It was a pretty normal weekend at our home. On the surface, everything appears normal, so I guess what I mean is that we were graced with not being in a low place mentally, which allows us more freedom to go about life. Actually, it is quite apparent that we are in a resting period, so I thank God for that. Every couple of weeks I find myself in a low spot for a few days that requires mental release from the situation, in order to rest. Giving up my burdens is one of the many lessons to be learned as we are going through life right now and I really, REALLY hope I can remember to do this when we get past our current challenges.
I mentioned in Reece’s Story that the day after the bone marrow transplant happened, we got a call back from our doctor (two doctors, actually) where we were told everything looked pretty normal. The first doctor that called us was our doctor we are working with at Children’s. I really like him–he is very “medical”, meaning he gives you very detailed information. This works well with my level of questioning and detail that I prefer. He also can tap into human emotion enough to show us concern, which is important. When he called, he was cautious about saying we were in the clear, but he was encouraged by the preliminary results. The second doctor that called us was the doctor at Children’s who actually performed the biopsy. (They rotate doing the biopsy procedures depending on who is in that day, so this is a colleague of our regular doctor.) I really like this doctor as well. He is a parent and very conversational. In fact, I was surprised at how well he tapped into the human side of our situation, yet retained the factual information needed to provide us with confidence that he is an experienced specialist in the field. He was extremely reassuring when he called us. His words were, “You should be very reassured.” He then began talking to us about bringing Reece in for monitoring his blood every six months, just to make sure nothing changed with the red blood cells. He actually had to back himself up to say that we needed to verify the normal results with genetic testing. I asked him if it was possible that the preliminary results look normal and the genetic testing shows a problem. He said, “Anything is possible, but we just don’t see that happen.” This was about the best thing we could have heard that day and it temporarily made me feel better.
A few days passed and my doubts started to creep back in. I know that these doctors were doing the best they could with the information at hand. I also know that they are in a specialty where they give parents bad news quite often. I know that neither of them would set parents up to feel relieved, only to bring them disappointing news later. They must be trained in this and their positive feelings were very apparent in my phone conversations with them. Still, I kept analyzing the differences between the two doctors and their messages to me. Our regular doctor was very cautious with his optimism. The doctor who did the biopsy was very reassuring. It was nice to have two opinions on the same situation, but you can see where this is going…it just starts rolling over and over in your mind.
Terry happened to be traveling a few days later and I was chatting with him over the phone. I remember telling him how I just didn’t feel right and no matter how positive the doctors words were, I couldn’t shake the worry that I was feeling about Reece. I am a person who is very trusting in doctors–they’re the experts. I could not understand why my mind continued to race; we still had over two weeks of waiting for the final results, so something had to give. Terry and I ended our conversation and what happened next was profound to me. I knew I needed to crack open my Bible and pray about the situation. I opened the Bible and it was almost as if God was flipping the pages on His own. He immediately brought me to Jeremiah 17:5-7:
“This is what the Lord says:
‘Cursed is the one who trust in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord…But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.'”
It was apparent to me that I was trying so hard to trust in these doctors and that is not where I need to be placing my trust. The words were jumping off the page at me. I then was directed into the book of Isaiah (meaning I just “happened” to jump to these verses–no searching involved). The passages I was led to were verses I had underlined last year during our bible study lectures. They were so pointed at me when I read them. There were multiple verses that began describing how God is with the “lowly in spirit”, how He will provide comfort, strength, and help. Another verse that spoke to me was Isaiah 40:11:
“He tends to his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
Not only did God point out my error in looking to the doctors for comfort, but He showed me how He is the one who will provide all that is needed. It was amazing how different I felt after reading this and praying. The next two weeks of waiting were entirely different. I wasn’t completely free from concern, but I was able to enjoy a rest period with my family that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. In fact, life was almost back to normal until I received the final results with Reece’s diagnosis.
Since reading the verses I described above, I have not expected the doctors words to provide me with the relief I was once hoping they would give. I still, however, struggle with the overall worry of the situation. After we heard the news that Britta was not a donor, I hit another low spot where I had another moment of giving my worry back to God. I was reading a devotional that referenced how when we give our problems fully to the Lord, we are freed to do the work He is calling us to do. Those words helped me to realize that I can not carry this burden and still be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and all the other roles in my life. He isn’t expecting me to sort this all out; I need to take Him up on this offer. It is easier said, than done.
It has become a tough, but necessary lesson for me to learn and I am still learning it. But out of those moments of despair come the contrast in understanding that God really is present and taking the burden off my shoulders if I let Him. It becomes a daily choice. So this weekend was one of our last “normal” weekends and we were able to do normal family things. And we were able to rest.