Practicing Peace

Thursday, September 22, 2011
My stomach starts to lurch as we wind our way around and around the cramped curves of the parking garage.
Its early in the morning after a two hour drive to Charleston and Ive already been short with my husband.  Impatient with my kids.
My springs are wound a bit tight today.

We check into Medical University of South Carolina and that familiar feeling starts to wash over me.
I love this place.
I hate this place.
The emotional paradox always catches me off guard when I walk through these doors.  The highs and lows of memories battle a contradiction and I steady myself for an encounter with the past.
Everything is a trigger.
The click-clack of high heels on the cement floors of the long white-walled corridors.
The overwhelming smell of hospital sanitizing solution.
The beeping dopplers and monitors that were constant companions for our girl in her first weeks of life.
But then there are the precious familiar faces of those who loved and cared for her and gave us hope.

She bravely cooperates for her ECHO.
Her precious zipper scar exposed.  Ultrasound of her heart examined.
Daddy holds her hand.  She watches cartoons.
After completing it, the technician returns and says he needs to get some more pictures.
And I assume the worst.  And try not to worry.

Peace that passes understanding.
Peace that passes understanding.
…..I long to dwell there and not give way to fear.
I do so imperfectly.

She skips out of the exam room with lollipop in hand….blissful….for now.
She has bubbled all morning, excited that “its Gigi’s first trip to Chal-ston“.
Her worries are few.
My mind wanders.  What when she’s a teenager?  She’ll grow to dread these obtrusive check ups.  I hate that for her and wish, for the millionth time, that I could take it away.
No matter how “normal” and “strong” and “healthy” she is…..this will always be a part of her life.  A part of her testimony.

Ominous clouds threaten a clear mind.
I struggle to give thanks, to rest in the strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

After 4 hours, we finally meet with the cardiologist.
He smiles compassionately, acknowledging the concern in the eyes of a worried parent…”nothing has changed with her dilating ascending aorta”
The words penetrate the core of my anxiety and I breath a huge sigh of relief.

He gives her a 9 month “leash” before he wants her back for another ECHO.  That’s a record for us.  I remember when she went in bi-weekly for follow up on her heart.  Then monthly.  Then every 6 months.  Now we have the green light for nearly a year before she will be seen again.  Huge strides!

Fearfully.  Wonderfully. Made.
God doesnt make mistakes.
Her special heart will always be “porcelain”, but the solid truths He has to teach us through her little life continue to bring me to my knees.
Evangeline Shalom = bringer of Joy and Peace

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
Isaiah 26:3

Im realizing peace is a practice.  A daily, situational, perfecting practice.
One Ive not yet mastered.
It means choosing to dwell in trust rather than give way to fear.
It means that trust is steadfast in the Lord, not in man…or insurance coverage…or skilled physicians.
I admit it.  Id never choose this life for her.  But Id never trade the ways God has shown himself faithful and the prayers He’s answered….His patience with me in the process…and the peace He’s lavished upon us through this precious girl and through her heart.

  • Faith M. says:

    You know I am right there with you this week. You always say it so perfectly. Praising God for Evie’s wonderful report. Hugs for both of you.

  • Brooke says:

    So glad for the positive report and a longer reprieve before going back. Reading this made my heart skip a few beats as I am so grateful I have never had a reason to re-enter the hospital where Hudson stayed. Someone just mentioned the hospital tonight and my mind raced through the memories of the halls, rooms, etc. and I felt anxious and sad. I’m so glad you have good memories as well and that Evie isn’t upset to be there. Praying for you as you “wind down” from yet another visit to Charleston…

  • Lydia says:

    SO thankful for a good report! 🙂

  • Beautifully written, as always. I totally feel your heart, friend, you just said it way better than I ever could!

    I’m so glad everything went well today and that Evie got a longer “leash” this time! Wonderful news!

    And omg, Evie looks like Izzy in that picture!!

    One more thing…we’re really, really going to have our tea party soon! Promise! 🙂 Look for an email.

  • Wow, praise God! So glad to hear a good report. I look forward to reading your blog and want to say thank you again for sharing!

  • Margaret says:

    So glad to hear that God has blessed precious Evie with a reprieve from doctors and hospitals for longer than before; precious and sweet child sent from God above!

  • Bethany says:

    Praise God for his great mercies!!! So thankful to hear her good news. Isn’t his grace amazing? The strength he gives us in our weakness always amazes me with it’s surprising beauty.

    I’m loving getting to “know” your family through your beautiful words.

  • Praise God for the fantastic report. Maggie’s yearly appointment is tomorrow. Until today, I didn’t think I was anxious about it. Now that it is almost here, I feel the fears creeping up on me. Thank you for expressing so beautifully what heart families feel.
    Love you guys,

  • Kelly says:

    My heart always breaks for you before one of these checkups, but praise God He has seen you through yet another one.

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