Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Coming Home

I have started this post many times, only to find myself blinded by thankful tears. Most of my stories are something that happened in a span of five minutes - I am unsure how to encapsulate five years on one page. But I will try, because I pray that somewhere in this mess of emotions is something that will speak to your heart. Here goes...

My sister and her family are coming home to Florida. This, however, is not just a celebration of a homecoming. This is the celebration of a miracle. Two years ago, my sister and her husband made one of the toughest decisions of their life. Their then six year old son had been in and out of the hospital for three years and was getting increasingly worse. He would start with a cold then, within hours, begin to throw up and eventually lose consciousness. They had twenty minutes to get him to the ER or else...Well, I can't even type what would've happened to this beloved child. 

My sister has always been a fighter. Her strength is unparalleled. She had had enough. She called a meeting with his team (yes, his team) of doctors and told them she wanted a new team. Fresh eyes. Other options. They directed her to a hospital in Denver called National Jewish that offered a three week full assessment. They would run every test, monitor every function of his body and even dedicate a counselor to the family to assess everyone's emotional health. She left the meeting with the referral in hand and booked the flight.

We did FaceTime calls every day to see how it was going, praying for some answers. About two weeks in, she called while I was at my mom's house and everything changed. "Well, he's doing great. He really is. They are learning a lot," my sister said bravely. I could see her fighting tears. "Are you okay, though? How are you holding up?" I asked.
She dissolved into tears. "His immune system is shot. He doesn't have one. At all. It might never turn back on! They basically said he's allergic to everything in Florida. The grass, the pollen...Everything. Because it never gets cold, the plants he's allergic to never die and he can't get better there. They said if we can, we should live here. We should stay here. We have to stay here."

I can remember the huge conflict of emotions. How could it be fair that I wouldn't see my nephews grow up or be able to sit around the kitchen table with my sister? How could that be gone, all in one swoop? And yet, he had a chance. There was hope as well as pain. "Then that's what you'll do. We'll visit all the time. We'll FaceTime all the time and he's going to beat this." We all cried until we couldn't cry anymore then did what the women in my family do; We put on our game face and got ready to do whatever we could for each other. 

Within a month, their house was on the market, a house was rented in Castle Rock, CO, their business was prepared for absentee management and they were gone. Just like that.

I prayed a lot about this. It didn't seem fair. It's so wrong when a child is sick. I could see the toll it was taking on him; I could see the responsibility he felt for the move. Why would God take them away when they needed us most? Why was my sweet nephew so sick?

But God takes his time with things and his purposes are not always immediately clear. As the months passed, Brody got better and stronger. His visits to the hospital completely stopped. He gained weight and started growing like a weed. His color returned to normal and, a year after their move, his immune system kicked back on. She called in tears. "His adrenal gland is perfect! It's perfect! I don't have to panic every time he gets a runny nose!!" We celebrated this miracle and thanked God for it.

Other things grew stronger as well. My sister and I began to talk more than we ever had when she lived here. We would spend thirty minutes talking about real things instead of five minutes in between kids asking for more juice. We began to really appreciate our differences and admire each other for the ways we lived our lives instead of comparing and competing. We understood each other and, for the first time, began to give each other a bit more grace. When we would visit, our rich history would bubble over into story after story and I have never in my life been more thankful for her friendship.

And then He gave us one more miracle. "Katie...Katie, he's better. All better. He's fine; A normal kid! We talked to the doctors and they said he can live anywhere! We are coming home," she said over FaceTime. I felt all the stress, all the sadness, all the joy, all the hope gush out in racking sobs. I could barely breathe. 
"It's a miracle. It's a miracle!" I said over and over again.

I know that every story doesn't have such a pretty ending, all tied up with a bow. But in the midst of things that we don't understand, God is working. He may not answer our prayers the way we expect but he always has our best interest in mind. He loves us and knows our hearts and wants to give us hope and a future. There's a praise song I love that has these lyrics, "Even when you're caught in the middle of the storms of this life, I won't turn back I know you are near. And I will fear no evil for my God is with me. And if my God is with me, whom then shall I fear? Oh no, you never let go. Through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, you never let go. Lord, you never let go of me."

If you are in the middle of the storm, use this as your prayer. He will never let go of you.

3 comments:

  1. What a beautiful testimony! I'm so glad they are coming home!

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  2. SOOOOO thankful for his healing!!
    The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. But God came so that your nephew could have life. Thanks for sharing this ♡

    ReplyDelete

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