Crying in the Car

I cried on my way to work this morning. Mostly at the end as I sat in the parking garage. Because there's a little boy, only 3 years old, having surgery today to remove his eye.

A few months ago Reid was diagnosed with a rare cancer that the chemo has since not killed off sufficiently. And because of the cancer's unique nature and placement, his only hope for continued health and life is to lose his eye.

Reid's mom, Amy, is a girl I grew up with in the neighborhood, a childhood friend whom I haven't seen in forever but have reconnected with in the last couple of years thanks to social media. I could see from her posts and blog that she loves Jesus and has a vibrant faith. She is happily married with two little boys, having shared a lot of my own life challenges and joys.

Rabbit trail: Can I just say that it thrills my heart to hear the stories of old friends who have come to know Jesus? I was the weird one back then, coming to faith at 11 when most others weren't interested in spiritual things. I have no idea when Amy professed her faith in Christ. But she and several other friends from those years have re-appeared in my life (again, thanks to social media) and, in the process, revealed their love for Jesus Christ. That alone makes me thank God for Facebook and Twitter.

But sharing our lives online now also includes the hard stuff. Amy shared Reid's cancer story through her blog, and I've been praying on and off ever since. The news of his imminent surgery was tough to hear. All I had to do was look at Gabe, my almost-3-year-old, to know the mother's pain that Amy is experiencing.

A Mother's Prayer

Empathy is a powerful force.

This morning I sat on the floor as usual, getting Gabe dressed for the day. When I stood him up, ready to go, he tackled me with giggles and kisses. We sat there snuggling for an extra couple of minutes--the best and longest two minutes of my day thus far. He doesn't usually do that, so I pretty much just breathed him in, reveling in the softness of his chubby cheeks and the strength in his little arms around my neck. I lifted up a mental "thank you, God," glad to be fully aware of the moment, and the reality that he's my last one and these snuggles are numbered as he grows up. And then he was done, and off to the kitchen.

On my way to work I saw a reminder on my phone of Reid's surgery. And I thought of Gabe, so healthy and whole. And I thought of another friend, Jenny, who is having her baby today. Jenny was born with cerebral palsy and given little chance to thrive. But she defied the doctors and has attacked life head-on, walking, learning, graduating, marrying, having children...a literal walking miracle. And so is this little boy she's about to deliver. God can do great things, can he not?

With these treasures in mind, I started praying for Reid's healing, that God would keep him safe through the surgery, recovery, and free from complications afterwards. I know God doesn't always heal, but I also know that he wants us to ask what's in our hearts. And yes, Reid's healing is top concern today. But I also prayed for his future--that God would use this life-altering event to develop his character and personality in such a way that he would bring people to faith in Christ. God can use all kinds of evil (see the story of Joseph, in Genesis) to bring about good.


And wouldn't you know it, as I parked the car at work, the song "Blessings" by Laura Story started. Yeah, that's where the tears come in. Because I'd been praying pretty much just like that song was going. She basically asks, what if God works through pain instead removing it? How will we respond to him if he doesn't take the hard stuff away? What if he knows we'll only value what's most important if we experience suffering?

I had to laugh (through the tears) at the timing of the song. Thanks, God. Way to pound that one home.

So I keep praying for a successful surgery, for a boy who will grow up not to bemoan his cancer but instead tell others how God saved his life through this amazing procedure (and hey, do you want to see my fake eye?), and for his mom who will, many days from now, thank God for walking her through this horrible time knowing she was undergirded by God Himself and the empathy and prayers of many who love them.

And I keep asking that He will always remind me to live in the moment: to notice the sweetness of hugs and kisses from a toddler and the shared confidences of a tween, the constant hugs and chattering from my 6 and 8 year olds, the (never-ending?) teasing affection of my husband. Because those moments don't last forever. I want to breathe them in fully while I have them.

  • Jesus tells us to ask our Father in Heaven for what we need. It's ok to pray for healing. Luke 11:11-13What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
  • Trials are inevitable, and God can use them in our lives.   James 1:2-4Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
  • He is a God of hope. We can trust him. Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.