I began working on this post around 10:00pm on Saturday evening, and it is now 2:00am on Sunday morning. The big kids have been up and down all evening asking questions about Hope's surgery......trying to understand what they should expect. Tomorrow is Hope's surgery day. It is hard for me to grasp. 30 days have flown by for our family. As you all know, we have spent the last 10 days celebrating with Hope! The celebration began at the beach and was supposed to end Saturday evening in "Hope's Love Shack" with many, many glow sticks hanging all around and a special time of family prayer. However, our little soldier had different plans for her evening and fell fast asleep. So, we'll save the glow sticks for her return home celebration. That's a better idea anyway.
I awoke Saturday morning with a familiar friend....."Fear". I recognized him right off, because he lived with me during the first 3 months of Hope's life when we were preparing for her first open heart surgery and again when she underwent her second open heart surgery at age 1. "Fear" was not invited this morning; in fact, he has been officially banned from my life. Nonetheless, he managed to sneak in during my sleep last night and attached himself to me.
All day, I walked around with a stone lodged in my chest. I could feel it's exact location, size and shape. It became so real that I felt if I could only open my chest, I could remove it with my hands. My legs, they became like noodles.....my stomach, full of butterflies. And breathing.....I frequently reminded myself to do it. The world was in constant movement all around me, but "my personal space" remained completely still and quiet. When people spoke to me, I would remind myself to intently focus on their words; although I could hear noise, I had a difficult time deciphering questions and statements.
You know what I fear? I fear what Hope is going to have to endure. I hate that she is going to have to go through this surgery......I hate that she is going to feel so much pain. If Hope were a "regular" 4 year old little girl who was about to undergo an open heart surgery, I would sit her down and talk with her about the procedure. I might use props from the hospital to allow her to visualize what the process would be like. I would spend a lot of time telling her that she would wake up from surgery and not be able to move her body, because the doctor would be giving her medicine that would put her body to sleep for awhile. I would explain that she would awake to many strange, annoying noises.......a flurry of activity from nurses she has never met.....that she'd have tubes sticking in every part of her body.....that it would be normal for her to feel nauseous....that she wouldn't be going home for many days.....that she wouldn't be able to eat food for a period of time.....that she would experience pain in her chest.....etc.
But I don't have a "regular" 4 year old little girl. Hope is a 4 year old with a disability. She will awake to every single thing I just mentioned, but her disabiltiy will prevent her from being able to understand. Instead, she will be confused and scared. I will see the fear in her eyes, but I will not be able to pick her up and hold her. She'll see mommy standing by her side, and she'll wonder why I'm not rescuing her......why I'm not making things better.
In absolute desperation, I am doing the only thing I know to do. I am on my face at the feet of Jesus praying, and these are the precious jewels He has given me:
First, I recognize and bow down to WHO is in control of Hope. God has had His purpose and plan for Hope's life since the beginning of creation....His plan is set and is in motion.
Second, as a believer and as Hope's mommy, I must grab hold of the Lord's hand (while He carries Hope in His arms) and march toward the prize, His Plan, that is just ahead of me. That prize may be total healing for Hope......that is what I am "faithing" for. But if it is not, I will still make a choice to humbly accept His perfect plan.....recognizing again that He is God and I am not.
Last, I must believe the Lord will send angels to guard and protect Hopey. When she opens her eyes after surgery, angels will be surrounding her with warm, friendly faces. She will see them with her eyes and hear their words of comfort. There will be a hedge about my little one so evil will have no place in her room in ICU. As a result, the angels will be free and unhindered to minister to Hope.
If I am to truly believe there is a Creator of the Universe......One who set everything in motion and who is in complete control of all things....then I must live what I believe. Well, Praise God, I do believe! So, in response to my belief, I MUST live it out, which means totally surrendering everything to Him.....everything.....even Hopey. THAT is what I am doing.....sometimes daily, but often, minute by minute.
When I walk into that hospital on Monday morning, I know I will have demons nipping at my heels trying to hang onto me.....just like "Fear" did on Saturday. I will have a choice to make. I can be dragged down into the mire and give in to despair......OR......I can stand up, believe in the Lord and have Hope! Good grief, given the two, is there really a choice? It seems so apparent and so simple to me right now. Of course, I choose Hope!!! In choosing to believe, even though I may not emotionally "feel" like believing, "Fear" and all of his evil companions are defused completely. They lose their sting and cannot touch me. I become a waste of their time, because I choose God no matter the outcome!!! THAT is the secret to Faith. "Fear"? He disappears. God? He becomes even more undeniable. Isn't that wonderful?
I know the next days are not going to be easy; in fact, they may be the most difficult of my life. I have no idea how I am going to manage other than to say I have made a choice. I will take it step by step.....day by day......and when doubt creeps in, I will shut him out by speaking aloud the Word of the Lord and my trust in His plan.....and then I will continue to walk in it.
Sunday evening, at 6pm, as planned, we will be making a final march around our home. We have marched for 30 days. The march has been a symbol of our march toward God's plan for our family. Each day we have stepped closer and closer to His Will.....each day we have become more resolute in our decision to accept His plan for our lives. If you would like to march with us tomorrow evening, in prayer for Hope, please feel free to join us!
And to my sweet little Hopey,
I love you with my whole heart. If God were to line up all the little 4 year old girls in the whole world.....the prettiest, the most talented, the smartest.....all of them. And then if He said to me: "Melanie, let's go back in time to September 14, 2005 when Hope was born. Now, this time, you get to choose which daughter you want." I promise, Hopey, I would run as fast as my legs would take me, straight to you, without a moment's hesitation. I would pass every other little girl and shout aloud to the Father....."This one! She is the one I want!" Hopey, I would not change a single thing about you, and I am so thankful you are in my life. "He will cover you, baby girl, with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you......For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways". Stay strong little soldier! I am so very proud of you.....and I am even more proud to be called your "mommy".
Marching For Hope!!! Believing For Hope!!!