As I sit here tonight in the quietness of my house, my mind is skipping ahead. My thoughts are drawn to this very time in two weeks when Dusty and I will be checked in to the hospital and awaiting morning to meet our Maddox. I keep wondering how I will be feeling... what my thoughts will be. How anxious will I be? How excited, scared, overwhelmed, at peace will I be? I know this sounds ridiculous, insane probably... but regardless of all the questions, I know that we will be okay. The Lord, the Creator of this very child I think so much about, assures me over and over of that very thing... I will be okay.
Dr. Young just started a series a few weeks ago on the book of James. Honestly, it is one book that I really haven't previously spent a great deal of time in, but one that is full of "uncommon sense" (as Dr. Young says). As he spoke two Sundays ago, with a title called "Suffering Produces Character", all I could think of was this is meant for me. This is meant for right here, right now. And he began...
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
And then he said something that is written at the top of my Bible, and will hopefully remain etched on my heart forever... "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"
For some reason, we have been called to be Maddox's parents. We have been blessed with this child that doesn't conform to worldly standards of perfection or health. We have been given trials of a sort that I could have never imagined before that diagnosis day. And it would be so easy to ask why. Why us? Why now? Why this child? Yet, through the dark days we've walked, and the darker days to come... that is now my prayer. "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"
I don't want to waste a minute of the joy that Maddox has brought to our lives. Not a minute of the time he will grace this earth. Not a minute of time being completely overwhelmed by intense grief and sadness that I can't process. Not a minute of not "seeing the forest for the trees." Not a minute to be able to stand witness to the incredible blessing of His people surrounding us, loving us, praying for us, and ministering to us. I know it sounds crazy... like I'm setting myself up for failure... like it just won't be possible... but I don't want to waste this opportunity to love, to witness to others, to be a living testimony to God's faithfulness, compassion, grace and healing. He chose us for this, and if I'm going to walk through a valley of this magnitude, then you best believe I will not waste this. I will not walk out unchanged, lacking more than when I entered in. I have a long way to go to spiritual maturity, and yet, the perseverance to get up and continue on this road each day will bring me closer to that goal.
Am I saying that I won't be sad and grieving? NO. Am I saying that I won't shed immeasurable tears? NO. But I do know that the Lord is standing so close that I can feel Him and, like the Footprints poem says, I might not be doing the walking, but He is carrying me. He has held each tear I've cried in His Fatherly hands... and I'm sure the tears up to this point won't surpass the amount that are to come. But He knows my heart. He knows that I love this child, more than myself, and that I have already given his life over to the Giver of Life himself. Not because I don't desperately want him here with me, but because that's also what we did with Deacon when we dedicated him to the Lord. We gave him up. ...It's like what Abraham did with Issac, what he was willing to do in faith... and ultimately what God the Father did with his only Son, Jesus Christ. I can honestly say, without fear or reservation, that I know each life here on earth is not our own... and Maddox is no exception. Our Father has great plans for this child's life, whether that means him not taking one single breath here in this world, or that means 20 fabulous years of blessed time with him ahead. Either way, Heaven is still at the end of the road and that is the best promise yet.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12