• Seasons of preparation

    Date: 2012.08.07 | Category: Adoption | Tags:

    Looking back now I can see all of God’s handiwork.  I can see how every pain, every surgery, every tear cried, every disappointment, even Kyle’s death, led us to where we were meant to be.  If you count Dan’s 16 years of training and his 11 years working at Mercy, that is 27 years of training for where God has him now.  If you would have told us 27 years ago what Dan would be doing now we would have laughed or maybe even told God I don’t need 27 years to prepare me.  I’m sure I’m ready now.   We always think we are ready to just dive in, but God’s timing is perfect.  God’s plan is perfect. God uses tests to prepare you for what is ahead.  God takes you through seasons of trials so you can learn the lessons you need to learn.

    When Dan was in medical school, we always thought he’d have a job at Blank. That was our plan.  Get through medical school and move back closer to family.  Medical school and residency were hard years, but I always had that belief that there was a job waiting for him.   We had a child at home, who was trached and on a ventilator, add oxygen, suctioning every hour, and numerous machines going off all through the night and that equals many, many sleepless nights.  Then for fun add Dan in medical school, a job on the weekends and a newborn and it was just hard.  That is why I find it funny when people mention how hard it must be to have little children at my age.  Now my life is easy (well, relatively easy).  Dan works from home during the week.  Cassie and Zach help out.  I can call my mom or Linda (my mother-in-law) and they will be here in an instant to help.  I have many, many resources.  I can actually get out of the house, alone!  I know.  I know.  SHOCKING!  🙂

    So I’ve been through hard. This isn’t hard!  Loving a child who was abandoned – NOT hard.  Taking a child out of an orphanage and giving them a home – NOT hard!  It is a blessing to feel those little arms around my neck and hear them yell mama.  I’m blessed in ways too numerous to mention.  I have a 4 year old that prays and thanks God for his mama with a loud and resounding AMEN at the end.  He runs up to me, yelling mama, waving his arms, and throws himself at my leg, hugging me and saying I love you.  Things we take for granted aren’t taken for granted any more.  I’m not making light of the cost of adoption or the time spent filling out paperwork or any of the multitude of other things that can happen with adoption.  I’m just saying in the grand scheme of things we waste tons of money throughout our lifetime and there are many, many more difficult things in life.  Making a difference in the life of a child is not hard!

    As I said we planned on Dan working at Blank.  But sometimes God’s plans aren’t our plans.  Dan wanted to teach residents. He loved teaching.  But the job at Blank wasn’t to be.  They tried hard to make a job for him at the University of Iowa, but they could only give him limited NICU time and he didn’t want that.  He was offered a job at Mercy.  He was so disappointed because they didn’t have residents so he wouldn’t be able to teach.  It was a hard first 6 months, but then something amazing happened.  Mercy was bought out by a national company which runs NICU’s throughout the nation.  A few years later Dan proposes an ROP project, he believes in it so much that he trusts God and pushes ahead with the plan.   This leads to a part-time associate director job which then leads to his Director job.  He gets to work for a national company, teaching thousands of doctors across the nation and the world from home.   God knew and Dan followed where he was being led even though he had no clue what was ahead.

    I stand in amazement daily at how God has molded Dan into the man he is today.  I watch how Dan works with his clinical and quality improvement job.  He just thinks differently.  He can see something that is not working and find the simplest way to fix it.  He was uniquely made to do what he does.  He knows first hand what it means to not turn off a machine on your child who is deathly ill.  He knows what it means when you tell someone their child will be physically or mentally impaired.  He also knows that doctors predictions aren’t always correct.  That no one is God and you can’t always save everyone.  He knows how important it is to follow protocol and prevent infections. (Almost every time Codey had his shunt replaced he ended up with meningitis.)  He doesn’t take it personally if a parent is upset because he knows first hand what lack of sleep and worry can do to you.  Dan is uniquely qualified to do what he is doing.  Together we have been through a lot.  I wouldn’t want to relive those first few months when we lost Kyle and Codey was just so sick.  It hurt. My world was turned upside down, but I see now what God was doing. I see a glimpse of his grand plan.  I can see a few of those threads of the tapestry that will one day become so clear.

    I know if I hadn’t gone through those things, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.  I wouldn’t have a faith as strong as I do.  Those lessons taught me that I can take in a baby not knowing if they have a month, a year or 10 years because I know every day counts.  Every life matters.  Every life has worth and value.  It taught Dan and I that you have to pay attention in the hospital, things get missed, no one is perfect, and you are ultimately responsible for your child.  Don’t assume anything.  And most of all, make every day count.  Tell the people you love that you love them.  Forgive, forgive, and forgive some more, because in the end you don’t want regrets.  Being right is not the most important thing.  Having the most toys is not important.  Faith, family and friends is what this life is all about.

    I learned that I don’t want a quiet retirement.  I don’t want to wait for a bingo night or a study group.  I want to spend every day busy doing exactly what God has called me to do.  I want to have to rely on God for my retirement because I was too busy spending money on sponsoring orphans and paying for surgeries.  (Yes, I am still smart enough to put money in my 401k). I want to be so worn out that I haven’t had a moment to rest.  Yes, I did say those things.  It is exactly the reason I am praying that I will have 5 kids under the age of 5 when I am 48.   It’s exactly the reason why I will follow wherever God leads me even to China.   I am not afraid of this world or what it might bring.  I am so sure of God’s plan that I will follow no matter how afraid I am that I will lose again because I know it won’t hurt forever.

    I have watched things unfold with Dan and his work in regard to China.  There are things in plan with Cure Hydrocephalus that are amazing.  God’s handiwork is unbelievable.  Everything interweaved and working together from years ago to now.  We have a heart for children hurting from hydrocephalus because of everything Codey went through . We understand the pain. We understand the agony from shunt infections and blockages.  We know how important this is.  It is truly wonderful to see something beautiful come out of all of Codey’s pain.

    If you are going through something right now, remember that there is a reason.  It may not make sense right now or even in 10 years, but if you are being tested there is a reason.  Seasons of preparation for lessons God wants you to learn and where He needs you to be.   Try to figure out the lesson you need to be learning whether it be patience, forgiveness, working on your anger, bitterness, contentment in any circumstance, but know that sometimes it is just to help you grow to be the person He needs you to be.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…..