon as the doctor walked in, I knew that it was not good for there was no pep in his step. The cancer was in Justin’s liver and possibly his clavicle. I just thought that I had cried a lot before. I cried softly all the way home trying my best to be a strong Mom for my baby. I prayed and felt God’s presence as we drove in the driveway…. I remember telling Justin that God had this and that we must have faith in him. I actually felt as if I had armor on ready to fight this storm – God’s armor.
Justin continues to battle this dreaded disease, and Josh continues to battle with the problems associated with spina bifida. So, why has this storm been perfect? It’s been perfect with Christ. Without Him, I would not have been able to get up every morning or see the beautiful in everything. I often think, if this storm had not occurred I would not have found my relationship with Jesus. “God desires that we trust Him and act out of faith more than the perception of our circumstances. “Angie Smith
My Perfect Storm!