allow me to be a goody-two-shoes for a moment: i’ve always felt that God’s calling on my life is to help children in need. ever since i can remember i’ve always wanted to help children living in poverty or in orphanages or any other “dark” place. and by helping them i mean i’ve always had this desire to make them feel loved and accepted. i love chris rice’s lyrics: “carry your candle, run to the darkness seek out the hopeless, confused and torn” and use it as a goal of the kind of life i want to someday live. *end of goody-two-shoe-ness*

not too many years ago, my long-term life dream was to do short term mission trips to poverty stricken countries such as my own sweet mexico and love on kids there. the not so great thing about this dream is that i always included the stipulation that i could go back to the comfort of my life and home whenever i wanted. i always imagined that it’d be “a nice thing to do” to go down and play with the kids for a time, but when the streets got too smelly or the food got too gross – i would always have the liberty of packing up and heading out. on top of that i was never “ready” or willing to go now. i always told myself “i need to travel first or get work experience first or get married first or have children first”. i’m currently in the “i’ll go once the kids are grown” phase. needless to say, i’ve gone on two very short trips to reynosa mexico with our church and that’s about it. i live as though God’s calling on my life is always for the future – and to me the future is perpetually in tomorrow – so i’m not sure if i’d ever actually do anything about it.

it sends chills up my back when i, at 32 years of age, can look back and see God refining and defining the desires He placed in my heart over the years of my life. i need to finally learn that He always has something greater and deeper and usually harder in mind than i ever imagined and that He puts me in the fire in order to get rid of the excess of myself and find the person He originally created me to be. am i angry toward Him for using my daughter as His refinement tool? yes, absolutely. but i know He and i will battle that one out and come out ok. even still i feel grateful even just to be refined.

so, where am i going with this?

well, yesterday i realized all of my life He was ultimately preparing me for 9:00am on august 2nd, 2011 to look around me and realize that one of the darkest of places in this world is a childrens hospital waiting room. i sat next to a young mom waiting for her infant son to have surgery for his hydrocephaly. behind me was a mother and her young son paralyzed from the waist down. and to the other side of me sat a mother holding her seven month old baby with cerebral palsy in her lap. the struggles and the pain i am experiencing as we seek to find what, if anything, ails our daughter has not only brought me to a place i’ve always longed to be, but has created in me a deep empathy for children and mothers in every hospital waiting room who sit and wait and want more than anything for their children to be healed.  in this place, the kind of pain and fear parents can’t express in words is clearly felt and understood in quiet glances across the room.

i was able to chat with the mother of the baby boy with cerebral palsy – we shared feeding tube stories and she told me her own painful journey of the past seven months. i was able to touch her son’s leg and tell her that her son is beautiful.  i’m telling you this as a mother who now knows that this woman has probably spent most her child’s life hearing about her son’s weaknesses and abnormalities and rarely hearing what every mother longs to hear.

thank you so much for your prayers yesterday. the blood draw was quick and relatively painless (only one stick!). thank you also for praying beyond the immediate need – i heard God’s voice telling me that i no longer have to run to find the darkness or the pain in this world. He has brought it to me and all i have to do is light my candle.