Writing to Distract
[Guest post by Jenee Day: Previously, Jenee wrote for Devotional Diva on the topic of gossip. Today, she shares why she’s writing to distract herself. We’re praying for your family, Jenee!]
I am writing this to distract myself.
Waiting is not something I have ever been good at, and today I wait for a phone call that may literally change my families’ lives forever.
Bud is just 5 years old now, and he is the light of our lives. Handsome and silly, sometimes quiet and others completely rambunctious, he is generous with his kisses and with his desserts. Bud is everything I ever hoped my child would be.
And now… my son is sick. My perfect, sweet, smart, beautiful boy, is battling some illness that has yet to be diagnosed. Right now I am sitting on the floor of our living room, crying and typing while he naps.
How did we get here? In the past year, Bud has had several episodes that we have come to describe as normal for him: Fever, paleness, vomiting, night sweats, loss of appetite, dehydration, weight loss, irritability and other vague symptoms.
Recently I brought Bud to our local Pediatric Emergency Room, suffering from one these episodes. I packed myself a bag, vowing not to leave the hospital until we got some answers about what is going on in his little body.
We were admitted immediately. Within a couple of hours the nurses had him on IV fluids and had taken about 10 (no exaggeration) vials of his blood for testing. We saw no less than half a dozen doctors over the next few days. I vascillated between stoic and panic-stricken. I prayed. I laid in the bed with Bud and endured more hours of “Spongebob Squarepants” than any parent should have to.
One phrase rolled around in my head throughout this ordeal. It’s from the book of Matthew, chapter 8 (also found in Luke, chapter 7), the story of the Centurion who had great faith. He had heard about Jesus’ great healing power and begged him to heal a servant in his household. Jesus said “I will come and heal him”, to which the soldier replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Lord, I am not worthy to be in your holy presence, but only SAY THE WORD and he will be healed.
As the hours went by, I answered frightening questions about family history. I heard words like “metabolic” and “mitochondrial”. Doctors and nurses came and went, sometimes offering comfort and other times speaking in hushed tones amongst themselves. I tried to do my own research on the internet, but that only served to magnify my fears, so I stopped. I stared at magazines. I held Bud close to me and I and kissed his face.
I prayed before my husband arrived. We prayed together over our son. We praised God for his goodness and we thanked him for the doctors and nurses working so hard to heal our precious baby. Mostly, we waited.
Neither of the possibilities is appealing. Mitochondrial disease means that something is not working correctly on a very basic level – inside the cells in Bud’s body. According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation website, mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow.
On the other hand, metabolic disease means that Bud’s little body has difficulty breaking down certain substances (carbohydrates, fat, nitrogen) to use for energy. These types of diseases are inherited, and it’s likely that my husband or myself (or both) carry the defective gene and we passed it on to our son. Mild forms can be treated with supplements, while others have no defined treatment.
Finally, we were released to our home awaiting test results.
We immediately went into “make it feel normal” mode, starting with a bubble bath for Bud and some cartoons in warm fuzzy pj’s.
I washed everything that smelled like hospital and cooked a big dinner. We all sat together and loved on each other . Once Bud was asleep, I completely dissolved into a messy, blubbering heap. I wept and I prayed and my sobs interrupted my thoughts so often that I kept starting over, trying to plead with God, trying to understand what was happening.
At first, all this waiting seemed like a nightmare. I am not a patient person anyway, and anyone who has sat more than one night in a hospital can attest to how mind-numbing it is. But then I began to understand the work that God is doing in my heart. I believe he has used these times when I have no choice but to be still, to draw me closer to him.
He has shown me truths about who he is, and who I am in him.
God has reminded me that:
- *He is in control. In our lives, control is an illusion, and while I struggle to figure out how to fix this for my son, God wants me to rely on HIM in times of crisis.
- *He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Or, as my husband would say, “Don’t put God in a box”.
- *He is growing my faith. Like the Centurion, I want to be able to approach my Savior and know confidently that if he only says the word, my son will have no more sickness.
- *I am not alone. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned in all this is that God has not left me to fend for myself. He has been with me, listening to my prayers, speaking through friends, comforting me with recalled Scripture so that I might find rest in him.
So this is where I am today. Frightened and uncertain, yes, but more and more at peace, thanks to God. I do not know what will happen in two weeks, or in the weeks that follow.
But I do know the one who is already there, and I continue to rely on Him.
Prayers for Bud are, of course, greatly appreciated.
Jenee Day is a freelance writer and researcher and published poet. A member of the Spiritual Writer’s Association, she has written for textbroker.com and various regional publications. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two kids, and her heart belongs to Jesus.