One of my favorite songs by Christian singer Laura Story is called “Blessings”. Today I am sharing her song, and also our miraculous and heart-wrenching story about blessings. The song begins with listing things that we most commonly pray for, such as peace, comfort, protection, wisdom, healing,…. And then the song asks some very poignant questions;
“What if Your blessings come in raindrops?”
“What if Your healing comes through tears?”
“What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?”
“What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”
Video credit: Bob Marshall
Laura’s song has been downloaded by thousands. It’s been created into multiple ‘fan videos’ and ‘covers’ that have been viewed and shared by millions … why? I think it resonates with something very deep inside the human soul. We have all faced or will face terribly difficult situations in our lives. We carry the burdens of a broken heart, a broken body or a broken soul. And when we do, the answers to our prayers never come as we expect, and may not seem to come at all. We are forced to ask the big questions – “Is God really there?” “If He is there, what’s He thinking?!”, “Why is this happening to me?” … and,
“How is it possible this [insert horrible trial here] could ever be a “blessing in disguise“?
As long-term subscribers and regular readers know, our oldest child, “Daughter A” was hospitalized this time last year with a sudden disabling ‘mystery illness’ which sapped all of her energy and left her unable to balance or to bear any weight on her legs. She was confined to a hospital bed and wheelchair as doctors ran a long myriad of tests and consultations. Her condition became more mysterious and increasingly frightening as it spread from both legs to her arms and hands, losing her vision, ability to speak and even continence. Multiple diagnoses were suggested and ruled out. A course of action was decided involving aggressive PT, OT and other therapies.
At first, there was some improvement, but then, at 25 days of hospitalization, she suddenly developed seizures and was whisked to the ICU for 3 terrifying days! More days and weeks of hospitalization would ensue. Our “thousand sleepless nights” were wrought with pain, fear, tears and despair. All during this medical drama, thousands of prayers were being offered to God on a daily basis by Daughter A, her parents, our immediate family, our extended family, our friends and many, many
strangers special friends we’ve never met! Her prayer chain had to be going “viral” on God’s social media feed. There was no way He could not know about this child.
And yet, her health situation continued to deteriorate. It seemed that every single time she made a little bit of progress, inevitably our hopes were dashed with a relapse, or another distressing complication.
The days and weeks dragged out. The situation did not resolve. Things got messy with insurance denials, hospital red tape and billing errors – all the additional nightmare stuff that happens when a family is going through an intensive medical journey, and the medical condition isn’t resolved and becomes “chronic” or “long term”. This was not a journey we ever expected or wanted to take!
Days turned into weeks and months…and now, a year. We have learned to appreciate the good days and treasure each “little thing” [that are not actually “little” at all]. Things like … re-learning how to put on and take off a shirt, or a pair of pants. Re-learning how to slide feet into shoes, and [much] later how to tie the laces. Building up enough strength to sit in a wheelchair for extended time, and to go out in public for more than an hour. Learning to transfer from the wheelchair to the bed or a chair or the bath. Re-learning how to stand and balance for longer than 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes… an hour! Learning how to balance and use a walker, then wheeling slowly to the end of the driveway and back, then to the end of the block and back…
Slowly, she re-learned how to use the microwave, and how to prepare a simple snack. She learned how to endure being home-bound, coping with the constant boredom and loneliness. She re-learned how to bathe, wash her hair, and shower herself. She re-learned how to climb the stairs without assistance! (a major hurdle)… and on and on the list went of “little” things we always took for granted.
Through it all, Daughter A and each family member has been learning how to face emotional hurdles, and constant set-backs – especially each time a random seizure would strike and then it felt like all the progress of that week was “lost”. So, she learned to re-learn, and how to start over again, and again and again.
Like an intricate tapestry being woven ever so slowly, a pattern of faith emerges, interwoven with glimmers of hope, and bright bits of tender mercies. It is a big, messy, amazing work of art beginning to take shape and reveal itself. This is our story. It is still “under construction”. It isn’t something we can hold in our hands or display on our wall… but, today, we can share a little glimpse of what our current miracle looks like on a “really really good day”!
A brand new victory happened yesterday! Daughter A. crossed the finish line of a 5K (3.1 mile) charity race event which she walked all by herself using the assistance of what she’s dubbed her “temporary boyfriend” [which she has named “Horacio Cane” – CSI Miami buffs will get the pun]. And, that’s her “permanent Dad” walking proudly by her side. 😉
It was absolutely FREEZING yesterday (20 degrees F with windchill) … But, she was determined she was going to do this, and once Daughter A sets her mind to something, she always finds a way! Her thousand watt smile finishing that race course could have warmed up the entire state of Utah!
When we got home she promptly went to bed and has been resting and sleeping ever since. The reality is that although she crossed a finish line yesterday, her trial is not “finished”. We know that there are many setbacks and hurdles ahead. There is no “cure” for her. But, we also know that she is turning some more corners on her journey and so we want to express our gratitude, and feel blessed.
God is real! He hears our prayers, and He does send mercies. Laura Story is right. A lot of blessings and mercies come as raindrops, tears, and sleepless nights. Most of our questions go unanswered in this life. But, sometimes His mercies can come as a joyful Finish Line on a cold and dreary day. – MoSop