We are leaving for vacation in a few days. Aside from the usual anxiety over the airplane ride, I am tasting tiny tidbits of bittersweet fruit. My daughter’s “only child” status has never seriously bothered her….until the last few months or so. We tried to find a homeschool friend to go with us, but at her age, most parents aren’t too keen on their kids flying halfway across the country with people who aren’t family. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t let my child go on vacation with someone else, either! But, for her sake, we asked three friends. The answer for each one was no.
Then the day before yesterday I overheard her telling a younger friend that since no other children could come with her, she’s going to take a “fairy friend.” My heart shattered; its pieces clattered around and around in a swirling mess. I blame myself for the fact that she has no sister or brother. As many times as I remind myself that the LORD is in control, I shovel hot coals on my head and still shoulder the blame, playing the IF ONLY game. IF ONLY I wasn’t so afraid of throwing up, I would have eaten more and stayed hydrated. IF ONLY I didn’t have intense panic attacks, I would have tried again. Two episodes of intense nausea and marathon panic attacks that ended up in nightmarishly painful miscarriages were as much as I thought I could handle. But what if God wanted me to try again? What if I have denied Him the chance to work another miracle in me because I gave in to the fear?
I wonder if I will ever get over this anxiety affliction or if it will be to me a thorn in my side. I don’t know what purpose God had in taking my babies, and it is so difficult to let it go. Most of the time I don’t dwell on it. But today…thinking about my ten-year-old inventing an imaginary playmate because she doesn’t have a sibling to share in the joy….
And now…for something completely different….
This is a photo of an ovarian cyst. It’s not mine, but it is exactly like the image I saw today while lying sprawled quite uncomfortably on the examination table. I have been having cramps pretty much all the time and passed it off as anxiety, but then some abnormal bleeding showed up. So I went to the doctor. I nearly came up off the table during the very embarrassing exam because the pain was so severe.
The sonogram showed that my cyst is filled with fluid. It has no blood flow.
There is no treatment at the stage in the game unless it does not go away on its own or gets significantly larger. I have to say, it is disconcerting to walk around knowing I have a 4-cm balloon on the side of my ovary that could rupture (causing severe pain) at any moment. But it is also comforting to know that I am in the LORD’s hands. My doctor is a good one. I guess I can look at this as an opportunity for the Lord to heal me spontaneously of the cyst and the associated pain and bleeding. Like the woman with the 12-year bleeding disorder, if I could just touch His robe!
For a moment there, lying on the sonogram table wondering about this sudden change in my health, I got a little shaky. Nobody wants a cancer diagnosis! I was almost giddy when the doctor told me there was no evidence of blood flow inside the cyst or of tissue inside; it had all the markings of a benign growth that he felt would go away on its own. Phew! For a brief moment, I had a glimpse of my mortality on this earth.
(it didn’t help matters that the kiosk lady at the mall tried to sell me anti-aging cream!)
It’s interesting that my daily Bible reading from YouVersion spoke explicitly about life and death, from Deuteronomy 30:
This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach.12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, `Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, `Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
The message is very close at hand. It is on my lips and in my heart. That’s a truth that most people (including me!) forget! God’s message is not trapped in a black hole somewhere out in space. The Holy Spirit brings it to my heart and to my lips, giving me the ump I need to get up and obey it, and to embrace those things that I cannot change. This verse gives me great comfort…that one day when I see my Lord, his promise that I will “live and multiply” will be complete, and the “mish mash” of my heart will be glued together again.