One of the main things that has hit me over the last few weeks, while going through this sudden health issue, has been my love for my family, and their obvious love for me. So often, we get caught up in the everyday-ness of life, and forgot to purposefully show our love to the ones we love the most. Then, scary things happen, things that upset your whole routine, and you see the depth of the relationship you have with people. Proverbs speak of this, a rich man whose friends all disappear when he loses his money. This can happen sometimes with relationships that are seemingly strong, but when tragedy or crises strike, the relationship seems to fall apart. Like a building that looks strong from the outside but crumbles in an earthquake because the foundation lacks depth.
Well, I'm glad to say, that's not true in my case. I just realized I might be scaring you--not my intention. Just pondering...
Todd has taken on a lot because of my semi-bed-rest situation. I can sit for a little while, then I need to lie down. But I'm not much help! So not only is he trying to keep up with his work, but he's also cooking the meals, trying to keep up with the house, taking care of the kids, and doing all the running around (groceries, milk, errands) that I normally do. He even did a few days of home school with the kids while I was in the hospital!
And he's such a trooper. Every night he falls into bed exhausted, but he never complains. And he's always smiling. That's something special about Todd. I don't have to worry about him falling apart or turning on me, because I know his foundation is in the Lord. I know his habits of personal Bible study and prayer--the most consistent person I've ever met. And, I also think he was scared through the situation. Because he has been so tender and caring--trying to meet my needs before I think of them.
Then there's my kids. My biggest fear, when I was discovering the problem and fainting in Guaraciaba, was for my kids. It was not only safety and well-being (i.e. who was going to take care of them), but also their emotional trauma through seeing mommy so sick and not knowing what was wrong. When we realized that I had to go to Fortaleza right away, the ambulance drove me back to Molly's house and she went upstairs to frantically pack hers and our things to go to Fortaleza. Someone brought the kids down to see me, and they got into the ambulance to talk with me. Sammy just held on to my hand and asked me why I wasn't getting up. But Michaela got this tremble to her lip and I held onto her hand and told her that God was going to take care of me and that she should pray for God to help us. But she was almost crying (which was okay but she didn't want to cry), and so I asked what she was thinking about and she said, "But whose going to take care of Biscuit?" I just cracked up. Right there, in all that pain, and I laughed! Not at Michaela, but because it was unexpected. And that relieved the situation for all of us and I was able to tell her that our neighbors would continue to feed him until they hear from us.
My point is that my kids feel the stress of the unknown as well, maybe even more because a lot of their security is bound up in their parents. I've always noticed that as long as the kids are with us they seem happy and secure--even in the middle of the boonies in a foreign country. But God really calmed my heart and helped me realize that God uses these difficult times in the lives of children to mature them and help them grow in their trust and relationship with the Lord. And my job is to point them in that direction. It's my job to share Scripture that is comforting to me, to pray with my kids and encourage them to read and pray on their own, and to talk and hug and kiss a lot. The first time the kids visited me in the hospital they both climbed in bed with me and just cuddled and didn't want to move. I didn't either.
Since then, Michaela has never failed in praying for me multiple times a day when we pray together (meals, devotions, bedtime). And Sammy always says things about it being too bad that mommy's sick, but God's going to make her better. I know the road to healing isn't nearly over, the pain is diminishing but still present and I still face surgery. But I have seen God's hand through all of it, not only the circumstances but also the life lessons that He is gently teaching us through this difficult time. As the Bible says so tenderly, "He gently leads those who are with young." I praise Him for His gentleness in leading us, even through the valleys.