Something Strange

This week was mostly spent recovering from the chaos of last week. Malachi had a hard time weaning off of his oxygen, his breathing stamina dwindling after a few minutes each time we turned it down. Late Saturday evening we were finally able to turn off the concentrator and he has now been oxygen free for 24 hours! And he was thrilled to get those tubes off of his face.

Medical momma fact: nasal cannulas (the tubing that goes on his face and into his nostrils) has a very distinct smell. The only way I can describe it is “medical” and I figured out a few years ago that it is one of my PTSD triggers. Levi was on oxygen for the first few years of his life so it was a smell we were familiar with, but now that it is a come and go type thing my brain forgets that scent and makes the memories flood back when I catch a whiff of it.

When Malachi is still fragile like this we stay home and close to all of the medical devices and stick to a schedule with breathing treatments, cough assist, medications, diaper changes to prevent skin breakdown, and CPT. It is very difficult to focus on anything outside of healing so weeks like this one end up being very unproductive. But Malachi is happy and healing so I really can’t complain.

We were able to get a CPT machine (we call it a shake vest…not a very creative name considering that is exactly its function) from a medical supply company this week and I truly think that, paired with consisted breathing treatments, has helped him finally get rid of the crud in his lungs. Malachi loves this machine. It shakes his body pretty aggressively and the motion it creates makes him laugh. Raccoon fingers Levi got ahold of the settings and cranked it up when I wasn’t looking, making Malachi flop like a fish out of water. I was mortified and Malachi thought it was the greatest ride of his life.

The boys both got some much needed haircuts. Here is a before and after of Levi’s wild hair. We got a little stir crazy mid week and decided to cash in a gift card and celebrate our fancy Christmas meal that we missed out on. I had bought a small honey baked turkey for Christmas this year but we didn’t get to sit down and enjoy it together- I gave Jake and Levi the green light from the hospital to knock it out before it went bad. So this was a fun substitute and we all enjoyed getting out of the house for an outing.

So let’s talk about this kid. Levi started preschool this week! The transition went amazingly smooth and he ran into the classroom on the first day without any issues. He is a chatterbox each afternoon when I pick him up, sharing the most random details from his day. He says he loves school!

After just two days he was able to recite the class verse for the week (including the reference which impressed me) and he was singing new Bible based songs. He is a tiny little sponge, eager to soak in all of the new information. And it sounds ridiculous but even his vocabulary and sentence structure is maturing as he spends time around peers.

And I don’t know how to accurately explain this so bear with me, but lately I have felt like I am drowning. I have all these dreams and goals of the type of mom I want to be but I am just stretched so thin with the extra needs in our family. Having someone else on board to help educate, love, and disciple Levi has been a breath of fresh air to my heart. It feels like I have a new teammate, and I don’t think I realized the value of that partnership until I experienced it this week.

Malachi and I are also enjoying the one on one time together while Levi is at school. We read books, play games, and tackle lots of projects we can’t easily pull of when brother is around. This morning he woke up giggling, knowing that we were going to get some Malachi and mommy time after we dropped Levi off at school.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

As I prepared the lesson for our youth group this week I couldn’t help but chuckle at this verse. Yes, I recognize that this isn’t a verse that usually elicits laughter. But this verse so correctly personifies some of what my brain has been doing over the last two weeks as we navigate another fiery ordeal.

We have been through dozens of medical surprises. Dozens of life threatening medical emergencies. Months and months of surprise hospitalizations. Yet each time it happens it surprises me, “as though something strange were happening” to us.

The Bible is abundantly clear…we are not exempt from suffering. We are not exempt from trials. What we see as tragedies God sees as growth opportunities for our faith. And He sees each of our fiery ordeals as an opportunity to reveal His glory to us AND to all those looking in.

I often forget that sometimes the trials we experience are not for our growth, but are sometimes for the growth of the audienced in our life. Nurses we encounter, other parents we connect with through mutual suffering, even you reading this blog right now. God in His mysterious ways often asks us to be the hands and feet of Him and oftentimes that can involve some varying level of suffering that grows the faith of us or of someone close to us.

I have mentioned this before but it has been so present in my thoughts this week; we are called to be good stewards of our suffering. Even our darkest moments contain a hidden purpose that we may not initially get to see.

Our egos convince us that we should see the results and benefits of our suffering. But our faith tells us that even when we can’t see the work of God we must trust that it is in fact happening.

We are called to keep rejoicing. When the fire gets hotter we are still called to look for things to rejoice over. When the outcome isn’t the one we expected we are still called to look for things to rejoice over. When the healing doesn’t come still we rejoice.

Because it is in our humility and trust in our God where His glory is revealed and we become image bearers of Him.

Please continue to pray for our family, that we are able to find some steady ground this week. The transition of school has brought about some changes with bedtimes, routines, and medications. Which leads to my final note…

After a decade of weekly entries on this blog I am going to now start blogging every other Sunday. We have the youth over to the house for dinner and Bible study every other Sunday night and those days are extra long with cooking (and the clean up) for 40 teens! My plan is to blog on the Sundays we don’t host the teens. We had them over this Sunday so plan on an entry next week and then I will start alternating after that.

I will continually be praying about this and leaving room for God to direct me differently! I see this as a ministry God has entrusted me with and my work ethic in it is one of my love languages to Him.

Thank you for continuing to pray for the Carrolls!

Leah

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