Friday, April 30, 2010

what do you do... when the answer is "no"?

that is the theme at church this coming sunday, and it has gotten me thinking this week... and remembering a time when i asked for something, and the answer was "no," and what it has done for me in this journey. so, after pondering this all week, i want to share it with you.

waaaaaaay back in the day, when asher was 2 months old, i was tired. and stressed. and very, very scared. asher had already had his hybrid and ASD stent, and we had appointments every day. and i mean, every. single. day. no exceptions. every day. whether it was cardio in toronto, or cardio in london, or paeds, or nursing, or OT, or whatever, we saw someone every day. it was exhausting. and then when you figure in all the trips to emerg (which were, even then, too many to count), it was a lot.

all because of asher's wonky heart.


when he was 2 months old, he had a few symptoms. he was grey, his nose was runny, he was irritable, he was refluxing more than usual (which meant that he vomitted at least twice during each feed, instead of his usual average of once). it looked like a cold, really, but these were dangerous (and still can be, frankly) in a child as fragile as asher, so he was admitted in london. his sats were low, so he was on oxygen. but the scary part of it all was that

they couldn't figure out what was wrong.

they looked everywhere, swabbed everything that there is to swab, and i'm sure the lab had a whole section that week devoted solely to asher peters. it made toronto uneasy, knowing asher was sick but undiagnosed, so we were sent there. and literally, as we were waiting for the transport team, pepy (my fave cardio of all time) ordered a urine culture, on the off-chance there was something there. it was the only thing that hadn't been checked, because baby boys don't normally get UTIs, but it was the only thing left to check, so they cultured it.

and then we left for toronto.

we got there, and the resident came in and assessed him. then the cardio came in and assessed him. and used asher as a little teaching tool. they discussed his symptoms (keep in mind, i was standing right there at this point), and then the cardio asked the resident,

"do you know the virus that's never diagnosed, but shows up on a lot of autopsy reports?"

yeah, that stroke you're having right now reading those words, yeah. that's how i felt when he said it. oh, and i'm a little nauseated at the memory right now, too. gosh, thanks, doc. anyway....

they ordered an echo, which would happen that night at some point. (as i recall, around 9-ish).

as i sat in asher's room waiting, and asher lay there sleeping, i was overwhelmed by all of it: the stress, the exhaustion, being ripped away from my other babies, the relentlessness of this life, the severity of asher's condition... all of it. i remember sitting there, on the couch/bed-thing they have in the rooms, and i just couldn't take it anymore. it was too much. i mean, how much suffering can one little baby take? can his family take? why does it have to be this way? why can't it stop? why can't asher just be healthy?????

and between my tears, i heard my heart tell me to pray.

so i did.

and i asked God to heal asher. i have that faith that can move mountains. i'm the "jump out of the boat" kind of person. it's what i do. i am, therefore i believe. so i prayed, "God, please, i know You can do this, so please heal asher." and i swear to you, i heard it as clearly as though there was someone sitting right next to me in that room,


"but, God," i pleaded, "You are the Great Physician. You can do this. just think of what a great testament to Your awesome power and mercy if they came in to do the echo and they found a functioning left ventricle attached to a healthy heart! what a miraculous sign and wonder if there is suddenly a whole heart where there wasn't one before, if there is suddenly life where it wasn't there before. and You would get all the glory for this miracle and we could finally have rest, which You continually promise to those who love You."

and again, as clearly as though someone was in the room speaking to me, i heard that same voice say,

no. that's not the miracle I'm going to do here.

"alright," i replied. "but since You made him this way, You have to sustain him this way. because i can't do it. i'm too tired. it's too much. i'm exhausted, and i can't do this anymore."

and that's it. that is, honestly, the last - and only - time i have ever asked God to heal my boy.

now, i know what some of you are thinking. first, perhaps that i'm a little crazy, thinking i hear God like that. well, i don't know what to say to that other than, yes, i heard God that night. and He said no. second, you might marvel at the irony of it all, that i was that tired and "couldn't do this anymore" over three years ago now. and it's not lost on me, either, i assure you. such is this life.

but probably the most remarkable - i'll admit - is that, when God said "no" i accepted it. sure, i put that little demand at the end, but i accepted that God has other plans for asher. and i have clung to that promise every day since then... that God is planning some kind of miracle with this boy. i have no idea what He has in mind specifically, but that's ok


now i get to look for it.

and see it ("if you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me" Jeremiah 29:13)



every minute

and literally, every heartbeat.

you don't have to look long through this blog to see the truth about asher: this boy should be dead at least 15 times by now (i've counted).

and yet, here he is, hanging out with paddington bear in matching raincoats. grocery shopping. playing with his beloved percy. working on potty training himself. hugging his family as often and as passionately as he can. throwing tantrums the likes of which mothers throughout the ages have never encountered. chasing the cat all over the house. reading his favourite books (thomas stories, of course). colouring. running. chatting. laughing. singing. joking. hiding behind the curtains. rummaging through blithe's purse. eating melba toast and fat-free cream cheese non-stop. making sure his food doesn't have fat. taking his meds without complaining. showing off his G-tube scar. getting ticked off because it's bedtime. falling asleep immediately at bedtime. and sneaking into my bed in the middle of the night, cuddling up to me and saying, "mommy, i love you."

every moment i just described there is a miracle. these are the miracles God has done here. and there are (i hope) so many more to come. right now, i'm enjoying each miraculous heartbeat, because as we all know, it wasn't so long ago that there weren't many of those heartbeats. and yet now there are at least 80 of them every minute.



and astonishingly huge





so, the next time you ask for something and the answer is "no," just breathe. and watch. because the miracle you really want is right there, in the very next second. and the next. and the next.

1 comment:

Jenaia said...

I have got too much to say on this one, so I am just going to say "WOW" I loved this entry of your blog Heather. I get it, I totally do and although we have been through a couple of the same surgeries as you we have gone through nothing compared to you and Asher, but I get it and I love your faith. You go girl!