Today is a day that I just want to be honest about what is on my heart. So thank you for giving me that opportunity.
Those of you who regularly follow this blog know that an early ultrasound detected that, just like Janie Lou, Hergycub 2.0 also has kidney issues. Since that time, we also accidentally found out that we are having a girl. At the risk of spoiling the surprise when she is born, I want to go ahead and share her name with you, Gracie Jewel.
I am sharing her name with you for one reason alone, so that you can approach the throne of God on her behalf.
The first ultrasound that detected the hydronephrosis (enlarged kidney) showed that the enlargement was mild. However, a recent ultrasound has revealed that the enlargement has increased and the hydronephrosis in both kidneys has been upgraded from mild to moderate. Honestly, the days since that diagnosis have been difficult.
Last night Carl and I attended a prayer service at our church and were prayed over by a wise man. As he prayed for Gracie's kidneys, he said something that I've known almost my whole life, and yet somehow hadn't thought of in this situation. He said, “God, you are a dad, and you have a dad's heart.” I honestly don't remember anything else that he said. That simple phrase breathed hope back into my aching heart. My sobs quieted, and I was again able to believe that God will heal our child.
Honestly, sometimes it's hard to believe. Yes, I pray asking God to heal our child. I prayed a year ago for God to heal Janie Lou. And His way of healing her was through surgery. This has been the most difficult part for me. Surgery last year was a huge deal, but because Janie Lou never acted sick, had one good kidney, and recovered in a matter of days, it wasn't as tough on my heart as this situation is.
Knowing that we could go down that road again only with two bad kidneys is very scary for this mama. Most days I am fine, but in the quiet moments when I can stand before God honestly, I am scared. I am scared of the worst-case scenario. I feel bad bringing a sick child into the world. My hearts desires to be comforted, but my head reminds me of the reality of the situation.
My heart believes that God is more than able to heal Gracie's kidneys, but my head says, “Yes, He is able, but He may choose not to.”
This is a harsh reality, and I am sharing all of this with you for a couple of reasons.
1. I want you to know that I am a real person with doubts and fears.
2. I want you to know that God's plan is for us to be holy, not happy.
This morning I read Genesis 22. This is the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son on the altar. Abraham had waited 100 years for this son, and now God was asking him to sacrifice his child. Whether you've read the story a million times, or never even heard of it, YOU MUST READ IT! Abraham trusts God to the point of binding up his child and laying him on the altar. After this, he raises his knife in the air and is about to sacrifice his son when an angel of the Lord stops him. The angel of the Lord says, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (v 12) Immediately, Abraham saw a ram caught in a near by bush and he ends up sacrificing the ram instead of his only son. Verse 14 says Abraham named that place “The Lord Will Provide.”
God was testing Abraham. And Abraham proved faithful. God provided another sacrifice for the altar. But when God sent His own Son, Jesus to earth to be sacrificed, God didn't back out at the last second. He allowed his only son, the son whom He loved, to be sacrificed on a cross so that you and I could have a relationship with Him. God, as a dad, knows what it is like to see His child suffer.
God's ultimate desire is not for me to have a healthy baby and live a happy life. God's desire is for me to be in relationship with Him, and that requires I be holy. God often uses trials to make us look more like Him. The idea that if you follow Jesus your life will be easy breezy is a lie. Read the Bible, story after story reveals to us, that life here on earth is difficult. So why follow Jesus if He doesn't remove all the bumps along the road?
I follow Jesus because in Him we have a hope that will last far beyond this life. Yes, this life may be difficult, in fact for most of us, this life WILL be difficult. But clinging to Jesus gives us a hope that we will one day spend eternity with Him in glory. A place where there are no tears. A place where cancer doesn't exist and no one knows the meaning of hydronephrosis.
I believe God is able to heal Gracie, and this mama's heart is begging you to join us in prayer for God to heal her. But I trust God and His plan. (Or at the very least I want to trust God and His plan, and most days I do.) Last night, I told God that I was laying Gracie at His feet. She is His child more than mine. I pray that His Daddy heart has compassion on her and heals her kidneys. But I also pray that He uses her life to glorify Himself. I know this is a risky prayer because He knows how best her life can bring Him glory, and it might not be the easiest route for us, but I know in the end, any hardship we endure as a result of this test will be worth it.
I long to look like Jesus, and this process is definitely refining me and my faith.
I have another ultrasound on Thursday. Will you join us in praying for Gracie? Will join us in praying for a miracle? Every time I lay on that table and they pour that warm gel on my belly I get teary-eyed with hope that the kidneys have shrunk and are healthy. So far that hasn't been the case, but I walk in faith knowing He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.
I know each of you has a story and a need for prayer also. I would love to pray for you as I pray for my own family. If you would like, you can share your story by leaving a comment here on the blog, or if you feel more comfortable, you can share it with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I pray for us right now?
Thank you for being here with us in this moment. Thank you for being Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. You know each of our situations and our needs. You know how each of needs healing physically, spiritually and emotionally. I pray that you will heal us completely. We know you are able. I pray that in the process of healing us, You will make us look more like You. I want to be holy and to bring you glory. I pray this for my friends, as well. Please heal us as you best see fit, in Your perfect timing, according to Your will.
Lord we love you and trust you. Help us to trust even when it is difficult.
Thank you, Lord,