I had planned on briefly posting dates and details of Jordan's upcoming surgeries and development but decided against it. Following in the footsteps of most of my dear friends I will post my thoughts, my recent revelations and how they all tie into this next season or our life here.
I'm reading the book The Mother at Home by John S.C. Abbott and although it is taking me months to get through 123 pages I'm soaking it up (I sneak away any second I can to read a paragraph or a page). A section that struck me tonight is fairly long so I'll quote sections for you:
"The parent must strive to be herself just what she wishes her child to be. She must cherish in her own spirit those virtues and those graces which she desires to see as the embellishments of the character of her child...Would you have your children look to God sincerely, affectionately, cheerfully, as the Father and their friend - their sympathizer in joy, their comforter in sorrow? Lead them to do this by your example. Let them see this spirit in you...When disaster comes and sweeps away your means of luxury and even of comforts, when disease takes you from the busy cares of the household...then is the time, in which to show the loveliness and blessedness of confidence in God. A smile upon your countenance, a glance of confiding affection in your eye, a word of calm submission from your full heart, will then go to the hearts of your observing children, with great and effectual power...What child ever ceases to remember the life, the daily life, of its father and mother...this is your hour of conflict. Gain the victory yourself, and your child will gather strength from your success to struggle with her own temptations and sins...Say not that the annoyances and trials which you have to bear are too great to always be endured with equanimity. God lays upon his children no intolerable burdens." (page 77 - 78)
This section is both convicting and encouraging to me now. As I sit here looking at my calendar for the next two months (not to mention Thanksgiving and Christmas following suit) my eyelid continues to twitch. Ha! You think I'm kidding. Stresses of daily life, pre-op appointments for Jordan, well baby check ups, shots for her, blood tests, two surgeries, and her blessed first birthday rapidly approaching I find the need to, once again, remember who it is that has ordained all of this for His glory and my good. I need to remember that in challenge I should be most joyful. I am at home training two children in righteousness (trying at least) - what an opportunity this current series of trials presents!! I am even better able to put my words into practice for them to see my faith and trust lived out. They will remember these days and my actions and, Lord willing, take heed of my instruction.
John Piper's book What Jesus Demands from the World, in a section titled "Our Joy is Not Mainly in Prosperity but in Obedience and Pain" he writes this, "What's wrong is that the aroma of suffering is missing. For Jesus the demand for joy is a way to live with suffering and to outlast suffering. Therefore, this joy is serious. It's the kind you fight for by cutting off your hand (Matthew 5:30) and selling your possessions (Matthew 13:44) and carrying a cross with Jesus to Calvary (Matthew 10:38-39). It has scars. It sings happy songs with tears. It remembers the dark hours and knows that more are coming. The road to heaven is a hard road, bit it is not joyless." (p 87)
I have a friend whose husband is dying and is in constant pain. This has been going on for a very long time along with many, many other challenges in her life. Through God's grace she has found peace and joy in the midst of it and is a shining example to many wives and mothers I know. As I look at her life and then examine my own I find that the peace and joy is oft missing. Efficiency and order have been my idols. At the beginning of this new season I am praying for that to change. As you pray over our requests remember this present struggle of mine.
One last quote from John Piper, "We will take heart from the fact that Jesus offered himself to die for the forgiveness of our failures to rejoice in him as we ought...'The Son of Man came...to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:45). So our joy has this solid foundation: Jesus shed his blood so that our failures to rejoice in him might be forgiven." (p 89)
Sept 25 7:00 a.m. - Jordan has her surgery scheduled to clear the blocked tear duct in her left eye. The opthamologist thinks it will be a routine clearing of a blockage in the duct but I am concerned that he will find that the blockage is due to an anatomical defect caused by her clefting (notice that eye is pulled down - our plastic surgeon says it is basically a third level clefting and that he wants to wait to reshape it until she is five). Please pray that it is a typical blockage that can easily be cleared. This is thankfully an oupatient surgery.
Sept 28th - Shan leaves for the Men's Retreat through our church (Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo)...yes the same retreat he went to last year but had to come straight to the hospital the next morning because I was in labor four weeks early.
September 30th- Jordan's 1st Birthday! Can you all believe it??? It's been the longest year and the shortest year all at the same time if that makes any sense.
October 5th - I leave for the Women's Retreat.
October 22nd - Jordan's next surgery. This one is a biggie. She will have her hard and soft palates closed by Dr. Henry Kawamoto. I still cannot believe my eyes when I read his name on our paperwork. Before she was born I said, "He's the best, we'll just have to get him. We'll find a way." Through a series of events that I saw as frustrations we eventually ended up with him, to no credit of my own. It's an amazing story too long to put in here tonight.
Jordan will also have her index and middle fingers separated and her toes "worked on." I am not sure what Dr. Neil Jones (the other doctor we said we had to have - yes all part of that great story) will do with the toes but I'm hoping they end up looking and functioning as normally as possible. He is skeptical that they will stay separated but I'm hoping he's wrong.
Someone forgot to tell Dr. Jones that I've waited a long time to paint my daughter's toes!
This surgery will involve both doctors and hopefully only one night at UCLA. My mom will be in town with Noah, thankfully, and we're sure that we'll be ready to get home afterward. As some of you know, there is no rest in a hospital - ironic. We will be hibernating for a week before the surgery so please be praying that Jordan does not get sick as they'd have to postpone the surgery.
- That all of our pre-op appts and blood tests will go smoothly and will be positive.
- That Jordan's eye surgery will be simple and routine with no problems.
- The our family will stay healthy leading up to the surgery so that it will not be delayed.
...her speech is already delayed due to her palate and she has trouble eating hard food and has choked many, many times. It is very stressful for me and if we have to reschedule it could me months before they are able to do it.
- That we will be able to focus on the gift we have in Jordan around the time of her first birthday, cherishing this life that doctors said we could take. I can't believe when I look at her now that doctors told us we could kill her if we wanted to. A 'simple' decision in a time of great stress and she wouldn't be with us today. Amazing to think about.
- Jordan is still not crawling or pulling to standing and just has some funny things she does that we and the therapists are working on and watching. Pray that her development continues to catch up.
- Pray that I will be a godly example of joy and peace and self-control to my children as I am working to raise them up to love the Lord. That they will see Christ's love in and through me in the details of our everyday lives.
- Please pray for our friends' daughter, Tessa Joy, who is having her cleft lip surgery on October 12th at 7:30 a.m. You can see their blog at http://www.thefieldhouses.blogspot.com/
Tremendous thanks to all of you who faithfully check our blog even through my dry spells when I don't post anything.