Thank you Jesus. Our little one was estimated to weigh 6 lbs as of last Thursday which for pain's sake would be fabulous but for baby's sake, and my peace of mind, it would be better if shim cooks just a bit longer. I'll take extra pain for a healthy baby any day.
I go back to the doctor Monday for another ultrasound (which means another co-pay, yay) and will know more about baby's progress toward life outside the womb then.
The events that have unfolded in our life over the past week have been a real test for me.
Last Monday my dad went in for his first routine PET scan since his surgery in July. That surgery was a result of his first routine PET scan, after his first round of cancer, that revealed another tumor had grown despite the efforts of chemo and radiation to kill it all the first time.
The results came in a week ago Wednesday and unfortunately, we have yet to have a chance to celebrate a clean scan. A 1 cm "spot" revealed itself in his lung which came as quite a blow to our family.
Somehow I felt like the "perfect storm" of the past two years--trials with Luis' career, struggles through a miscarriage and the on-going battle of Dad's cancer--was coming to an end. I suppose it was the hope of a new life that will soon be joining our family, and the joy of my sister getting married, the answered prayer of Luis getting a contract after a long summer of waiting that had us thinking his career was done, and everything just working out so perfectly the last few months.
It seemed the Lord was allowing us to enter a season of harvest after a difficult season of drought. I feel like the last two years have caused my usually positive outlook to become a little more realistic with each hit.
In the beginning I used to think, okay it can only get better from here. And yet God continued to throw us curve after curve and soon I found myself ducking, covering my head, awaiting the next crash.
But I've noticed that, over the last two months, the expectation of the next bad thing to happen has diminished. I have, ever so slowly, started to lower my hands from shielding my head. I began to cautiously peak out, making sure it's over, finally allowing myself to, once again, stand in the open, hopeful, positive; my emotions, once again, vulnerable and unprotected, no longer expecting the worst to happen.
And just when I thought it was over, the thunder rolled in. I say thunder because it's not a full blown storm. Only a rumble at the moment, as in, there is cautious optimism that the spot they found isn't cancerous.
My dad's doctor submitted the findings to the tumor board and they weren't convinced that it was cancer. He saw a specialist on Monday who gave him the option of doing exploratory surgery to find out for sure or waiting three months, doing another scan, and seeing what showed up.
And so we wait. And pray. And trust God to heal him completely.
Following the news last Wednesday, my doctor informed me the next day that my fluids were once again low. He didn't like the pattern of dropping over the last few appointments and was concerned that maybe the placenta wasn't doing its job.
He ordered a non-stress test for the next day and an ultrasound again this past Monday with the possibility of induction if things hadn't improved.
Suddenly, all the unexpected news became too much for me, and I was filled with fears and "what ifs".
And then, I remembered my Quiet Time from last Wednesday morning and realized God was preparing me for all of this. I have been reading through Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity which I learned about through the lovely Madison over at the fabulously delicious blog, Espresso and Cream. Wednesday morning was the second to last chapter, the final "meaty" chapter before the summary.
As I recall Beth's words, and the Scripture she used, I can't help but see an eerie foreshadow of what was to come for me.
Beth asked some tough questions:
1. What are my greatest fears?
2. Do I trust God to not allow my greatest fears to happen or do I trust God, period?
Two of my greatest fears (there were more but for the sake of time, I'll share the two that are most on my mind in this season) that came to mind were losing my Dad and losing the baby.
The verses she used:
"He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come."
And her analysis of them:
"Both (verses) describe secure people. Not coincidentally, they have one profound characteristic in common. Neither gives the future the right to intimidate them."
-Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity
It's easy to go through a study like that and think "Yeah, don't be afraid of bad news. Laugh at the days to come. Trust the Lord, period. I can do that. I do, do that."
Let me just be honest, when I heard the "bad news" of my Dad, my initial response revealed that I most definitely do not. I felt angry at God, betrayed by Him. How could He let me think the storm was over and then give us this? How dare He.
And then God so gently asked "Do you trust me, period?"
2 Chronicles 20:15
"...for the battle is not yours, it is God's..."
And again, the next day, as I sat in the doctor's office knowing that if my fluids were to drop much lower, our baby's life could be at risk, God asked me "Do you trust me, period?"
I want to be a woman who can laugh at the days to come. I want to be a woman who is not afraid of bad news. I don't want to give the future the right to intimidate me. Unfortunately, right now, I don't know if I can say those characteristics define me.
But God sure is working on developing them in me as I sit each and every day, with way too much time on my hands (yay for bedrest) for my mind to wander, way too much worry over this baby and Dad's health, way too much weighing on my heart.
I have to daily make a choice to either A. let the future intimidate me and end up crying at Google Chrome commercials (yep, that happened, don't judge, I'm just bein' real here people) or B. trust God, period and be free of the burdens of my fears.
Some days, like yesterday, A takes over. Today, I choose B, and each day after, I will work to choose B until it's no longer a choice, but rather, something I just do, naturally, without any thought.
Seeing as how this is still a journey rather than a completed process for me, there isn't much of a conclusion, but I will close with this: I don't know what your fears are. I don't know the areas where you have given the future the right to intimidate you. But I pray that you would work with me to be set free from whatever they are.
Let's be women and men (yep, there are a few men who read this, and no, I'm not just talking about my husband and my Dad haha) who are not afraid of bad news because we are secure in the Lord.
Let's allow ourselves to laugh at the days to come, confident that we can withstand whatever comes our way, because we trust God. Period.