I was so tired waking up this morning, and all I could think about was how badly I want to go home and how hard it would be to walk through those ICU doors for yet another day. As I was convincing myself to get out of bed, I heard the quiet voice of Jesus speaking to my heart.
“You have need of endurance.”
The words come from Hebrews 10:36:
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”
Endurance is not my favorite word. It reminds me of high school track and field when all I wanted to do was sprint, and anything longer than 200 meters seemed insane to me.
As I became more committed to the sport, my track coach suggested that I run cross country too. He said it would keep me in shape and make me stronger. I agreed to do it, even though the thought of running 2 whole miles set off all of my internal alarm bells.
I remember a race that was held in a park in my hometown. Lots of people that I knew were there, cheering from behind a barrier of bright triangular flags, flapping in the wind. About halfway through the race I got tired. All I could think of was the pain of the stitch in my side, and I quit. I walked off the trail and disqualified myself.
The memory is still so clear, because as I stepped off of the course I experienced a moment of physical relief followed by waves of deep regret. Almost instantly, I realized that if I had just kept going, the finish would’ve been worth the pain.
I also remember a practice run held at the same park. Then too, the pain became too much, urging me to quit. I chose to push through, and not long after, I experienced a “second wind.” Endorphins flooded my body, my stride lengthened, and I was able to finish strong.
What I want is for this 31 day long hospital stay to be over. But what I need right now is endurance. And what I believe is that the finish line will be worth it.
I recognize the second winds–graces from God–that have carried us this far …
–the prayers of preschoolers and more family and friends and strangers than I can count
–a little heart-shaped pillow made by someone I don’t know and covered with anchors that remind me of hope as the anchor of the soul
–the daily calls, messages, and visits that serve as a lifeline and remind me I’m not running alone
–a room at the Ronald McDonald house that has become more a respite than just a soft bed and a place to eat and do laundry
–the husband who sacrifices much to be here, who lets me sleep extra when I know he’s tired, and whose faith steadies me when things feel shaky
–the janitor who offered prayer, the security guard who asked how I was and really wanted to know, the nurse who makes me laugh, the doctor who came when she didn’t have to and the one who spoke hopeful words instead of fearful ones
–the many selfless gifts and the support that has made it easier to be here without worrying
–my new friend and 2nd time neighbor in the PICU, who has every right to think only of her own sweet baby, yet takes the time to love on me and mine too (*When you pray for Olivia, please pray for JaNell and her baby Miguel too.)
–the people who pray fervently, make sacrifices to show up (even in the middle of the night or after a long drive), who don’t stop asking and won’t stop believing, and have shown me the meaning of words like “family,” “friend,” “church,” and “love”
–The God who is nearer than ever before, who has proven His faithfulness time and again, and who orchestrated all of the above (and more that I will share another time)
GOD IS SO FAITHFUL! I can run with endurance, because He runs alongside. He reminds me of the surety of His promises. By his own example, Jesus has shown that the finish is worth the pain.
So I will take another step. That’s all endurance is. Just taking another step in the direction of hope and faith. It’s trusting that I can take another step and it will be OK. That no matter where my foot lands, it’s nothing God can’t handle. It’s believing that there’s victory ahead at the finish line.
Olivia is doing better than the doctors expected. When the they diagnosed her with Steven Johnson’s disease–a severe allergic reaction to a medicine she had been given–they warned us about blisters, skin sloughing off, and involvement with the eyes and mouth that would mean the disease was affecting her internally as well. She has no blisters and no breaking or sloughing of the skin. Her mouth looks great, and there is a ring of white skin around both eyes that the doctors keep marveling over. Praise God, Jesus kept the rash from her eyes! The rash on her body is getting a little lighter each day, and her ears–which were swollen and purple–are almost white and down to normal size.
Please keep praying that everything will continue improving faster than expected so that we can get out of the PICU and come home. Pray that we’ll stay strong in faith in the meantime and that Olivia won’t be in pain from the rash. Thank you ❤