this past week several of our friends’ lives came to a halt as they were forced to wait for resolution on a variety of life issues.
a good friend of mine was asked to wait on her boss to decide the fate of her career – her family’s livelihood.
my former boss and mentor was told his son needs a year long treatment of chemo to treat an unexpected health condition. he and his wife began their waiting journey to see what long-term effects, if any, the chemo will have on their young son.
one of our relatives was told her baby needs further testing to confirm or deny a medical diagnosis.
the woman, now sweet friend, who cuts and colors my hair shared her story of painful waiting for her baby daughter’s physical ailment to show improvement.
as i thought and prayed for these friends last night, i pictured them in waiting position: on their knees, hands and eyes raised to the heavens. frozen. their mouths unable to put into words the extent to which they desire for God to move the mountains – for God to exist at all.
as i prayed, i remembered that feeling, not just in my head, but i relived the actual emotion in my heart. it wasn’t very long ago at all that i was in that position. physically i felt paralyzed – breath inhaled, heart stopped. and yet, over the year God had me wait, i learned that in the wait my spirit was more alive and active than it’s ever been. God brought me up to a high cliff of life and very abruptly asked me to jump. that moment, the moment when i decided (or perhaps when i was forced) to lift my foot, was the moment my waiting began. and though physically i felt frozen, spiritually i took the biggest leap of my life. i jumped into what seemed an endless abyss. i couldn’t see the ground, i was frightened by the feeling of falling, but most of all, i was terrified of how badly i would be hurt in the end.
though lucia’s disease by nature places us in a perpetual state of waiting and i still struggle with fear now and then, that first year of waiting to know what was wrong with her was the hardest so far. crazily enough, it filled me with so much joy last night to think back on my fall. i remembered what it was like when i finally chose to open my eyes and look around. as i fell, i saw the gorgeous view – the bright colors of provision swirling, the fireworks of hope bursting and God’s promises etching themselves deeply into the recesses of my soul. and it wasn’t until much later that i realized that i was not so much falling, but flying. my spirit took flight in those days – soared toward the sound of God’s voice.
it’s not often that i can look in the suffering eyes of others and tell them with utmost certainty that God will be there for them; usually i throw out some encouraging words, but grapple with doubt in my heart. this week, however, because of my own jump off the cliff, i have the great privilege to stand before these witnesses and give my word that God is with them – God is with their children – God is calling them to fly.
one final story of waiting…
as most of you know, lucia is delayed in most areas of developement. she has, praise God, met her milestones but all significantly late. she didn’t roll over until she was 13 months old, didn’t crawl until she was 17 months old, etc. these milestones have been mini leaps off mini cliffs for me. i wait and i wait and i wait for her to reach one and then throw a mini party in my heart each time she does. i remember, however, when lucia was about 15 months old, i had a fairly pessimistic therapist tell me that i should mentally prepare for lucia needing a wheelchair in the future. you can imagine my sobbing in the car after that therapy session. in the back of my mind, i knew some kids with mitochondrial disease never walk, but our doctor had clearly stated that each child was unique and that there were no pre-set limits to what lucia could do. i decided from that therapy session forward to not allow negative-minded people to care for lucia. that mentality only hindered lucia’s progress and made my waiting time miserable. the therapist lucia has now is wonderful. the first time we met with her she wrote down lucia’s physical therapy goal as follows:
Lucia will walk by herself.
this therapist does believe in assisting lucia toward that goal with whatever tools available. she prescribed lucia leg braces to give her support and build up her core strength and she is ready to prescribe a walker for lucia so that she builds her confidence. i agree with each decision she makes based on how i see and understand lucia’s progress.
well, last night isabella insisted that instead of reading a bedtime book, she wanted to teach lucia to walk. lucia was already in her pjs so she didn’t have her braces on. adam stood lucia up, isabella stood in front of her and said “ok, lucia, walk!” and, much like the stories of Jesus and His disciples healing others miraculously, lucia took 10 steps unaided to isabella without hesitation! no braces, no hand holding, no nothing! lucia was incredibly proud as was isabella for being such an amazing teacher. i thought of the perfect timing in that. God gave us this much waited-for miracle at the exact moment – when we could cheer for and celebrate both of our girls at the same time. isabella, who has been such a true warrior through her sister’s journey, needed and deserved the title of being the one who taught her sister to walk….after months and months of waiting…she was the one who finally did it! perfect, PERFECT, timing.
i know that God doesn’t always respond with miracles after periods of waiting. i’m not saying that the wait is not gut-wrenching. i’m not gonna lie, if i could take detours around it, i would. all i’m saying is that i would not have been able to know and experience God in the way that i have had i not ever jumped.