Weighty Stuff

April 21, 2015

I realize that I haven’t written in quite a bit. It’s been busy, and I’ve been sick… and mostly, we’ve been carrying heavy stuff lately. The kind of stuff where to get through you just have to lower your chin and push forward. The kind of stuff where if you stop to think- to reflect- you might stop altogether and melt into the ground right where you stand and never move again.

So, the grit of God has visited us, giving us the ability to carry the heavy, to lean on the muscles of heaven, and to just go. To just get it done.So I haven’t stopped. I haven’t reflected. We’ve just hit the “go” button and kept going. The stuff of perseverance and endurance is pure grit. Just because we are given the grace to endure doesn’t mean that it is easy to do. But being gifted with strength from God is a weird thing. It comes. His strength comes and though we are weary and sore and tired, that strength makes tomorrow happen. And it makes tomorrow bearable.

And so that what we do. We don’t know how, because it is only the grace of God that does it. But we get it done. We dig in. We press in. We keep pushing forward.

I have fallen in love with a song by the artist named Sara Groves. The song is called Eyes On the Prize. Here are some of the words:

              Freedom’s name is mighty sweet                                                                                       And one day soon we are gonna meet                                                                               Keep you eyes on the prize, hold on 

              Got my hand on the gospel plow                                                                                       Won’t take nothing for the journey now                                                                             Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

              The way is slow, and we’ve so far to go                                                                             Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

              When you see a man walk free, it makes you dream of Jubilee                                             When you see a child walk free, it makes you dream of Jubilee                                             When you see a family free, it makes you dream of Jubilee

I can listen to this song on repeat right now and still find it gripping at my heart with equal parts of a frantic and steely grip. Oh, how my heart cries these words! The heavy of this season makes me so very weary and yet so very determined at the same time.

It can be hard to find the stuff of heaven in these seasons. I know so deeply that He is present, and I find truth in the words from Scripture speaking of us not knowing what to pray and yet the Spirit groans on our behalf. Groans. That’s all there is sometimes. Groans that have no syllables or letters, but are full of meaning nonetheless. And sometimes, amid the groans, God speaks. “March 31st,” was one of the things He spoke.

In early March, our doctor ordered a special blood test for our son, so special that insurance doesn’t cover it (don’t get me started). So our brave little boy faced another needle in his arm to take what was needed. He’s only 4 and yet he does things with such courage. He cries but he does them. I tell him that sometimes courage is doing whatever you have to do even if you are scared. That it is showing up, even if you feel alone and afraid. That courage is a special gift God gives us. And then shortly after it is all over, he smiles again. I have never known such courage before in someone so young.

And so we waited for the results. God had said to my husband and to me, “March 31st.” That’s it. That’s all. Maddening, sometimes, these senses of God’s speaking that leaves out particular details I wish to know! March 31st. That was it.

We did not know what March 31st would bring. We prayed it would be good. We knew it might not. And we waited.

At 8:30 pm March 30th, I opened an email from our doctor. The results from this test had come back. And the results showed that our son has a particular antibody that is blocking his brain from getting folate. This is not a good thing. Our brains need folate. Badly. This autoimmune condition is serious.

I panicked and did what I always do in these panic moments- I became Dr. Mom again. Who knew that my years in graduate school at seminary would lend me such research skills that I could read medical journals and abstracts? Even back then, God knew I would need those analytical gifts. And so as the morning sun began to push its way through the windows on March 31st, I came to learn that this condition, while serious, is treatable. These antibodies indicate an illness that can only be confirmed by a lumbar puncture, and we are not eager to puncture any lumbars right now, but we can treat the autoimmunity even without the confirming diagnosis that a puncture would bring.

And with that came a sense of awe that “March 31st” was indeed a word God had given. That March 31st may be written down as a good day. A day when we knew that there is a possibility that this particular issue for our son could be managed- maybe even resolved over years of treatment- with the proper prescription. Possibly.

God’s words come and they are good- difficult to handle sometimes, sharp-edged and painful sometimes, incomplete in their picture of the future- but March 31st, at least for us, proved to be a difficult good day, because it was a fulfillment of something God had placed before us.

And so we plow forward. Our Boston trip looms and we pray that if the doctor finds something there that it too is treatable. But we plow forward. We have no other choice but to lower our heads and go. To press forward toward the prize that awaits us, even if that waiting seems longer and lonelier each hour. So we keep moving, keep carrying the heavy, keep dreaming of freedom, and keep listening for Jesus.

Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

2 Responses to “Weighty Stuff”

  1. Brenda Stoltzfus said

    Delighted for every chunk or tidbit of goodness that comes your way!

  2. Rae Shellenberger said

    Your response to your overwhelming challenges is so gracefully honest. Thanks for sharing. I wanna be like you when I grow up! Lol.

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