Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fibular Hemimelia: Welcome Home

Let me tell you, a little place called Dot just warms my heart.  We are SO glad to be HOME!

Being home almost a week, we have certainly been met with some challenges.  Ethan is starting with a new therapist, getting a new shoe lift --ironically for the right foot because the fixator itself makes his left leg longer than the right which makes straightening his leg impossible, and he is about to venture into first grade!

It's this last "venture," the 1st grade one, that has been the most difficult for me to face.  Naively, I supposed that a child with a wheelchair and walker who needs assistance when ambulating would be given an aide in the classroom.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case.  Ethan's only option is switching to a first grade classroom that contains a teacher and an aide for special education students.  We've chosen this option because we believe that he will be safe with these two teachers and the school administration and staff --who understand the seriousness of something such as him falling.

Okay then, if I believe that he will be safe, what's the problem?  Why the blog?  Because sending him to first grade means that I am sending him beyond my reach, my watchful eye, my listening ear, and my aching heart.

Pulling into my driveway, I thought I was coming back from Baltimore much stronger in faith than when I left.  In fact, I have marveled and openly and honestly praised the Lord --mostly for his Sovereignty!  Yet, the first moment Ethan gets beyond MY control, my first reaction is to panic or to worry or to fear.  Darn it, Satan, you know my weaknesses!  Thankfully, my Heavenly Father does, too.  In fact, He keeps growing me --by giving me practice in my weakest area:  letting go.

I'm a crier --you know that by now, and last night was no exception.  I kept saying, "Lord, we've brought him this far.  I don't want to leave him now.  I'm so afraid that something will happen to him."  What God did, though, is that marvelous thing that He does when we go to Him with a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18). He came near.  He simply pointed out that I give myself way too much credit.  He had, in fact, brought Ethan this far, and He would gladly stay with him at school.  If I would kindly get out of His way, He would fulfill His promise to prosper Ethan and not to harm him (Jeremiah 29:11).  When God changed that "we" of my thoughts to that "He," He also exchanged my fear for peace.  If I truly believe that God's will for Ethan's life is perfect, then I have to believe that whatever God allows is for Ethan's good and God's glory.  Easy truth to write down, but a hard truth to follow --except for the fact that this truth ultimately gives to me  burdens lifted.  Thank God, I'm not responsible for Ethan's health because I am quite fallible.  Yes, God expects me to use the intelligence and nurturing spirit that he has given me, but God has Ethan's health safely in His hands --and I have to leave it there.

George Mueller, a remarkable Christian man who established orphanages in the late 1800s and preached to thousands, clearly understood God's Sovereignty and Love.  He accepted no salary and never directly asked anyone for funds for the orphanages.  He simply prayed for his financial needs to be met and then watched as God met each one!  Oh, what simplicity in trusting God!  What freedom from fear and worry!  I'm so glad that He loves me so much that He's giving me yet another chance to trust in Him and in His Word!  He's not finished with me, and as a great friend pointed out today, had this been even a year ago, my ability to Let Go and Let God, would have taken so much longer ... and required of me so many more tears and sleepless nights!  One Glorious Day, He will complete in me this work that He has begun (Philippians 1:6)!

Mueller inspires me --as he put his trust in God.  He profoundly reminds us: "'The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.' Now, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have received grace, we are partakers of grace, and to all such he will give glory also." Mueller recognized that he was a sinner, but had been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, he knew that no good thing would be withheld from him.  He was "satisfied with God," and explained that his satisfaction came from "taking God at his word, believing what he says."

The following quote is a plea from Mueller to all believers:

My dear Christian reader, will you not try this way? Will you not know for yourself . . . the preciousness and the happiness of this way of casting all your cares and burdens and necessities upon God? This way is as open to you as to me. . . . Every one is invited and commanded to trust in the Lord, to trust in Him with all his heart, and to cast his burden upon Him, and to call upon Him in the day of trouble. Will you not do this, my dear brethren in Christ? I long that you may do so. I desire that you may taste the sweetness of that state of heart, in which, while surrounded by difficulties and necessities, you can yet be at peace, because you know that the living God, your Father in heaven, cares for you

Oh, Christians.  Let's try this way ... God's way!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fibular Hemimelia -GOODBYE BALTIMORE -

Goodbye Baltimore,

Goodbye City Streets,

 Goodbye Crowds and Goodbye Treats.

Goodbye Sweet Kids Who Came to Play,

Goodbye New Friends,

Goodbye Chesapeake Bay!


Goodbye Hospital,

Goodbye Miss Sunni,

Goodbye Pool Therapy and Smiles that are Funny!

Goodbye Kate,

and Goodbye Jake!

Goodbye Nice House,

And Goodbye Mouse!

Goodbye Mr. Moesha, 

Goodbye Miss Kim,

Goodbye Alli, Getting Ready to Swim.

Goodbye Cassidy,

Goodbye Sweet Marcie and Doug, too!

Goodbye Alister who takes care of the pool, 

Goodbye Alivia, the sweet little girl with a fixator, too!

Goodbye Mailbox,

Goodbye Ocean,

Goodbye O's,

And Goodbye Long, Hard Road!

The Fields Family is Coming Home!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fibular Hemimelia: Oh, Cloudy Day!

Have you ever read a simple devotion that touched your heart in such a way that you knew the author must have been writing just to you?  Well, Oswald Chambers must have had me on his mind when he penned his famous work:  My Utmost for His Highest -especially on July 29th.

Most Christians are quite familiar with the old hymn "Uncloudy Day," but in case you've forgotten:

Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
And they tell me of a home far away
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an uncloudy day

An uncloudy day, then, is a day without sorrow or pain --a day when our faith will finally become sight and Heaven will be our home.

We associate cloudless skies with joy and clouds with sorrow, but Chambers provides a different perspective.

He writes:

Do you see Jesus in your clouds?

"Behold, He is coming with clouds ...." Rev 1:7

In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.
There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

What beautiful truths that I had never considered.

When my oldest son Josh was diagnosed with a brain mass at the age of five, I came face to face with an aspect of God that I did not understand:  His Sovereignty.  I actually thought that I had a measure of control over Josh's life.  I believed that as long as I took good care of him, then he would be okay.  Isn't that often what we, as parents, tell ourselves in order to feel safe?  Yes, God entrusts us with our children while they are here on earth, but their lives are in His hands, not ours.  At first the idea that God would decide what was best for Josh --even if that meant brain surgery --was an overwhelmingly fearful one for me.  Giving up control left me feeling just that --out of control.  What God wanted from me was submission --the handing over of all aspects of my life to Him, including my children.  He slowly replaced my fear with faith.  Ultimately I realized that Josh was better off in the hands of an all powerful, all knowing, loving God --than in my hands.  Talk about a cloudy day.  The day we heard the words brain mass,  I remember calling my mom in the hospital parking lot, screaming and crying in fear. Without this cloudy day, however, I wouldn't know my Father and the peace found in submitting to His Sovereign will.

Throughout Ethan's surgery and recovery, we have seen our share of cloudy days.  As I think of what I've most learned about my God through this experience, His Provision most comes to mind.  I've always prayed for needs that arise, but never have I seen God answer so specifically as He has this summer.  Although there is housing available in Baltimore for the families of children undergoing limb lengthening surgeries, the housing is expensive --especially for two public school teachers.  So, we prayed for financial help.  What we didn't expect was to find the Ensleys, the family of family that has become our family now --who offered us a home away from home, complete with playmates for Ethan and Emily and more love than we could have hoped.  What we have learned from this family is to cultivate a heart of generosity; I can only hope to give to others as they have so generously given to us by opening their home and hearts.  Although we will certainly be glad to pack up for home, I will shed bittersweet tears for the family who provided more for us than they will ever know.  What my children have seen, then, is the hand of God --his Provision for our needs that have been beyond what we could have thought or prayed (Eph 3:20 ).  Because of Ethan's surgery, we know Him more.

Each cloud in our lives is an opportunity to know our Father.  I've had time this summer to study a lot about God's Sovereignty versus man's free will, an issue that has been so difficult for me to reconcile.  What God has finally taught me, though, is that whether he decrees suffering or allows it to happen or whether we chose Him or He chooses us, He is God alone and is worthy of my praise.  He is all of His attributes all of the time:  Sovereign, Truth, Love, Holy, Justice, Spirit, Life, Immutable, Omnipresent.

Our Sovereign Lord has taught Ethan much this summer.  As he sat out during recess time at VBS tonight, watching other children playing a game that he'd love to play, I realized that he has gained an understanding of those with limitations much more so than other children -and adults.  As he has struggled to regain the ability to bend his knee, he has learned that daily discipline, though difficult, produces lasting results.  As he has prayed for his Jewish therapist, he has learned that only one thing in life matters:  your relationship with Christ.

A blog cannot be complete without a few pictures.  The following pics are from our trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Although I am quite impressed with the Amish "plain" style and respect their desire and willingness to distance themselves from the things of the world, there is one attribute of our Father that they do not embrace, and I could not live without:  Grace.  Oh, Lord Jesus, thank you for showering me each day with the grace that I do not deserve.

One last note:  my favorite cloud song -"Days of Elijah"

Behold he comes
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet's call
Lift your voice
It's the year of jubilee
Out of Zion's hill salvation comes