Nolan was eating a TODDLER advertised snack as I checked out of the grocery store, and every single day, I pray that he safely consumes whatever is in his hands as he attempts to STILL learn how to safely eat. I understand every small child runs the risk of "choking", but Nolan has a smaller, less stable airway and (as was evident yesterday) completely no room for error when swallowing. He shoved his own hand down his throat desperately and suddenly to get out a sticky bite he hadn't chewed up and in doing so, lodged his airway completely. He was purple, body rock-hard as I flipped him over onto my knee upside and began beating his back praying "please Jesus, please help me" for nearly 60 seconds.
Out of nowhere, an elderly man shoved me out of the way, wrapped his arms around Nolan's belly and VIOLENTLY performed several reps of the Heimlich. The food flew out, Nolan threw up, cried for me and he was back. Back in my arms. Back fully alive. Color returning, I held my little boy again. Shaking from head to toe, thanking this man with tears in my eyes, I instantly felt those pesky visitors enter my mind-- fear and anger.
That is why I'm sharing this with you today. When these things happen to Nolan, I think "no one has to deal with this except Jay and I". It's not true, but I think it. Then I think "I hope to God people don't think for one second that I have relaxing and easy days mostly home with my one child because they are the scariest, darkest moments sometimes and I have no idea how I survive them".
Then I think "Will this happen again?"
"Should I ever even let him eat orally again?"
"What do I do?"
"Jesus, what do I do?"
"I'm so alone"
"I'm so scared"
That is why I'm sharing this at 4:09 AM with tears running down my face. I've been up all night checking on Nolan, holding his hand while he sleeps, terrified to leave him. I'm STRUGGLING. In this struggle, God is present.
I am not alone, you are not alone. I think of my beautiful dance teacher today, struggling with chemotherapy, fighting and likely asking herself some of the same questions I did today. I think about her family.
I think about my friends who have children sicker than mine. Who face even worse adversity, with even less promised, even more reasons to be afraid and angry.
I think about my best friend who passed away 10 months ago and that it will be a year before we know it, and I think about her mom. Her brother. Loss is all around us, tomorrow is never promised. But what is promised is that God is working all of these things together for the good!
I think about all the needs we have. How we are all struggling, perhaps barely treading water at this point.
Please remember when scrolling through my Instagram feed of edited nature shots and vegan pastas, Nolan, Jay and I are fighting for good moments. We pray for God's will to be done.
I'm constantly, day by day, trying to help Nolan make the right speech sounds, for example. I worry it won't happen and that we will have to embark on his 11th procedure which seems the scariest yet. I think about tracheotomies and losing my only son. Yet I don't take those things to the Lord in prayer. I know He already knows my fears. What I pray every night, especially this one, is that God will conform me to His will. I thank Him for believing in me and giving me Nolan...all these special circumstances and opportunities to share His faithfulness and beautiful design. I ardently express my faith in Him...even if my worst possible fears did come true. I believe in what is promised in God's Word. I believe that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6).
I believe that He is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
I believe that nothing is impossible with Him (Matthew 19:26)
and that if He is for us than nothing can stand against us (Romans 8:31).
I believe that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)
and that His plan is to prosper us and not to harm us...to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Finally, I know that He makes all things perfect in His time, (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
though, and that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
I know that my steps are ordered by Him (Psalm 37:23)
. That's Nolan's steps are ordered.
I know that there will be a day with no more suffering (Revelation 21:4)
and that until that time, regardless how frightening these moments on earth are, that we can rest in His arms. That He will sustain us (Psalm 54:4 and Psalm 55:22).
That He is good and His ways are just (Psalm 145:17)
and that He knew us as we were formed in our mother's wombs (Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5)
and will continue to love us from now until eternity (Romans 8:31-39).
We've got this. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)