Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thankful for Things (and for all of you...)

No poetry tonight.  Just tired thankfulness.

When Lydia's knee started hurting, and then swelling, in the Fall (requiring detective work on the part of a great local doctor to weave through blood work, x-rays, and eventually two MRIs and consults with Children's Hospital to find a suspect faint, but odd and somewhat large mass . . . and then a gracious referral to the U and a pediatric, orthopedic surgeon/tumor specialist because he wanted us to be seen by "the best."),  I had all the concern you'd expect as we thought about Lyme disease, arthritis, infections, stress fractures and eventually the thing which was originally thought most unlikely...a potentially, possibly, probably not - but maybe... OH there it is (!) tumor that was scary-enough-to-need-a-rush-to-surgery/biopsy.

Along with the concern, we started to look around to see what the Lord was doing in our life and in Lydia. We remembered especially Grace's big accident and the surgery, and months of rehab and the nerve damage in her right hand which has turned out to be transformational in her life, so that she could not be the beautiful, mature, young woman that she is today without having gone through that big, very hard, stressful, traumatic thing. We've talked about when "big things," or disappointing things, or sad things, scary or surprising things come into our lives–we can trust the promises of God. Here is a good one for starters...

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5) 
Or this one
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4).

So, in late December, I said to Lydia "Well, congratulations -looks like it is time for your "thing". Let's see what God is doing in your life."  Some of the other kids even joked about wanting their "thing" too.  We ended up thinking of the Madeline books... "Boo-hoo, I want my appendix out, too!" Because along with the hard parts, the "thing" person also gets a lot of Mom and Dad time, attention, love (even eating out at Don Pablos and Dairy Queen on the way home from Dr. appts) - and if you are really lucky...crutches, a cast, or something similarly impressive.  It becomes an important part of the story of your life...and a big step towards becoming the person God has created you to be.  Lydia's comment to all of this was..."Believe me, when it's time for your thing... you won't want it!" but we already see how the Lord is using this in her life as a beautiful and maturing...thing.

Anyway - we are thankful for the good report and for a strange (most-probably, we'll-know-for-sure-on-Tuesday) benign tumor called an angiolipoma. We are thankful to live in a time and place where a golf-ball-sized tumor can be removed from a girl's knee so that she does not limp for the rest of her life.  We are thankful that the weeks or months of rehab we were expecting are not needed at all.  Such mercy.  As thankful as we are for "things" we are somehow just as thankful to put them behind us!

We are thankful for 6 months of anxiety LAST year while Lydia really thought through and dealt with her fear of mortality, which resulted in increased faith–and the amazing amount of peace she has felt through the past month.  I am thankful that she could say "Lord willing . . . " and smile when people reassured her that it would all be OK (even before we really knew it would be OK).  We know that the peace of God is a gift.

We are thankful for doctors who served us faithfully and humbly and with great skill (and with knowing how to talk to an 11-year-old girl).

We are thankful for a faith-filled couple at church who prayed with tears this past Sunday that the tumor would be less attached, easier to remove than expected, and that Lydia's knee would not be damaged in anyway even though we had been warned of that.  All of those good things did indeed happen.

We are thankful for many other people who prayed and that they also told us in person they were praying.  We are thankful for cards, calls and emails telling us they were praying.  Lydia has felt very loved and cared for.  She counted it up on the way to the hospital, and it was over a hundred people who had said they would pray.  Wow!

We are thankful for friends offering to help - including a mom of seven caring for our five middle kids all day (including lunch) so Grace and Lydia (with leg propped up) could watch big-girl movies all by themselves in the living room on Friday.  That same mom also sent delicious fresh-baked bread home for us when Kevin picked them up!  We're thankful that, amazingly enough, we had several other open offers to care for our large number of children if needed.  One even offered to come and spend the night if we needed to stay longer at the hospital.

We are thankful for Lydia's brothers and sisters who greeted her at the door after surgery with homemade cards, and a decorated get-well-soon cake and a clean house and a super clean girls' bedroom that suddenly looked like a charming Bed and Breakfast room.  And giving her the best spots on the couch And cheerfully helping her And entertaining her And volunteering cheerfully to do her chores.

We are thankful for good friends and loving family who call, and write on Facebook and email, and send e-cards and real cards and visit.  Lydia is savoring and saving all of them.

And yes, we are thankful for a sovereign God who reigns over all the days of our lives and we find these words of Jesus to be wonderful news - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10).

May every Thing in our life glorify Him.



Mom said...

You have said it all so beautifully. Your words will minister to many. We're so happy for Lydia, for the good report, for the expected quick recovery, and for God's grace in her life.

katie said...

All of the verses in your post are some of my favorites!!! They are so encouraging and peace-invoking. :) I, too, am glad for the Things in your family--though they are hard, (I'm thinking specifically of Grace's accident and Lyd's knee) they have been a vehicle for growth in two of my dearest friends. How grateful I am to the Lord for your lovely daughters!!! I can't think of them without smiling. Thank you for sharing them with me :)

Treasure from the Junk Drawer
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Bible verses:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV)