Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guest Post: Tricia Russell

Today I am so excited to have my friend, Tricia Russell, guest post for me today. Tricia is in the process of compiling stories of how God has brought her family from the back side of the desert through health issues with both her children among other things. She agreed to go ahead and share one of those stories here today. Be sure to leave her a comment here to encourage her in her book writing.

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

One sunny Saturday in August, my 5 year old son was attending a birthday party at a relative’s house. All of the kids were running around, climbing up the steps, and jumping off the edge of the porch. He had done this a few times, but the last time he was slow standing back up. He complained about a hurting knee but went right back to playing. By Monday, he was in severe pain and complaining with his knee hurting to the point that he was crying. I made a doctor’s appointment for the next day, but the doctor was puzzled by my son’s pain. He ordered x-rays just to check. He called me to the hallway to show me the x-rays, and he circled a gray area on his femur bone. He told me it was some type of cyst but it didn’t look like cancer. I couldn’t believe it. My perfectly healthy child had a cyst inside his femur bone but it didn’t look like cancer. I fought back tears and tried to stay calm for him. We were given an appointment to see the orthopedic specialist for the next morning. We spent the rest of the day trying to absorb this shocking news. We arrived early for the appointment. More x-rays were taken. The doctor came in a sat down beside my son, looked straight at us, and said he has a unicameral bone cyst. Basically it is a fluid filled cyst inside the bone usually near a joint that wears away the bone normally resulting in a broken bone. Jumping off the porch should’ve broken his leg but God had other plans in mind. His jump was actually a blessing in disguise because if we had not found the cyst, it would’ve worn through the bone and his leg would’ve broken into. The cyst was very close to his hip joint which caused some concern that his hip could break. We were told not to let him put any weight on his leg at all, not to let him get on his knees, and not to allow any pressure at all on his leg. We were then sent straight to Children’s Hospital to be admitted and have surgery the following morning. The ride to the hospital was chaos. We were still trying to absorb all we had been told and prepare ourselves for what was ahead. All through the day phone calls came in by the dozens, many visits, and most importantly prayers. This was truly a test of faith, but God who is so gracious to us so much more than we ever deserve, sent all those calls, visits and prayers to help us get through. I could feel the strength and love coming from those people. He was scheduled for surgery early on Wed, August 11, 2004. I didn’t sleep very much the night before. I just couldn’t understand why this was happening. This should’ve been a day of celebrating his first day of Kindergarten but instead he was having major surgery. I woke up early and just started to cry. My thoughts soon switched to being upbeat for him and trying to make the best of our situation, but in the back of my mind I was struggling. He was taken to surgery and we were led to a small waiting room. The waiting was hard, but we knew God was in control. I knew God had a plan for this even though I didn’t understand why and had been watching over him all the time. God had protected him from breaking his leg and hip. Even though our circumstances had caused chaos, God had provided peace in the middle of the storm. I found this quote which fits perfectly “Peace - it doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the middle of those things and still be calm in your heart knowing God is in control” (Unknown). Peace definitely reigned in that waiting room that day. He did come through surgery fine and recovered. We faced several other storms with his leg but God was there every time supplying our every need.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Are You Walking

“Train up a child on the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

My brother and I had been stuck in the house all afternoon due to a typical southern afternoon thunderstorm. We had not been on our best behavior and we were driving our mother crazy, so as soon as the skies cleared up she declared it was time for us all to go out on a family walk around the block. Dad noticed that the Jeffersons had a tree down in their yard, however as we got closer we realized it was more that just a downed tree. The leg of the Jeffersons’ beloved German Shepherd, Shadow, was pinned under the large pine. As dad began to try to free Shadow, my brother ran to get Mr. Jefferson. Soon they were gently putting her in the truck and rushing her to the vet’s office.

“Will she still be able to have her puppies?” I asked my mom.
She replied “I don’t know. I just do not know.”

See Shadow was due to have puppies just any day and we had been promised the first pick of the litter. We waited for what seemed like forever before we got a phone call from Mrs. Jefferson. She let us know that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that they had four new little fur balls to raise, but the bad news was Shadow was in surgery to have her hind leg amputated. Dr. Killen was unable to save both the leg and the puppies. He assured the Jeffersons that the momma dog would be able to teach herself to walk on her three legs. Sure enough in just few weeks after the accident, Shadow was using her front legs to walk and then hop on the one hind leg. She would get a little stronger and walk/hop a little farther each day. After eight weeks, Mrs. Jefferson called to ask if we were ready to pick out our puppy to take home. We made the short walk down to her house and she called the dogs out from the doghouse. Out came Momma with her unique stride and followed closely by her babies. The closer they got to us I notice that the little ones were walking with the walk/hop style just like Shadow.

“Why do they not walk on all four legs like they are suppose to?”
“Well, they walk the way their momma does.”

I was reminded of this story one night recently because in a little more than a month I will do one of the hardest things a parent has to do -- I have to take my daughter two and a half hours away, drop her off at college and drive away without her. As I think about this life transition, I wonder if I have I told her everything she will need to know. Have I told her all the dos and don’ts that will keep her safe? Have I told her enough that I love her? Have I told her how to iron without burning the dorm down? Have I told her this? Have I told her that? I was thinking of all the things I need to tell her when God reminded me that it is not about what I tell her but the way I have walked before her. The one thing I know I have shown her is that God loves us even when we walk on three legs instead of all four.