Monday, February 25, 2008

Empty Open Hands

I just spent a very, very rough 18 hours. When we got home from church yesterday I finally got around to listening to our messages. There was one from Kaiser, saying they had lab results for Gabe and to call them. It was very quiet, hard to hear, but I wanted to wait to listen to it louder until no one was around. I knew I couldn't call until after 9 today anyway. So, alone, I waited. And as my heart and mind are prone to allow, worst case scenario stuff kept creeping in. I chose not to share with Dan. We share everything, but there was no information, nothing to actually be worried about yet, so  I decided not to add to his large list of burdens that stay on his heart. I chose to bear this one alone, planning to tell him the actual results today.

I had many moments of heartache. My son, my only son, is a beacon of joy in this house. His tummy problems are hard for us to watch. Lately he has been doing so well. He even drank a milkshake yesterday and did not react. I have been thinking that we have been giving him enough "good" stuff--like Keifer, yogurt, pro-biotics, etc--that maybe whatever is wrong is beginning to regulate itself. To think that I might get bad results was hard.

He had 5 tests done, but 2 of the results did not show up online, they came up blank. I assumed that if something was wrong we would have heard, and I figured that they did not turn up any problems just as the other 3 had all been negative. Those 2 tests were the two I was most afraid of. That phone message made me realize I had assumed incorrectly. And my heart broke all over.

Our pastor, Sean, taught us a way to pray yesterday that is very powerful--not that it makes your prayer anymore effective, but powerful in that it changes your heart as you pray. You cup your hands together out in front of you, and as you close your eyes you imagine yourself placing everything that plagues, worries, or hurts you in your hands. Then you imagine yourself at the Throne of Grace, at God's feet, the feet of the one who is in control of all those things, and when you can you turn your hands over and give those things to God. That does not mean the problems go away. It does not mean that He will do with them exactly what you are hoping for. It simply means you acknowledge that He is God and you are not. He is capable of handling these issues, and He gives you the strength to handle your end. He wants to carry your burdens with you, growing, changing, and molding you in the process, and He wants you to Trust that His grace is enough for you to endure whatever life may bring. 

I did that this morning. I placed my son before the Throne of Grace and let him go. I remembered that I am unworthy to approach that perfect throne on my own accord, but because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, I am deemed worthy of coming before the God of the Universe, acknowledging His place in my life, and giving even my most precious gifts to Him--my children, my husband, my life. 

The tears flowed. I thought of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his only son. I thought of God letting go of His only son so that I could have this chance to gain everything, no matter what I lose. But I did it, I let go of my son, turned him over to God. And I had peace that no matter what those results were Dan and I  would be able to go through whatever life would be like for us and praise God, relying on His faithfulness, His goodness.

Sorry for waiting until the end to tell you the results. I turned up the volume on the answering machine. It was for Wendy, not for us. A wrong number. I don't know who Wendy is, but I pray that if she is getting bad results she will know where to turn. 

We await the next step for our son. We have an appointment with a Pediatric GI specialist on Friday. I don't even know what to hope for--I cannot imagine a best case scenario because there is something not right with his tummy, and I want to know what it is--but I know that no matter what the doctor tells us, my son is in the hands of Jesus. 

I could have saved myself all that heartache by listening to the message again. But I am glad I did not. I learned, once again, that as I spend my days nurturing, raising, loving, cherishing, and training my children, that I must not hold them in tightly clutched hands. I must hold them close, but with open hands. And if someday I find those hands empty, or I find that God did not answer my prayers according to my wishes, I will praise Him still.

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