Moms wear many hats. We act as chauffeur, maid, tutor, counselor, banker, and sometimes doctor. In fact, we had a couple of fairly major medical episodes in the O'Dell household this month. They reminded me just how fragile this life is, and how anything can change in a moment.
The most recent, and more minor of the incidents, was when my four-year-old daughter Megan, otherwise known as BatGirl, jumped off the deck. She assumed that, as BatGirl, she could fly. Anyway, Megan jumped off the deck and took a hard landing. She fractured her elbow. So, off to the ER we went. Thankfully, we're past the hard part, and she's on the mend.
But a mere six day before that, my 15-year-old daughter Natalie, who has been having dizzy spells for over a year but had passed all the neurological tests and blood tests, went down. We were getting ready to leave for church and something came over her. There we'd been, talking normally and then her eyes narrowed. She gasped for air, and her knees wobbled, then buckled. She went down.
I caught her, and moved her to a chair where I began to fan her face and try to get her to puff her inhaler even though it was clearly not an asthma attack. Beads of sweat dripped down her face and pooled on her upper lip. She struggled to breathe. Then she stopped breathing. Her face, including her lips, turned the color of modeling clay right in front of me.
It was truly the most horrifying moment of my life. And there we'd been, dressed and ready for church. The little ones were already in the car. We were all happy and functioning well (on a Sunday morning, that means no one had been fighting with each oth in the mad rush to make it to church on time). Everything had changed in an instant.
I watched my daughter struggle to breathe and the panic rose in my throat. I prayed silent prayers for peace and wisdom as I tried to remember the CPR rules I'd learned long ago and blew fresh air in her face. My husband dialed 911 and moved furniture and toys out of the way for the paramedics. They arrived quickly, but it was still about 20 minutes before color began to return to her face.
We headed off to the hospital where they determined that everything pointed to a heart arrhythmia or something else that needed the assistance of a cardiologist. On one hand, we're thrilled to finally have some possible answers to how she's been feeling, but on the other...
So, why am I telling you this story? I don't have the ending. I don't have big miracles or leaps of faith to speak of just yet. But I want to speak to the role we play as Mom. In caring for those entrusted to us, we don't have the luxury of a panic attack in the face of an emergency because our kids need our strength. We don't get to collapse in our own illness when our kids are sick, because they need us healthy.
God entrusted them to us, and we were given the honor of raising and caring for them, the privilege to give them everything we have. On the other hand we trust Him right back, believing that nothing enters their lives without passing through His awareness first. So whether it's injury, illness, or tragedy, we have to arrive at a place of trust, we need to embrace the peace that passes understanding which can only be found in Christ Jesus.
Here's what Scripture says about trust:
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
- But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand. Psalm 31:14-15
The question we must ask ourselves is if we're able to quiet our hearts long enough to remember that the very God who entrusted us with the care of our children is also worthy of our trust.
I followed behind that ambulance as it raced toward the hospital. Even though I worried and cried even as I willed it to go faster, I trusted that someone who knew far more than me was in control of my daughter's needs. That's really a metaphor for parenting as we follow along behind our children, trusting that someone who knows far more than we do is in control of meeting all of their needs.
Nicole O'Dell, nicoleodell.com