She was three weeks old on Friday. Three weeks old and eight pounds of round-cheeked, big-eyed cuteness. Three weeks old and I want her to slow down on that gaining weight, getting big stuff. I’m counting down the days and dreaming of the day her face will get kissed with winter sunshine.
When she was born, I thought we had a 50/50 chance (it was probably more like 90/10) we’d be home in a week and I hoped real big. And then they admitted her to the NICU, where she could safely fight out her withdrawal, and I was sure it would be just two-three weeks.
And then two days before her 3-week birthday, she got her highest score ever, sweating real hard, crying real loud, shaking too much. And they said, “she needs relief” and her dose went back up – not down – and my heart panicked.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I told God and I waited for Him to speak, to reassure me, to calm my heart like He’s done so many times before.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I told Him again, my heart beating fast and my body feeling weak and my mind so tired.
Sometimes when you feel like you need God the most, He doesn’t speak.
Know what I mean?
I felt that this week.
I cried. “People don’t get it, God. They don’t get how hard, hard, hard this is. My whole life has completely stopped. I just want to do laundry again and clean up Leo’s messes and make my family supper and greet Ryan when he gets home from work. I just want to bring my baby girl home and put a ribbon in her hair and give her a bath in the bathtub and rock her in my rocking chair and cover her with her pink elephant blanket and put her “Wild About Daddy” outfit on her and be a family with her.”
I cried and I talked it all out.
The fear – that Vaeh would suffer from developmental delays, that she’d be in the NICU for another month, that Leo would feel like I abandoned him and never forgive me.
The anger – sometimes at Vaeh’s mom, for letting this happen to her daughter, sometimes at people who don’t seem to care about her – to care that she is my daughter regardless of our different bloodlines, at unfairness and injustice and brokenness.
The weariness – of driving, driving, driving, of living so many hours in one tiny corner of one big room in one brick hospital, of eating cafeteria or take-out food, of sleeping in strange beds, of beeping monitors and false alarms and clumsy chords and security badges and locked doors, of trying to be brave.
The exhaustion – of trying to balance being a mama to Leo and a wife to Ryan and an advocate for Vaeh’s mama, and a friend and a sister and a daughter and a fierce mama for Vaeh, of trying to figure out when to be what and how to be what and what it all means.
I cried and I talked it all out and when I got all done, there was no sign from God or word from the Lord or blessed reassurance.
There was nothing but deafening silence.
I know you’ve been there before too. I know you’ve lived in a hard place and you’ve cried out from your hard place, hoping and longing that in your moment of desperation, a verse would come, a song, a message – something – anything – to make you feel heard and noticed and reassured.
I bet you’ve been there before, sitting in that hard place, wishing for a ray of hope, waiting and waiting and the only thing happening is nothing.
And when that nothing happens? When you don’t get miraculously healed from cancer, or miraculously discharged from the NICU, or miraculously saved from a broken relationship – you have a choice to make and it is one of the most important choices you will ever make.
You can believe God or you can not believe God, and what you choose will set your course for the next moment and the next choice and the next time, and there’s no middle ground here.
Job asked God a lot of questions and when God finally spoke into the silence, He said, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
We’re human and we want something tangible, and when God is silent, sometimes we wonder if He’s even real.You can believe God or you can not believe God, and the difference all comes down to faith.
And whether or not you believe or not believe, will not only change your course for the next moment and the next choice and the next time, it will change the entire direction of your life.
By faith, I know that God has brought me here. I struggle to know and to see how it will all end. Will Vaeh be healed? Will we get to bring her home? How long will we have her? How long will we know her? Will Vaeh be delayed and struggle for the rest of her life? Will she grow up and thrive, healthy and secure and loved? Will we have the chance to be a family?
In my humanity, I want answers and I want answers now.
And then there was Abel whom God commended as righteous for offering up his first fruits, and Enoch whom God commended for pleasing Him, and Abraham who obeyed God and went on a journey not knowing where he was going, and Sarah who believed in God’s power for the impossible.
Hebrews says that it was by faith.
Hebrews says that it was by faith and that they died in faith, not having received the things that were promised, and the faith chapter eleven in Hebrews ends with saying this: “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us,that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
I wrestle with my faith and I wrestle in my faith and in my flailing humanity, I don’t quite get it.
But I know that the choice to believe God or not believe God will be the catalyst in my life for how I live, how I walk and how I see.
So I’m taking the next step, and the next, weary, exhausted and sometimes fearful, because I want to die in faith and have it be counted for righteousness.
You too? I know we cannot do it alone.
So let’s do this faith walk, you and I, and let’s do it together.