Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Tale of Two Name Tags

     As most everyone knows, we had a medical scare with Maribette (ie a ruptured appendix) a month or so ago. It's been a roller coaster ride that has brought back so many emotions. As we got settled into the ER @archildrens, Miss finally arrived about thirty minutes after we had touched down. She had made the two and a half hour road trip with family from Fort Smith. 
     One of the first things that Miss handed me was a name tag. I was instantly taken back to that first time I had gotten an Arkansas Children's Hospital parent tag. Over the next few days I began to think about these two tags. 

Now, everyone knows that life can and does change in an instant. One minute life is going good and the next thing you know, life is throwing curves and is changed forever. There are things etched in my mind that will never change.

a different phone call:
   I remember that with both girls that we had been worried about them not feeling well. We prayed that God would help us to know what was wrong with them and that they would get better. On the morning of August 6th 2010, I was at work about 9:00 and my cousin had called saying that they couldn't get Lei to wake up. There is nothing that can prepare you for "the phone call". Life goes to 90 mph in seconds. 
Then on October 21, at about 1:30, I was at work and got a call from Miss saying, that in the middle of Mb's ultrasound, the tech went to get the Dr. Once again my stomach was in knots. Usually when a doctor is called in in the middle of a test, it's not good news. I was taken back to the drive home to be with Lei and how it took forever to drive ten minutes
     Now one things I must admit is that I am a worrier and tend to think the worst. I am so thankful that God doesn't operate on my little faith. The Jesus says that "if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:20. Now He was referring to His disciples being unable to heal a sick epileptic boy, but it applies to my life. We can't always control what happens, but we can control our outlook and Who we trust in the process. Faith ... it's all about trusting in Who holds our future, and knowing that He has a perfect plan. Its still so hard, I mean, I know that sun always shines, but there are clouds that get in the way and storms that come, but the sun always shines, God is always there.  
     So, on the way to meet Miss at the hospital I was already thinking cancer, tumor, and yes,  even what it would be like to plan another funeral.. I know that is horrible to think and I'm just being honest. Even when it seems like I have it all together and even when it seems that I have a strong faith, its always a work in progress for me. We never know when a call, or news, is going to rock our world, but in the midst of questions, worry, and fear, we can know Who holds our world.

a different diagnosis:
     When I pulled up to the driveway on the morning of August 6th, 2010, all I see is a fire truck and my little girl laying on the ground. I remember telling her "daddy's here". Once at the hospital we really didn't have to ask much, we could tell by the look on the doctors and nurses face that this was not good. Then we finally got the news that there was bleeding on the brain and our worst nightmare had started to slowly sink in. 
As I walked in to the ultrasound, the doctor was already there with Miss and Mb. Him and the tech were talking "medical stuff" as we waited for him to finish, still fearing the worst.  
     Now this is the hard part, where I try to put trusting God over satan getting me to face fear. A great scripture that comes to mind is Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  Yes the scripture says to not fear, but satan screams that we have every reason to fear, the worst will happen, and God is not in control. 
      After the doctor finally finished the ultra sound on Mb, we were told that things were going to be ok, and I took my first deep breath and thought to myself "thank you God". We ended up doing a ct scan and figured that we would end up being admitted to get her all fixed up. Still we weren't sure what all was going on as we waited for the results Waiting is tough, waiting is down right hard, but if we aren't careful satan can start to creep in during our times of waiting.

a different trip:
     After they discovered that Lei had bleeding on the brain, Angel One was dispatched and she would be on her way to Arkansas Children's. We watched as they got her situated and loaded in the helicopter. There are no words to describe what it feels like to take in all the emotions as you hear the propellers, and feel the immense gushing wind that they put off, as we watched our little girl ascend in the sky. As Miss would later say " It was like the wings of angels carrying her home". The ride for us to Little Rock that day seemed to take forever, and as we traveled we begin to find comfort in scripture. 
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11 Its amazing to know that God thinks of us and has plans for us. Now we don't always understand His plans, be we can choose to trust in His plans. We can choose to take comfort in knowing that we are apart of His master plan. He is the author of peace, He is the author of hope.  
     As we prepared to admit Mb into the hospital, we overhear an employee on the phone saying that she was being admitted for a ruptured appendix. This was the first we were hearing of this, we hadn't heard form a doctor yet, and we both started to freak out a little. As another nurse assured us that she was "awfully young to have a ruptured appendix". Thanks for the morale booster",  I thought to myself, as Miss and I tried to reassure each other that she was going to be ok. About the same time, I mean within minutes we hear another employee on the phone say "don't admit her yet, Children's is coming to get her". Ok from a little freaked out to full freak out mode! Yep, so much for holding it all together. As I get a phone call from our pediatrician telling us that she is too young and the doctor there would not do the surgery since she was so little, I barely can hold down the tears long enough to tell him ok. So after a few, maybe many minutes, of calming down and trying to call family and inform them, we were both reassured by both our pediatricians that she would be ok. Miss headed off to Little Rock and I stayed behind, not know if I would be able to go with Mb on Angel One. So they landed and we loaded up for our fifty minute ride to @archildrens. Mb did awesome on the way there and I have to say that it was a calming flight. As we got to Little Rock I could see the sun setting behind us. God is truly amazing.

a different outcome:
      As we got to the hospital, we were told that Lei was already down in MRI. Once again we waited to hear the crushing news. She had an inoperable tumor at the base of her brain. There are no words to describe the helplessness, the questions, the what ifs, the how do we do this? The next few hours we held on to hope, we knew that we served a God who heals, but I also struggled with reality, and in reality things didn't look that promising. I remember sitting in the cafeteria trying to choke down food, and ended up leaving. Me and Miss stopped at the chapel and poured our hearts out to God. Praying, begging, asking for Him to save our little girl, but most of all to give us strength and peace to face what laid ahead. One of the toughest things we have ever had to do is walk out of the hospital without our little girl. Of course the next few days, weeks and months were a struggle. Even though people continued to praise us for our strength, it was not our strength at all, it was nothing but the hand of God on us, and His strength, and His mercy and His grace that covered us and still does to this day.
     As much as it was a shock to us, It did NOT shock God. A great verse is Deuteronomy 31:8,
"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”  You see, God knew that Leightyn would only be here for five short years, He knew that we would face the darkest, hardest storm of our lives. He was not only with us every step of the way, but He was already there waiting for us. To comfort us, to hold us up, to use us and Leightyn's Lifesong for His glory. Just as He was/is and as we are on our current journey with Mb. I have heard it said that "He never gives us more than we can handle", but I would have to disagree and say that He does allow more than we can handle. There are times when I cant do it on my own, and hove to turn to Him to help me persevere. It is in those times that we have a choice. We can run to Him and choose to allow Him to use us, or we run from Him.
     We anxiously waited to hear from the doctors @archildrens, to see what the next step would be with Maribette. Much to our surprise the told us that its better to leave the appendix in and just try and get the infection out. So the next day we waited to get squeezed in to surgery. It was shorter than we were expecting and the IV Radiologist doctor told us that everything went well. It was a rough couple of days afterwards, especially for Miss since she stayed with Mb. Then by the time I had showed up to stay the weekend with them, she was being released. It was a different emotion, as we got to experience what it is like to leave with a child in hand. We still have an appendectomy to face in the next coming months, but we are thankful that she is already better.

the SAME God:
     God is a loving God! He is a caring God! He is the same God that walks with us through the storms,  the same God that is there waiting for us as the storm approaches, the same God is there as we face the days filled with sunshine. He is the same God that allowed Leightyn to die and the same God who allowed Maribette to get better. Malachi 3:6a says “For I am the Lord, I do not change". For some reason its easy to say that God is a God Who blesses, but harder to say that a loving God allows bad things to happen. Don't get me wrong, I would be lying if I said that I haven't questioned God's ways or reasoning, but it is different than saying that I have questioned who God is. I mean I would have never in eternity have chosen to loose a daughter, but in the end we have to believe, we must have faith that our lives are part of a bigger, grander, more perfect plan than we could ever imagine. This life is full of heartache and this life is full of great joy and God  is with us in both. Its crazy to think how two simple name tags can bring back some of the toughest emotions that we have ever faced, and remind us of some of the greatest victories that we have had through overcoming death and the blessings of healing.