Saturday, September 12, 2009

White Water

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Brady Boyd preach. The sermon was about the prodigal son and our adoption by God. I don't remember every detail of his message, but I know that I was touched, moved, inspired--glad that I went to church that day. Somewhere near the end of the service, Pastor Boyd said something that made this thought flash through my brain like cloud to cloud lightening.

"I'd rather ride the rapids with God than sit on the bank, watching, without Him."
Little did I know...

My youngest daughter, only a few days away from celebrating her 22nd birthday, squirmed and twisted in her seat beside me. She was in pain.

Rebecca had been having neck pain and a headache, off and on, for a few days. She told me she needed to buy a new pillow because hers was hurting her neck. I didn't think much about it. (Life's river had been gently flowing & I never suspected...)

Two days later my baby came stumbling to my door. Her legs were numb, she could hardly walk, half her face drooped as if she had suffered a stroke, she was rapidly loosing the ability to speak, and she couldn't control her saliva. By the time I got her to the hospital she could hardly lift her arms and legs, she couldn't talk, she was not fully comprehending what people said to her, and she was having trouble breathing. (Suddenly, unexpectedly, the river was rough and dangerous.)

As the evening progressed so did Rebecca's symptoms. One minute she was almost unconscious, the next thrashing about. She was in the bed and out, unable to talk then screaming that she wanted to go home. One moment in tears and the next throwing up. Suddenly she would fall asleep and just as suddenly four adults could not hold her down in the bed. Completely out of her mind and unaware yet with terror in her precious brown eyes she looked to me for help.  But she could not understand the words I spoke to comfort and calm her. She could only respond with guttural sounds, moans and groans. (In a matter of minutes my gentle river of life turned to white water rapids, rocks and deadly falls.)

Sedation drugs did nothing. CT scan was normal. Finally the doctor was able to give her a drug to knock her out and he pulled some spinal fluid. My little girl was only unconscious for a few minutes then the wild ride started all over again and lasted for hours. Blood pressure 155/115--blood oxygen levels low--body temperature over 102. Finally the day ended in ICU with Rebecca tied to the bed and fighting seemed like she was fighting for everything. And the test came back positive--an infection in the spinal fluid and probably the brain.

The ICU waiting room became my home away from home. As I struggled to get a little sleep the lightening bolt zapped through my mind again. "I'd rather ride the rapids with God than sit on the bank, and watch, without Him."

This time the words hurt. Put to the test, would I pass or fail? Did I mean it? Was I really willing to accept life's trials with God to see me through or did I want ease and comfort more?

I felt as if Satan was sitting beside me, smirking, waiting for me to choose a safe seat on the bank over the dangerous white water ride with God. I had to make a choice, right then and there. In the waiting room of the hospital I had to decide if I would hold tight to God through faith, and praise and glorify Him no matter what happened to my little girl, or I would abandon my faith, (jump out of the raft) and trade it all for a healthy daughter and an easy way.

I closed my eyes and saw the dark red blood of Jesus wrapped around me as a life jacket. I saw God the Father at the front of the raft, guiding it down the rocky rapid river. I made my choice, grabbed a hand-hold, and as the raft crashed over the falls, cried "God I trust You! Be glorified in this circumstance and in my life!"

The next day the river ride got exciting. The doctor came by and told me that we were playing a waiting game. He had no idea how long it would be before Rebecca would "wake up" or be aware of what was going on around her. (Or IF she would.) It could be a few days or longer. There was no way of knowing if there would be any permanent damage. He didn't know what caused the infection so he didn't know the best way to treat it. Her vitals were stable and that is all he could tell me.

Then, some precious intercessors, men and women of God, showed up to pray. People across the country had gotten the word by then, so brothers and sisters I don't even know were praying. Satan was being bound and God's hand began to move. As I returned to the waiting room from praying with my sis and her husband in the hospital's chapel I said, "If we could just have a little glimmer of hope..."

The ringing of my phone interrupted. It was the ICU nurse. "Your daughter is asking for you."

There were more rapids and the ride has not been easy. After five days in the hospital and what seemed to be a relapse ten days later, my daughter is home and seems to be doing well. She still gets tired easily. She has had  some moments of mood swings. Her sense of taste still seems to be a little off sometimes. I still am not sleeping all night. I still wake myself up praying for all of my children. I still have moments of fear so gripping I cannot eat or concentrate. I may never be "normal" again. The ride down the river is not over. Rebecca has no medical insurance and only a part-time job. Her dad has not had work since the end of May. Every time we get a new bill in the mail I feel another huge rock in the middle of the river.

But, I know God is in control and I know the blood of Jesus saves us all from drowning in the river. May God be glorified in the white water rapids of life! Hang on tight with all the faith you've got--its going to be a wild ride!