Friday, February 10, 2012

In God's Hands

Last night, Ella came to show me how the center of her upper lip was swollen and hard.  She had had the sniffles all day, and my first assumption was that her lip had been irritated by tissues.  But, within 10 minutes, her entire upper lip was swollen to about 3 times its normal size.  Chris and I asked her if anything else was wrong, and she said her neck hurt.  Pulling aside her t-shirt, we discovered 2 bites or stings, that she couldn't remember getting.  Looking further, we found hives all along the back of her legs and a couple on her hands.  Her left pinky was also swollen.  As we were watching her, the lid of her right eye started to swell.

I have never seen anyone, let alone one of my babies, with such a reaction.  Trying to keep calm for Ella, but TOTALLY freaking out inside, we gave her Benedryl and an instant ice pack.  Holding her favorite doll, she laid in my lap as she drifted off.

In the States, I would have called the doctor and likely driven 5 minutes to my local ER, where I would have been given all sorts of medicine and advise.  I would have felt in control.  But this is Haiti, and care is different.  The nearest clinic, if it was open, is 20 minutes away.  The nearest hospital more than an hour. Would they see a tremendously swollen lip on an otherwise healthy girl as worrisome? Would they have the necessary medicines?

I prayed over my baby girl.  I prayed for God's healing.  I prayed for wisdom.  I prayed for guidance.  I prayed for the other moms out there holding children far more sick than Ella.  In my prayers, I was again reminded that there is one being in all of creation who loves this child more than I do and who claims her for His own.  She is more than her body; her soul was made for Him and His kingdom.  She is only mine for a while. Recognizing my daughter as a child of God brought me immeasurable comfort and joy.

I can't control a bug's bite.  I can't control a body's reaction.  I can't control what this night or tomorrow may bring. Not so many years ago, I would have been paralyzed by fear and my lack of ability to control a situation.  But here, in God's presence and peace, I find tremendous strength, peace and hope.

Within a short while of giving her the Benedryl, we could see Ella's hives fading.  Her lip and eyes were still huge, but they weren't getting worse.  She spent the night snuggled between Chris and I as we took turns looking over her.  By morning, the swelling was greatly reduced and as I write this at 1pm she is almost back to normal.

In many ways, my love for my children is my greatest weakness.  When God called us to Haiti, our first thought was no, we can't take our children there.  Well-meaning friends and family thought the same thing and often shared that thought with us.  Some even went so far as to say that we were endangering the kids and being selfish.

Maybe that is true.  Certainly, there was a time last night when I wished I was in a place where I could be in control, where anything I wanted or needed could be had within a few minutes or a short drive.  But, what I must remember is that my children are also, and more importantly, God's children.  He has a plan for them that exceeds my wildest dreams.  He loves them more than my finite heart can comprehend.  God called us... all 4 of us... to this life.  He didn't promise it would be easy, but he did promise to be with us.  Last night, he was with us.  I could feel Jesus in the room, stroking Ella's hair, stroking my hair.  Telling us that he is in control.