Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Copyright 2015 ChloeGirl Designs

Last week our sweet Chloe had her heart cath. The test that was to tell us how to move forward...with treatment? Or to know that we've done all we can this side of Heaven to help our daughter. If it was her heart, and her heart required yet another hard surgery, then that would have been the end. If it was her lungs, then there was hope to continue on with time, nutrition, and hopefully improvement due to a delicate dance of medicines to treat her infections and help dry out her lungs.

The doctor who performed the cath, along with his team, guided us down the corridor to a place where we could view Chloe's cath, see how her heart function is, and watch as the dye crisply and quickly pulsated through her tiny veins on the screen before us. Just before starting, one of the others with him suggested we sit down. I didn't like the sound of this. Fortunately in the end it was simply because there was a lot to see, take in, and to be explained to us.

I think the Lord is like that sometimes. He gently guides us to sit down so we can talk and soak it all in. We assume that means the worst and brace ourselves, knees locked while bending slowly down in our posture before Him. But then He says, "I will strengthen you for this."

The cath revealed that Chloe's heart function had slightly higher numbers than we'd like, but were to be expected due to her ventilator settings. It revealed that the single ventricle (instead of two bottom ventricles Chloe only has one) that she has was squeezing great, but not relaxing that squeeze very well resulting in higher pressures and lower oxygen saturations. In the end, after viewing all the angles and thoughts, we were informed it's not really her heart, it's her lungs that need to dry out and that will help her heart. There's to be a ballet of intricate foot-work involving delicate levels of meds to balance in order for all parts to help each other to heal. But it's possible. It is possible. It'll take not days, not weeks, most likely months, but it is possible. I need to get that girl some ballet slippers...

Deep breath. Exhale. We have hope.

But we weren't exactly sure how to chew on these words. They swirled around in our minds, but never really landed anywhere. Her team agreed. With Chloe, so much is unknown territory. Even today a kidney doctor looked at me in the eye and said that he just didn't know what was causing weird kidney levels. That on paper nothing added up and we'd just have to wait and see. The hospital we're at is second in the nation for their kidney team. And yet he was baffled. Little did he know, stepping into the Chloe-game seventeen months too late that this is just how she works. It's in her DNA {literally, as in chromosome 22} to not play by the rules. We need to get him a #becauseitschloe shirt to welcome him into the fold that is the "we don't know yet" team.

We left the hospital that night relieved but worried. Confused but rejoicing in one more day with our daughter. Perplexed between asking the questions of do we officially celebrate that it's not her heart and include her in the Christmas present buying season...and yet at the same time not yet plan conversations with home health nurses?...

Often we hear God's voice tell us to sit down and take something in, then leave us on the cusp of, "Ok, but can you repeat that because I'm sort of lost and want to make sure I heard you correctly." At least that's how the Lord and I work. I hear Him, but I don't want to believe Him or fully trust Him. It's like I can see the paths ahead, and I don't know which one He's already ordained for me, but I, in my state of depravity, think I have it all figured out and know exactly which path is best for me. Or in this case, for my daughter.

But the gift is that He strengthens me for times such as these. He already knows and has ordained the path forward. I simply need to walk it.


Right. Sounds so easy.

Paul simply had to walk that road as well. Simply walking it, preaching it, right into house arrest for daring to share the Gospel of Jesus. In the book of Philippians, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi and thanking the Philippians for their gifts, and says that,

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length zyou have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be acontent. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and bhunger, abundance and cneed. 13 I can do all things dthrough him who strengthens me.

Ever see on Pinterest or Instagram or anygram anywhere the phrase "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me"? Ever wonder what the context was? Because we make it cliche. We overuse just those ten words. God doesn't make scripture cliche, folks. We do. He writes the stuff. We misuse it. We've seen it on ads for star athletes. We've seen it on shirts and on tote bags. We've used it in every way we possibly can, but not always in the way it was intended.

Paul isn't talking about God giving him the strength to win gold medals or strength to endure until he's worked so hard that he can afford that amazing car//house//life//dream//fill in the blank.

God isn't saying he will bless whatever we do. This passage does not mean that I can do anything//be anything//try anything I want because Christ will give me the strength to. And He's not saying He will provide the material things to see us through the trials. Rather, He's saying He will strengthen us to stay obedient to the cross and trust Jesus in any and every circumstance. He's saying He'll give us the strength we need to stay focused on Him when life's trials come. That in every station of life, in seasons of want and seasons of need, the Lord will teach us contentment. "For I know how to be brought low and how to abound..." {Philippians 4:12}.

Earlier this week a friend drove over to see Chloe and have lunch with my husband and I. When the subject turned from how good the salsa was to how good {or not good} are we enduring this trial, all that came to mind, and has these last few weeks, was this passage. You see, last week, we walked into the doors of a children's hospital where our almost year-and-a-half-old daughter is and signed consents for a test that would tell us a bit of her future, grim or good. And in our hearts we had peace.

Isn't that odd? We had peace about the fact that we might find out we could lose our daughter soon? Now don't misunderstand, as I clarified to our friend, it's a brutally, gut-wrenchingly hard outlook where our lives would be torn apart, but there was a peace in knowing He would provide the strength to endure any outcome. And not just for this test, but for this entire journey ever since that first ultrasound. Flash back forward and the Lord has provided every meal, every pillow, every cent, every material thing for us, and He goes beyond that to provide for rest for our souls to find strength in Him alone.

Call me crazy, but I can't get there on my own. It takes a whole lot of relying on the Holy Spirit to get to that moment. But Jesus strengthened us for that moment. He strengthened us to endure the cath and the results. Each day, each test, each result, He provides strength. He makes us content in our current situation because He strengthens us to obey Him on this walk and to rest in His love. I'm still learning to relax and sink into that love. But it's there and I'm beginning to get used to it.

And it's not easy. The days I fight back {and I still do...I don't have it all together here, folks} aren't easy. But the point is that He is changing me from the inside out and teaching me that I can either choose my own way, and try to strengthen myself, or to choose Him.

It's in choosing Him that I find the strength to continue. One. Day. At. A. Time.