the wound is where the light shines through

In early November we went to see Relient K and Switchfoot in Thomasville, GA on the "Looking for America" tour.  It was nothing short of awesome.  We took our oldest three and they loved it as well.  Switchfoot sings a lyric on their latest album which I love:  "the wound is where the light shines through".  I take this to mean, as I guess it was intended, what Paul means in 2 Corinthians when he says, "when I am weak, then I am strong" and "I rejoice in hardships, etc...so that Christ's power may rest on me."  When we go through difficulties, that is when we feel His power.

That night at the concert we had no idea that in a little over a week we would be walking Juliet through a wound and teaching her about the light shining through.

Saturday night, November 12, my sister Susan and her family were visiting us and we had some people over for dinner and a fire pit in the backyard.  Right before bedtime Juliet was running and tripped on a branch in the backyard and injured her elbow.  She did seem to hurt it pretty badly, but had some movement and seemed like the pain was minimal when she kept it still, so Jimmy and I decided to see how she was in the morning.  I gave her Tylenol and put her to bed.  We do NOT rush to the ER around here.

At 3:45 a.m. she woke up and was whimpering in her bed and I went in to check on her, quickly moving her out of the bedroom she was sharing with Libby, Penelope, and Violet, so that she wouldn't wake anyone up (Susan and Willie were in her room).  I could tell by her amount of swelling that we would probably be dealing with a trip to urgent care in a few hours, but I gave her more Tylenol and hoped she could make it until morning.  I allowed her to sleep in my bed with us to maybe make her feel a little better and also, again, to keep her from waking anyone.

At 6:00 a.m. I woke to her jerking and realized she was having a seizure.  I woke up Jimmy and turned on the light and we tried to rouse her but she just kept twitching.  We made the quick decision to not call 911 but to just put her in the van and take her to the ER facility that is super close to our house.  I woke my sister and told her what we were doing as we headed out the door. I ran a couple lights and constantly asked Jimmy how she was as he held her in the back seat.

It was weird telling them what was wrong with her, as she was coming out of it when we got her in the door, but they could tell she'd had a seizure, because she remained very lethargic for quite a few minutes after.  The weird part was that when they asked us why we brought her in, we said, "She had a seizure and oh, she probably needs her arm x-rayed."  Two things that I assumed were unrelated and really, I think they were.  Maybe.  We really will never know.

To make a long story short, which I intended to do but have totally failed, her arm was broken and she passed her blood, urine, and cat scan tests in the ER- they showed no reason why she would have had a seizure.  So we had to follow up with a pediatric neurologist.

This meant that for the next four days I was either at the orthopedic office or neurologists office.  It was a whirlwind.  And more time than anyone wants to spend in the waiting room.  She had to have a 20 minute EEG, then a 24 hour EEG, and then we finally got the diagnosis that she has Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, which is a childhood form of epilepsy that involves partial seizures that happen in their sleep and that the majority of children grow out of.  She is on medication twice a day for the next 2 to 3 years.

Juliet is my most compliant child, and was nothing but wonderful through the entire process.  It is not easy to have one arm to work with, and I caught her doing her best to put on socks all by herself the day after she got her cast.  Most of my other kids would have very vocally announced to the entire house that they CANNOT put on socks.

During the 24 hour EEG and all the waiting that included, she was patient and apologetic if she moved in a way I told her not to or disrupted anything.

In the waiting room(s) I read "The Littles" by John Peterson out loud to her.  It was one of my favorite books as a kid, and it got us through many hours of waiting.  That and UNO cards and in the end, when I had little stamina left, the iPad.  While I was battling a tense stomach, she was smiling as I tried to make it fun with hospital hot chocolate.

And that is the wound.  Now for the good part.  When the light shines through.  She broke her arm on a Saturday night.  Had a seizure on Sunday morning.  We found out what caused it Thursday afternoon.  So pretty much from Sunday to Thursday, my entire life was focused on her.  Helping her, researching her symptoms, figuring out how to solve this small mystery.  After I got home from the doctor and the pharmacy that Thursday afternoon, I got in the shower and took a long hot one.  

And as I was in there, standing under the hot water for a long time just to wash off all the tension from the last four days, I knew something.  I knew that I would put my life on hold for as long as necessary at any moment, for the well being of my kids.  And I had done it without any consideration or decision.  I just did it.  And there, in the shower, I knew that's how God does with me.  He does any and all for his children.  And without hesitation.

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."  1 John 3:1

And what is Juliet's response to me taking care of her?  She follows.  Without hesitation.  I tell her we have to go to the doctor (again) and she just puts on her shoes and gets in the car.  I tell her she has to get 20 spots of glue on her head (again) and she doesn't complain.  I tell her she has to take medicine every single day twice a day and she just opens her mouth.  She doesn't ask me what's in the medicine or why we have to wait so long in the waiting room, she does what I ask her to do.  And it reminds me not to question why God has me go through those wounded times.  He is my Father and he is, automatically, doing what is best for me.

And as the days have gone on with Juliet, I have shared with her about how this thing she is going through is a challenge, but that God can be her strength when she is weak.  And she gets it.  It's a beautiful thing.  Her wound is where the light shines through.


Happy 15th Birthday Jackson!

Though a little late, I didn't want to pass up a blog about Jackson's 15th birthday.  At our house we only get a "friend party" every other year, and for years 11 and 13 Jackson chose to take trips instead of a party.  So he was due a fun one.  He organized it all himself, and graciously invited not only friends his age, but entire families, most with kids not even his age!

He hosted a game night!  It was lots of fun and included Bohnanza, Trump (as in the Donald Trump game from the 1980s), Ticket to Ride, Dominion, and of course Settlers of Catan.

We also had a movie playing for the little kids and lots of fun games in the backyard which the non table top game playing kids initiated themselves.

Instead of a cake, Jackson requested cinnamon rolls, and we made the ultimate game night snack- the Nachos of Catan.

It was fun for all and as his mother I was of course happy to see how many people love my boy and blessed him on his birthday.  He is definitely worth loving.

He also got his learner's permit a few days after his birthday- this has been somewhat anti-climatic.  I think teaching a teenager to drive may be a bit like having a baby on TV.  On TV, you see parents who are teaching their child to drive as these panic stricken crazy people and the teenagers are always doing something over the top stupid.  Like a woman in labor on TV is yelling crazy things and/or doing something totally unrealistic like smiling with perfect makeup right after the baby is born.  All that to say, I expected teaching Jackson to drive to be like it is on TV.  It's not.  It's actually quite boring riding around a parking lot at 5 mph.  I found myself saying things like, "Okay, now we're going to try and go the speed limit."  I'm sure the panic moments will come, but so far the contractions are really far apart, so to speak.

Happy Birthday Jackson!