This blog was written on my iPhone beside my daughter’s bed in September 2009. At times I have been tempted to return to it, as I am now…to edit it, to create neater paragraphs etc. but each time I do, I decide that I like how raw and informal it is. It is not a polished piece but rather the desperate cry of my heart.
‘Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.’ (Rumi)
When we come to the end of ourselves, to the place where there is no hope but God we are well positioned for miracles. He is leading us through the darkest of caves or the depths of the sea. He didn’t cause the ruin, he didn’t send the storm, he didn’t abandon the ship, he didn’t leave us to suffer.
He was and is and is to come. The same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) When Jesus walked the face of the earth. He went about doing good, healing the sick and all who were oppressed by the devil. (Acts 10:38)
God is good all the time. When we put our trust in Him we will not be ashamed. To us it looks like the waves will swallow us up but He speaks to the wind and the wind obeys.
Sometimes the treasure is hidden. At first we don’t know it’s there but there is hope like an invisible thread. We seek, we follow where it leads. We hold on working our way down the line, one hand after the other; never letting go of it’s strand. It’s too dark to see it but we feel it’s there.
Sometimes hope is all we have but it’s enough.
Hope is an anchor to our souls. (Hebrews 6:19) It holds us fast though we feel like we are drifting. Though the waves still leap and curl into the boat. We get wet, we are shaken but we do not drown.
A thousand shall fall at our side but it will not touch us. (Psalm 91)
I’ve watched the transplant patients all year. I’ve watched them leave hospital frail and thin. I’ve seen them wheeled out under grey sheets, lifeless, dead.
I’m no fool. I know the possibilities but I also know the mighty hand of God. His arm is not too short that it can not save. I choose to put all my trust in Him.
I am Caleb. I have seen the land God gave me to possess in my youth. ‘I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, Surely the land on which your feet have walked shall be an inheritance to you and your children always…
I am as strong now as I was the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then so is my strength now for war to go out and to come in. Joshua 14:7,9,11)
Last week I held onto my hope until the rope burned through the palms of my hands. The enemy pulled one way in the tug of war but I had my father and a host of people praying. We tugged and tugged until we landed heavy on the ground, relieved by our win. Here is the battle recorded for those who took part on that endless rope. This is the victory we won:
The fevers that spiked early last week did not subside. The icy cloths that I bathed Sam in, soaked up her heat and warmed the water I drenched them in, melting the ice in moments. This went on hour after hour, through the days and the sleepless nights only to get worse, the temperatures soaring and the unspoken concern intensified in the doctors eyes.
Without alarming me, without changing the tone in their voice they told me they would send the pain team to make her as comfortable as possible. Then they told my they would be prepping the team in ICU in case they should need to move her there. In the meantime they gave her every conceivable drug and blood product through the three tubes on her central line.
Her body was completely covered from head to toe with rashes worse than I’ve ever seen. Worse even than the anaphalactic rash she had a few months ago after asparaginaise.
Her tongue was swollen thick with the effects of mucositis and it was hard to even swallow her own saliva. Her calloused lips seemed to be hinged together with strands of beige chewing gum as she opened and closed them so anxious for breath. Her nose was sore and encrusted with dry blood.
When they were satisfied that they had pumped her with enough anti biotics to fight infection then fresh frozen plasma (FFP) to make it ‘safe’ they took her to theatre to take out the central line in her left shoulder and reinsert one into the right side of her neck.
Her temperature reached 40.4 by midday on Friday the 11th of September and they said she was septic.
I knew as I left the theatre room that it might be the last time I would see her alive. At least that is how they’d prepared me.
Exhausted, I swallowed the knot in my throat and fell weak into Reid’s arms. We didn’t speak about the possibility of death. Instead we sent messages to friends to pray. We spoke of Gods tremendous grace. I shared with Reid how the night before I found myself singing that old hymn I had sung as a child about the horse and rider being thrown into the sea. (Exodus 15) I shared the comfort I’d found in the knowledge that God is able to prevail; regardless of what we see with our eyes. It looked like a dead end that had us cornered. A mighty sea in front of us, an army of enemies at our back but God parted the sea and the Israelites went through on dry land and then the sea drowned those who were pursuing them
It seems this theme of crossing over has invaded my thoughts these last weeks. I turn this concept over in mind eager to draw every possible truth out of this lesson. I am searching for treasure.
I know God wants me dead in such a way that I can be alive in Him. To hear His voice over my voice, to speak His words that fuel my faith instead of speaking what I see. ‘Not my will but thine be done.’ The words of Jesus in Gethsemene remind me that He paid the price He did not deserve to pay that I could have the life I did not deserve to live. This truth alone positions me in praise and I worship Him for giving us life.
‘Who is like unto thee, O Lord among God’s? Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, worthy of praises. Doing wonders. Who is like unto thee?’
All night long I had sung that as I bathed her and watched the sky over the city, turn from black, to navy to the powder blue light of day,
Reid and I walked wearily back to Sam’s room to wait and fell asleep in the chair. All of C3 church had prayed the night before at #LoveSydney, friends twittered photos and words of encouragement. He holds her in His hands. I put my trust in Him.
I woke moments before the orderly wheeled Sam back in. Not long after that, her specialist arrived to check on her and tell us that even though it’s his weekend off he’ll be monitoring the blood results all weekend from his home computer. He tells us the on call haemotologist will be here and available, that Sam will be receiving steroids and other IV meds through the night.
‘She’s a very sick little girl.’ he says. We are doing everything we can. He took his time, he knelt by her bed, he answered my questions. I told him, ‘I’m no expert but could this be GVHD?’ He was so gracious, actually he said, ‘You are an expert. You’ve been by her side all year, you’ve monitored her every moment. You know what she reacts too, her responses. You’ve been a great help.’ I felt so validated for my role as Sam’s mum. ‘Our concern,’ he continued, ‘is that we think it is GVHD. But she’s too early to be engrafting and she…’ ‘Has no white blood cells.’ I finished his sentence with tears in my eyes.
‘Yes, so we are going to give her GCSF and we are going to do her obs every 15 minutes. ICU are ready to receive her anytime but we want to keep her here due to risk of infection in ICU.’
He gave us time to mentally digest his words. We stood in complete silence. Then when are eyes all met, he nodded and left.
The drugs began to take effect making Sam drowsy. The fevers subsidied but in their place hullicinations and dark dreams invaded her thoughts. As she spoke from her drug induced sleep the terrors of the night held her captive. She was anxious, she couldn’t find me, she wanted to know where she was. When she woke she saw patterns on the walls that were not there, her eyes glazed over like one possessed.
By Sunday she retold her dreams with heavy sobs from all she had seen. Dark, dark dreams, so vivid, so real.
Her eyelashes now have disappeared, along with her eyebrows and hair. Her face, her tummy, her legs, her ankles, even her eyelids are swollen from fluid retention.
I hear the enemy mock me. His distant evil laughter. He thinks he can crush my spirit. He thinks I will not believe much longer in the hope that I have.
But he is fooled. It is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me. (Galations 2:20)
We pray together. Grant and Reid and I. We sit on her bed and we pray. ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not mere physical (weapons of flesh and blood) but they are mighty before God for the pulling down of strongholds. We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we lead every thought captive to the obediance of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Then her thoughts began to settle, she is calm. She sleeps deep in her mattress for days.
What I see with my natural eyes brings fear. I feel like Lazerus sisters. I wonder why he came so late. I wonder why I had to wait. I wonder why I have to carry this load.
But I don’t wonder for long. I feel his hope again pulsing in my hands. I hang on, making my way to the depths of His love. The treasure is there in the waters. His life infuses breath into me. He takes me to places I’d never have sought to go. My life entwined in Him. He lifts the heavy lid of the chest revealing precious truths of His faithfulness.
Yes, ‘I shall see and be radiant and my heart will thrill and tremble with joy (at the glorious inheritance) and be enlarged: because the abundant wealth of the (Dead) Sea shall be turned to me, unto me shall the nations come with their treasures.’ Isaiah 60:5
It’s not just for me. It’s what God has promised to this generation.
Isaiah61:4 And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
Surely the church is entering it’s finest hour. We will see miracles.
On Monday, when the team of doctors came they came rejoicing. They came to tell us how well Sam is doing. I asked ‘have you looked at her?’ To the natural eye it seemed a foolish report. We will look at her but most importantly we look at the blood. The true results are in the blood. The white blood cells are up. Sam you are engrafting.
There’s a bubble trapped in the depth of my stomach (must be all that deep sea diving). When the doctors leave the room it manifests in crying. ‘Sam, it’s a miracle. You are engrafting. You are getting better.’
Everyday she’s improving. God is faithful. We will sparkle like jewels in His crown. (Zechariah 9:16)