I said that my word for the year would be, “follow.”
This year I would faithfully follow the Lord wherever He leads me.
How hard could that be?
After all He’s Jesus so He knows a thing or two…or everything.
The thing is, following Him can sometimes mean that the path is very bumpy. You’ll get there, but you’ll get a little beat up on the journey. I suppose this happens because there is strength to be gained in stumbling again and again. Not our own strength, but the strength that He provides…His great grace.
This year began with us feeling in our hearts that we were being called to adopt.
Then the path got bumpy.
It all began with a rainbow.
If you’ve been reading my posts for any amount of time then you know that rainbows have deep meaning in my life, hence the title of this here blog.
Around two weeks ago, as I was driving home I spotted the most beautiful rainbow and I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to take a pregnancy test. I was hesitant. While we are always open to life, we weren’t trying to get pregnant. Our plan was to adopt. We were certain of it. Besides I was still breastfeeding my little guy around the clock, and although I know that you can indeed get pregnant while breastfeeding I assumed the chances would be extremely low.
The rainbow shone prominently in my line of vision throughout the drive home and so I decided to take a test, thinking the entire time that surely it would be negative.
It was positive…as well as the three more I took after it to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.
We were thrilled!
Our hearts immediately filled with joy!
However, that joy was soon replaced with sadness when it became clear that we were miscarrying. We had been at this place before. As many of you know we had a loss before Little Billy Dean. He is our rainbow baby.
Now here we were again. Saying goodbye before we even said hello. The sadness was there, but not the hopelessness. Not this time. Instead, I was so thankful that the Lord made this precious life known to us.
If I hadn’t seen that rainbow, I might have never known that this beautiful life existed, even though it was only for a brief moment. What a gift! Our Father in heaven is so good to us.
Of course it confused things with our adoption plans and where we feel the Lord is leading us. In our weakness we desire clarity so very much, an obvious sign about where we should go and what we should do. But then that word came back to me, “follow.”
If you know exactly where you are going then you don’t need to follow. Following means surrendering, which is something I’m pretty bad at, which is probably why the Lord wants me to keep having to do it.
Less than a week after our miscarriage, our four year daughter Naleiah ended up being admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
She was born with something called a preauricular pit, basically a teeny tiny hole near the front of her ear that marks the entrance to her sinus tract. They are fairly common and usually don’t cause any issues at all, however she developed an infection that didn’t respond to the antibiotics that were initially given.
She woke up one morning with her ear horribly swollen and red. They immediately sent us to Phoenix Children’s to be admitted and told us she would need IV antibiotics and surgery to remove the infection. Since it is RSV/flu season, our other three children were not permitted to come to the hospital.
Praise God, Naleiah didn’t have any fever and she was her usual happy self. The wonderful staff brought her tons of toys to play with and she got to watch all her favorite movies on repeat. At the end of each day I would have to go back home to nurse my little guy and take care of her sisters who were upset and missing her, while my incredible husband stayed the night with her.
It hurt my heart to have to leave her for any period of time, although she could of cared less, because she was enjoying watching TV, eating french fries, drinking endless amounts of apple juice, and no bedtimes.
The day of her surgery I was beyond nervous. It was simple procedure, but the idea of my sweet girl having to be put under for any period of time worried me tremendously. However I knew I had to trust that the Lord would take care of her. She bounced around on the hospital bed giggling and throwing her Cat in the Hat stuffed animal in the air, while the ENT surgeon went over the details with us.
Then they gave her some medicine that sent her into a giggling fit that gave Bill and I some much need comic relief. I started praying the rosary as they wheeled her back into the OR and before I knew it the doctor was back letting us know that her surgery went perfectly.
She woke up from surgery raving mad. Hitting, screaming, yelling for a Popsicle and to go home. She kicked Bill in the groin twice so hard that he doubled over and the nurses (and myself) had to conceal our laughter. She called the doctors, “dummy heads.” They called the anesthesiologist and he gave her two sedatives which did nothing. The anesthesiologist let us know that some people have this adverse reaction to anesthesia and that if she ever has to have surgery again to let them know so they can give her a different concoction of medication.
As Bill and I were passing her back and forth to each other and sustaining some good left hooks to the face, I had such a overwhelming feeling of thankfulness throughout my entire body that it had me near tears, because while we were all getting a kick (literally and figuratively) out of how strong our teeny tiny girl was and the funny phrases she was uttering, I spotted a mama wearing the same orange band we were across the way.
She was crying and kissing her little one who lay completely still and in between her sobs she looked up at us as we wheeled the hospital bed of our strong, screaming girl and gave us a weak smile.
I prayed for her all the way back to Naleiah’s room and continued to pray every time her tear streaked face flashed in my mind.
Bill and I wore orange bands like all the other parents at Phoenix Children’s hospital do. But our circumstances were vastly different. We would get to take our sweet girl home. She will heal. Our stay was short. Our stay was filled with more laughter than worry.
The majority of the other parents there, the ones who we ran into on the elevators or in the cafeteria, the ones with the tired eyes and weakened smiles, they were the ones I thought of whenever I saw my orange band.
No we hadn’t had the easiest past few weeks, but I could be nothing but thankful. I could do nothing but praise God. We are blessed beyond measure in ways that we often take for granted.
I get to watch my kiddos play, laugh, throw fits, and make messes.
I get to hear them joke, tell stories, whine, and pray.
I get to clean up after they play dinosaurs and scatter dirt all over the floor.
I get to lay my tired body next to theirs while they elbow me in their sleep after a long day of cooking, cleaning, school work, and playing.
I get to tell them over and over and over again not to climb on the kitchen counters.
I get to hear them tell our two little saints in heaven to pray for us.
All these little and big things that I get to do are huge blessings.
These everyday moments that often go unnoticed are tremendous gifts from our Lord that we have to remind ourselves to cherish.
I have more rainbows than storms.
Thank You Jesus.