I rarely read long posts. I find my attention span is waning drastically these days, and truthfully, many of them don’t have much to say. I am hoping this is not the case here. I hope I can encourage someone who is drowning, to find a way to breathe again.
“Martin Seligman, a social psychologist and author of the book “Learned Optimism,” says that optimists are defined as people who come back stronger after defeat. If you believe that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and resurrected to bring new life to you, then my friend, you subscribe to a theology that hinges on coming back stronger.”
We have had an unrelenting barrage of trials and tragedies these past six months. One of the biggest challenges facing us right now is Alana’s health problems. We had great hopes the surgery she had in October would fix the major one- the chronic pressure build up in her brain. She was a perfect candidate for the ETV which created a new channel to relieve the build up and pressure it caused. She had a shunt replacement which the neurosurgeon believed would be a temporary backup and could be removed in the near future.
However, her post-op CT last month was very discouraging, showing no decrease in her chronically elevated intracranial pressure (ICP). On top of that, the new shunt was ‘sticky’ indicating there wasn’t a smooth flow of fluid through that either. Last week, we had more discouraging news from the pediatric ophthalmologist who found signs of increased ICP in her optic nerve and retina. Last year, her exam was completely normal. Chronic increased ICP can cause gradual cognitive decline. Anyone who knows this sweet, intelligent child, overflowing with joy and personality, can appreciate the unspeakable tragedy this would be.
God has been schooling me in a profound way through all of the heartbreak and disappointment of these pasts six months. He is teaching me the art of coming back stronger. I wish there was an easier way to learn this. But in reality, the most effective way for a ‘bulldozer’ personality like mine, is to be brought to point I have nothing left: “where every bit of a man’s life is twisted and wrung out to the last ebb”.
So how has this strong comeback, this resurrection theology manifested itself in my life?
After the initial discouragement, disappointment, and hurt, He taught me to recognize what He has already done. After languishing on the adoption list for over two years, God orchestrated a series of miraculous events, bringing this child into a family of medical professionals (including a grandmother who is as good as one). Where would Alana be if this had not happened? If she didn’t have access to one of the best neurosurgeons specializing in shunts in the country? If she was still in an orphanage where no one noticed this bright little light slowly being extinguished until it was too late?
For me this comeback theology doesn’t mean being cheery and unflappable when faced with heartache like the news above. I have not come that far. I still get angry, cry, and struggle to take the next breath let alone the next step. He seems to be ok with that.
God is good. As much as I love this child, His love for her far surpasses mine. But I also know the happy ending we visualize is not always part of His perfect plan. Perfect. It is perfect. Perfect for me, and for this beautiful treasure He brought into our lives almost five years ago. I can say with absolute conviction, I now trust Him, unequivocally. And from this trust a steady, unquenchable strength flows. Always. Anytime. No mater what. There is nothing that will defeat it.