Have you ever read a passage of Scripture that was so perfect for the moment you’re in that it moved you to tears?
That’s what happened to me last night.
You see, I received some news a few days earlier that I wasn’t prepared to hear. I found out that my newborn baby needs surgery…again. Our little 4-month old, Lucy, has overcome a lot, and she still has more hurdles in the future.
We’ve known this since she was born. But I just wasn’t expecting to hear one of her many doctors say that she would need another surgery so soon.
Lucy has congenital hip dysplasia; her little feet face outwardly and the sockets of her hips are not in place. Earlier interventions have not worked to resolve the issue, which means she will likely have multiple surgeries. Lucy will also be in a cast for some time afterward, and she will not follow the normal progression and development for a child her age in crawling, walking, and many other areas of physical movement. At the moment, we also are not sure how long all of this will be a major issue for her.
Lucy’s appointment was with an orthopedist, who had previously placed her in a brace and ordered another ultrasound less than half a month before. The doctor entered the room after reading Lucy’s latest ultrasound on her hips and declared that the brace she had been wearing was doing nothing. A date on the operating table was scheduled for a couple months later, when she reaches six months of age.
I felt a clenching in my heart and I thought, “Another surgery? I thought we’re done with the surgeries for a few years!”
Our family has been through a lot in the past year, and adding more surgeries felt overwhelming. As a result, I found myself living under a lot of stress and pressure. There has been so much going on and the new severity of her hip problem just felt breathtaking to comprehend.
Honestly, I’m not afraid of the surgeries or concerned that Lucy will not make it through. Lucy will ultimately be fine. I’m just tired and trying to constantly adapt to what life looks like now. Not only are we learning what it’s like to parent two young kids, but we are also navigating taking care of Lucy, who has a lot of medical issues, including a feeding tube. Her lymphatic system is completely wrecked because of her in utero condition, hydrops fetalis, which requires daily massages to help move all of her excess fluid out of her body. Lucy has Turner Syndrome a chromosonal disorder that is the root cause of everything.
With all of these issues going on at once, I had just been hoping that nothing major would be added to the mix. Thankfully, every problem Lucy is facing can be cured or managed and her long-term prognosis is very good.
But when you have a lot on your plate, you really do not want to have anything else added, especially when you’ve already navigated so many problems already.
Of course, illness is always unpredictable, as I am sure you are aware. Sometimes the cancer comes back. Or the treatment doesn’t work. Or one surgery leads to another, and then another.
So what do you do when you’ve traversed a well-beaten down and hard road only to find the path is even longer than you thought?
We always knew the journey with Lucy would be difficult. We just thought we would have a bit of a rest for the time being. She was born October 17th, came home from the hospital on December 11th, and by the beginning of February, she was already being scheduled for more extensive surgery.
Life is never what you expect it to be, is it? When we are teenagers, or perhaps even young adults, we often look at the world through a lens of wonder, possibility, and innocence. That’s what I love about young people; I love their idealism and their positivity. But something happens to most of us as we age, we become impacted by the world around us.
And it is a tough and hard world – because it is not our home. This world where we reside now is not where we were created to live.
It all started way back in the Garden in Genesis where everything when awry. That’s when the first humans decided they wanted to be like God and ate from the forbidden tree. Then everything changed and innocence morphed into a harsh reality.
Oh, there is so much to say on this topic, more than we can cover in this article alone. But it’s because of the Fall that we find ourselves in a sphere where trouble can come to us at any time.
So what do we do? Where do we go? How do we survive?
And that’s the question – the key to it all. Where do we go or what do we do when hardships fall on us?
Of course, when trouble strikes, there are always options to turn toward. Here are some very popular ones :
Of course, that’s just a few, but you get the idea. When life gets hard, people typically resort to some variation of these common practices.
So when I came back from the doctor’s appointment and shared with Aaron that Lucy is going back to the hospital in two months, well, he too was taken aback as well.
The news hit him hard and he was overwhelmed with the reality that Lucy will have to go back to the operating table, and it really affected his behavior.
After a few days, I spoke with him and said:
“Listen, you have to be strong.”
“Lucy needs us to be strong.”
“We can’t break.”
“This surgery will make her healthy.”
As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I knew they weren’t entirely true. While I do believe that this surgery is just another thing on a long list of issues we need to tackle with Lucy, I knew the approach I had adopted for dealing with this scenario wasn’t right.
I was taking this on in my strength, not God’s.
How did I know?