Hope is on yet another medication. This medication is more of a treatment – to treat a bad type of seizure called infantile spasms. Like any new medication she starts, it’s always too strong for her little body and makes her extra sleepy. When she’s extra sleepy, it makes it extra hard to feed her – kicking my anxiety into high gear.
Waking her up to feed her has been so difficult. And as soon as she is awake and starts to eat, that exhausts her. We’ve tried everything. One of us tickling her while the other is feeding, taking her clothes off, keeping the light on. It hasn’t helped too much. Our most effective tool has been wetting her with a cold cloth on her hands and feet – it sounds so mean and it’s always our last resort, but it’s the one thing that works and gets her to eat.
While feeding her one day, and waking her with a wet towel, I started to think about how this was good for her. It was painful for her in a way, but she needed it. If I let her be, and do what was most comfortable for her, she’d probably sleep all day. She’d be too tired to know that she was hungry and actually needed to eat. Eating would help her. Not eating would lead to dehydration, a trip to the hospital and an IV.
That wet cloth, although causing her discomfort, was actually the best thing for her. One day while feeding her, God showed me how similar He often works with us. Like that wet cloth, God knows what is best for us, even when the process is painful. We may think that what we want to do is totally fine – just like Hope sleeping is totally fine. But too much of that sleep can be dangerous for her. She doesn’t know that and often we don’t know that. We make our plans, and they seem simple and normal – no big deal right? But often, the painful experiences in our lives are actually God’s mercy on us. He can be protecting us and leading us a different way – His way.
Early in October my midwife had called me while I was at work and left me yet another message. This was my third time having an anatomy scan and after each one I’d always have a missed call. Twice, she had told me that because of the way the baby was positioned the technician couldn’t get the best views. No one thought it was serious. But when that third phone call came I remember thinking “really? Again?” And something in my gut didn’t sit right. It was the end of the school day, and I couldn’t wait to listen to the message, so and I texted Lawren right away and asked him to check my messages and text me back. He wrote me back saying that the midwife said the baby had enlarged ventricles. Neither of us knew what on earth that meant, and as soon as my last student was dismissed, I ran to the bathroom and cried. I had a strange feeling that this was the beginning of something I wasn’t ready to face.
Later that night I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that read:
“remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one you are in, divine love would have put you there”
The next week, I was reading the story of Jehoshaphat in preparation for teaching Bible to my Grade 1 and 2 class. Jehoshaphat prayed to God when he knew an army was coming to battle against him. It says that he set his face to seek the Lord, and he ended his prayer by saying:
We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you – 2 Chronicles 20:12
That quote and scripture had prepared my heart for the coming days. Days that I thought we’re just plain cruel and unbearable. Days that I knew God had the power to turn around, but wasn’t doing so in the way I liked.
Now that some time has passed, although we are still in the thick of things, I want to be able to reflect and understand that the things we are going through show God’s mercy and power. That although painful, like that wet cloth, they demonstrate that God knows what He is doing, and knows what is best for us in each moment. With our minimal understanding we can face our struggles and trials and conclude that God is just plain cruel – believe me, I have felt that way more often then not. But, if we truly know that God is sovereign, we can rest in knowing that every single thing that happens to us – good and awful – is all part of His plan in shaping us and conforming us to His image.
So when that wet cloth makes us feel uncomfortable, remember that our Father knows best – and in that moment it won’t make sense to us. But can I encourage you to simply trust Him? I’m slowly learning that it’s the best place for me to be.