I've noticed some folks have started the trend of picking a single word as a theme for the New Year. I admit, it's quite possible that this has been going on for a really long time and I'm just catching on. But in any case, it sounded like something cool I wanted like to try. Then I looked up and it was February. And although I never truly settled on a word, I had high hopes that it would be something truly inspiring like commit. Or thrive. Or jump!
This was the word that threatened to crush my hopes on Sunday as we rushed to the ER with my son covered in vomit and writhing so badly I pulled him from his car seat, rocking him frantically and trying not to lose it.
The word we'd wrestled with months ago, then pushed to the farthest corners of our minds after visits back and forth to his pediatrician and the very best doctors Johns Hopkins had to offer convinced us he was probably fine. Until -
It hung in the air as they attached sensors to his bare chest for the EKG (heart scan) not long after we arrived in the ER. It lingered on the lips of the neurologist at 2 a.m. when she explained they were keeping him overnight for more tests in the morning. It mocked me as I watched them glue a dozen colored wires to my son's scalp for the EEG (brain test), then wrap his head in gauze until he resembled a cancer patient.
In an instant, it became my word and threatened to become my reality. Suddenly I was the sleep-deprived parent telling the story of what happened that night over and over to doctors and nurses and family and friends until I had it memorized.
It was the one burning question as we waited for the test results with baited breath. As we exchanged tired glances from uncomfortable chairs. As we responded to text messages and phone calls - necessary distractions from,
And just when I had prepared myself to truly consider the gravity of the situation, readying my fearful heart to embrace whatever God might allow, another word shined a brilliant light on the uncertainty of my present:
Musa holds Lincoln's hand as the techs prepare to insert the catheter and draw blood. "Let's count, buddy," he offers casually, like normal. Focused intently on his father's face, Lincoln obliges slowly, deliberately, with joy. I fade to the background, bracing myself for the cry that never comes. And as they finish up, I overhear the techs talking in hushed tones: "Man this is the best toddler I've ever worked on," to which the other responds, "It makes such a difference when the fathers are here."
When my brother shows up at one 'o clock in the morning just to be with us for 10 minutes. When my in-laws arrive an hour later to encourage us even though they're not allowed upstairs to see Lincoln. When my mother comes at the crack of dawn the next morning and takes her sleeping grandson from my arms so I can get rest. When my husband's mother shows up at noon with jollof rice & stew.
After waiting on pins and needles for hours, every single test comes back perfectly normal.
And it dawns on me, just now, that this is decidedly my word for the year. Life challenges come and go. Hardships are inevitable. Seizure could have just as easily been car crash or cancer or home invasion or any number of horrible things.
Available on good days and bad. There is no grief it has not shared; no joy it has not known.
Free to the innocent and the guilty. The moral and the heinous. Always available. Always sufficient.
Perhaps you could use some?
Maybe your word isn't seizure. Maybe it's cancer. Or maybe it's not an illness at all. Perhaps it's failure. Or rejection. Or impossible. Or restless.
I couldn't possibly know your giants. It's enough for me to manage my own. But I do know know a Savior who offers grace freely to everyone in need.
Grace that is strong enough to transform all of our words. And all of our moments.
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
"Oh for grace to trust Him more." Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, Louisa M.R. Stead