Monday, February 13, 2012

CHD Awareness Week - Coping and Believing in the Great Physician

 Each day for CHD Awareness Week I'll be posting about the 7 most important things I've learned as a heart mom.   From practical to spiritual, the past 2 years have been a new experience for me and for us as a family.  My prayer is for these insights to help educate and encourage my fellow heart moms and others who follow our journeys.   

Don't forget to check out this post for a special heart giveaway - LAST DAY TO ENTER!!
Winner will be announced tomorrow, bright and early!
AND another Heart Momma, Joye, also has an awesome giveaway on her blog that also ends tonight!

I’ve learned my coping mechanism and I’m learning how to believe the Great Physician.

Just to preface this post…this one was originally not part of my “planned” posts…however, after much prayer and consideration I decided to post it as one of my greatest lesson learned…even though I am still learning, but mainly because it’s really been hitting me hard the past few weeks.  I needed to remind myself of a fresh perspective God offers us…

A recent post by my heart friend, Joye, really made me start thinking of the “truths” that I’m claiming in my life, especially in regards to Liam and his journey with his CHD.  As I have been pondering all the things I’ve learned while riding this CHD journey, this was a big lesson for me…probably maybe even the biggest lesson of them all.  And I have recently come to the conclusion that this was (is) a coping mechanism for me, in a sense.  Looking back, I have struggled with choosing other’s words as truth instead of choosing what God says about situations.  It especially magnified when Liam was born and continues throughout the first couple years of his life.

I’m a very practical, realistic person at heart.  I try to live positively, but I also try to be honest with myself.  No sugarcoating for me, just give me the real, hard facts.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been hurt in the past…or maybe it’s because I’ve been disappointed too many times in expecting the best that I rarely consider the best is going to come.  I realized through lies of the enemy that the lower my expectations, the less hurt I feel when things don’t work out.  Either way, when our journey began, this so-called- “being realistic persona” began to manifest itself in me in ways I didn’t expect and allowed fears to grow inside me that didn’t need to be there.  Needless to say, this area needed some major weeding out…and a renewing of my mind to set me straight.

Most often times, it began with a diagnosis, or even a prognosis for different things negatively impacting Liam’s health.   I remember very clearly during Liam’s repair surgery in June 2010, after the second attempt at extubating him had failed and they had to re-intubate him, my mind immediately went to the worst case scenario.  I had convinced myself in a matter of minutes that he would not recover from this.  In order to protect myself from disappointment and hurt, I began to accept what had not even come to pass yet, as truth…as our new reality.  I also began to let other’s experiences define our future, even allowing them to make decisions for us at times, all because I had a fear for getting hurt.   My husband would even get frustrated because I would speak these things over our family as truths (of course I saw it as “being realistic” and “preparing myself for what lies ahead”).  But claiming all of these so-called “truths” was doing a number on me and my family.  Numerous arguments and worry began taking over.  I struggled with even accepting the victories we were receiving along the way, because I was so focused on what I thought lie ahead for us.  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that was a turning point for me, spiritually.  And though it is still an area of constant struggle, the Lord slowly began a work in me…

I don’t think God uses the words “Let’s be realistic here…”  I believe He commands us to fully trust, fully love and fully believe in HIM and His plan for us, and as the Great Physician himself, to truly believe in healing, restoration and completeness and that yes, He can do that.   Even if He chooses not to work in ways we were expecting, we can always trust that “He works for the good of those who love him”.  Through continually seeking Him in prayer and with thanksgiving, we can choose to let God give us the peace we need to live fully now, and truly believe He will protect us and hold us, even if the world’s prognosis turns out to be our reality. 

I want to tread lightly and not sound as if I am in any way saying to not trust doctors, medical profession, surgeons, etc. – for we all know in our heart worlds, they have truly been angels sent by God to help save our little ones.  But when it comes to the prognosis, the answers to the questions like, will my child live a normal and full life, what is the chance he will need this treatment or that therapy, what can we expect our future to be like…Why do we keep believing the future given to us by others…or even ourselves?  Why do we continue to think about our future plans, hopes and dreams in regards to what someone else says who does not know what will happen?  While we still can value and take encouragement or preparation from the guidance given to us through our medical advisors and other heart families, only God knows the true outcome of all of it.   It has been tremendously hard for me to lay the words of men down at the cross, and take up my own cross of His truths for our life.  The enemy always keeps worldly truths and possible realities in close distance, looming over our head and seizing opportunities to distract us with them.   I really don’t want to believe a lot of what the “statistics” say anyways…why would I (only because of fear)?  I had to learn how to be an educated advocate and serve Liam’s needs, but also believe in God’s plan for his purpose and ultimately his life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

So while I am not saying that we should be unprepared in our journey, I am saying there is a difference in preparedness that stems from fear of what may come and preparedness for what HE has spoken to us. One includes fear, the other HOPE.

So I encourage you to take God at His word, beyond the statistics and prognosis to the eternal perspective of God’s plan.  Let God have control of your family’s future, and know he holds it safe and secure, no matter what lies ahead.  God is the only one who KNOWS...

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:13-16

In our journey with CHD’s, it is easy to get caught up in fear – it’s ALL AROUND US.  Grim statistics, seeing our children being tortured by this disease, experiencing loss…But God does have a plan and it is GOOD.  Seeing our journey through His eyes is a daily submission of faith and trust, and it’s far from easy.  But when we choose to believe what He says, WHO He is and who He created our children to be there is no doubt that His power can move our mountains, calm our raging seas and replace our fear with peace. 

Last but not least, I write this as my personal experience in my faith and to quote Paul “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”  1 Corinthians 4:3-5


  1. Loved this, Tara; thank you for posting it! It reminds me of another post, also written by a fellow heart mama:

    This one will be saved to my "go-to" list, for sure!