I was writing a post titled “Why I Am Not a Food Blogger” when the phone rang.
It was Tarica’s doctor, and we talked about brain surgery.
I hung up, all my laughter gone.
Call me blind, call me naive, call me a towering monument of faith, but for the first time, I realized that our epilepsy story might not have a happy ending.
I’ve shared maybes and what ifs and questions and fears, but always, rock-solid in the back of my mind, I believed everything would come out right in the end. I’ve prayed “Thy will be done,” convinced that His will meant a seizure-free daughter.
But what if she will always have seizures?
I’m sure you thought of this possibility, from a detached distance, with the advantage of having the facts without the emotions. I’ve even said it is a possibility, said she might not ever be seizure-free, but I didn’t feel it as I did this morning, as a blow to my mother-heart.
She may never be healed this side of Glory.
I do not know if I can bear the thought.
* * *
I heard a story recently of a boy whose parents asked God to take their son Home while he was young if he would grow up to defy God when he was older. The boy died in a freak accident sometime after that. All his peers grew up and rejected God. The father professed that he never regretted his prayer.
That story hit me hard. We have three children in heaven by miscarriage, and it’s my greatest prayer that the rest of our family would someday join them. I have prayed, in a more innocent past, wincing slightly, “whatever it takes, God.”
What if it takes seizures?
What if seizures will make the difference between heaven and hell for our daughter? For our other children? For…for me?
After hearing the story of that boy, I had begun to pray, “God, if seizures help my daughter get to heaven, then help us to accept them with grace.”
But I was still convinced that God would heal her. And not just no-seizures-while-on-medication healed. I meant healed healed, as in no more seizures ever and no more medication. Ever. I hate what drugs do to her.
This is not too much to expect from a God who can do anything.
But what if He doesn’t do this?
* * *
Again and again, God has worked good in my life through hardship. Without pain, I am crusty and independent and proud. Pain turns me to God, and God turns pain to good.
What if living with this particular pain will keep us soft toward God and compassionate toward others?
It could. It might. It has.
To those of you who yearn every day for the child(ren) beyond your reach, this might sound unthinkable, but it was easier for me to grieve a miscarriage that it is to imagine my daughter living with epilepsy till death do them part. Miscarriage was only my pain, softened by the knowledge that my child is safe in Jesus’ arms. It hurts more to watch my children suffer than it does to miss them because they are with Jesus.
(And if my words hurt you, I am sorry. I’m not belittling your pain. If you’ve read the book I wrote on miscarriage, you know I know how great and terrible that grief is. Those of you who have emailed me to share your stories are daily in my prayers. I wish I could take away your pain, but I trust that God can also turn it into good.)
I hate the thought that my children need to suffer, but what’s been good for me will surely be good for them. God can do this for my children—turn their pain into good. I know this, but it feels a little like those times when the children pile into the wagon and fly down the lane.
I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to see them get hurt.
What if God knows we will be better off with seizures than without them?
Achieving seizure freedom has always been the happy ending I envisioned for us. But if that freedom would come at the expense of the happiest ending ever, then no, I do not want it.
I choose heaven over healing.
And it shatters my mother-heart.