Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unchanging

It is so good to be home. Good, but weird. The absurd normalcy of everything, the fact that life continues on, seems unimaginable somehow. Like time should stop because our son has miraculously been returned to us. Like temper tantrums from our three year old should magically disappear. Like people should still be emailing us every day with encouragement and prayers. Like things shouldn't keep marching on. But they do. And somehow, we need to find our footing in this new normal. We need to figure out how to function on (very very) limited sleep, just like all parents of a newborn do. We need to decipher how to allow people to help, how to embrace community and life again, while protecting our son from infection and not allowing ourselves to retreat into a hole . . .

My heart feels a strange combination of  joy and hope, coupled with exhaustion and sadness in knowing everything our son has been through and continues to go through on a daily basis. I've been a little melancholy all day, looking at the road we're on and realizing that it is literally impossible for us to do this alone. It is impossible for us to force ourselves to feel optimistic, to stay on top of feeding schedules and medications and cleaning everything, to connect with each other, and to give Jayci the attention and love she needs and deserves. . . And thinking about all of that, I am struck by the realization that we need the Lord to carry us through this chapter of our story just as deeply as we needed Him while Caden was in the hospital. Although things seem less desperate, that doesn't mean we should be any less desperate for Him.

Just as our desperate need for God hasn't changed, I am also realizing today that He Himself hasn't changed.

The Jesus I need right now is the same Jesus I followed with eager anticipation and expectation while I carried Caden for nine months. The same God we followed into full-time ministry, and the same God who got us through the last year when we felt time and time again like giving up on our ministry. He is the same God we clung to while my son's heart was being operated on, the God who drew us near while we watched Caden's heart beating as he grappled for life. And He is the same God who will undoubtedly bring us through this as well. Who will refresh us and renew our strength when we haven't slept. Who will cover us with enough grace and mercy to handle each new day. Who continues to hold both our sweet Caden, and our entire family, in His loving arms.


There have been times, and I am certain there will continue to be times, in this journey when God seems obscured by the shadows of questions without answers and hurts without healing. And yet I am grateful even for those times because we are realizing that we serve a God who can handle our hurts and doubts. Who doesn't change even when we question who He is and what He's doing. Who doesn't mind when we yell and rant that this isn't fair, that Caden doesn't deserve all this hurt. Who Himself knows the sorrow of surrendering a son, and who only asks that we bring all our hurts and lay them at His feet.

…in all these things we are more conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

7 comments:

  1. He is just so beautiful. And so is your faith. Stay strong and know that prayers are going up for you still even from those of us you don't know. And being strong does not mean you can't be human. Everything you are feeling is perfectly understandable!

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  2. So, I think #1 - I am addicted to knowing what is new in your journey, checking your facebook and your blog like "normal" people check the news or the stockmarket (neither of which I know much of these days) #2 - I love how you are able to share your heart with honesty and hope, fear and reality and come back to the unchanging nature of our God.

    A couple of things came to mind as I read today. Someone once told me if they had to think of brushing their teeth every day for the rest of their life they would be overwhelmed. So somehow I wanna encourage you to look at today (or this hour) or this week as something you can do.

    And to remind you that you are in good company. I've been reading a book on the hard stuff of living in transition and today I read about how God HEARD Moses and Hagar and David and He responded. He hears YOU ... every exhausted utterance for a break and He provides, maybe not what you are expecting or even what you ask for, but what you need most deeply.

    Praying for the strength to take the next step into the new normal and for the ability to receive help in whatever form it's given! You're still my hero!

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  3. I am so thankful for your strong and beautiful faith. So thankful your baby is home. So thankful God will be holding you up on this journey.

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  4. First, I have to ask why Caden is sticking his tongue out at you?? So cute....love your pics. My prayer stones are a constant reminder to lift up the Stanley household....and not a day has gone by that I don't think about you guys and wish I could help...somehow / someway. I know prayers have gotten you so far, but if there is any way you and Adam could create a list of things you need (other than the obviou$$$) that might help you, please do so. My neighbor's two year old granddaughter Claire went through a grueling year for cancer treatment(she's doing good!!); Claire's parents are missionaries and this diagnosis was NOT in their plan nor their budget; they had 2 older boys to also care for. A spreadsheet was created where folks brought them meals, some helped with housework and yardwork; some folks took the older boys on outings with their families; small town fundraisers were set up, etc. You can be as specific as you want....I've always said...it never hurts to ask. And feel free to tell anyone coming over to wear a facemask if you're worried about Caden and germs.....Your faith puts mine to shame.....you (and Adam) deserve a big humongous medal!

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  5. Hey! My friend stumbled upon your blog and sent it to me because we too live in Atlanta and have spent a lot of time at CHOA with our 7 month old Damian. We came home with a feeding tube and apnea monitor and more meds than I'd ever imagined giving a baby so I know the feeling of being overwhelmed. It will get easier with time though and before you know it you'll be a pro at changing feeding bags and re taping the tube along with everything else! Hang in there and be strong in the Lord! If you ever want to chat (I know how alone I felt at times having a 'sick baby') please feel free to email me! You're family is in my prayers!!

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  6. Jaci and Caden are so cute; great pictures!!

    What a touching blog as always. I admire honesty and know that your faith is a true testimony.

    You are correct in saying that God is the same yesterday, today, and forver. He will always be there to guide you, comfort you, heal you, listen to your cries and angery moments, be your provider, and your everything. We as children of God are to give the things, big and small, in our life to Him and not try and fix them ourselves. I know from experience this is hard to do all the time.

    1 Corinthians 2: 9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." When you have those difficult moments remember to be still and trust in God that He has His hands in your families lives and will not fail you! God is so faithful!

    I am praying for you and your family to find your normal and find peace, strength, joy, comfort, healing, understanding, patience, find happy momements, and to balance life's duties. Remember you do not have to do this alone; God, family, and friends are always there!

    Blessings!

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  7. How beautiful...I am sitting here in India thinking of you all and praising God for His tenderness to His loved ones. Toward you. I am amazed by Him and grateful for this journey. I think of my close friend 6 years ago who did not make it home from the hospital but instead went Home to be with his Maker...and I think of this and how He brought Caden home to be with you all. My heart soars for you.

    I think of Deuteronomy 1:27-31:

    "Do not be shocked; do not fear. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place..."

    And I relate so much with you about considering the future and not thinking you will be able to bear another surgery, another hospital stay, another word of unpreferred news...and I think of His grace that lavishes for the present and gives hope to lavish for the future. Looking ahead (for me, for you, for anyone) right now is almost a silly thing to do -- we can wonder about what might happen and fear of the worst can grip us when He has not yet provided grace for future moments because He is "I AM;" God of the present tense. I think of how often He said to not be afraid and I tug at the hem of His robe for grace to smother my fear and transform it to hope.

    You are being lifted up. You are so loved. He will give you what you need when you need it. You will lack nothing. Your soul will exult even more over His goodness to you. Do not be afraid, He says, do not be afraid.

    <3
    Brittany DiSalvo

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