it is said that hindsight is 20/20 vision.
i think more appropriately, when we look back we can see what God was up to. for me it feels like, "Oh, that's why that happened"!
here are a few things that have happened in my life that i questioned at the time, but looked back and saw the "why" later:
when my husband and i married, we wanted to move away. we like living here, but we just wanted to hop around a little:) call me crazy, but i REALLY really wanted to move to Wyoming. why wyoming? well why not? for some reason or another, God never let us move. I voted boo!
when our oldest son was about 4, we were talking about school. i was already having a difficult time managing our home and 2 active little boys, so i was looking forward to sending our oldest to a nice christian pre-k where he could learn some, make friends, and burnoff some energy! the only thing i wasn't contemplating was homeschooling. people, i can't tell you how much every fibre of my being did NOT want to homeschool! but i slowly felt the Lord pulling me towards it, and i wouldn't even consider it as an option! i tried to rebel. i reasoned with God that a christian school would be a great alternative to this crazy homeschooling plan He had. the christian pre-k's filled up and i got phone call after phone call that all said the same thing: "we are so sorry, we have never run out of spots before, but your son just missed it by one person". no kidding!
at the time, both of these things were frustrating! i tried to push my plans through, but to no avail! what was God thinking? what was He doing?
six months after we got our last "no" about school, and i grudgingly started homeschooling, our second son (then 3 years old) was diagnosed with a birth defect.
from birth to age 2, he appeared perfect in every way. then, i started to notice that when he was in the bath tub, his left shoulder blade looked a little raised. we took him to an orthopaedics office and they told us (after x-rays) that he had a "winged scapula". nothing serious, nothing to worry about, it will never get worse, and never get better. it just meant that one shoulder blade would stick out a little further than the other.
i can't say why that didn't sit right with me...just felt a little unsettled inside like "that's not it". i gave it time to see if i noticed any difference and sure enough, by the time his 3rd birthday was coming near i thought it had gotten noticably worse. again we went to the local orthopaedics office. the doctors told me to stop being a paranoid mother and just accept his diagnosis. i called on my pediatrician and told them what i felt. he said that he knew enough to always listen to the moms! he set up an appointment for us at Johns Hopkins Hospital to see a pediatric orthopaedist. only, the doctor we need to see doesn't accept our insurance. i talk with the office staff of johns hopkins. she says she will ask the doctor to look at my sons file and see if he will make an exception. she will let me know. yeah right, i think. we're doomed. i will never hear back from them! as soon as i think those thoughts, the phone rings. good news! the doc wants to see him no matter what and doesn't care what kind of insurance we have. i am shocked beyond belief, and thankful.
the first thing they did at Hopkins was more x-rays. i noticed that they were x-raying him standing, and the other x-rays he'd had were done laying down. when i mentioned this to the tech, she stared at me and said "all spine x-rays are done standing!"
it's hard to describe the feeling of looking at an x-ray of the inside of your perfect child and seeing that there is something terribly wrong. hot tears of disbelief coursing down your cheeks helplessly. my mind racing...you can't even tell there is something wrong on the outside unless his shirt is off! how can that be the same child? we look at the x-rays from home done just months before right next to the set that were done minutes before and seeing nothing similiar. the orthopaedist looked at my family with kind eyes and gently told us that this case was complicated and over her head. my son would need to see the head of the paediatric orthopaedic surgeons. she would be right back with him.
many moments of my husband holding his wife tightly around the shoulders while we watched our 4 yr. old play with his little brother. a gentle knock on the door. a small, balding man with a quiet voice enters and introduces himself. soft eyes give us caring looks under bushy eyebrows. he talks. our son has several vertibrae fused together on the right side of his spine. also, many "abnormalities" in his ribs. his neck is fused on both sides. no contact sports for him. ever. his spine is curving dramatically because as he grows, it cannot elongate on the right. this form of scoliosis is not correctable with anything but surgery.
i breathe. thankful there is something we can do! our doctor has dealt with several patients who have this. so i start to question him: what is the outcome? how have other patients made out? what can we expect? he has no answers for us. each case is different. soooo vastly different. he can't even predict exactly what we will be doing for our son. just have to wait. come back every six months for more x-rays. see how he is growing. the surgeon gives us his card in case we have any questions after we leave.
we leave in an air of disbelief and confusion. we walk to our car and my tears flow. my husband comforts. rejoice! we can get help. thankful! it's nothing life-threatening. slowly we process what we've been told. i call family and friends who ask us a million questions that we don't have answers to.
in church on sunday, i can't sing a note. corporate worship moves me. all my feeble mind can say is "God is so good!"
after a little research we realize that there is no hospital in the United States so equipped to handle our son's treatment. our surgeon? he is the authority on this. the specialist who teaches other specialists. if we had moved away, as i had wanted to, we wouldn't be within a mere 2.5 hour drive of this world-renowned hospital. and we are thankful! twice a year we continue to go for new x-rays and exams and we see it. families flying here from all over the world. the little boy next to us in the waiting room is from Israel. families flying out from California and Texas and Canada. a visit for us is easy. there and back in one day!
several visits later, the surgeon says that it will soon be time to start surgeries. too risky to opperate on the spine of a small child. but if nothing is done until he is 12 or 13 or 16, he will be severely disfigured. warped and twisted like a small sapling growing crooked. we are going to try to brace his ribs and bones internally and make him as straight as possible as he grows so that later when he is older, he might have a chance at a final surgery that would seperate the fused vertibrae. even that is not known for sure. they will install a device that will "jack" him up on the right side to help him be straighter. it will need to be adjusted every 6-9 months, depending on his growth. we will need to do some major co-ordinating with his teachers for like 10 years or so. thankful! THAT is why the Lord wants me to homeschool our children! he can't miss months of school every year. and now, he doesn't:) we do school all year and break for surgeries.
today i am thankful that the lord has a plan. it may not be my plan, but who needs my plans, anyway? they wouldn't work.