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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

If Only I...

One of the first things I did last week while grappling with Eliana's febrile seizures was google "febrile seizures". Isn't that what we all do these days? I read from so many different sites. Medical information comes in a few of different forms. There seems to be a divide between the traditional and the natural, if one could be so discerning to differentiate the two. If you want to revisit my thoughts about natural stuff, see this blog here. There is so much information from so many sources, it is overwhelming.

I read quite a bit from the Mayo Clinic. I also received information from the ER and Ana's Pediatrician (who I like so much, by the way). There is nothing like speaking to a person who has spent his or her adult life caring for children and has personally seen and treated a multitude of illnesses. I truly appreciated the counsel I received from others who have witnessed and cared for a person having a seizure. On top of the seizure, we were looking for signs of a rare disease--- one that would need to be treated swiftly. I needed the guidance of a physician who had seen this disease before or could confidently say Eliana didn't have it.

While we waited on a diagnosis, I also employed some things deemed more natural to bolster her immune system. Lets be honest, when my kids are sick, I will do anything to help and not (knowingly) do more harm.

In the middle of one sleepless night, I did some reading on a site that promoted other ways of treating--- or not treating--- fever. There were opinions that directly condemned my understanding of fevers and seizures (together, not separately). There is nothing like being told you did and are doing everything wrong, especially when it means you have harmed your child. It hit me like a stab to the stomach. In my own medical-background mind, the information still didn't jive with my understanding of anatomy, physiology, and disease/treatment process. Let me assure you, I understand the body's way of dealing with disease and, for God's common grace in it, I am thankful. But the way the writer was speaking, I questioned whether or not he or she had ever seen a child have a febrile seizure. My biggest criticism of most of the information directed at the masses assumes a normal, healthy child. Most times, there is a caveat or exception---  and usually my children (and many times me as well!) fall in that category.

Talk about causing anxiety. Then, there was even more information linked to that particular site that added more anxieties in the illusions to systemic problems caused by environment, diet, laundry detergent, carpet chemicals, plastic toys, preservatives, ozone, etc. (do you get where I am going here?). All I have to say about that is "ya think?" I don't mean to be snarky. Still, there are no lions lying down with lambs here people. And, to quote one of my favorite singer/songwriters, no one is getting out of here alive (except for the ones who see Him coming--- and boy, I hope to be in that company).

I get it though. I want to feel well. I want the energy to care for my family. I want them to be healthy. I never want to see my little girl going through what she did last Saturday. But sometimes, wanting something is not enough. There may be a better way and there may not. I may do something that helps her and I may make a choice that ---God forbid--- does her harm. And knowing that produces all kinds of anxiety.

There are so many differing opinions all claiming to be the one that is right. What is right today will be disproven tomorrow. There is always another article to read with another expert opinion.  I am bound to feel condemnation from one direction or another. Then there is the insinuation if my kids get sick ---or if I get sick--- that I am just not doing enough. Or willing to do the hard thing. Or another thing. Or this thing. Or that thing. That feeling is discouraging, completely exhausting, and isolating. I get tired of conducting science (or anti-science) experiments on my children. Am I the only one? (I know I am revealing something about myself here.) I am so glad that some things help some people, but we are all not the same. What should happen doesn't always happen. Many of the information-givers want to be helpful. Some are selling something. Some want support for the decisions they have made. I know I have been guilty of not listening for the sake of needing to speak out of my own experience.

My contributions to different brands of apothecary are substantial. I have never been more thankful for Tylenol suppositories, epinephrine, coconut oil, and Elderberry as I am right now. The one time in many that a child needed help for a fever, I was so thankful for an ER full of doctors and nurses who were absolutely all in to help. Aren't we so fortunate here with access to so much that is completely unavailable in other parts of the world. But the masses of information can be unhelpful and it is absolutely not our ultimate hope. I have to remind myself of this all the time. I am so thankful that God gives us stuff to help us in human weakness but so often I forget the Creator and in essence, begin to worship the created. God help me, I am the worst. I would do some pretty crazy stuff to avoid suffering. Everyone with built-in self-preservation can sympathize. Even Jesus sympathized. When faced with ultimate suffering, He asked that it be taken from Him.

This life is full of opportunities to pray and do the best I can, knowing I may not always know everything. You and I can sit down and talk about what we have learned and it may be a help and it may not. I will never be omnipotent or in control as much as I might like to be for you or for me. But I can sure speak to the One who is all knowing and ask for a deepening of faith to see that He ultimately sustains and will redeem. He is bigger than what is in my pantry, medicine cabinet, or skill set right now. His hand reaches out when I lose all sense of what I should do, confronted by my biggest fears, and gives a where-with-all that must be supernatural. He sure did last Saturday.

When I am convicted of unbelief or more specifically, hoping in information, medications, or other things, He is faithful and just to forgive me. All of confessions of anxieties are met with perfect trust and faithfulness at the cross. And when the results of the fall hit home, He hears my cries of anguish, cries with me (John 11:35), and answers my sufferings--- not by belittling --- but with a response that mirrors the depth of pain with the promise of redemption. Even that seems too good to be true sometimes when His choices aren't what I would like. In all things, I believe, help my unbelief. In a few weeks, when the flu season is almost over and Easter Lilies are in bloom, it will be good for me to remember the cost of a future hope.


One of the best speakers I have heard that addresses the anxiety brought about by social media is David Zahl. I would encourage you to listen to his thoughts here.

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