I am naive when it comes to dealing with sick children. Sure, I’m a nurse, but I haven’t dealt with pediatrics since a Nursing Clinical in 2002. Yet even if I was used to working with sick kids, I don’t think it would have had any bearing on this issue, because the sick kid ended up being my own.
It’s easier not to worry about the worst-case scenario when the child belongs to someone else, but when they’re your child, it changes everything. I’m thankful Jesus took the wheel for me yesterday when my nine-year-old began having an unexpected seizure. That’s the only explanation I have for not totally freaking out. I mean, they tell me at work that I’m totally calm in the face of chaos and everyone loves my extra chill demeanor when crap goes down, but this was totally different. It was different because the patient was my baby. My children have never been sick, hospitalized, or on any kind of medicine other than a week-long antibiotic, so this was new for me.
I realize that the Lord often utilizes trying situations to draw people closer to Him. I mean, I’ve seen it time and time again, when calamity strikes, folks hit their knees. When tragedy falls, people finally lookup. In the face of an uncontrollable situation, that is when God’s children usually cry out in earnest petition and pleading prayer. Even in my own past, I can think of a terrible situation leading me back to Jesus. I had fallen away from listening to the Lord, and it wasn’t until I was faced with an unexpected divorce that I cried out in surrender for His help. I had not heard His voice in my life in many years, but at that (my) lowest point I did. In retrospect, I realize I simply wasn’t listening very well until then.
This morning when I woke up in the hospital bed, cuddled up to my little girl, I found worried thoughts had returned. I had naturally experienced them the day before in the ambulance, the Emergency Room, and later the hospital room as we waited for answers. Yet each time worries came, I was able to combat them with truth. This morning I wondered why they had not done a scan of her head. My medical mind told me it was because the chance of it being anything other than a genetic cause was slim, and that made a CT not necessary. But my human heart worried about things like tumors or the dreaded ‘C’ word which I had to push from my mind.
As I sat up drinking coffee and thinking in the quiet, dim hospital room, I realized I was grateful for that autopilot I had mentioned earlier. My husband and I agreed we had both been moved through the day before by the Spirit, and I knew it was Spirit and Truth that helped me answer the hard questions with wisdom that my young, confused daughter asked of me.
I had several times in my stress yesterday where I wanted to pull out my Bible and read God’s Word. Several times where I wanted to seek His wisdom through prayer. But there was always something going on, people coming in, tests being done, my daughter needing my assistance. By the time we finally settled down for the night my eyes were seeing double, and even though I cracked my Bible open to Zechariah and then John, I could barely focus on the words.
This morning I was grateful that I didn’t wait until personal illness struck my family to seek Him. It’s hard to seek Jesus in the middle of a storm. But for me, I found that I could feel Him in the midst of the tumultuous waves and thundering roar. The fiery trial attempted to consume me when I watched my baby convulse, and later when I tried to help console her steady tears. Yet I could see Jesus in the fire with me, just like the people who looked down in the fiery furnace where three Hebrew men were tossed saw Him.
When she asked me tough questions, God spoke wisdom and truth to me through His Word that popped up in my mind. When I felt worried, His Spirit soothed me. When I wanted to be angry (and say things I’d regret) for hospital policy that said my husband couldn’t be in the room with us, the Fruit of the Spirit prevailed. When my emotions were more than I could handle, His comfort covered me like a blanket. Faith prevailed, fear was abolished, and I saw my daughter also miraculously change from being scared to pieces to speaking the most mature knowledge and spirit-led prayers. We didn’t have to seek Him for truth, comfort, and wisdom in the midst of our situation. We simply walked in what we already knew and held in our hearts, and I can’t explain how much of a blessing it was to have this occur!
I would encourage anyone reading this post right now to understand that you don’t need to wait until a struggle occurs to ask the Lord to get you through it. I think that would be really hard. Much harder than it has to be. I would encourage you to seek Him in the calm. Seek Him in the ordinary, in the seemingly perfect. Don’t wait to seek Him when things fall apart; seek Him now. I read the Bible every day, and I didn’t always do this. I was almost forty years old before I began to daily saturate myself with scripture. So, please understand I don’t come to you from some “perfect Christian” place. There’s no such thing! I simply wish to impart what I have learned.
By taking in God’s Word daily, praying continuously, and thereby investing in my relationship with Him, I was more able to deal with stress and uncertainty when it came my way. I was grateful for the scripture that flooded my thoughts. It soothed me. I was grateful for the prayers of so many saints, but I was also thankful that I didn’t feel dependent on their prayers. I knew my Father heard me. He’s used to my voice. We slipped easily into a conversation when I needed His voice the most. This doesn’t happen overnight, but rather through persistent time with Him. You never know when tragedy will strike, but when it does, you will want an open, easily accessible, and comfortable line of communication with Christ. For me, I found I was at the end of myself. I could barely find the way to walk upright, much less hear the whisper of a voice if I did not know what to listen for. My gift through all of this was my connection to Jesus.
I am thankful for the hospital, the fine doctors and nurses, and modern medicine. I’m thankful for our wonderful family and friends. I’m abundantly thankful for my strong husband. But above all, I’m thankful for Jesus. He held this momma up, so I was able to hold my baby up. If I learned anything through this illness of epilepsy so far, it is how blessed I am to have someone walking through the fire with me. I depend on the presence of my wonderful spouse so much, but yesterday a fever kept him from being able to be with us. Yet even in Ben’s absence, I had a solid rock to stand on. I had a tower of refuge and strength, and that Spirit helped me help my child. I watched that same Spirit transform her mind. I am grateful that in a difficult situation, when seeking the Lord would have been hard, I did not have to look far for Him. I only had to look for Him in me.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on briegowen.com.
Featured image by Nieścioruk