The Blessing in the Middle of Medical Maladies

I ‘m sure y’all are just dying to know how the pee-pee is going around here. The short answer is good. I’m not sweating and feeling like I’m going to black out anymore. Nathan is not fighting me. In fact sometimes he giggles anxious to have relief. Both good overall developments in the daily aspects of collecting his pee-pee, every. three. hours.

That’s the struggle right now. The every three hours. (Except over night.) It’s inconvenient and it’s tiring and just plain not normal. Not to mention, I’m not sure how much it is helping with the pain factor. The verdict is still out. I’ve been fighting all this pretty hard this week. I’ve started to spiral into a rather dark place where I can’t see anything good about cathing, and all of Nathan’s medical challenges really. I’ve been saying a lot of “Really?” to God. It just seems like one thing gets added to another. And I’m tired. We’re 2 1/2 years in to having medically fragile kid and I’m tired of it all. The tube feedings, the ER trips, the pharmacy runs, the phone calls, the mounds and mounds of paperwork, therapy, doctors, and now the pee-pee.

I knew I was in a really dark place when I got a text from a friend asking me if I wanted her to come over once a week and pray. Nope. I absolutely love her and I would love for her to come, but I most certainly don’t want to pray about it. My attitude is pretty darn bad about the whole thing and in my mind praying about it just opens me up to more disappointment, more hard things I get to grow through, more being asked to surrender to things I don’t want or understand. It just feels so raw.

I’m a bit like the Star Wars droid, C-3PO, wandering around in the desert saying, “We seem to be made to suffer. It must be our lot in life.”

Yet I’m smart enough to know this is not a place I can stay in for very long–I don’t want to be like C-3PO really–so I decided to dig through Scripture in search of blessing. I’m in need of a blessing and a good break. There are different kinds of blessing mentioned in the Bible and some are not at all like we think of it today. Today we think, Oh, it’s a blessing my kid got into that school. Or, It’s such a blessing to have this new house. I’m so blessed with getting a great deal on this dress. Or that I don’t have to cook dinner tonight cause my husband planned to take me out. No. In Scripture blessing is often hard-won. Just look at the beatitudes. They are hard to grasp. They are full of blessed are yous for stuff no one wants: being poor in spirit, mourning, for those who have been persecuted and insulted. It’s all upside down in God’s kingdom. And since I felt like such a fighter this week, I decided to read through the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel of God for a blessing.

If you’re not familiar with this story (Genesis 32), Jacob is awaiting the reunion with his brother. And he doesn’t know how it’s going to go down. If it will be good or bad? Because, ironically, Jacob stole the blessing and the birthright from his older brother, Esau, many years earlier. Now he’s back in this place of needing a break, needing another blessing. He’s hoping that his brother will receive him back. As he is waiting to reenter the land, an angel of the Lord comes and wrestles him all night. Jacob grabs hold of  him and won’t let go. He wants to prevail in his purposes and his plan. And he’s winning. He’s not letting the angel go.

Then [the angel of God] said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But [Jacob] said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

So what does he end up getting as a blessing? A new name and a limp. And the new name is the name Israel which means “God prevails.” Not Jacob prevails. God prevails. Doesn’t seem like a blessing. To me, a blessing would be not walking around with a broken hip after all that wrestling. Isn’t that how we would define blessing in our day? But that’s exactly what Jacob gets. A new name and a limp. And that’s what the Scripture says is a blessing.

I was lamenting to my husband about this story of struggle and the outcome. I was paralleling it to my story of struggle and feeling like the outcome will be way less than what I really needed.

And he simply said to me, “Kathy, Jacob got a whole nation named after him.”

Right. He did. He got a great big nation. His legacy was a nation he didn’t get to see but had to believe in the promise of from a distance. Well I’m not wanting a great big nation to be named after me. I just want all of these medial maladies to go away and for my son to not struggle physically so much. There is so, so much hope I can’t yet see beyond the daily struggle of tube feedings, therapy, and cathing.

This week my oldest and I went on a brief shopping trip. He loves to shop and he’ll walk through a store saying, Oh, I wish I could have…whatever it is that is interesting right in front of him.” As we’re digging through a pile of boys long-sleeved graphic tees he asks me, “Mommy, what do you wish you could have?”

Well buddy, I guess I wish that you would grow up and have a wife and kids who love God.

My son replied, Well that’s already going to happen. That can’t be your wish, because we already know that is going to happen.

Right there in the middle of Kohl’s God is whispering to me, This is your blessing. Your legacy. 

I need to receive it a little bit more like my kiddo who believes so purely, so innocently, so sweetly that God really is working all things together for good. That there really is a bigger plan and purpose in all this grittiness and struggle that I can see right now. That He is with me. And he will be with my children, and my children’s children. The truth is I need a little more of my son’s faith, and a little less of C-3PO’s attitude. I suppose the first step in getting there is to hang on tight to God and allow myself to surrender to these circumstances, which truly are temporary.

And did you know that Jacob does end up finding favor in the sight of his brother Esau. Esau graciously receives him back.

I do really want God’s blessing.

I want the legacy of His presence.

I want His purposes to prevail.

In the slow surrender of my heart–of doing another day of tube feedings and now catheterizing, and allowing my friend to come and pray with me–I see that there is great blessing. The kind of blessing accompanied only through suffering. The being set apart in trials, the fight, the fury, the waiting for dawn. Forcing myself to surrender, to letting go for the sake of the blessing. Blessing that is beyond what I can see, but more than worth it.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” -Genesis 28:15

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