Friday, May 26, 2017

Fifty-Four Hours

Stephanie walked through the front door and set her things on my kitchen counter "I think that something is wrong with my eyes." What do you mean I asked  "I can't see out the sides. Everything is super blurry." We discussed it a while longer before setting the subject aside to start the binge watching process on Netflix, our new routine for when my husband (and her boss) is away on long trips. "also" She added, "I got a call today from Mayo for an appointment coming up that I never made!" We explored this mysterious occurrence and because of her eyes she decided she might as well keep the appointment coming up in a few days anyway. It was just a wellness visit, insurance would cover it and it couldn't hurt to just mention the strange and sudden blurriness she was experiencing. Little did we know this would be the first of many miraculous provisions and occurrences that God had already ordained to take care of his wonderful daughter.

When she asked me to go with her to her appointment yesterday it was just to hear "the results." I remember thinking if her appointment is at 8am and the next at 8:45am I'll certainly be home by 9:30am. I didn't know her doctor had sent her to an optometrist for eye testing, and that he had sent her to get an MRI the night before. Now that I think back I don't know what I was doing there, and I'm not sure Stephanie did either. It was all kind of a blur. We sat in the waiting area talking, full of faith, full of hope that this was nothing. That's the last clear thing I remember hearing her say as I looked at her talking with her dark messy top knot on her head. "I'm sure this is nothing."

The Optometrist walked us to his office and Stephanie took a seat in the patient chair as he sat at his desk facing her. They discussed the progression of her vision problems, the eye testing and what has brought them to this point. He very graciously clicked on the MRI scans on his desk top. "Do you see this spot here?" he asked as he circled the grape size spot on the screen with his mouse. Stephanie nodded her head, "This should not be here." Of all the doctors we'd see that day, although each very kind and warm, he was the most thoughtful with his words. Perhaps even he realized he was out of his field of expertise on this one. "This is a tumor pressing on your optical nerves, its on your pituitary gland. This is why your vision has changed." I didn't want to look at her. This was what we were so sure it wasn't, and yet here we were and there it was on a 26' inch screen in black and white. It's so difficult to find words to express such profound moments, like the look on her face as he spoke. I guess it was the look of grief. Of realizing your plans are about to change, whether you want them too or not. Afterwards she looked at me as if I also had a say in the matter. Her eyes almost searching for the good news we needed to hear instead of this. "It's all going to be okay." I said. "Now we know what it is. We just need to keep going and get this dealt with." She nodded her head speechless as we made our way down another hallway to our next appointment.

Next was the endocrinologist, a retired Army soldier. "Tell me Stephanie what do you understand as of this point."  "I can't see, because I have a tumor." This appointment felt a little more heavy. Turns out the pituitary gland is quite a big deal for being so small. This visit had lots of words like, substantial, urgent, risks, neurosurgeon and so many others that for peace sake I wont even bother repeating.One thing huge he did do though, was make a call upstairs to his buddies. He requested more blood work to be done in 10 minutes and said he'd make a call to see about us being seen by a neurosurgeon today if we could wait. We sat in another lobby, Stephanie's arms already bruised up from yesterdays appointments and waiting for her to give more blood. She was in shock. Maybe we both were. We got a call while we waited and we'd be meeting a neurosurgeon at 4pm. We were thankful, and also scared. The weather today was dark and cloudy just like we were as we made the long walk to the parking lot. We picked up Chinese food and my daughter, headed to my house to pass by the next 4 hours.

We actually waited 1hr and 40 minutes before being seen. The surgeon had an emergency and we'd need to wait. Earlier we'd passed a man in the hallway in light blue scrubs. "If he's my surgeon I know I'll be fine." Stephanie says as they take us back.After waiting what felt like forever, in walks our guy, the man in the light blue scrubs. He exuded such peace and gentleness, exactly what we needed at this point. Maybe it was because of that, that Stephanie cried for the first time. He was so kind and safe as he explained the procedure to remove the tumor. "You'll be asleep, and we'll go up through your nose." He showed us that in the tumor was actually 2 small cysts full of fluid. "We need to drain and carefully remove these as quickly as possible. If they were to burst, you could go blind." and I thought in amazement, how many people on this earth could share such difficult news without causing any fear, and he did. "I'm scheduling the surgery for Tuesday."

Stephanie's mind totally checked out at that point. Next came consent forms to proceed with the surgery, pre-operation instructions and a waiver to release "remains", we actually laughed really hard when she read that part, shock is such a strange thing. It was 6:30 pm at this point and I wasn't sure how much more she could take. She couldn't even speak when it was all finished. We walked towards the elevator, feeling like the only ones left in the building, sounds of someone playing a piano somewhere floated through the air. She pressed the down button and leaned into the wall, as heavy as I've ever seen another human being. She looked at me eyes full of tears. "I just need to weep." were the words that fell from her lips. But she didn't, not yet, we kept going. "We just have to keep going." would be the mantra for another 24hrs.

So this brings me to today. Right now. After 6 doctor consults, 2 MRI's, 1 CAT scan, and 6 different veins giving blood she is done with appointments and having her procedure Tuesday May 30th at 7:30am. It'll take a few hours, with an overnight stay and 4 weeks of recovery, but she's as ready as she could possibly be. Thinking over the last 48 hours its quite incredible how difficult the situations have been, and yet so miraculous the peace and grace to endure them and call him faithful over and over again as he so clearly made a way for her at every turn. Before our last appointment today we sat outside the building having lunch discussing how surreal and wild this whole thing seems. "What is the Lord saying to you Stephanie? What has he been saying?" She pulls out her phone and reads the notes she had quickly jotted down last Saturday, before all of this. She reads off to me the encouraging words of a heavenly father who sees it all "I've got you Stephanie. I've totally got you."

Please pray for continued peace over her and her family as they wait, that the tumor is easily removed with no remains and for her recovery time that she would truly find rest and every financial need would be met. Everyone who knows Stephanie knows just how exceptional she is. It was truly an honor from God to be with her during this time, and I now pass that baton over to you to each play your role as the Lord leads. With that being said prayer is the best gift you could give, and she asks that you be very gracious during this time. Allow her to process, make this about what she's going through not you, and please send only encouraging words.

I'll be updating again following her procedure. Until then grace, grace.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I have these overwhelming moments inside me where I think I cant do this anymore. I never say them, I don't show them but its their. I spent 3 days in a fog last week, trying to find a balance between my flesh and the honesty that life can just hurt at times, and my spirit. The spirit of God that gives hope, stirs up fire inside you or tells you when its just time to be still.

I was on the edge of sadness, darkness and self pity tonight and surely the Lord had a watchful eye on me because he responded, as he always does, at just the right moment.

I closed my eyes, tears swelling up inside my soul like a volcano feeling it all. Id gone to Missouri to visit family in March bringing Finley with me. It had been almost 2 years since id taken her with me and now 14 months since my moms stroke. I watched as my mom searched to know us. Waiting for her mind to spark some remembrance of who my daughter and I were, but in 3 days it never did. I looked back inside the window at her as Finley and I played together in the falling snow, wondering if we would be gone from her mind forever, or at least until eternity. I hold back the pain of seeing my mother like this. I do it so my daughter wont be scared. I do it because now isn't the place. I do it to not completely fall apart.

Then I thought of this adoption. Theirs been no movement since December, and my inbox is now full of dozens of new documents to be completed since its time to do another new home study. Its been 1 year already. Waiting. Hoping. I watch all the families I love growing around me and smile, sincerely happy for them and yet feeling alone on my path that looks so different than theirs. I keep myself composed. I am fine I tell myself. Seriously, I'm fine. I have to be.

I wait for Ferrill to pick us up for church. His truck, the one we waited 10 year to buy, we wrecked when we went to North Carolina a few weeks ago. A thousand thoughts happened in a flash as we swerved to miss the car in front of us, and then a power line, on coming traffic, and then a steep ditch that dropped off on the other side of the two lanes. I close my eyes taking a deep breath remembering it all. But we're okay I say out loud. I'm okay. Everything is okay.

I stand there, heavy,  full of discomfort. I want to cry. I need to cry. I should cry but I don't. Crying doesn't change my circumstances. Crying is like a hole in an already sinking ship. I'm strong. Full of perseverance and patience. I have to keep it together I tell myself, I have to keep going. In this moment I hear God speak.

I see Jesus leading me through the Red sea. I sense the fear of the unknown all around.  I feel like at any moment the walls are going to fall in on me and I see him looking back at me with peace, to see if I'm still following close behind.

Not every Israelite followed me through the Red sea you know. Their were many paths to flee Egypt, but I choose to take them this way.

Do you know what they did as they followed Moses, as he followed me?
They cried.

They cried because they did not know what was happening around them. They looked and they could not understand. They could not see what was going to happen. Even Moses cried.

I thought about this a while. We all know this story and we all know God led them through on dry land and delivered them from the Egyptian's. we all know this story, but I guess I've spent very little time actually thinking about what it must have felt like for them. 

Sharon, I'm taking you down a very particular path. Not just a path towards victory but a path of the miraculous. Every Israelite received freedom that day, but only those that followed me through the sea experienced the miraculous. They saw with their own eyes signs and wonders. Do not be afraid of what you cannot see, or what you do not understand. Follow me. Cry out to me. When I hear you cry, I am not saddened by you as though you are weak. I hear only that you trust me.

Needless to say I cried. I looked at my circumstances around me and I cried at all the things I do not understand. I cried at all the unknown ahead and how difficult and uncomfortable it is. I'm sure ill cry out to him the whole way, until I can look back and see more clearly all the miraculous things that took place. Perhaps right now I cant quit see his perfect leadership, I don't "sense" anything actually. But God, I am walking. I am still choosing to blindly follow you and the only answers I have is that you can be trusted. I will receive the promises you have for me. Help me Lord to cry out to you. Help me to keep walking. Help me to follow.

Exodus 13:17-30

Thank you for your continued prayer and support during this time of waiting.

Id like to clarify that I don't want you to feel sorry for us.  That is never my reason for sharing. Our lives are very blessed and in the midst of all this difficulty the day to day is incredibly beautiful. Our family is traveling a lot, were celebrating and getting the opportunity to do some amazing things (that's the stuff I share mostly) but I do value transparency and the truth is underneath a ton of joy and grace in this season is also great difficulty. And its typically in these difficult places that God speaks to my heart most and I find it easier for me to be transparent in my difficulty than in my joy.

Hoping you have an amazing spring