Sunday, September 15, 2013

Joy comes in the morning.

I know you know. I know I have talked about it. Written about it. Whined about it until you might want to skip this post entirely. But I have to write once more. I have to share one more time -- because maybe in the telling, someone will hear the promise that Psalm 30:5 offers: "...weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning." (ESV)

Almost ten months ago, the week of Thanksgiving 2012, my Benjamin had his annual spine x-ray. We knew from his outward appearance that he was leaning a bit more. We knew the news might be concerning. But we had no idea that his curve would have changed so drastically that he would require spinal fusion surgery. 

3-D image of Benjamin's curve.

At Benjamin's request, we scheduled the surgery after his theater semester -- the week following his production as a matter of fact. Wade and I felt it was important to honor his desire for the date, even though it meant we would be waiting six months.

Six months. The weight of all my fears, worries and concerns hung around my neck like the tinsel draped on our tree as we entered the Christmas season. And yet, I did not want to color our season with my fear. So, we prayed for joy to replace the fear. We prayed for joy to replace the worry. We prayed for joy.

 And we made it our theme. Our Christmas cookies spelled it out -- literally. JOY. We knew the season -- not just Christmas but the entire pre- and post-surgical season -- would require us to CHOOSE JOY.

Baking cookies...

Trying to ensure we had the same numbers of Js, Os, Ys!

Between the close of their show and the surgery, we took a quick weekend trip to our happy place, Disneyland. We wanted to hug in close as a family and make some fun memories before the surgery. We did have fun. But the weight of the surgery was bearing down heavy and gross. And as much fun as we had we were anxious, and a bit angst-filled. It was hard to celebrate.

By May, he was leaning more and more.

Our family pic in the shirts Benjamin chose for the weekend -- Oswald was Walt's first character. Oswald was stolen from Walt and Disney has only recently re-purchased the rights to  him. For us, Oswald represents perseverance and the strength to overcome the hard stuff! It was a perfect choice for our Trip Of Benjamin!

Today, more than 3 months later, the surgery and subsequent hospital stay are becoming a distant memory. And yet, walking out of the operating room after he was asleep and sitting by his bedside during his painful post-surgical nights, have left their scars. Those moments change me. Those moments require my faith to reach down deep, to tether to the great I AM in a way that holds fast when I am hurt, sad, and angry at our circumstances. I was all of those things in the days following surgery.

Benjamin has amazing siblings who love and support him!

His incision was from top to bottom on his back.

The dramatic before and after spine x-ray.

We didn't break out the cookie-cutters again. But we knew in the days following surgery that choosing joy would be more important than ever. It is hard. It is hard to choose joy when the sleepless nights have left you short-tempered and cranky. But we did our best.

And, that recovery is complete, now that rehab is progressing, we were able to take a celebration trip to our other happy place, Walt Disney World.

Oh Snow White....

Look how tall he looks now on Dumbo!

And ya'll, it was no coincidence that as soon as we booked our trip, Wade discovered that while we were there, Christian artists from all over would ALSO be there, performing in Disney's NIGHT OF JOY! Did you read that? Night of JOY!!

My heart was full -- though soaking wet -- through Steven Curtis Chapman (my favorite!) and Michael W. Smith. But when Mercy Me took the stage  -- the stage in front of Cinderella's Castle -- and began to sing "The Hurt and the Healer," I knew it was a gift for us. A gift from God because we chose JOY. A gift that fulfilled His promise in Psalms -- joy comes in the morning.

Bart Millard and Mercy Me

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear you say "It's over now."

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide. 
(Mercy Me, "Hurt and the Healer")

Joy comes in the morning.

Look how straight he sits!

A straight spine. Hearts full of joy. And the promise of the ONE -- the ultimate healer -- who knows the entire story He has written for Benjamin, Mason, Claire and Cate. There is no greater blessing.


andre pizon said...

Congratulations for you and your family and sweet Benjanmim . Go bless you

Felicia said...

I just stumbled on your blog! What a blessing!

Felicia said...

I just stumbled on your blog! What a blessing!