Sunday, July 20, 2014

Now and then.

This weekend has been a weepy one, friends. I've taken two pregnancy tests over the past three days, because surely being 'with child' is the only reasonable explanation to the range of emotions I've felt since Friday.  But, nope.  As it turns out, being less than two weeks away from sending your child into another operating room can explain it, too.  Add to that the feeling of being 'on hold' as we wait for the big day, and those pregnancy-related emotions start to pale in comparison. (P.S. - I'm not pregnant.)

Ethan and I stayed home this weekend while Jeramie attended a surprise party for his grandma's 80th birthday.  As much as I wanted us to be there, I knew that exposing Ethan to a large crowd of people this close to surgery wouldn't be a wise decision; so, at home we stayed.  I was okay with it on Friday, but by Saturday afternoon I was a mess.  In fact, by 11:30 that morning, both Ethan and I had already cried about not being there. Y'all, you don't know tears until you see your five-year-old's chin start to quiver and hear him ask, defeated, "Did MawMaw not invite me to her party?"

I held him in a long hug, assured him that of course she did, and we had yet another conversation about surgery and pain and hospitals and conduits.  We wiped our tears, then I began to frantically think of ways to make it better -- "We'll make our own birthday cake!" ... "We'll face-time during the surprise!" ... "We'll make the most of it!", I told him.  I even put on make-up for the first time in more than a handful of days.

But, the truth is, we're faced with a problem we can't fix.  It's not that we had to miss out on time with family, although that is incredibly disappointing.  The real problem is that we have to take our son to a hospital, lay him down on an operating table, and wait for hours on end while a surgeon saws through the bone in his chest to expose a heart in need of intervention. No amount of frosting or technology or mascara can fix that.

There have been a few times over the past couple of weeks where Jeramie and I have found ourselves at this place of realization.  "The problem", I'll say, "is that our five-year-old needs open heart surgery."  This just isn't the way it's supposed to be, and something deep in my soul wants to fight it with every breath.  During times like those, I find myself groaning in my tent, longing for our heavenly dwelling* -- not just for a better now, but for His promise of a better then.  Then.  When I'm face-to-face with Jesus, worshiping at His feet.  When babies don't die and kids don't need open-heart surgery.  When tears don't fall.  When there's nothing but joy and adoration in the presence of our Savior and King. Then.

But, this is now.  Sin-filled, sad, scary now.  Even on its best days, now cannot compare to what will be then.  Knowing that, I've been so encouraged recently by a friend of mine about now.  We both have babies with needy hearts, we both love Jesus, and we both desire to make Him known to the world. On more than one occasion, I've heard her refer to her son's time in the hospital as an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone, and I was blown away the very first time she said it. But as we approach this next surgery, the Lord has used her to show me that the halls of the hospital are every bit a 'mission field' as the villages in India.  Through Jesus, our family is able to approach this uncertain time with hope and confidence in someone greater than an earthly surgeon. Why wouldn't I want to share that with the scared mama sitting beside me in the waiting room?

Now, and then.  For me, it is a daily struggle to reconcile the two. It is so easy to want the best of both worlds -- to want the better now AND the better then.  But now is messy.  Now leaves me aching for then. 

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
-1 Corinthians 13:12

Lord, help me to live now in light of what will be then.

- - - - - - -
*2 Corinthians 5:2, paraphrased


Katie said...

Beautifully written--prayers of grace and strength for all of you!

Smoots in Boots said...

Yes, yes, yes. And so thankful that the messy now is fleeting and the joyful then is eternal. God uses you to put words to my heart and my sorrow. He uses you to encourage me and remind me if His great love for us both. Thankful for you.

Sherry said...

Oh so beautifully put, Joye! I know what you mean about longing for the "then" when the "now" is just so painful. Like you said, then is a time where no babies die or need open heart surgery. I am praying for peace and strength for you all and comfort for little Ethan during this anxious time in his life. One day, he will look back on these days as only a small shadow on a life filled with so much happiness and beauty! :-)

Anonymous said...

As always, thank you for sharing your heart, and for keeping us updated on the Tri-Mulli... praying for y'all leading up to E's next surgery, will be praying during it, and after it... God is good, and He has a plan... you are one strong momma, and I admire you lots roomie! Hugs to you all! Love, MJ and the Consey crew

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