I continue to wonder more than anything else what God is doing here. I wonder why He chose our family for this journey. I wonder how He could ever make something good come of this. I wonder, I ask, I question. I have faith, but at times, my faith feels shaky, like trying to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope with no training. I just don’t get it. I don’t get THIS.
Yesterday was a day full of overwhelming new experiences and conversations. I spent much time on the phone trying to get financial assistance for the doctors co-pays and multiple therapies that Tage is going to receive, and though I am so grateful that Josh has a good job, I was frustrated that there is not much extra help for people who have insurance. Again, I’m so grateful for insurance and that we can give Tage the care that he needs, but it’s gonna shift our financial plans a bit. The woman on the phone was an advocate for me, but she is already very used to the idea of having a child with special needs because she’s been doing it for 31 years…what a journey. She kept saying, “Well in a few years, you can apply for ____, but for now you can apply for ____, and they will probably be able to help you within a year.” And I wonder, but what if we don’t have a year?
One day at a time. That’s my prayer. That’s my focus. We don’t know if we have 1 year or 31 years, but that’s the thing: none of us know how long we will get to have the people we love around us. No one is promised tomorrow.
On my refrigerator is a letter that God wrote to me in my heart as I was praying one day last month. If you’re not a praying person, that may sound weird to you, but all I can say is I felt this in the depths of my heart. I knew it was the Lord whispering these words to me. The paper says, “Molly, This anxiety and weight you feel is your own doing, my girl. I’m begging you to leave the future to Me and just think about this moment. I’ve got this! Love, God.”
Josh and I have been using the phrase “I’ve got this” with each other our entire marriage. If I have forgetten to take out the trash and I see Josh start to do it, I might say, “Oh, let me get that. I forgot to grab that this morning.” And Josh would say back to me, “I’ve got this.” It’s what we say to each other to lift the other’s burdens…be it something simple like chores or something big like I’m too emotional to talk to the doctor today so Josh will do it for me. And as I was praying a couple weeks ago, I heard God whisper, “I’ve got this.” I know what that phrase means. I shared it with Josh, and that letter has been on our refrigerator ever since. We have to keep reminding ourselves that “He’s got this.” He is our burden-bearer.
We took Tage to a prayer service last night at my friend’s church. They knew we were coming to pray for specific healing for Tage, and they welcomed us warmly. The faith of the people in that room was life-giving to Josh and me. We felt the Lord’s presence with us, and we watched and listened as people prayed more boldly than I had ever heard anyone pray. These people, whom we’d never met before, gathered around us and prayed powerfully for our son. They prayed for Josh and me. They took Tage in their arms and prayed over him. They hugged us and cried with us, and they prayed with an assurance in our God. We felt the Lord resting upon us in those moments.
As we were leaving, a young woman asked if she could pray with us one more time, so we went out into the quiet lobby. She prayed very quickly but intentionally for Tage’s healing and for us as we bear the emotional weight of all of this. And then she said at the end, “And I’m not sure what this means, but I’m feeling compelled to tell you that God wants you to know ‘He’s got this.’ I don’t know, but He wants you to know He’s got this.” WHAT?! I’ve never met this woman in my life! How could she possibly know about this little phrase we use in our house or that God has said that to me weeks before? Josh and I opened our eyes and looked at each other and laughed as a tear trickled down our faces. He hasn’t abandon us. He is right here beside us. And He’s got this.
But in the early morning light of a new day, I sometimes forget what God has reminded me the previous day. But He wasn’t going to let me forget it.
This morning I had an appointment with a therapist followed by our home care nurse, Moni. Moni is from Nigeria, and I absolutely love to hear her talk. The sound of her voice is robust and calming and full of love. Last week when she came to check on Tage, her job was to check on his weight and feedings. I did not share with her about his probable diagnosis because I was tired, and honestly, I wanted her to come in, do her job, and head out. But, of course, as we were talking about Tage, I started to cry, and she placed her hand on mine and said, “May I talk to you like a big sister?” I nodded. “When I was a baby in Nigeria, my mother thought I was dying when I was 1 year old. She sent me into the city to get help, but she did not have the ability to come with me right then. Eventually, she came and I began to grow and get better. But I did not talk or walk until I was 3 years old. And now look at me!…..Tage is going to be fine. It’s okay. He will be fine.”
I appreciated the encouragement, but I knew, “Well, she doesn’t know the whole story of his condition.” But I didn’t want to go into that. But her words were still so soft and soothing to an anxious mother. I didn’t want to her leave then.
She came back today, and still under the impression that Tage was only being seen by her for his feeding difficulties, she asked me about his drool and his eye contact, to which I remembered I had never told her that there was more than just the feeding issues. So I told her he probably has Leighs disease. She asked me to spell it, and she took out her phone to google it. My first thought was, “don’t google it now…we’re paying you by the hour,” but I could see her eyes go down the page from symptoms, to diagnosis, to prognosis…and her face changed. She shut off the phone and set it down and didn’t say a word at first. Then, she looked up at me and said in her beautiful Nigerian accent, “God is not scared by the word prognosis. Prognosis means nothing to Him.”
Cue tears. I nodded and said, “Amen.”
Moni continued, “All throughout the Bible, there are stories of prognosis but God says no. He makes our mountains low and our valleys to rise up. He says to the lame, ‘Walk!’ And to the blind, ‘See’. And He can bring dead tissue back to life. That is our God, Molly.”
My spirit resonated with what she was saying, but my head and heart stumbled. Through my tears, I told her, “I want to trust that so badly, Moni, but I prayed those big prayers for my mom just a few years ago, and He took her anyway, and I’m just having a hard time praying those big prayers right now.”
Her eyes softened even more, she reached her hand over to mine, and she said, “My sister in Christ, God hears you. He loves you. He is right beside you. We do not know His ways or His plans and purposes, but in Psalm 46, He says that He is our refuge and strength, our ever-resent help in trouble. Therefore, we do not have to fear. He is our fortress. We can be still and know that He is God and He is in control even when we don’t understand.”
Then, she said, “Remember Job? He lost everything and everyone dear to him except his wife. God allowed that suffering, but it had a beginning point and an ending point, and God blessed Job. We do not know what God is doing, but we can trust Him. We are safe with Him. He knows what He is doing for this season. And remember the storm, when Jesus slept in the boat? He slept because He was not afraid of the storm. He knew He had the power to calm it, and He knew what would happen. We can trust Him.”
In other words, He’s got this.
She told me the story of her own son and of hardship she has had, and she asured me that she would not forget me but would keep praying for me as one of many who will lift Tage and our family up to the Lord in prayer. She continued to comfort me and to encourage me with her faith and with her knowledge of God’s promises. What a blessing she was.
After a while, she chuckled and said, “Okay, now let’s talk nursing.” And we did what she came to do. She continued to ask questions and to listen to me, and I could tell her heart was soft toward me. She cared for Tage, and she cared for me.
So, this week, I still have questions and wonderings, but I am sure that God has not left us or abandon us. I’m learning to pray big prayers. I’m learning to take it one day at a time. I’m learning to be still in His refuge.
I don’t know what’s ahead, but I know for sure that He wants me to know one thing whatever may come: He’s got this.