Monthly Archives: November 2012

On The Bright Side

Teenage girls love to use this phrase these days.  If something goes awry, they will “tweet” soon after with “On the bright side!” naming a positive to follow their perceived negative. Now those of you who don’t know what a tweet is, well, you just might be showing your age.  Twitter accounts are used to “tweet” short little phrases to give your followers a little “heads up to what is going on in your world”.  With technology moving so fast, most probably won’t even know what a “tweet” is within a few years.  However, for now it is the quickest, shortest form of communication there is.

So, “on the bright side,” Lily Grace was released from her captors (i.e. NICU) on a wonderfully brilliant fall day.  You know the kind.  Where the sky is so startlingly blue, meeting the red, orange and yellows below; making it seem surreal as if you just stepped into a painting. So brilliant and crystal clear, everything appeared to stand at attention like a parade to welcome this child home.  It was such a relief to so see this young family escorting their newest edition to what would become her permanent place of residence.

On the bright side…

These homecomings are a bit different than those you usually hear about for a new baby.  No one was there to greet them, there were no streams of well-wishers, no casseroles or cookies.  It was just them pulling into their familiar surroundings with hopes of settling into a regular routine after a storm.  Much like a hurricane, flood or fire, it takes time to adjust once you have returned home. You must assess the damage and rebuild if you will.  This family would begin right away by making their oldest feel safe and secure again, reassuring him that mommy and daddy were not leaving any time soon.  They then introduced his little sister to her new sanctuary that had no wires, cords or noisy machines.  It is a precious peaceful room with her name over the bed, a rocker in the corner, and framed scripture on the walls.  One reads “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.  May I go on?  Verse 7 and 8 says  “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to our body and refreshment to your bones.”  Now verses 5 and 6 are displayed right there in her new space but I couldn’t resist sharing the next two verses and how very fitting they are for this situation.  How much like God’s Word to be so sharp!  Go ahead read all 35 verses of this Third Proverb, it’s chocked full of things we all of need every day.


Even though the baby was handed over to her rightful owners they are still fretful for her well-being.  Their heads are full of questions and concerns.  Is she sleeping too long?  Is she eating enough?  Is she gaining weight?  Is she breathing too fast?  Nights are filled with anxious moments. When all is quiet mommy will jump up from a sound sleep “just to check on the baby.”  The trauma of an entrance like Lily’s has long lasting effects on a family. It will take some time, but God has a way of pouring grace into our skeptical hearts bringing with it a peace that passes all understanding.  Philippians 4:7.  Like Job, we are probably not ever going to know why this was the path chosen for Lily and her family but we did see glimpses of His Hand at work there in the NICU and beyond. Countless people were changed because of her illness.  Thousands prayed, many for the first time.  This hurting couple would minister to other parents in the NICU who were there for the first time.  They prayed openly over their child’s incubator, effectively preaching the gospel without ever saying a word.  Nurses and doctors alike would be affected forever because of this small life.

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Dark Days

We had no reason to expect the same scenario with this new baby. It came completely unexpected. The news that our newest granddaughter was gravely ill, just like her brother had been when he was born, caught me unaware and feeling like an unsuspecting wave was sweeping me out to sea. I was overcome with grief for this family, for their aching hearts and for mine.

I began to question God. Why had He allowed this to happen again?  We prayed on our knees that this baby would be born without incident and we would welcome her into the world with the usual hoopla that most babies are delivered with.  We would all hold, snuggle, and grin stupidly at her as we passed her from one to another wondering who she looked like.

As those hopes and dreams began to evaporate into thin air on that unusually brisk day in the early fall the harsh reality began to sink in. Again! We are going to do this all again!  Really, God?!?!

The suffering was so great, the grief so intense, as we watched this beautiful girl restrained with padding across her chest, headphones to keep out the noise, no touching, stroking or holding. The incubator was completely enclosed with a quilt over the top to add even more darkness.  All the lights were off with a big SHHHHH! Sign on the door. Her mother sat quietly by her side day after day while the ventilator/oscillator filled those tiny lungs with air.  More medicines than I can even recount pumped into her pic line, which had to be surgically inserted.  She was also sporting a thick elastic shoulder brace to protect a broken clavicle and a feeding tube in her belly button. Tubes and tape prevented us from seeing her face for more than 10 days!

Those days were dark days for her and for us.  We watched in disbelief as this little flower from God was kept alive with machines, equipment and medicines.  All of a sudden God didn’t feel so good.  He didn’t feel so loving and kind. All of the sudden I felt abandoned, lonely and disappointed. His Word no longer comforted me.  Let the suffering begin!

When God begins to squeeze us with circumstances in our lives, He is proving us, testing us, to see if we will trust Him in the dark valleys of life.  At those times we begin to see ourselves more clearly.  Our faith is on the front burner now. It is here where we begin to see the pressure of our current situation expose our weakness. Dark days indeed, for more than one reason!

As God burned off the unbelief, weak faith and skeptic that had taken up residence in me, He revealed my heart to me.  Suffering like My Jesus had suffered would be the only way to strengthen my relationship with Him.  I would need to partake in some of what He had experienced for me.

Thank you, Lord, for dying for me.

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