My heart was beating fast, my mind racing. The over-whelming feeling of hopelessness and despair swept over me like a flood. In just a moment’s time, my whole world felt like it came crashing down around me…again. I struggled to maintain a sense of composure on the outside while I was falling apart inside. How could just one sentence from the doctor suck the very life out of me?
“Your baby boy has been placed on life support and will not live apart from a miracle…”
“Your son has had a seizure, and we don’t know to what extent the brain damage will be…”
“Your baby girl also needs a heart transplant, but it’s unlikely that she will get one in time…”
“You will never be able to have any more children…”
“Your daughter is testing allergic to EVERYTHING we are checking…”
“The biopsy has revealed that your son has a very aggressive form of cancer, and he doesn’t have much time left, unless he responds positively to the chemotherapy…”
“Your son will never get his own hair back…”
“Your daughter will likely always struggle with her extreme skin condition and allergies…”
“I’m so sorry but the ultrasound shows no heart beat. Your baby has died…”
“Your son has a second form of cancer and, in some ways, it is worse than the first one. We’ve done everything we can do!”
“Your son is now in congestive heart failure…“
“Your son’s heart is so weak that it could stop at any minute and we could lose him…”
“There is no more brain activity….we need you to sign the consent to withdraw life support from your son…”
It happened again last night, but not quite in the same way that it had happened before. This time, I awoke with a start. I felt the tears and the intense
dread as I tried to still my racing heart. As reality began sinking in, I felt a mixture of relief as well as sorrow. In my dreams, the doctor had just told us that our son, Austin, had several holes in his heart, and his heart was becoming enlarged because of it. He wasn’t going to live unless a new heart became available for him soon. As the sorrow of missing Austin swept over me, I began praising God that Austin is not having to deal with more health issues–he is safely at home in Heaven. My bed became an altar before God as I rejoiced and praised Him for all that He had done.
I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I am a much better wife, mother, and person than I would be without facing the storms that we have struggled through. We have greater compassion, discernment, and purpose in our lives because of the many times our hearts and lives were crushed. Through all of our “ God, why?” questions, we have a much greater knowledge of who God is and what He desires for His children. Although I wish that none of our children would ever have needed to face the extremely difficult things they did, I see how it also helped to mold them into who God intended for them to be. In my dream last night, I felt the desperation of wanting God to just reach down and heal the holes that were in Austin’s heart. When I woke up, I was reminded that God is more interested in healing the gaping holes that are deep within our souls. Although it hurts the heart of God when we suffer, we can be assured that He sees a much bigger picture than what we can see.
The other day, I was sitting at the dentist’s office with our four daughters. As I was putting a puzzle together with the little girls, I couldn’t help but blinking a few tears as I remembered all the times of bringing Austin to this same waiting room. At one point in our lives, it wasn’t unusual for our children to have three or four doctor appointments each week. As I reflected at how different my life is right now, I came to the conclusion that, although I am very grateful for the health of our children, I am not more blessed or happy now than I was back then. (maybe less stressed!) Happiness is truly dependent on our perspective in the midst of the tough events of our lives.
We have, personally, discovered that the secret to true joy and happiness in our journey is not in the ABSENCE of hard times, but it is in the PRESENCE of giving thanks to God no matter what our journey contains. Whenever we focus on thanking and praising God, we literally reverse the destruction that Satan intended through our trials. And it even works when dealing with bad dreams…
In reality, it’s not the ominous “one- liners” from your doctor, the hurtful words from someone else, the stress of a difficult job situation, the worries of financial pressure, or the disappointments of bad decisions by a loved one that makes your world come crashing down. What “sucks the very life out of you” is when you quit focusing on your blessings and become ungrateful. Join me in taking a deep breath and let’s breathe in the very life-giving essence of Jesus.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)