A sign that you're at your breaking point is when your face hits the carpet, your skin digging into the scratchy fibers in a puddle of your own tears as you cry out for a miracle. Last year this was a familiar place for me. In Friday's post, I asked you to tell me where you get your strength. Today, I’ll share where I get mine.
Only a few weeks after just giving birth to my precious baby boy, a series of sicknesses and unusual circumstances hit my family and me so forcefully I quickly realized I needed a strength greater than my own ability to get me through: 7 straight days of vomit and diarrhea hit my NON-potty trained toddler-girl where the first 6 days I cried for her, and finally on the 7th day, I cried for myself in exhaustion. Let’s skip over the surprise emergency appendectomy that sent me running to the emergency room in my bathrobe in severe pain, realizing I had no stored breast milk for baby boy and following surgery was not allowed to pick up infant boy for 4 weeks and toddler-girl for 6 weeks; pass over those two other bouts of the flu and stomach virus that again went through my house that left me begging my Urgent care doctor to just go ahead and inject me with whatever anti-nausea med available. Skip over the normal adjustments of a very strong-willed creative toddler girl who was fascinated with taking off her poop diapers and painting the crib and walls with it’s contents and a determined but exhausted mother who nursed an infant with one arm and had the Clorox wipes in the other. And of course, skip over the five times total that both cars broke down, we refinanced the house, got into a minor accident, and toddler-girl fell down the entire flight of stairs but was unharmed!
But there’s one story in the mix of stressful things listed above that would be an injustice to skip over. Let’s go straight to the part of series of events where I am crying in my room in the middle of the night, and I am completely overwhelmed: Toddler-girl had suddenly developed all the symptoms of what we later realize is Kawasaki disease: 105 degree fever, rash starting on hands and feet then all over body, sores in mouth, red eyes, we spend all night in the emergency room, FIVE different doctors, none could help. It was too early to diagnose, but if you don't treat it by day 10 (treatment means hospitalization), it affects the heart. Two days later, the symptoms are raging. I read about how John Travola's son died of heart disease and he had Kawasaki disease as a child! I read about how the research shows that kids who contract it (as it is not contagious and they are not sure how children get it but believe it is caused by a microbe) have had recent exposure to carpet cleaning or stagnant water. Just the night before Toddler-girl spent the night at her grandparents’ house whose 20-year-old carpet was just cleaned! I have never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life than to see your precious child sick and helpless and all you can do is wait on tests. The more I researched on the Internet and looked at pictures of other kids with Kawasaki, the more overwhelmed I felt as my daughter looked just like them and all the symptoms matched. What happened next is nothing short of an absolute miracle. I was completely overwhelmed with fear in my room, I didn’t know what to do, it was the middle of the night everyone else was asleep, even my husband was knocked out from having spent the previous night in the ER with her. As I’m praying, all of a sudden I went from feeling 100% anxiety to 100% peace—a peace so overwhelmingly comforting and outside of myself that I didn't feel I deserved or even expected, I just knew God was answering my prayers. As I was praying I was reminded of how God did a great miracle in my past and how I had told him I would NEVER forget that miracle. As I was praying for her, I heard Him say, "It's time for a new miracle. Do you believe I will heal her?" I had no question in my mind he was with me because there was no way in my own human strength I could find an ounce of peace. Well, within one hour of praying we checked her temperature and it was gone! It dropped from 105 to 98 degrees and the rash disappeared. That's my greatest miracle!
What got me through?
1.) Having a supportive and encouraging husband who is great at making me laugh in just about every situation, a mom who came to my rescue on numerous occasions, great family and friends.
2.) Friends who didn’t judge me for all my complaining, when I felt at the end of myself and didn’t feel like being positive!
3.) A Moms' group: a group of 2-3 other moms that I consistently met with once a week for play dates (when we were healthy). This helped me keep my sanity, knowing there were other moms going through the same struggles.
4.) This is the most important of all for me: God. I am extremely thankful for having such a supportive husband and family and friends but . . . It was many times in the middle of the night when no one else was around that I felt God meet me where no one else could. In my extreme neediness and exhaustion, I found strength beyond my own capabilities extended by a loving God who freely gives to those who ask.