Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ethan's Cath - Grace and Prayers

Ethan's fourth heart catheterization (and 13th medical procedure) is coming up in just one week. 

Ugh.

I've got to be honest with y'all - I really struggle with being dreadful of all things hospital, yet still placing my hope in the Lord.  Is it possible to know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28, emphasis added), but feel burdened by what those things may be?

Recently, I've been relating to Paul's writings in the Bible - specifically in regards to the thorn in his side - and learning a lot about grace in the process.  In some ways, I feel like Ethan's broken heart is my personal thorn.  It burdens me and worries me and runs me ragged some days.  Paul used the word "torment" (2 Corinthians 12:7) and, at times, that's exactly how I feel.  Just as Paul did, I've asked God to take this away from our family - to take away the emotional and physical pain we experience because of it, to completely heal Ethan's heart.

While I absolutely believe that the Lord heard our prayers and restored Ethan's heart to where it was before his cardiac arrest, there is still a cow vein sewn into it.  There are still surgeries and appointments and anesthesia and consent forms that tell the surgeons, "I give you permission to cut into my son's heart and I understand that he might not wake up."

The thorn digs in deeper and I begin to feel fearful.  Angry.  Weak.

And, the truth is, I don't like these feelings - and I really don't want to accept this thorn.  But then I get to verse 9...

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

...and I remember.

His grace is sufficient.

His grace is enough.

His grace is all I need.

I'm learning lately, more than ever, about grace and how attempting to be "the strong one" or "the right one" doesn't leave any room for the perfect One.  When I try to manage my mess of emotions on my own, or attempt to control-the-heck out of situations, I am pushing Christ and His grace out of the picture.

So, as the walls close in on me this week, I sincerely pray that I'll accept His grace that covers every ounce of my weakness - especially when I'm ready to pound my fists and stomp my feet.

-------

Here are some specific things y'all can be praying for over the next seven days:

1. Ethan's health - we've been in "isolation" since last Wednesday in an effort to keep Ethan well before next Tuesday.  They will not perform the cath if he's sick, so keeping him healthy is crucial.  So far, so good!
2. Dr. R. - God has really placed him on my heart in the past day or so, and I ask y'all to join me in praying for him as he prepares for Ethan's case.  It will be another tricky procedure, and he'll need to make skilled, wise decisions.
3. The cath itself - As was the case last spring, this procedure will either delay surgery or place it in our near future (see #2).  Pray that there will be no complications and that Ethan's body will handle the anesthesia well.
4. This week - I do feel like the literal walls of our house are closing in on me.  The days are long and my patience is short.  It's only Tuesday and we've already put together every puzzle, and watched more shows than I care to admit.  Pray for me, and leave me some ideas of things I can do with the E-Man this week.

Please :)

Thank you for loving us well.


11 comments:

Stefenie said...

You and I share the same feelings my friend. I love how you used Paul and the thorn in reference to how you feel about Ethan's heart condition. Perfectly said.

You know you already have my prayers! This journey is never easy and having to go through the constant need for caths and surgeries is heart breaking deal with. I pray every night that God will lead the right people to make the most amazing discovery that will end the need for so many surgeries for kids like Ethan and my Logan who require artificial/donor parts to repair their hearts. Wouldn't it be wonderful some day for a new family finding themseves in our shoes to be told their child will only need one, maybe even two surgeries tops because there is a replacement for them that will grow with them, won't calcify or become stenotic? That's my hope!

Keep the faith my friend! Praying!

Kelly said...

I'll be keeping you and Ethan close at heart this week and especially next Tuesday!
Kelly

alinna. said...

joye, i so appreciate your honesty about the conflict of emotions in you in going through all you guys do with ethan's heart. i hope it's cathartic for you and that you realize that it ministers to people. i'm writing your and ethan's names down right now as a reminder to pray this week. i know you know that i can't understand just where you are or what you're feeling, but i'll pray with as much empathy as i can as a fellow mama. <3 alinna.

Sherry Reese said...

Your faith through all of this is truly inspiring, Joye. I have never been in your shoes and have no idea how you get through it all except with the grace of God. I'm so glad I found you, and I will definitely continue to keep sweet Ethan in my prayers. I envision him grown into a big strong man with a big strong heart one day! :-)

Allison Matthews said...

Joye -- on special occasions my friend breaks out different colors of shaving cream and her little girl (2 1/2 yrs old) "finger paints" on the shower wall. She squirts the different colors in a muffin baking tin to simulate an artist's palette. Easy clean-up for sure, and a special treat. She also shared the following link on her blog: http://www.thestay-at-home-momsurvivalguide.blogspot.com/. It's supposed to have a lot of fun activities for little ones.

Allison

Brandi K said...

Hang in there and remember I love you both :)

Carolina Carters said...

I'm seriously in tears right now. I'm praying so hard for y'all, I definitely want you to know that. I love, LOVE the Paul reference and I think it's a perfect comparison to life with CHD.

As far as activities, I'm bad about pulling out something random and letting Derrick paint it. He loves it and it will occupy him for oh, 20 or 30 minutes. He likes to paint anything, including smearing around the paint on the paper plate. He might like that one the best. The other day I found a wooden "D" that had been sitting in his closet (it was attached to a baby shower present) and I got out my collection of buttons (that I've never used) and let him glue the buttons on the D. He loved it! I'll try to be thinking of things because I feel the walls closing in for you! Why is it when you can't go somewhere that's all you think about doing?!

I'm praying for y'all and love y'all!

Tara said...

Joye - beautifully said...what a wonderful picture to use Paul to describe it...It rings so true with me as well.

Know that you have our families prayers through this week and for the cath. Your faith is shining brightly =)

Have you tried writing and making up stories with Ethan? I've started doing this with Liam before bed time, and I think I need to write some of them down, because we come up with some funny stuff!! Just a fun way to get them to be creative - plus you could have him draw pictures to go with them =) I know inside life can be rough - we basically live inside all summer, since it's about 109 outside all the time ;) Prayers you will find creative outlets this week!

Becca said...

I love your words and your heart. I totally can relate, and I am praying for you guys!!!

mossfamily said...

I will most definitely keep Ethan in my prayers! And I will also pray that the Lord will give you a peace about the whole thing. I love your honesty & such well spoken words. It always touches my heart!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could provide words of wisdom... I will be there for Ethan, you and Jeramie when ever you need me. I did a google search on 'Indoor Activities for a 3 year old'.... here is some of what they said, i really like the one about creating and decorating the ghost.

I hope this helps. I love you guys!! Grandma A.

Play music to dance crazy and then when you pause it they have to freeze, play it again and they dance

Create a "found" box with egg cartons, juice containers, toilet paper rolls, and other "trash" that they could turn into an art project. Give them a roll of tape and no guidelines, and you'd be amazed at the things they can come with.

Make potato stamps. Cut a potato in half, cut simple shapes that protrude slightly from the potato, and have fun with potato stamps. Dip the stamp in paint and watch your three-year-old be amazed that a simple potato can

Cut up an old shirt, place a rolled up sock in the middle of a section of fabric, gather the shirt together under the sock, and tie it with a smaller strip of fabric. You now have a ghost that your three-year-old can decorate. Use old fabric to create puppets, monsters, and any other creatures that your child can imagine

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