• Prosperity can make you poor

    Date: 2012.06.16 | Category: Family Life | Tags:

    Sometimes when I stop and truly think about my children and their health issues,  I can barely breathe.  Honestly!  Tears fall and my heart just hurts. I know that they will have an eternity of happiness, but I also know they will not grow old and pain will be a huge part of their lives.  I know there will be medications and tests and blood draws and hospital stays and surgeries.  I know that someday we will be at the end, way before their time, and I will have to stand by and watch and there won’t be anything I can do.  I know this because I have been there before.  I cried tears as they rolled out the white curtain to give us “some privacy” in the NICU.  I don’t know who was around that night or who heard my anguish.  Honestly at that moment I did not care.  I only cared that my baby, who I had so many dreams for, was gone.  It wasn’t fair.  It hurt to watch him die.  It hurt when I had to drive him to the funeral home in Fort Dodge after his autopsy because we couldn’t afford to have them come get him.  It hurt when we picked out a very small white casket.  It hurt because the headstone was yet one more thing that I could not afford and that was NOT what I wanted to be buying anyway.  I wanted to buy cribs and little overalls and tiny tennis shoes.  I had dreams of curly haired little blonde boys happily running through the grass.  I did not want to put my baby in the ground. I hurt as I watched my husband walk over to the hearse and grab his little casket and carry it to the gravesite.  It all hurt. It hurt so unbelievably bad.  I never wanted to have another child.  Coming from someone who wanted 12 when she was a little girl — that was a big deal!

    I understand hospital stays (almost 5 years of them).  I understand surgeries (close to 100 of them).  I understand pain so horrible that your baby cries out, pounding on his head and hitting the gurney because he just wants to go to surgery and have the pain stop.  I’ve prayed that God would just take him.  I’ve cried out for Jesus to rescue him in any way that He could.  I’ve watched my son seize so bad that the only thing touching the bed were his head and his feet.  I’ve had a daughter come back from surgery with her chest wide open because they couldn’t get it closed.  I’ve sat in surgery waiting rooms where we’ve been back for three shunt surgeries in one day and even the receptionist cried with us.  I have had bad news after biopsies.  I’ve been there.  I understand what I’m signing up for and yet I choose to do it again because love is more important than the hurt.  Love is bigger than the hurt. The months or years that I have with them will be worth every moment I spend waiting to be with them again.  I will not hold back my love because I am afraid.  Because I am not afraid of what lies ahead.  I have full confidence in a God that is so much bigger than me.  I have heard the bad news but I know the good news!

    The truth of the matter is when everything is going right I rarely have a reason to turn to the Lord.  I spent years, when I was young, showing up at church on Sunday, I prayed, I sang,  I went home and nothing about my week or my life really changed.  I was compulsive about having a perfect body.  I was compulsive about having a clean house.  I know that as a teenager me trying to control these areas was me trying to pretend that I had some control.  After I was molested when I was 11, my life felt out of control.  I was confused and hurting and I controlled the things I could but at an unhealthy level.   My mom and dad divorced and my whole world changed.   As a child, that messes with you. Life is not perfect.   Where is God?   Did He even care?  For years I thought those bad things that happened were my fault.  That I somehow deserved them.

    My life changed forever when Codey and Kyle were born.  I no longer cared if my house was clean.  Well, the reality was, I didn’t have a house or apartment, we lived at the Ronald McDonald House, but still what did I care if there was a dish in the sink. Kyle was gone and Codey was barely hanging on.  I wanted to be at his bedside.   My body I worked so hard to get was gone.  I may have only made it 29 weeks with the boys, but my body took a beating. I went from a 24 inch waist to over 50 inches because I had polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid).  Everything I thought mattered was gone.  The house, the job, the money, my son, a car, my body, everything except Dan, was gone.  I had no control.  I had to turn it over.  It was either that or lose my mind.  I had to believe God was in control and that His plan was perfect.  I had to believe that all things work together for good.

    Those tests and trials changed everything about my life. It was no longer about going to church on Sunday, it was about a relationship with the Lord.  I began purposely praying throughout the day.   I thanked God for everything – trials & blessings.  I realized that there were tests in life and how I responded to them really did matter.   When I started to keep short accounts of my sins & confessed them, I felt better.   We often  think if we aren’t doing anything wrong according to the 10 commandments then we are fine.  We think if we are doing better in most people’s eyes than that guy down the street, well, then we must be doing all right in God’s eyes.  The truth is we are all sinners.  Everyone of us.  It helps you forgive and put bitterness aside when you realize Christ died for all our sins.  Every sin matters – big or small.  The seven deadly sins really are deadly…wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.    Who among can say we don’t do any of these?

    Even when all I had to eat was peanut butter and a loaf of bread, I still had food.  Even when I couldn’t afford to bury my son, I had family that provided.  Even at my worst, living in an apartment with roaches and no freezer and a little, tiny fridge, I had a roof over my head and a comfortable bed to sleep in.  I am blessed because the truth of the matter is “if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.  If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest.  If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people that won’t survive this week.”

    I have wealth.  I have a beautiful home and a nice car.  I have lots and lots of stuff, but when you have lots of stuff you tend to rely on yourself, your job, your bank account, when you are hurt you go to your doctor, when you are hungry you go to the store for groceries.   You rarely turn to God and truly have a relationship with him unless things are bad.   If the only time you go to God is when you need something, then you are spiritually poor.  You may be among the wealthiest in the world, but you are then spiritually poor because you aren’t turning to God.   Every day I wake up knowing just how much I need God in my life.  I look at their faces and I keep my eyes on the Lord.  Then and only then can I truly live in the moment.  I can be Ben’s mommy and just love him. I can hold him and be in the moment.  I don’t have to worry about tomorrow because God has it covered. I don’t have to worry about how many days Ben has left because God knew Ben’s days before he even came to be.  I trust in that plan still to this day.  I may not understand it, but I trust it.

    I just finished reading the book “Kisses from Katie” and it just confirmed everything I have been feeling.  I can’t go through my days and do nothing.  I have so much and so many children are dying of treatable illness and malnutrition.  There has to be a way to fix it.  I realize the world isn’t perfect.  I realize there are big governments and evil people in the way of helping the truly destitute.  But there has to be a way.  Katie has made a difference in so many children’s lives.  It is truly amazing. She is 22 and has 13 children all while living in Uganda and finding sponsors for 400 children to go to school and still she does more.

    Matthew 25:40  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  I have been asking myself that a lot lately.  What more can I do for the least of these?  God is leading….I’m excited to see where it goes.