I confess, I am an avid NPR listener. Much less so than when I worked full-time traveling about in my car. About a month ago I happened to be tuning in on a short ride back from a friend’s house only to hear Colorado Public Radio (CPR) was giving away a trip to Fiji. Huh, I thought. I’d like to win that. So I got home, went online and entered my name. After all, my dream vaca is to travel to Bora Bora-Fiji would suffice.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and sure enough I get the call. “Congratulations, Lauren! You are our Fiji Getaway winner!!” Oh. my. gosh. Who wins stuff like this? A $10,000 trip to Fiji?! Are you kidding me? Andy couldn’t believe it either. Somehow my text “We won that NPR trip to Fiji. . .I am serious” apparently missed “believable” rating on the ‘things my wife texts me’ scale.
Andy got home and we immediately googled images for “Fiji” and joked about who we would possibly meet on an island where it costs $2,000 a night to get bed sheets all sandy. “Maybe you’ll meet some celebrity who will employ you as their forever graphic designer!” I commented. A girl can dream, right? All the while we dreamed of these sandy beaches, we could not fully imagine ourselves wining and dining with our porpoise friends and new celebrity client. That’s because whenever you win a prize you gotta pay the price–the taxes price. That’s right. Uncle Sam wants some of my winnings, and the portion for a 10k trip was outrageous.
Andy and I prayed about going and vacillated from “Heck ya-let’s sell all we have on ebay to go!” to the more rational, less flashy, “What the heck, we could buy a mini van with that money.”
Before precious River came along, I think we would be 100% get out of my way I’m going to Fiji suckas! But when that little squirmy bundle came into our world in April, it was time to put the “it’s not about us” shoes on and walk straight into the parenting adventure.
After spending time in prayer, we felt we needed to do that proverbial “open handed” thing, you know where you literally coach yourself into opening your clenched fist into an open hand and submit that dream to God. And as that fist opened we just knew this was not the best way to spend our savings for this growing fam.
We finally told CPR, no thanks. I did try to give a little sob story about just having a baby and Fiji being a dream to see if I could coax ol CPR into paying the tax money, but apparently even a baby couldn’t melt their stony hearts.
And then it happened. Last week my precious lamb spit up some blood. Now I am a first time, brand new at everything, my house isn’t even baby proofed yet mom. Can you imagine what went through my head when I saw that blood. I prefer not to repeat it here. After a check up at the pediatrician’s office we got an all clear and resumed our normal day which consists of me making a mess throughout the house as I try and accomplish things with one hand because I have a socially needy baby in the other. (I love her.)
That afternoon I got an explosion of poop. No surprise here. The color was off-you know, from that yellowy color to, oh, I’d say, black. I didn’t think much of it, but thankfully enough to talk about my baby’s poop to my mother in law.
And then I did it. . . I sent a picture of poop via text. I never thought I’d ever send pictures of poop via text message, but it was happening and I praise God for technology. My mother in law, who happens to be a NICU nurse, told me to take that diaper and get to the doctor.
By the time I learned that black poop was no good, our pediatrician had called it a night and we were off to the ER with a googly happy baby. . .with black poop. What was happening?
I’ll tell you what was happening. It’s called “Welcome to the next level of trusting God and his goodness and sovereignty,” also known as “Parenting.”
Upon arriving at the ER and getting little lamb checked out, it was immediately confirmed that the black poop was blood and that there was internal bleeding happening in that little body.
Talk about a jaw dropper. I’ll admit I was doing mighty fine until I heard there was something going on inside River that we couldn’t see, determine, or fix in that instant.
Thankfully the ER staff was very used to working with mommas who had sick babies, because they were very understanding of the tears. And they knew the floodgates were about to open when it was time to get the IV in a 3 month old baby’s arm.
I tried to hold it together, holding my baby’s hand and telling her I loved her in her ear as she screamed. I wanted to sing to her, but I couldn’t hold it together enough to get a note out.
We were sent up to the pediatric floor which became our home for the next two and a half nights. When we learned we would be staying a second night Andy and looked at each other and laughed, “I guess this is our trip to Fiji” I said to him as we praised God for not spending savings on a trip. “At least we get room service,” I added. “And free diapers,” Andy said with a half-smile.
It felt like a long stay. Andy and I prayed for healing and help from Lord. We called upon our friends to pray. One of the most comforting things Andy kept telling me is that God loves River more than we do and we can trust him with her.
That is the truth, and it was time to do that open hand thing again; it was time to submit my daughter to the Lord.
As scary as it was to talk to doctors about what might be happening inside River’s little body, and to not know the outcome, I praise God for the opportunity to trust him with our daughter. It’s one thing to pray for her, it’s another to say, “She is yours, Lord.”
We are home now and as far as the doctors can tell, the active bleeding has stopped. It’s still a mystery of what happened or what is happening, but we still have our bouncy joy filled River.
This world is full of hard things; giving up life long dreams, watching your tiny baby fall ill; and that’s not even scratching the surface of hardship and suffering in most people’s lives. But within a world of hard, is the hope of Jesus, and the more time I have on this earth and the more life I live, I’m learning that in the midst of the hard, submit. Open the clenched fist. Give God the glory. For our ways are not hidden from him, he does not disregard us.
“Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, my cause is disregarded by my God? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:27-30
Yes. I want to take lots of trips to exotic beaches around the world. No. I do not want my precious baby to ever be ill. But when the yes’s become no’s and the no’s become yes’s and we see our world start to disappoint, or crumble, or fall apart, it is a blessing because it reminds us to go to Jesus; it reminds us that he is our hope; he does not disappoint.
In all my dreaming about Bora Bora, knowing that I’d probably never get to see it in person, I’d always tell myself, “Heaven will be better.” And you know what. That’s the truth. I may never get to the sandy shores of French Polynesia, but. . .
Heaven will be better.