Today is better. Grace was very cranky yesterday and this morning. She had been complaining of her tummy hurting. The pancreatitis certainly explained why. They caught it quickly enough that it wasn't very painful. Last night she was furious when she found out she wasn't allowed to eat. She was mid-mouthful of dinner, her first bite too, when they told us and we had to put the food away. She had a full blown tantrum, and I couldn't really blame her.
This morning she was complaining of belly pain, but I couldn't tell if it was pain, or hunger, or anger, or hangry (hungry angry), or all of them. The doctor recommended morphine and at first I balked. I decided to follow his recommendation and I'm glad I did. Mid-infusion she sat up and started talking and laughing again. She started going downhill by lunch, even though she was allowed to have clear liquids. Then she had a nice nap, woke up sweet as pie for a few hours and then she let me know she wasn't feeling great a by saying "I don't care," to everything before bed.
I'm doing better today. Not only did I get some sleep, I had some really good prayer time last night after Grace had gone to bed. God reminded me of a few things and the book my mom gave me to read, "When Your Doctor Has Bad News," really helped too.
Years ago, before I had Grace, God gave me a vision. I've only had a handful in my life, but they tend to be prophecies, and they are like images I see in my "mind's eye," and so far they've all come true. This one was a path leading me to my heart's desire, our family. But the path God showed me wound all around, not at all in a logical straight line, and finally ended at my heart. He would give me my heart's desire, but the path to it would be of his making, not mine.
When we couldn't get pregnant I thought it was the fulfillment of the vision. After nine months of trying I realized that I had put my dreams of family on a pedestal higher than the one I had God on. I had hoped to have a secure little family that I could pour all my love into and we would be wrapped up tight in a little bundle of happiness that would be without risks. My family dreams involved the words "us" and "ours" a lot. We finally gave up trying to get pregnant and thought of becoming missionaries in Watts instead. We even went Watts to check it out, but God said no and soon after we became pregnant with Grace.
When labor with Grace became dangerous, and when I thought I had lost her, that vision was the first thing that came into my mind. Jesus was right there with us and He quickly let me know that it was not the answer. Soon after Grace was born without any lingering side effects.
Then Luke was born and my happy family dreams seemed complete. I had all but forgotten about the vision. The author of "When Your Doctor Has Bad News" writes, "What do you do when you receive bad news that changes your life by destroying your dreams? You have to realign your dreams with new boundaries. You have to live in the world as a different person- and live with a God who has acted differently toward you then you expected."
What is happening to Grace is much more than my dreams at stake. It's her life. But then I started praying and thinking about it. If I believe in the resurrection, then even Grace's life is my dream. What I mean is, I had dreams and plans about all the joyful years I thought Grace would have. If I believe in Heaven as Jesus told us, then death will not destroy her life. An early death will only shorten how much of it she will live here, and lengthen how much of it she will live in there. My dreams of family, however, are at stake now that she is sick.
I've been really mad at God these last few days. Mad to be here, mad to have chemo for Grace again, mad that God could let this happen to us. Last night as I was on my knees praying, I remembered the vision and realized that our journey to my heart's desire of family is still in progress. My anger melted. God knew in advance this was going to happen. He even prepared me for it with the vision. It has remind me that He has a way to get us to our heart's desire, though it seems to impossibly detour...and a way to purify our heart's desire so that it's pleasing to Him. I was able to offer my dreams of family to God again, and again put my trust in Him to care for Gracie and to lead our family.
(And like my friend Rachel noticed today, this cycle of accepting and denial, of anger and peace, of learning and forgetting...it's a daily process right now. Every morning I have to accept God's plan for us. Every morning I have to trust Him again. Every time Grace suffers any setback or pain, I have to start over again in my journey of faith. So if these posts seem redundant, forgive me. I'm mostly writing them as my personal journal and to make my thoughts real on paper. This redundant process is what I am living right now. It's similar in many ways to the crazy path God showed me, a seemingly mistaken and haphazard path that leads to my heart's desires, and His.)