Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Walking with God

"This is a season. This is a season. This is a season." 

It keeps running through my head like a mantra.  We are walking with God through a difficult season, knowing that He is always faithful.

Last week Pip was placed with a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube.  We watched his formula intake drop from 26-28 ounces a day, to 18-20 ounces a day, and finally to 10-15 ounces a day--and only that much because we were forcing it down him with a syringe.  And he was getting good at blocking that syringe with his tongue.

It was a feeding tube or a hospital admission.  What kind of a choice is that?  Of course I want him home.  

God knows I tried.  I tried to nourish my child.  I watched him go from being a healthy, happy baby, to being on a feeding tube in less than three months.  This thing, this "weally, weally bad FPIES," as his brother would say, hit us hard and fast. 

The hope has been that with stronger reflux meds he'll resume eating enough on his own soon and we can get rid of the tube.  The GI specialist hoped it would only take a week.  Tomorrow is a week, and he has a recheck then.  His oral intake has decreased.  The opposite of improvement. 

I don't know why.  I'm doing everything I can.  I've learned there's a camp that believes that feeding tubes are a lazy parent's way out.  I cried when I read that. So much sweat and so many tears went into to trying to get Pip to take in enough to stay hydrated, let alone grow and thrive. 

I'm overwhelmed and discouraged.  But I'm not angry, and I'm thankful that that emotion hasn't cropped up.  I wonder why all of this is happening, but not in a "why has God done this to us and him?" sort of way.  I wonder what the bigger picture is.  How God will use this.  Because I know that he will.  

I also read a post recently by a Christian counselor claiming that there are some things, like life trauma, and the depression it can lead to "lower a person's tolerance for walking with God."  I believe the opposite to be true.  We might not be the bubbliest people you've ever met at the moment, but it is in these times that God draws us in the closest.  It might not look that way to the world, but Scripture affirms it's truth.  Jesus sought out the hurting, and there is tremendous comfort in that.

So in this season we are drawn close to Him.  In the midst of the lost sleep, the worry, the heartache, the tears, and the unknown, He is drawing us.  In all of it, we are pursuing and walking with God, just as He is with us.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

There is Grace for This

My children are in school.  Drop them off with hug and a kiss and a lunch box kind of school.  I never thought I'd be here.  I was raised in a culture that said homeschooling was the only legitimate option for Christians.  Later, Christian classical school became an acceptable, if not preferable, option.  But not public.  Never, ever public.

But my daughter, my sweet, six year old daughter, is at a public charter school.  This has advantages over the traditional public school both academically and culturally, but it is a tuition free public school nonetheless.  Many would say I am abdicating my God given responsibility to raise, nurture, and educate her in the way she should go.

And Gilead.  Gilead is starting preschool today at the local Lutheran church.  Preschool.  The rhetoric in my head whispers that that is never, ever necessary. That he's my responsibility, and I'm failing him somehow.

I'll have Abel and Pip all day, just like it's been since I became a mother six years ago.  Abel, with his boundless energy, and Pip with his sweet smiles and ability to be a joy-filled baby despite being in pain much of the time.  This way I can care for them, really care for them, without turning on the television because I just need to finish school with Mercy, and the baby will wake up any time.  Or worry about the fact that school isn't getting done when Pip has medical appointments three days a week.

I have a tape running in my head that keeps looping over, and over, and over again.  "There is grace, there is grace, there is grace for this."  Grace when Mercy loves school and I'm afraid she won't want to come home when I'm able to add that back to my plate, and grace when she dissolves into tears in my arms at the end of the day.

God is bigger than means of education, and more merciful than I was ever taught to believe.  I cannot, do not believe that God is so rigid in his expectations of us as to keep from extending even more love to those who are in hard and unexpected circumstances, and must abandon their plans for the future.  Plans that were good.  That were meant to please Him.

I'm having to surrender control of my life, my children's lives, in ways that I never have before, and trust God to hold them close.  After all, they're really His, and I want them to be.  We'll continue to fill them with gospel truths and pour all the love that we have into them when they're home.  And every morning I'll drop them off, tell them that I love them, and know that their Jesus is there with them. Yes, there is grace for this.