Monday Judah had to go for a routine EUA (evaluation under anesthesia) for his eyes. We only have to go for these every 6 months which is a blessing as they used to be every 3-4 months apart. Judah is now old enough to know who all his doctors are and what he has to go through with each one. So, when he found out we were going to see Dr. Jampel, he fought to choke back his tears.
As a mom (and dad), to watch him wrestle with his emotions over these appointments absolutely amazes me and always earns not only such respect for my son but also awe at God's grace on his little life. He is so mature in some ways, doing battle with his heart that is prone to fear and/or grumble about his lot. Truly, some adults would not do as well undergoing the kind of medical rigor he goes through as a matter of course.
Granted, I know there are sooo many others who go through things so much more difficult. I know because I've seen with my own eyes. It's hard to walk in and out of Hopkins as much as we do and not be confronted by the staggering mercy God has shown Judah and our family. His medical needs are relatively minimal compared to so many other children out there.
We met such a child and family this visit to Dr. Jampel's. While I was back in post-op. with Judah (who did amazingly well waking up from anesthesia this time), our dear friend, "Ms. De" was out in the waiting room making friends (little beknownst to us, but not surprising). When Judah and I were wheeled out of post-op., I peered into the waiting room and called for De who was talking to another anxious mom waiting for her daughter to come out of post-op. as well. De stood up and gave this woman a hug as I leaned into Judah's ear and said, "Ms. De is making friends again." :)
De is one of the most friendly, unpretentious women you'd ever meet; though also one of the classiest at the same time. She strikes this beautiful, God glorifying balance of femininity. We love having her with us for these hospital visits. No matter how early in the morning we have to leave, she is willing to not just ride along, but provide such emotional strength to both Judah and me each time. (And, she's not naturally a morning person..so I know she's got to be walking in the Spirit for making these trips with us).
She does this not so much by letting me cry on her shoulder and seriously talking me and Judah through the circumstance (though she will and has done this), but by being silly and fun, light hearted. She is so refreshing, and Judah just loves when she goes with us. She serves me by entertaining my son, helping him not take himself or his circumstances so seriously (even though she absolutely appreciates and affirms the serious nature of them and how difficult a lot it can be for us). This frees me up to take care of the logistics of our visits (parking, talking to dr's, signing papers, etc.) and also from having to carry both mine and my son's emotional load that typically accompanies these visits.
All this, AND I find her this past visit seeking to minister to another anxious mom while I was back in post-op. De and I talked about her interaction with this mom, and it was apparent that this mom didn't know the God of the Bible. De spoke rather boldly with her but also communicated deep compassion as well.
After we were discharged, we decided to hit the cafeteria for lunch (something I don't think we've ever done before). But, looking back, I can see this was a divine leading as we ran into this mom again along with her daughter and husband. We stopped and I officially met them. We exchanged information about our children's syndromes and briefly shared about our experiences with the medical community over the past 4-5 years.
And, then the mom said something like, "I've come to realize doctors really don't know that much." The context was such that we weren't slamming the talents, knowledge and skills of doctors, but just amazed by how much there is to still figure out about the human body. This provided such a clear opportunity for me to speak of the God of Psalm 139 who has so fearfully and wonderfully made us and who so amazingly sustains us.
We both agreed that the more reasonable expectation we should have when anticipating the birth of a baby is for there to be something wrong rather than that the baby would be altogether healthy because we have seen (and this a limited sight) just how much has to come together for us to be and remain healthy and function "normally" as humans.
I walked away so grateful that God opened this door not only to tell of His excellencies and of Who He truly is, but also to hopefully enlighten this woman's view of God, to provide her and her husband with an opportunity (and maybe there have been other opportunities in their lives) to be confronted with the truth that they are not only accountable to a living, Holy God but also that they are loved by Him if they place their trust in Jesus.
Walking out of the OR this time after holding the gas mask on Judah's face while speaking right into his ear that Jesus would be with him and I love him and would be here when he woke up, bearing again having to listen to him scream with utter terror until finally he fell "asleep", and kissing him on the cheek before leaving his side, I realized this never gets easier. The medical staff usually picks up on the fact that we're (Judah and me) very familiar with all the procedures and prodical, but even in what may seem rote to us both, it never gets easier. My prayer every time we go to the doctor is that God would somehow be glorified and redeem all that we go through. The opportunity we were given to speak to this woman and her family about the Lord is an answer to those prayers.