Monday, June 21, 2010

Healing Day

June 21st is a holiday in our home. I've talked about it before, but some of you (of all 10 of you who read) may not realize the significance behind this holiday. So, let me explain.

About 4-5 years ago, Bryan was diagnosed with an inactive colon. Simply put, he had no muscle tone in his colon, so simple things like going to the bathroom were not simple for him. Little did we know how horrible that problem could be. He endured (embarrassing) treatments for about a year and a half or two years, but none were successful. We were at the point of having to go into the hospital over night for treatments every few months... NOT a fun thing for a young boy!

After much prayer and a couple of professional opinions, we decided to allow Bryan to undergo a fairly new treatment option in which a tube would be implanted into his upper colon, by way of his appendix. Through this tube, we would be able to "flush" out his colon and keep it clean, with the idea that when clean, the colon could heal itself and regain its muscle functioning. It seemed our only hope at that point, and we trusted his doctor (our hero!)

In July of 2006, just before the start of his 6th grade year, Bryan had his surgery. Right off, things were going well. Then in September, he developed an abscess that ruptured. We were back at the hospital for emergency surgery. I can't tell you how afraid we were. I am a nurse; I know the dangers of a ruptured abscess, and Bryan was a very sick boy! I sat by his side in the hospital, praying over him and asking God to heal him. It was at his bedside then that God began to work in my heart to give Him complete control in my life, and stop worshipping my child instead of Him.

Bryan recuperated from that surgery, but in December of 2006, he was back in the hospital for surgery #3 due to another infection that had developed. I think it was February that brought surgery #4, after Bryan accidentally pulled out the tube (yes, that was GROSS), and Surgery #5 came in April from yet ANOTHER infection. We finally said to our doctor that we could not continue to go through this ordeal anymore.

The year had taken its toll on our family. We were tired from constant doctor's visits and hospital stays. But our (mine and Jeff's) tiredness did not even hold a candle to Bryan's. He was depressed, a completely different person. He no longer smiled. He had a fever for 11 solid months before it was all over and done with. He hurt constantly. He was becoming bitter, believing that God was not hearing his prayers to heal him. If I'm honest, I wondered myself if God had heard our prayers.

On June 21, 2007,, Bryan underwent surgery for the 6th and final time to have his cecostomy tube removed (along with his Appendix which had a hole in it from the tube being anchored there). The doctor warned us that he had likely not gotten to use the tube enough for it to be effective. He also warned us that Bryan had endured so much infection that he would likely have to remove part of his colon during the surgery. We were scared, wondering what we would do next if this had not worked. But really, we just wanted our son back.

Bryan went into surgery that morning, and a couple of hours later, Dr. Iocono came out with a huge smile on his face. He said that Bryan's colon "looked like any healthy 11 year old boy's should". It had looked like "the colon of an 85 year old man" when this started. Not only that, but NONE of the colon had to be removed. He was perfectly fine!

He has NEVER had a problem with his colon again.


We know that the hand of God was at work in the operating room that day. I know fully that God could have chosen to heal Bryan before any of these surgeries began. He could have healed him after the ruptured abscess. But He chose to give us a miracle by allowing us to walk together through that year, through all 6 surgeries and the HORRIFIC treatments that were in between. He gave us a miracle in that we knew He was surely with us, comforting us and giving us Hope and Peace and Grace. And by His grace, He chose to heal Bryan completely in the end.

The truth is, He could have chosen NOT to heal Bryan. And He would still be God. And He would still be good and worthy of our praise.

I thank God every day for the miracle of Bryan's health and life. I thank Him for the testimony of God's healing and faithfulness that Bryan has to carry with him forever. I thank Him that Bryan's hope is restored again. He smiles again.

I thank Him for the invaluable lessons He taught me during that journey. I thank Him for Who He is, not just what He has done.

Healing Day is our way of saying "we recognize what you did and what you continue to do, God. We won't forget".

So, how about you? What holidays are you celebrating? How are you commemorating God's faithfulness to you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I've been blessed to not only be raised by a great dad, but I also married one. He's pretty darn HOT too!

I love you Jeff... you are a wonderful dad to our two miracles! I hope you know how much you are loved and celebrated every day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Becoming Radical

I've wanted to write this post for a while, but there was a part of me that wanted to hide it because I felt some shame about it. I hope you'll get that as you read. Just know that I've spent hours in prayer about what I want to say here, and I hope that you'll hear my heart. More importantly, I hope you'll hear my Father's heart.

We brought Ellie home 10 months ago. We actually met her 10 months ago today. My life has not been the same since. Before meeting her face to face, God was already changing me from the inside out. But seeing her face to face, and holding her tiny body in my arms did something I can't explain. It was very much like what He did in me when I held Bryan for the first time.

Many people have asked me over the past 10 months if I can imagine life without Ellie here. For a long time, I felt ashamed to say "yes". But if I tell the truth, I CAN still imagine life without her here. I didn't say that I liked what I imagined, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Most people ask that, thinking that my answers will be all about me not being with her, me not having her to hold, me not having the little girl I've always wanted.

I don't like to imagine life without Ellie here because I wonder if she would still be sitting in that orphanage too scared to talk, not playing, not singing, just existing. I wonder if she'd still be living, carrying the five parasites and perhaps even more by now in her already-too-thin body. I wonder if she'd feel the despair of loneliness or if she'd be able to recognize that is what she was feeling. I wonder if she'd still be battling the memories of her past alone, or if she would ever find someone there in Ethiopia that she trusted enough to tell her story to. I wonder if her eyes would still be deep and endless with uncertainty like we saw in so many pictures of her.

I wonder.

Yes, I do wonder what I would do without having to pick up hundreds of hair beads every day that the cat loves to play with. I do wonder what I ever did with all of my spare time before she was with us. I wonder what I did with all of this extra love that was inside of me. I wonder what it would be like to still ask for a table for 3. But all of those latter "wonderings" are just selfish- all about me and my desires. And well, I don't want to be a selfish person anymore. Period.

Some have been surprised by my answer of "yes, I can imagine not having her here". For a long time, I simply said "no, I can't" and left it at that. But that wasn't true. I have tried to explain it to people, but I have failed miserably, leaving them thinking that I haven't bonded with Ellie or that I don't love her.

To be honest, I have felt like I haven't bonded with her, and I've even shamed myself at times into thinking that there was something wrong with me because of how I've felt. I mean, what kind of mom says that they can imagine not having their child??? What in the heck is wrong with me, right??????

I promise this is going somewhere... stick with me.

I've been listening to a sermon series by David Platt called the Radical series. I highly recommend it. One of the scripture passages that I've been studying along with him is from Luke 14:25-35. In verse 26, Jesus says "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister- yes, even his own life- he cannot be my disciple". Folks, that is RADICAL talk!! HATE our parents, our children, ourselves??

This seems contradictory to what the Bible says in other places, when it tells us to Love one another. And for the record, No... God does not want us to hate our family. But.... When that love for others in our lives is compared to our love for God, it should be so much less that it looks like hate.

And so, I get (finally) to my point.

When Bryan was 3, we learned that we could not have other children. In fact, we lost 4 to miscarriage. I was heartbroken, to say the least. But instead of leaning on God, I leaned on Bryan. It was wrong, and I have confessed that. I'm telling you that I worshipped that child, not God. I told myself that if I could only have Bryan as a child, then he was going to have everything from me, and he did. I didn't necessarily give in and buy everything for him, but he got the best of me and my time- over Jeff, over family, over work, and yes, over God. And it was wrong. Dead wrong.

God has revealed to me that I am learning, and I an changing. I am finally at a place where God is indeed GOD alone. Jeff is not in that place. Bryan is not. And Ellie is not either. My feelings for her are deep and beautiful and full of love that I never knew I could feel. Yet, I do not worship her. I've been feeling as if I were messed up because I wasn't feeling for her like I felt for Bryan at that age. But the truth is that I didn't need to feel for her what I felt for him then. That was wrong, and I'm trying so hard to be a follower of Jesus, not the world. I'm becoming radical. It started when we said "yes" to God's call to adopt, and yet it reaches far beyond Ellie into the very depths of who I am, who I was made to be in Christ.

I hope that when people think of me, they think "now there's a girl that loves her husband and her children". But mostly, I hope that they think, "Now there is a girl that loves her Lord, Radically".

How about you?? Are you radical too?