In My Weakness, He is Strong

In 2004 I came face to face with the reality of the fragility of life. It was a typical day of rushing to take my five year old daughter to school before heading off to my part time job. Through a series of circumstances that can only happen on a such hectic morning, I found a huge purple bruise on her left size that alarmed me. While she was clueless to how it had happened, and as I left the school parking lot, I could not get the glaring bruise off my mind and decided to make an appointment with the pediatrician. That night I sat at my computer staring at the word LEUKEMIA glaring back at me. I tried to think of symptoms I may have missed. I clasped my hands tightly together over the keyboard and prayed for God’s healing and strength. I slept very little, a thousand scenerios forming in my mind. I watched her eat breakfast, amazed at how quickly she had grown. The visit to the pediatrician’s office was a blur, with blood work and then instructions to go directly to the hospital.  As the doctor gave me instructions, I stared at him, trying to remain calm. I felt light headed, the lump in my throat made it hard to breathe. He put his hands on my shoulders, leaned down and looked me straight in the eyes. “It’s probably not what you are thinking, Dana. It will be okay.” I looked up into his kind eyes and felt myself crumbling, I quickly asked to be excused, and walked as fast as my feet would carry me to the bathroom. I stared in the mirror, my face was pale and with tears in my eyes I cried out “Lord, I am afraid!” They were the only words that bubbled up from the depths of my soul. Like a warm blanket, peace surrounded me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, then washed my face and went back to my daughter. At the hospital more blood tests were required and I fought back tears once again as I held down my baby girl to be poked and prodded with needles.  After she calmed down, we were taken to a special ward where children received medical treatments. The brightly colored walls mimicked the undersea world. Large salt-water tanks with beautiful fish were inserted in the walls. The sound of water and soft lighting was soothing. On each side of the room, children sat at stations, entertained with movies, cartoons and games as they received intravenous treatments. Molly was wide-eyed, “Wow, this is cool, Mommy!” The adults smiled with sympathetic eyes as we walked by each station. I forced a smile, desperate to quiet the voice in my head screaming “I can’t do this, I can’t do this!” I sat for hours while Molly played and silently prayed for God to give me strength. Psalm 46:1 kept going through my mind “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God’s voice whispered to my shaking spirit that He alone was sufficient for my needs and for Molly’s needs. He softly reminded me that in my weakness He is strong. As I watched her,  I replayed every moment of her life since her birth. She had a zest for life that was unequaled. Just as she was becoming restless and bored with the “toys”, the doctor and my husband arrived at the same time, one with a smile and the other with a strained look of fear on his face.  The diagnosis: Our rambunctious daughter had Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). I had no idea what ITP was and listened anxiously, as he explained the disease to us. Her antibodies were destroying her blood platelets. Normally, antibodies are a healthy response to bacteria or viruses. But, in people who develop ITP, the antibodies attack the body’s own blood platelets. The news was good, however, she would be treated over a three day period in the hospital. I did not realize how tense I had been until I felt every muscle in my body begin to relax. Molly is now a busy nine year old with no affects of ITP. She still has the same zest for life that is sometimes exhausting. The reality check that day, reminded me that life is fragile and filled with the unexpected. I have slowed down and watch closely as my children grow and relish every moment. I now understand the emotional devastation parents experience when their children become sick with life threatening diseases. I learned that God hears our cries even when we cannot clearly express what is in our hearts. When we cry out to Him, we experience the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of this storm. If the diagnosis had been different, I am confident that in His strength I could have handled the road we would have gone down. Whatever circumstances comes into my life, I am not alone and in my weakness, He is strong.

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