Brought to You by the Letter “J”

Two kids left to talk about, so two more days for this proud mom to use her bragging rights!  Today is “J”’s day.  Actually, let’s refer to him as “JN”.  You see, we have two “J”’s, so the next one you’ll meet tomorrow.  I also gave “JN” the heads up that I would be talking about him.  He wasn’t worried about what I would say either, so once again, I’ve been privileged with the liberty to share.  His comment was that the last manger scenetime I shared about him, it helped someone and helping people is where “JN’s” heart is at.   That post was titled, “My Grown Up Christmas Gift”, if you care to take a peek.

“JN” is my 3rd born, who also made his way into this world by C-section.  He too, was over 9lbs. at birth.  He was born right after Thanksgiving that year and was introduced to the public in his debut as baby Jesus in our small town church Christmas play.  I waited backstage, holding my breath as the guy playing Joseph held “JN” high over his head for all to see.  It was a proud moment, but did Joseph really have to hold my baby boy up in the air that high???

It was very evident from the beginning that “JN” was a deep thinker.  His gaze was piercing as he watched the people around him.   He would wrinkle up his tiny forehead and stare into people’s eyes, as if he could read their minds and interpret their thoughts.  It was pretty wild!  I would love to have been able to know what was going on in that little brain at the time.

“JN” got lots of attention, too!  He was born ten years after his big brother and sister, who were very happy to have a new baby around.  So when “JN” wanted held or fed, his wishes were granted pretty much immediately.   Thankfully, “JN” was spared from having to endure the drama of child abuse that his older siblings had gone through in my previous marriages.  I’d say he had a pretty sweet life in those early years.

Things began to take a turn though as “JN” was nearing the end of the elementary school days. He started to develop some health issues child in hospitalwhich resulted in lots of doctor visits, biopsies, surgery, medications and hospitalizations.  One of his doctors was a specialist who was writing a text book at the time and because “JN”’s condition was so rare for a child, he was going to refer to his case in his textbook.  I don’t know if his case ever made the cut or not, but I thought it was interesting.  Maybe a student or another child was helped even then by “JN”.  Needless to say, no parent wants to have their child undergo this kind of trauma.  I’m sure “JN” doesn’t have fond memories of this season in his life.

dark-streetThe season that followed doesn’t contain fond memories for “JN” either.  He would be able to tell his story much better than I.  I really only know the story from the parent’s side.  The years that followed were the very painful years of addiction.  “JN” missed all of the normal fun of the teenage years.  Instead he learned the tough existence of drugs, the streets and dark alleyways.  He had times of wanting to be clean and would check in to a rehab program, but it seemed he was caught in a vicious cycle of rehab and relapse.  These were nightmare years for all of us.

Maybe you think I’m a horrible mother for sharing this story with the world.  I might be that in your eyes, but I’m not in the eyes of my son.  I’m a mother who is proud of her son.  He’s clean now and he has been for a year and a half.  He’s been taking college courses, getting good grades, he lives on his own and he’s kept a full time job.  “JN” is intelligent, caring and obviously a fighter.  He’s still that deep thinker, too, and what he thinks most about is helping other people.  He goes to AA meetings, shares his story and sponsors others who are still struggling to be free.

No one knows the depths of the hell he went through in all of this, except for him.  For me to try to explain to you how hard he had to fight Strengthto get to where he is now would be a waste of space, because no matter how descriptive I get with my words, I couldn’t even begin to touch what he’s experienced.  So I’ll leave that story for him to tell.  What I will say is, if you are one who struggles with alcohol or addiction, why not visit one of those AA meetings.  You might run into my “JN”.  He’ll be the first to tell you, there is hope, there is help and there is healing.  You too can be free!

So “JN”, hear your momma loud and clear today, I’m super proud of you and I love you with all of my heart!

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale

#NaBloPoMo

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What About the Parents???

I hope you aren’t expecting a light hearted, carefree, easy going or humorous post today, because that’s not what I’m feeling.  I am not even sure of the direction that this will take, but I’ve had some thoughts stirring that needed to come out on paper, so here we go.

I am a parent.  It’s one of the roles that many often dream about even when they are very young.  I was one of those dreamers.  I remember at a very young age pretending to be a mommy to my baby dolls.  I couldn’t wait to go to Kmart to spend my allowance on things for my fake babies.  I was so good at parenting as a five year old.  It was so easy!  I just knew that I would grow up to be the best mommy in the whole wide world.  Three kids, two boys and a girl to be specific, a husband, house and a van, that was my big dream!  What I ended up with was four kids, three boys and a girl to be specific, three husbands (not all at the same time), a few houses over the years and several cars, which included the van.  But what happened to the most important part of the dream, being the best mommy in the whole wide world?  Well, it just wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be.

My big thought today is, “What about the parents?”   Many very disturbing events have made the news recently.  I don’t think that you can find a corner anywhere in the world, that news of the shootings in Tucson, Colorado and Wisconsin hasn’t touched.  Of course, we think about the victims first, then the actual shooters themselves and then the parents.  I can’t help but try to imagine myself in the parent’s shoes on these occasions.  How devastating it would be for a parent!  To find out that one of your own children, that once innocent baby that you held in your arms, had committed such a horrendous, senseless act.   It’s simply unimaginable!  My heart is broken, not only for the parents of the victims, but the parents of the shooters, as well.

I’m thinking of the mom who posted on Facebook this morning.  Today is her daughter’s birthday and it was a year ago today that she hugged her daughter for the last time before she went to prison on drug charges.  How my heart hurts for her and her daughter.

I’m thinking of the single mom who lost her child to a drug overdose and my heart hurts.  I’m thinking of the parents who lost their bipolar child to suicide.  Many had passed judgment on these parents for their children’s behavior during the short years of their lives.

I’m thinking of the struggles between children and parents that I’ve witnessed in an office complex where I once worked.  The children were often very loud and aggressive and those working in the complex were put off by the behavior and registered complaints with the complex management.  Insensitive signs were even hung in the common restrooms by someone who thought the kid situation needed to be addressed.  Did the person who hung the signs not know that these children were visiting the complex for therapy because they were autistic?  Yes, my heart hurts for these parents too, and their children.  So many scenarios we could talk about, all heartbreaking.

Many are quick to jump on the parents and point fingers.  Certainly the parents have done something wrong in their parenting that caused their child’s behavior, or addiction or suicide.  Is that fair?  Why are we so quick to place ourselves in the role of judge and jury and pass sentence on parents?  It happens all of the time.  Who hasn’t been in a grocery store or a restaurant and seen someone’s child act in a ridiculous, unbecoming way and we’ve thought or maybe even said, “They need to do something with their child”, or “If I were those parents, I would (fill in the blank)”.

Granted, parents do make mistakes and I am not saying that all parents are innocent and haven’t had a role in how a child turned out.  I’m not talking about parents who are abusive or are alcoholics, addicts, criminals or horrible examples here.   I’m talking about parents who do all they can to raise their children in the best way they know how.  None of us have our parenting skills 100% perfected.  We all have flaws of some kind.  Go ahead and admit it mom and dad.  You’ll feel better.  That perfect super parent cape is a heavy weight that will keep you from flying anywhere, so take it off!  Easier said than done, right!  Expectations are high for parents and as a result, we often carry a huge amount of guilt.

It’s easy for those who have not had children or who have had perfect children to make flippant comments about or even to other parents.  Yes, I am speaking from experience here.  Before I had my perfect kids, I knew exactly how to be a perfect parent and I’m sure I passed judgment on someone along the way.  But now I know the flip side.   I can still remember comments regarding my parenting that were made to me over the years that were so insensitive and hurtful.  You see, I didn’t have the perfect kids that you did.  How would you judge me if I told you that I had raised an addict, an alcoholic, a criminal, a child with mental illness or all of the above?  Certainly, you would wonder about my child’s upbringing.  You might even want to dissect my parenting ability or debate about parenting styles.  You might even consider unfriending me on Facebook.  Was my child’s behavior my fault???

Of course, I know that I’m exposing my own feelings of guilt here.  Every parent who hasn’t had perfect kids feels guilt, sometimes massive amounts of guilt.  I’ve worked on resolving my own guilt issues and I’m not here to debate what was or wasn’t my fault.  I’m addressing two groups of people here.

To group number one, the group that still has not had children or that never will, and the parents of perfection; to you I say, give us imperfect parents a break!  Ease up a little.  Have some sensitivity and compassion.  If you haven’t walked in another parent’s shoes, please don’t be so quick to throw stones.  There is no “Super Parent” cape, so if you think you’ve been wearing one, you’ve just been running around naked or sporting some really ugly spandex.

To the group of parents who have known the heartbreak of your children not growing up and following the beautiful dreams that you’ve envisioned for them; to you I say you’re not alone.  It’s not all your fault.  It’s time to let go of the guilt and if you can’t do that, then get help.  You deserve that for yourself.  And for any mistakes you did make, there is forgiveness here.  You deserve to be free to fly!

This world can be a cold, dark and lonely place.  Parents need lots of support during the hard times.  When you see a parent friend having a really difficult time, don’t pull away because the situation looks to overwhelming.  When the going gets tough, instead of pointing fingers, extend a hand.   Get involved in being a part of the solution and consider it an investment in your own future, because it is.  Even if you don’t have the answers, you can still be available to stand with and for your friend.  You’ve heard it said and I do
believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child.

My Angel Stories…

Real angels ride Harley’s, have scruffy hair, furry arms and wear leather jackets.  I know this is true, because I talked to one once.  I’ll tell you that story in a minute, but first my inspiration for today’s post, my most recent angel story.

So I’m driving down the freeway yesterday morning and start hearing a loud banging noise by my front tire. I maneuvered the car across four lanes of traffic and exited the freeway where I parked to check it out. A chunk of my tire tread was flapping around but the tire wasn’t flat, so I drove to a tire place just down the road. My aunt was with me and we were thankful the tire hadn’t blown or all the tread come off.  The incident brought on a discussion about angels and we began exchanging our personal angel stories.

While my aunt sat inside the tire store, the sales guy and I were checking my tire. I was shocked at how bad my tire was!  I was riding on metal on the inside rim and the tread could be easily lifted. After paying for all new tires, my aunt said that her daily reading had popped up on her phone and guess what it was about. Guardian angels!  We left the tire store and had to change our destination due to lack of time. We decided to go to Scottsdale to shop a little and have lunch.  I parked in old town and my aunt said to look what we had parked in front of. It was “The Angel Store”. OK, so we got the message! Angels must have been taking care of us yesterday.

Angels can make an appearance anywhere!  There was one time I saw what I believed to be angels in a more supernatural form.  I know I’ve shared a little history about past abusive relationships in other blog posts.  One particularly intense story happened at a time I was in the process of moving out to get away from a bad relationship.  I had just broken the news that I was leaving to my x-husband who had been drinking heavily, as usual.  Let’s just say he didn’t take it very well.  After a tirade of profanity and swinging arms he had me pinned on the bed with both of his hands firmly gripped around my throat.  I had reached the point of being light headed from being unable to breathe.  Somehow I was able to escape, so I’m still here to tell about it.  That night I was unable to sleep because, of course, I was a bit traumatized by the experience.  I had tossed, turned, cried, and desperately looked for sleep, to no avail.  The room was dark, but all of a sudden, two glowing outlines in the shape of people were at the bottom of the bed.  One was tall and the other about a foot shorter.  Instantly I was overwhelmed by a sense of complete safety and peace.  All fear was gone and I was able to sleep the rest of the night, no longer the least bit tormented by the events of the day.

I believe angels can be pushy, too!  Another time, I didn’t see any angels, but my daughter had an experience with one.  I was a single parent at the time and my parents kept my two children for me while I was working.  (Side note here, I don’t know how I would have made it without my parents at that time in my life.  They were awesome!)  I had just arrived at my parent’s house to pick up my kids.  My three year old daughter was at the neighbor’s house and saw my car pull in the drive.  In her eagerness to greet mommy, she started running down the steep hill of the neighboring driveway.  A pickup truck was coming down the road and was approaching the bottom of the driveway that my daughter was going full speed down.  There was a big bush at the end of the drive that blocked the pickup truck driver’s view of my baby girl.  The driver had no idea of the tragic picture that I was seeing about to unfold in front of me.  My screams were not enough to stop the driver of the pick up, nor the out of control speed of a 3 year old running down a steep hill.  It was clear that I was not going to reach her in time and inevitable what was about to occur.  My daughter was almost to the road when suddenly, she fell backwards! How does a 3 year old running down a steep hill, fall backwards?  She cried and said her stomach hurt, like someone pushed her down.  I blame it on an angel.

Angels can perform amazing feats beyond our comprehension, too!  One morning during that same season of my life, I had a “shake my head and wonder” experience.  I had dropped my kids off at my mom’s and as I was leaving, mom said something to me.  I can’t remember her exact words now, as that was many years ago, but it was something about being especially concerned for me that day, that she was praying and to be careful.  I had a 30 mile commute into Cleveland and let’s just say, I could make some pretty good time.  I needed angels to be watching out for me, because I wasn’t always the best at it.  Ok, I was stupid!

At one point along the way, the freeway ramp curves around and comes up to meet the freeway on a bridge.  There is very little time for cars to merge into traffic from this ramp before the ramp leads off to exit again.  Drivers coming up the ramp don’t have the best view of the oncoming freeway traffic either.  Add rush hour, a speeding little ice blue Chevette stuck between two semi trailers and not enough lanes, and you have an equation that equals disaster.  I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I just knew I was about to see my life flash before my eyes.  All I remember was that there was no way to avoid being crushed by the semi trucks.  I slammed on my brakes, felt my car start to spin, closed my eyes and cried “Jesus”.  There is no way to explain how it happened, but all I know was the next minute I looked in the rear view mirror and I was in safely in front of the two semi trucks.  I was trembling so hard I had to pull off the road until I was calm enough to drive again.  How does a speeding car, slamming on its brakes, end up ahead of two semi’s when it had previously been between the back of the trailers?  I can’t explain it, but apparently, I didn’t drive faster than my Guardian Angel could fly.  I say more than a few angels must have been involved in that one.  I’m so glad they didn’t hold back on protecting me because they figured I deserved what I got since I had been speeding.

I suppose you are wondering about the furry armed, scruffy angel riding a Harley and wearing a leather jacket.  I met him one day just outside of Payson, AZ.  Again, it was during that same single parent period.  I was in the process of moving myself and my 3 and 5 year old kids from Arizona to Ohio.  I was driving out of the valley and up the mountain road to Payson, pulling a heavily loaded U-Haul trailer behind my car.  Many of you are familiar with the road and the steep grade just a ways outside of town.  On that lonely stretch of desolate road in the heat of summer, the front of my car started to billow smoke.  Not being a mechanic, I had no idea what was happening.  I thought my car was about to blow up.  I found a place to pull over and I jumped out, grabbed my kids and ran before we all died in the explosion.  As I’m standing in the middle of nowhere with two small children, I had no idea what I was supposed to do next.  Cell phones were not even an idea yet and there were no pay phones or gas stations close by.  I was praying for a little help at this point and here comes this scruffy, furry armed guy with a leather jacket, riding a Harley.  “Oh God, not him!” I prayed, because surely he must belong to a motorcycle gang and would harm me in some way.  I apologize to the bikers reading this.  Keep in mind, this was many years ago and I already admitted that I was stupid.  I actually breathed a sigh of relief as he rode past, but not even a minute later, he was back.  I was petrified as my imagination went wild with the possible scenarios.  But what could I do?  There was no where to run.  I was probably in the most vulnerable spot I could possibly ever be in.  He got off his bike and asked for the keys to look at my still smoking car.  I thought, “Oh God, he’s going to steal my car and everything I own and leave me stranded here!”  He didn’t though.  After he looked under the hood, he said my car had overheated and told me to wait a little while and then drive up the road about a mile.  There would be a drive that would turn off and he instructed me to pull off and drive down to where I would find a garage.  He said that someone would be there who would help me.  Then he left.  My out of control imagination played with the horrific scenarios of following this furry armed biker’s instructions, but not having the knowledge or sense I needed, I felt I had no other choice.  I found the dirt road and drove down the drive and sure enough, there was an old little, white building.  A man came out and looked at my car, added fluid and sent me on my way.  I was safe!

I headed into Payson and grabbed some lunch with the kids before we were on our way out of town.  It wasn’t long before the road got steep, once again and my check engine light came on.  As I checked my mirrors before I pulled off the road, I was totally shocked to see that same biker behind me.  Instant panic set in!  Was it just a coincidence or was he following me?  Had he been watching us as we stopped for lunch?  Was he just waiting for an opportunity to do God knows what?  I chose to keep on driving rather than pulling over, as that seemed to be the lesser risk.  But believe me, I was praying hard the whole time.  I’m not sure how far I drove with the motorcycle following me, but eventually, the road leveled out and a long desolate stretch lay ahead.  Just when I had about worried myself sick, the check engine light went off.  I was so relieved, but to my surprise, the biker was gone, too!  There had been no turn off, no intersection.  He just seemed to disappear and believe me; I had been keeping a close eye on him.  My best and only conclusion was that this must have been an angel watching over me!

Yes, I do believe in angels all around us, everyday.  I think we probably have far more encounters with angels than we ever realize.  A couple morals of this story:  1. Don’t judge a person by their appearance.  2. Don’t doubt the ability of a big God who cares enough to send angels to protect you and don’t be surprised if they ride Harley’s and wear leather jackets.

Healing Hurts – A Story With Two Endings

Years go my youngest son, age two at the time, experienced severe burns to his chin, chest and arm.  I was entertaining guests that day and had just poured boiling water into cups for tea.  My son, who was a particularly adventurous and curious child, just had to know what I had poured into those cups.  I did not notice that he had tottered up behind me.  Unaware of the dangers of boiling water, he stood on his tippy toes and stretched his chunky little arms until his fingers could grasp one of the cups.  He lowered the cup to his mouth and touched it to his lip.  Shocked by the heat of the boiling hot water, he dropped the cup, spilling it all over himself.  The thick blanket sleeper he was wearing soaked up the hot liquid and stuck to his skin.  Intense screams followed the spill.  I immediately scooped him into my arms while ripping off the blanket sleeper.  I ran cold water over the burned areas and applied cold towels but it was apparent that the burns were serious enough for a visit to the emergency room.  Sure enough, my baby boy had second and third degree burns and came home with thick bandages on the affected areas.

I have experienced significant burns myself.  In my later teen years, I accidently submerged half of my hand in a 350 degree fryer while cleaning it.  I don’t even want to describe how my hand looked as I pulled it out of the hot grease.  If you have ever experienced significant burns, you well know how painful they are.  Even more painful would be the treatment that was to take place in the weeks that followed my son’s injury.  Each day, for two weeks would include a visit to the doctor’s office to have debridement done on my son’s burns.  The treatment would probably need to be followed by plastic surgery on his arm.

Debridement is the medical removal of a patient’s dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. Removal may be surgical, mechanical, chemical, autolytic

The daily treatments began.  My role was to hold my screaming son down on the table while the doctor scraped the scabs off the burned areas causing them to bleed.  This was to promote the growth of healthy new skin cells.  How incredibly painful the process was though for both of us.  It wasn’t something that I could go through for him.  He had to experience it while I stood by and just held on.

Ending Number One:

I think this analogy can be applied in many areas of life.  Healing hurts.  It hurts when we allow ourselves to “go through” the process.  Who longs for the thrills of an intensely emotional roller coaster ride?  Doesn’t it just make your heart pump and your blood pressure soar when you get to enjoy a heated, internal wrestling match taking place in our own soul!  I know my first instinct is to run the other way or avoid it altogether.

Any time we have to let go of something like anger, betrayal, hate or bitterness, it’s painful.  Any time we have to let go of someone, whether it is an unhealthy friendship, a divorce or even death, there is grief.  The powerful waves of emotion attempting to swallow us up, leave us lying exhausted, battered and feeling powerless.  Yet, allowing those things to take place, not avoiding them or running from them, makes way for the healing to happen.  The key thought here is that I must allow myself to “go through” the pain in order to heal.

What happens if I don’t allow myself to experience the pain?  Infection sets in.  Unhealthy cells cause further damage to the healthy cells and tissue.  Pain increases. If the infection goes untreated for to long, there is even the risk of death.  Avoiding discomfort and what we fear has the potential to do far more damage to us than the initial injury ever did.  By avoiding the pain of the healing process, we are making an unconscious choice to give what ever power we have to that which caused our injury. We put our future dreams, success and even life, at risk.  It is not worth it to avoid the process.

Will allowing the healing process to take place be worth the risk of pain?  I say, yes!  Let’s do this, but let’s do it holding on to each other, even if it means holding each other on the treatment table.

Ending Number Two:

There is another ending to this story that I have to share.  When people heard what had happened to our son, we received many calls from friends expressing their concern and offering their prayers.  There was one woman in particular that I must tell you about.  She was a wonderful, caring friend who worked in our church nursery   Patricia was also a nurse.  She worked in a children’s hospital burn unit.  She would get right into the tubs with patients when they had their debridement treatments.  She would hold the kids, try to comfort and encourage them and of course, pray for them.  She couldn’t wait to hold our baby boy and pray for him in person.

We had only finished day three of the two week treatment course that had been scheduled.  The evening of day three, Patricia was in the nursery and so was our son.  He was always so excited to see her and I can still picture his little legs running to her open arms.  She got her opportunity to pray for him in person that night.  The next day we went back to the doctor for treatment.  Imagine our amazement and relief when the doctor said that our baby boy had made great progress overnight!  We would not need to do anymore treatments, nor see a plastic surgeon.  Now that’s a “God” storybook ending!

Here Comes The Sun…

While catching up with an old friend over lunch, I recanted a very traumatic event that had taken place within the past couple years.  As I told the story, all the emotion and drama resurfaced and felt just as fresh as the day it happened.  Later that day, my thoughts were repeatedly drawn back to the event.  I remembered how desperately I wanted to be told at the time, “It’s all right,” and no one would voice those words in the situation.

The morning after my lunch date, as I was swimming laps for some early morning exercise, it hit me right between the eyes.  The beautiful sunrise coming up from behind a mountain was blinding.  “Here comes the sun”, was immediately playing loudly in my mind and I knew it was going to be a good day.  I also knew what my blog post would be about this week.  Here’s my story.

It was our anniversary, also Easter weekend that year.  My husband and I were packing for a weekend getaway celebration.  One of our adult children was scheduled for a minor out patient surgical procedure the morning we were supposed to leave.  It was only going to be a ten minute procedure and family members would be at their side.  I was not going to be there, but for some reason I was feeling an urgency to go to the hospital.  I decided I would just go to give hugs before the surgery got underway.

I arrived at the hospital, talked to the nurses and my parents, hugged my child and walked my parents to the waiting room.   The nurse said someone would be out in ten to fifteen minutes to let us know that the procedure was finished.  I decided since it would be over with so quickly, I would just wait.  I’m a mom.  I wanted to hear those words, “It’s all right”.

Fifteen minutes passed.  Thirty minutes passed, then sixty.  No one was coming to tell me, “It’s all right.”  Where were they?  What was happening?  We had noticed several teams of medical staff walking quickly through the hall going into the OR.  We thought something must be happening, but didn’t consider it had anything to do with our family member.  After all, it was just a simple procedure.  At the same time, I began to have thoughts that I didn’t want to speak out loud.

I finally approached the desk and a phone call was made to the surgical department.  I was hearing the attendant repeat words, “admit”, “ICU”.  Tears are even beginning to well up, even now as I type.  After what seemed like forever, the attendant hung up and said, “A surgeon will be out to speak with you.”

Another “forever” moment passed before a surgeon came out.  As I sat in the waiting room and heard my name called, the doctor walked up, bent down and held the arms of the chair on each side of me.  About eight inches from my face, he looked me in the eye and described the problem they had encountered.  The surgery had become complicated and they were going to have to take a different approach.  My child had lost a lot of blood, but they had two trauma teams working to get the bleeding stopped.  They were doing everything they could.  They expected the surgery to take another hour and a half and he would be out again with an update.

It is so wild, what happens in your mind when you experience something like that.  You know it is happening, but it is so hard to really believe and grasp.  We started making phone calls to family members and friends.  We needed to be doing something besides just sitting, waiting, wondering.

Almost four hours after what was supposed to be a minor procedure had begun, a doctor came out, called my name and motioned for us to follow.  As we were ushered to a room, the words, “This is critical,” were spoken.  We sat and were surrounded by part of the surgical team that had been in the OR.  Each person described their role in the ordeal.  The head of the surgical department had taken over the surgery.  We heard sentences like, “We can’t get the bleeding stopped”.  “We’ve done everything we can.”  No one was saying, “It’s all right.”  My child was on a ventilator, being taken to Intensive Care and listed in guarded condition.  They were going to leave the incision open and packed for the next 24 hours.  They hoped to be able to complete the surgery the next day.

The head of surgery allowed me to ride in the elevator with my child from OR to ICU.  Crowded in the elevator with the surgical team, the gurney and all of the equipment was one ride I will never forget.  Seeing your ashen faced child laying there, battered and bruised from the ordeal, blood still on the sheets, tubes and wires everywhere, someone manually pumping air into their lungs… and yet I was still struggling with the reality of what was happening…  Was I going to lose my child?  Could this really be happening?

The next 24 hours were long and excruciating.  An ICU nurse sat in my child’s room, constantly monitoring all of the equipment.  We were allowed very brief visits and spent long hours in the waiting room wondering what was happening, praying for life to continue.

Over those long hours, I had to think about some very uncomfortable, unpleasant things.  Where was God in all of this?  Why was this happening?  What if I lost my child?  People have to deal with loss all around us everyday.  People pray, but the reality is that some don’t make it.  Would mine be one that made it and if so, why?    If not, why?

I didn’t have answers to all of those questions, but I did know that no matter what, I had to continue to hold on to my faith.  No matter what happened, I knew that eventually, I would hear the words, “It’s all right.”  Even when it did not feel alright, even if the outcome was not one that I would consider to be all right, I would still trust.  I’ve learned from experience, my God has been able to make every wrong situation, right, somehow.  He has done it time and time again and no matter what the outcome, this time would be no different.

I am happy to say, the surgery was successfully completed the next day.  The bleeding had stopped.  The following morning was Easter and the sun rose to a new day.  Twelve pints of blood later, the danger was past.  I was finally able to hear someone say, “It’s all right”.

Why did I share this story?  The sun rose on a new day today.  No matter what you and I are going to experience today, I know I can say, “We are going to make it through”, not alone but with each other and with the help of a powerful, big God.  I can confidently say, “It’s all right!”

And now, on Easter morning of 2015, I relive this story once again. I see the sun rising on another new day as we speak. My daughter is healthy and still breathing the air of this earth. Not everything is perfect in my world. There are on going situations around me that look hopeless, that I don’t have answers for, that I am powerless to fix. But this I do know. God’s mercies are new every morning. His grace still abounds and his faithfulness is great. I have peace in my heart and I know it’s going to be a good day. It’s going to be alright.