Let’s start out this post with handsome pre-teen Malachi sporting a new hairdo, styled by his buddies. He is going to be 10 years old in exactly two months!
He had temporary blue tips and everything! He loved the process and seeing him smile so big blessed me. I am thankful for very sweet friends who think to include him in even the smallest things.
And Levi, of course, got to put a little blue in his hair too.
This year we decided to focus a portion of each evening on Advent, a season of reflecting on God and the gift of His Son. We are using a family devotional book titled “The Advent Jesse Tree” by Dean Lambert and we sit down as a family each evening to read the Word together and put a new ornament on the tree that reflects something God has done for us.
Both Malachi and Levi are thoroughly enjoying this and listen so intently. I asked them one evening this week: “Do you know what gift God sent to us to show us His love, even though we don’t deserve the gift?”
Levi nodded yes excitedly and with such gusto proudly answered: “A COW!”
Watching a child learn is something I didn’t realize I would enjoy so much. Especially when they are unfolding truths about God.
This week someone asked Levi if he was excited about Santa. We don’t do Santa or other imaginary characters in our home for a few reasons, but the main one being that we do not want to muddy the waters between truth and fiction. We talk a lot about heaven in our home and the promises of God and when the time comes that we need to rely on those promises I don’t want there to be a speck of doubt in our family of what is real. There are so many other reasons that led us to that decision, but that is a conversation for another day.
Levi’s response: “We don’t talk about Santa in our family, we talk about Jesus.”
Hearing those words come out of the mouth of a 5 year old unprompted by me gave me the chills. And what fuel it was to my soul to keep taking discipleship in my home seriously.
This week I tackled the bottom pieces of the to-do list…those few items that I keep pushing off and hoping they will magically self resolve before I have to attempt them. There are many hidden hoops to jump through in this world and I don’t always have the energy to jump. There is a fight in this world that you don’t know exists if you aren’t immersed within it.
The insurance battles would blow your mind. Things like a shower chair for me to safely clean Malachi are deemed as “comfort items” and therefore “not medically necessary”. I appeal. They deny. I appeal again. And round and round we go.
Malachi’s insurance will cover incontinence products (diapers). But none of the diaper companies will take our insurance- an elimination process that took me hours to complete. So we end up paying out of pocket for so many of these things that insurance says they cover.
Levi had another g-tube pop this week; this is the third one since October. We get four for the entire year and we are supposed to change it out every three months. Clearly there is a defect with the tube batch we have been sent, as he is only using the tube part time and is very careful with it. But rules are rules with insurance and to get another replacement to have for peace of mind costs $160.
We have been in this world for almost a decade so it has become strangely normalized to do the hoop jumping. But the bitterness if creates within me is still very real.
This week I sat down to work on Levi’s school paperwork. The form had a medical history question and a very small space for the parent to list the history. Obviously this wasn’t enough space to list even a brief summary of Levi’s life so I sat down to focus on typing a page (or three) summarizing Levi. The more I typed the more I remembered how truly far he has come.
We are in a world full of miracles but also a world filled with so many miracles in waiting. Trusting in the timing of God is such a challenge, and something I have to daily choose to do.
I started reading in Luke this week, attempting a chapter a day leading through the life of Christ. There are 24 chapters in the book so by the time you go to bed Christmas Eve you have reflected on the gift of Christ as our Savior.
I have always been fascinated by John the Baptist, but it wasn’t until after I became a parent that I began to truly appreciate his parents and their role in God’s plan.
Luke 1:6 tells us “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.”
Zachariah and Elizabeth were living a life that was pleasing to the Lord. And then comes that word…BUT…the word I have grown to loathe. It is the word I have heard roll off the tongues of doctors and surgeons dozens of times, taking the hope that I carried and shattering it yet again.
“It opened his airway a little, BUT it isn’t quite enough for him to go home without a trach.”
“He’s alive BUT it isn’t looking good.”
It is the less than subtle transition word that takes things from beautiful to devastating. And even in this Biblical narrative we see that living a righteous life does not exempt us from the “BUT”.
How often do we convince ourselves that we can earn the good things from God? We treat righteous living like a formula to produce comfort and success rather than it simply being a love language to our Father.
God could have blessed Zachariah and Elizabeth at any time with a son, but He had hand chosen them to be the parents of the messenger and forerunner of Christ (foretold in the books of Isaiah and Malachi). His timing is always perfect, even when it doesn’t happen in the frame we foolishly believe it should.
The Bible tells us time and time again about the trials we should expect to face. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. BUT take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In this season of advent, focusing on the excitement of what was to come, I am choosing to change the lens of my unanswered prayers. I choose to believe that our “not yet” miracles are because God is working on something immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).