Monday, September 22, 2014

A Mother's Fear

Photo by Evan Olson

What is fear?

It can be defined as:

(fear for) A feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone:

Our little boy underwent a 3 hour surgery on his ear this past Wednesday. Even though the outcome wasn't what I had hoped before, I am just so glad that he is here! I have felt giddy with relief.

You may or may not know that we lost a 4 year old son in 1996 due to a respiratory difficulty. You can read about our son here in this post. He has been with the Lord for eighteen years, now. That is so hard to wrap my mind around.

I was terrified of losing another child. I kept getting hit with intense feelings of panic and fear for 2 weeks before this surgery.

I tried my best to stand on different scriptures that came to my mind. My favorite one that I kept repeating out loud is, "I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save." (Isaiah 49:25)

But there was always a question in my mind. Will something go wrong? Will we lose him, too?

Our son has a genetic disorder that requires a lot of blood draws and medications, but this condition with his ear came out of nowhere and was not connected to his ( primary) genetic condition. I have to admit that I asked the Lord, "Really? Something else? I think one thing to deal with is enough." I think we can talk honestly with God and I do.

This present condition with his ear is called cholesteatoma and is a growth inside the ear. It  had grown over the hearing parts of his left ear - not a good thing if you want to hear. The surgery entails going behind the ear and folding his ear down to remove the growth. The growth was bigger than the ENT expected and had destroyed some bone. He attempted to use cartlilage within his ear to build something for his eardrum to rest on. In 3 months, he will undergo surgery again to see if this surgery was successful. He has lost some hearing in this ear already. I am praying for a miracle.

My fears for him during surgery was that his primary diagnosis (the genetic disorder) can also cause problems with blood clotting. His ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist), his genetic specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals, his pediatrician, and a blood disorder specialist at Blank Children's Hospital, all spoke and planned this surgery together. They went over all the information that was available for his genetic condition, as it is rare. But even with all their expertise and knowledge, I was still terrified.

The Sunday before his surgery, I pulled into the long driveway at our church, and as I did, the thought came to my mind, "What if this was my last Sunday with him?" I knew that wasn't a thought that I should just sit and entertain, and yet, I couldn't seem to shake it. I looked at the church and the parking lot and prayed, " Please God, don't ever let me see this place with cars for his funeral."

It's the NOT KNOWING with God, I think. I know His character. He is kind. He is so loving with me. Yet, I've experienced the death of a child. I know it can happen.

I cried, I prayed, and I bargained. I pleaded and I prayed some more, I spoke scriptures out loud as I went about my day doing laundry and preparing meals.

I tried my best to believe.

I received a facebook message from my aunt Brenda. All of my memories of her will always circle back to these words - a cheerful faith. I don't think she ever thinks of the worst case scenarios. She is always bright and happy and believes for the best outcome. She wrote me and said that she was believing and expecting for his healing. Those words seemed to soothe my fears, at least for a time.

Just a side note -the truest form of love is simply standing with someone as they are going through a battle. We may not have an answer, but if they know you are there, it means everything. But they do need to know that we are there. We can't just assume that they know. That is something I must put into practice more myself.

A friend from church texted me that she felt the Lord had shown her that I was being tormented by fear, especially at night, and that she was standing with me in this fight. I think during this time, I was too wracked by fear and uncertainty to hear anything from God myself. This timely word from her during this time meant so much!

I found myself watching him all the time. My husband was out of town one night and he always likes to sleep with me on those nights. I woke up in the middle of night and felt such fear. I switched on our lamp and watched him while he slept. Then I got out of bed, grabbed my phone, and took his picture. The reason I did that was I knew I would want a photo of him sleeping. Just in case.

 Just in case God maybe had a different plan. Just in case my plan and His plan didn't line up.

Those kinds of thoughts are tormenting. During the day, I tried to walk by faith. And it was faith - just the sheer faith of NOT KNOWING and trying to do what was right.  But at night...the fear grew in intensity.

I wish being a pastor's wife came in handy at times like these. But it doesn't.

I had real fears. I discussed those very real fears with God. I told Him how I was feeling and that even though I loved Him, I wasn't sure about Him. I had no idea what the future held.

Everything I looked at was through this terrible lens of "What if?" What if I lose him? What if God does something I don't want Him to do? What if I come home and he isn't with me?

There is no money, or job, or ministry, or anything, that can take the place of a loved one in your heart. If you have experienced a loss, and we all have to some extent, then you know what I mean.

God didn't sigh and tell me to be strong and get my act together.

I believe He listened. And I always like to think of Him sitting beside my bed at night, especially when I am afraid, and just watching me sleep.

I never did receive any special answer to my frantic prayers. We brought him to the surgery center and played a game of Head Bands with him before they wheeled him into surgery. I stood and watched until I could no longer see his little blonde head from the doorway. I still just didn't know. And, as they say in the South, I was "plumb tuckered out " from worrying. Now it was time to wait and try and trust.

We waited two hours, then three. Then the doctor came back and said that he was in recovery. I was and am so thankful.

He is home and I am so grateful. We still have things to face and to deal with. But seeing his sweet smile and holding his hand has never meant so much.

I didn't get to experience that with the loss of our son, Alex. My last conversation with him was my last. I sang a little song to him that night and gave him a drink of water. He wanted to know what we would have for breakfast the next morning. I didn't know that those were the last words I would hear him say.

I think that is why these past few days have been like a gift to me. I didn't have to say a last goodbye. I can go up to his room and watch him sleep. I don't have to rely on a picture.

I do understand loss. I do understand if you are suffering through some pain that seems unending. If you are hurting today or feel depressed, I do understand - at least, in some measure. If I could, I would sit beside you and hold your hand and say, "You are not alone."

Sometimes we have questions. I have questions, too. I have fears and anxieties. I haven't reached a point with God of total and complete trust, as you can see.

A thought did cross my mind last week. If my worst fears were realized, what then?  I told God the same thing his disciples said to him, "Where else can I go? You alone have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) There aren't any other options that I can see. At least, not options that I would want.

Whoever you are, and wherever you may be today, I bless you in Jesus' name. I speak peace over you - a peace that passes your natural understanding. Even though you may be like me and it's the not knowing that is making things so very hard, or you are experiencing pain, sorrow, despair, depression, or fear, I believe that God sees right where you are and hears the cries of your heart. I am asking Him to make Himself real to you and to whatever situation you are in. You aren't alone.

Our days really are beautiful. If you can look around and see your family around you, you are truly blessed. Everything may not be perfect, every solution to every problem may not be evident, but you are rich.

If you have lost a loved one, know that God is with you. Let him walk this pain out with you.

I read a book about a lady who had lost her husband and two little children in a plane crash. She said her healing came as she entered into their joy. I thought about that a lot after the loss of our son in 1996. When I focused on the joy he was experiencing, the joy of his being able to walk and run for the first time, his joy of seeing Jesus face to face, then I was able to grieve in a better way. I was able to see things from his perspective.

I bless each person reading and send you much love!

(Note:  I actually wrote this several days ago right after our son's surgery. But last night I had the great privilege of hearing a lady's testimony who had been healed of Stage IV terminal cancer. During her long battle with cancer, she actually went to heaven and saw Jesus. Even after that experience, she was not immediately healed. It was a process. She has now been cancer free for 30 years. But something she said has stuck with me today. She said that after that experience of seeing Jesus, any suspicions of Jesus she had ever had were gone. I think that is what I was trying to articulate before I heard her speak. Those "suspicions" are very real to us.We pray, we believe, but then...what will He do?  But I know that He wants to lay our suspicions to rest, including mine. He can be trusted with our lives.)

Linking up to:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 (or more) Things I Am Loving Today

Good morning! I am linking up with Erika and Andrea for:

Here are a few favorite things I am loving today.

1. I am getting on one of these soon to go to...

2.  New York City!!!!! My very first time to visit a place that I've always wanted to see! We are going there to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I love the idea of walking through Central Park.

I've seen these necklaces on several blogs. They are Kendra Scott's Rayne necklaces.

                                                                          Kendra Scott here

                                                                             Watch  here

I also love this watch! It is on sale right now at Nordstroms. I don't own this or the necklace above, but think both are so pretty.

4. I love these boots.
Melissa Frye boots  here

5.  And for something totally random...

Source: Thistlewood Farms blog

I really love the old fashioned look of glass doorknobs and transom windows. If I were building a home right now, I would add glass doorknobs to my doors and use transom windows wherever I could. I was very interested  to read about this DIY project above from the blog Thistlewood Farms.

As a bonus, here is a beauty item that I have liked lately...

It really helps your makeup to go on smoothly and de-emphasizes those little lines. Find it here.

Okay - just one more!! 

I have some kind of love for silverware! You would think I owned a lot, but I don't. But if money were no object, I would buy these babies. I don't know, but I think my cooking would just taste better with these.

Pottery Barn - Maxfield flatware  here

Okay, that's it!

Happy Friday!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

First Time Trip to West End Salvage

Happy Monday!

If you love antiques, you would love to visit this place.

It is called West End Architectural Salvage in downtown Des Moines.

I had heard of it before, but have never been until today.

I was actually looking for a door like this one below. I love the whole look of this vintage door with the Christmas wreath - maybe a few white Christmas lights, too?

                                                                    Blog source:  Unskinny Boppy

I didn't find that, but enjoyed looking around so much!

I don't know if you are like me at all, but I always feel a little sad browsing around an antique place. I guess because I know I am looking at things that once meant something to someone. I felt a little like that today. But since the building itself is also very old, I also wondered who used to walk around in there doing their daily job 50, 75, or even a 100 years ago! Do you think thoughts like that, too? And now here I am with my husband and two of our kids, walking through this same building just for fun.

Here are a few highlights of the day.

Old cash registers fascinate me.

I hope that this gives you a feel of what it was like there.

It takes a while to see everything.

                                     I loved the large mirrors, but they were over a thousand dollars.

I love old signs.

                                      Wouldn't old lights like these look great in a boys' bedroom?

We didn't even get to see the whole building. We saw 3 floors and I think there are 2 more!

There is also an HGTV show about West End Salvage.

Enjoy your week and I hope it's beginning to look like fall wherever you are!

Linking up to:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hobby Lobby Finds with Fixer Upper Style

Today was a lovely day.

We ran into Hobby Lobby on Labor Day so that I could scope out their fall decor. Somehow though, I had left my phone sitting on the kitchen table. I saw so many interesting things and no way to share what I found. So, today as we decided to run to Sam's Club for milk (why is milk suddenly so expensive at the grocery store? Don't they know I have boys in the house?), I knew that I would probably have time to run back in to Hobby Lobby and snap a few photos. Thank you, Dave. (I have a great husband!)

I really noticed the influence of my favorite HGTV show, Fixer Upper, in Hobby Lobby today. I think you'll see what I mean.

Have you seen Fixer Upper? This is the husband and wife team, Chip and Joanna Gaines. I  love them and their obvious love for each other and their kids. It is refreshing to see.

Joanna is the designer of their projects and uses a lot of vintage, distressed type things in her designs.

But back to Hobby Lobby:)

Here's a few things that caught my eye today.

These metal letters reminded me a lot of  the design style on Fixer Upper.

Chipped, vintage look and I LOVED the glass knobs. If we ever build a house again, I would like glass doorknobs for every bedroom door.

This was a heavy cabinet type door with wire basket and hooks below. It would work great in a mudroom or hallway.

I loved the distressed look of this piece. This would be a beautiful accent color  to use in a room.

                                     Loved that this arrow lit up. It would be so cute in a theater room.

                                       I wish I had a place to put this. My husband is glad that I don't.

                                                                   I love old signs.

                                                   My little boy (who loves atlases) would love this map.

                            Another chipped, vintage looking piece. I've seen a lot of blogs where they use something                             like this for hanging jewelry.

                              A little architectural interest. It would look great in our dining room.

                                           Glass knobs. You can't get much better than these.
                                       I know. I need a manicure. Sigh - I always notice too late.

And this little beauty came home with me today. I just love it! It reminds me of school days and of some of the choices for Fixer Upper (and the fact that it was 40% off didn't hurt either!)

What do you think of the design style on Fixer Upper? Has it influenced any projects in your home?

Linking up to:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy September!

At last! It is September 1st! A time for celebration! To me, September 1st is the gateway to the holidays and my favorite time of year. And now, when I go into Target, I will be looking at their back to school displays and knowing that in a very short time, I will begin to see a few random Christmas items appearing on the shelves. This is how I think.

Happy September!!

 Here's a little inspiration with some of my favorite fall things. Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

Images courtesy of Pinterest

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