Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Lessons from the Emergency Room

“9-1-1. State your emergency.”

“Yes, my 5-year-old son is having a severe asthma attack.”

“Is he alert and breathing?”

“Yes. He is. It is very labored.”

“Okay, we have paramedics on their way.”

     This is how our weekend began on an all-too-recent Friday evening. As usual my husband was working and I found myself praising the Lord that my in-laws live only minutes away to watch my other kids. As I called the fire department, I was packing my purse with some extras (Bible, Tylenol, water and snack bars, etc.) knowing we were in for a long night. This has become a “normal” routine for my family and over the course of four years I have learned the emergency room provides a great opportunity to spend some time with my Bible and Heavenly Father.
     As I see my son wheeled past other patients on stretchers waiting their turn in the emergency room and hear a nurse calling out “Trauma Bay B,” I then realized the gravity of the situation. The nurses, doctors and respiratory therapist all came streaming in and began hovering around Jacob assessing his situation. I stood to the side, as to not become an obstacle, answering the same set of questions to various staff. Intermittently, I prayed for my baby to be okay and soon found God restored my peace.
     Fast forward, nine tedious hours, we are told he has pneumonia and will be in for at least a few days. As soon as I entered the pediatrics ward God sent a little gift of encouragement to keep me going. The lead nurse happened to be one of the mothers from Jacob’s soccer team. I hadn’t had a chance to meet her and here she was smiling, letting me know she cared. Hence, my Father cared. Let me just say, at 2:30 in the morning this mama’s brain was fried and I was running on pure adrenaline. We get up to his room and are asked another series of questions.
     After an hour’s sleep, I was almost to the point of hysteria. As soon as I saw my husband, I began to cry for no other reason than being emotionally exhausted. I went home to go shower, rest for a bit and to take snack for Jacob’s soccer team. I felt I was truly on my last leg and here we were not even 24 hours into this ordeal. As I am driving to the fields, this song I never heard before began to play on the radio. For the better part of the song this man sang to the Lord, “I need You. I need You.” Over and over. The song ministered to my heart as it was able to put words to my feelings. I was literally too tired for much, except to pray, “Help me.”
     Jacob stayed a total of three nights and was administered eight medications to stabilize and to begin his healing. We came home with an astronomical eight medications to finish his healing. I am more thankful than I have been in a very long time. Sure, we deal with asthma all the time. But, the severity of this episode demonstrated a few things to me.
     First and foremost, the fragility of life is as delicate as an eggshell. You never know when your shell is going to crack. Life is such a gift many take for granted everyday. It’s easy to get stuck in the grind of life and forget that every breath God grants us is precious and beautiful. We are each living miracles and works of divine art. May we treat ourselves as such.
     Our Father is faithful beyond comprehension. Deuteronomy 7:9, “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” In fact, a couple of days before Jacob’s hospital stay I was reading a book and God’s faithfulness was pondered. That chapter really stuck out in my mind. Little did I know that I would be getting a first-hand lesson in the matter. I always get a kick out of the ways God can teach us. I knew every step of the way He was there faithfully standing by us, looking out for us and blessing us with His love and presence.
     Building on that, our Lord will sustain us through it all. It’s in the thick of things, God shows himself the most. If it wasn’t for Him, I would have broken down this time. Yet, my family is still standing because He held us up by His sovereignty and might. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
     Another thing I learned over that weekend was it is all in God’s timing. He chooses when trials come our way. Just when we think we cannot handle another trial, setback or heartbreak, God allows us to face the situation. Whether we choose to face it head on or not is really a matter of faith. We will either submit to His will, endure the trial and come out a little more like Christ or we can choose to submit to fear and the ploys of the Devil. It is when we are weak, we can choose to have the best Defense or not have one at all.
     God is faithful all of the time. It doesn’t matter if you are hurting at home or in the emergency room, He is there. This Thanksgiving I am not only going to be thankful for what I have, but for my life itself. May we not only be thankful on this one day of the year, but rather be thankfully living every day to the fullest. John 10:10b says it so well, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

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