Brings me back…

Last week we made the call to give up our Florida vacation. But what seemed like a tough decision last week, today makes us sigh with relief. How much has changed in the past week! And looking forward, it’s hard to fathom how we are to live with so much uncertainty. With the fear of suffering, of losing loved ones, fear for our jobs, for the economy, even for our kid’s education. Nothing is certain right now and it makes the world a very scary place.

And then, to top this all off, we are supposed to live through this in isolation??? Without being able to go to church and enjoy the presence of our church family or go to the library and pick up a new book, or chat with a friend at the grocery store, or have friends over for coffee, or get the kids together so they can play, or at least get somewhat of a break from our immediate family?  I’m sure some of you are even longing to go back to work!  I know we have our phones and video chats, but we all know it’s a poor substitute. I want to get out and I want my people around me!!!

And as I’ve thought about it,  I realized that this whole situation brings me back to when we had Ava.  Life was hard back when we were dealing with a sick baby who’s heart was failing.  Her future was very uncertain, and we didn’t know if God was going to bring her a needed heart, or if he was going to take her home. We had no idea what life was going to look for us going forward, we didn’t even know how many days we had left with Ava!  We were worried about Jason’s job and money and how it would impact our other kids. And to top it all off we spent much of that time living in Toronto, in isolation away from our friends and family. Yes, this current situation really does bring me back to that time.  And it’s funny how sometimes you have to face tough times alone.

But if you’re read any of this blog, you know that God was so faithful to us during our time with Ava.  Even when Jesus called her home and we had to come back to London without her, we never doubted God’s love to us.   And it’s crazy, but even when we were alone, we never felt alone!   Through the faithfulness of our friends and family and our church family who kept in constant contact with us and encouraged us, we always knew someone was thinking of us, praying for us and supporting us.  We could definitely feel  God’s hand upon our lives.

During that time I used this blog to reach out and update everyone on how Ava was doing,  but secretly I was also using it to work through my own angst, and maybe that’s why I’m turning to it again today.

So just like back then, I will first get off my chest what is hard, and then instead of going to a dark place, I will then think about what is about God that I know to be true. This seems to be a winning combination for me. 😊

So what do I know about God to be true, even in this present time? Well, this morning we were so blessed to go online and hear a sermon by our Pastor Mark at Stoneycreek Baptist Church.   He preached to us from Psalm 46, and oh how I love the first verse of that psalm which says, “God is our refuge and strength and our very present help in trouble.”

How that truth transcends the ages!   The psalmist goes on to say that we don’t have to  fear though the earth gives way, or it’s water’s roar and foam, or the mountains tremble, because God is in the midst of all. And even when the nations rage and kingdoms totter, He just has to speak and the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us and He is our fortress. Can you find any words more encouraging words than that?

This is exactly what my soul needed to hear today. That even though I’m feeling helpless when I see what other countries are suffering through right now, and I’m scared about what we might be called upon to suffer, the Lord is in the midst of all of this.   And when things are uncertain,  He is always certain.   And if we trust in Him, He will never let us falter or fall, He will be with us to end. That’s a promise.

He will help us when we are sick of being around our kids 24/7 and when we just long to go out, somewhere, anywhere! Or to even or just to go shopping like we could a week ago or simply go to church or go to work.   When we don’t know where the money is going to come from and we’re scared for our friends and family and even we think we’re going to run out of TP, God is here, He knows.

And like Mark said in closing, God is sovereign over all, we have nothing to fear. This is what I know about God to be true, and this is what I’m clinging to today in the midst of uncertainty and isolation.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

 

He will never fail….

Well it’s pretty amazing, but Ava has been feeling a lot better the past two days.   And she has been losing some weight – which is fabulous as she has some water-weight to lose, and her liver is smaller than it has been in weeks.   And that of course is a good sign because it means that she isn’t so congested with fluid.      But she was being a turkey yesterday, because she seemed to be the happiest when I wasn’t there.   Three times yesterday she was happy and smiling at the nurses when I wasn’t with her… and I’m with her most of the time.  Apparently I need to get to the hospital around 7:00 am, not go for lunch at all, and stay till after 8:00 pm…  oh dear. 🙂

But thankfully today I did get some smiles out of her, and it just makes my heart so happy to see her happy.   She still doesn’t look as good as she did a month ago, but she’s still here and she still can smile and we’ll take it with thankful hearts.   And I’ve been able to cuddle her again!    When Ava doesn’t feel good she doesn’t like to be held,  she just arches her back when I pick her up and wants to be put down again, and so for the past while I’ve been starved for snuggle time.     But last night since she was feeling better, I took her out of her bouncy chair as she was falling asleep, and she snuggled down in my arms and it was just so wonderful to be able to hold her again.    This afternoon when I took her for a walk around the unit (her huge IV pole in tow) she actually cuddled right into my shoulder and she hasn’t done that in ages and it’s a sure sign that she is feeling a little better.   Isn’t God good?

And so we are truly grateful.    And I’m glad to have something to be thankful for,  because lately I just can’t help but think about how much our family is missing out with our baby in the hospital.   Sure the kids are having fun doing things they normally wouldn’t have a chance to do, but we aren’t home, and I long to be home.   We would have had so much fun this summer with a healthy 7 month old,  Ava would have loved the pool and the kids would have had so much fun playing with her… and I feel like Ava’s babyhood is slipping away.   And not only that, but because she is so weak, even though she is almost 8 months old, developmentally Ava is probably on par with a 3 month old in terms of physically ability.   If a new heart comes we will have a lot of work to do catching up, but I guess that’s the least of our worries right now.

But I have to stop myself from feeling too bad for us, because I’m learning, self-pity doesn’t get you very far.    And when I start looking down,  I tend to forget to look up, and I need to keep looking up and keeping putting my faith and trust in God.  He does know what He is doing and He has a plan.  In fact,  a friend sent me a text the other day and I’m going to share it with you… I get teary every time I read it…

Do not despair
God is always good
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living
I know that you have a future and hope for me, 
and I know that you work all things for good to those who love you.
I will NOT despair God, you are always good.
Psalm 27:13-14  
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

(thanks Isabel!)

So instead of feeling sorry for myself and my family (which is so tempting!!!!!)  I think I will choose instead to be thankful and to trust a great God.    And there are lots of things to be thankful for… for friends and family who are doing such an amazing job supporting us through prayers, words and physical means.   For a place to stay, for a great hospital… for being able to be together as family and an amazing God who will never ever fail us.

Please pray that I would continue to choose to look up… lately it’s become more of a battle,  maybe because I’ve been alone now for a few days and without Jay and the kids here I’m more prone to feel sad.    That and I feel like journey is starting to wear me out!!    But even when my heart is weak, my mind knows that strength comes from the Lord and if I keep choosing to trust, He will never fail.    He will never fail.

Amen.