Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When God Turns the Light Off

Eden's just now two and a half, and within the past two months, her ability to communicate has exponentially increased. She's like a walking chatterbox, and even right now, she's standing on her princess potty (because why go potty in it when it makes such a perfect stepping stool that you can stand on and see yourself in the mirror?) and telling her own reflection all about going to the doctor to check her heartbeat.

After years of wishing I could hear her thoughts, I am suddenly aware that the majority of my day is responding to them. It's kind of amazing. What's also amazing is how adamantly she can want certain things. Her vocab is a work in progress though. She still gets certain words wrong, but because I'm around her all the time, I interpret her without even having to think about it. Like when we're playing upstairs and she decides she's had enough of the princess tent and wants to go back downstairs where her princess trike is waiting, she tells me she wants to go play upstairs. And I get it. So we go downstairs. Even though every time she calls the downstairs upstairs I correct her, it still hasn't clicked. Down is up. And on is off. It's giving me a headache to even think about. She usually tells me not to turn the TV on, when she means she wants me to not turn it off. This is getting confusing. My mom was here before Cade was born, and she taught Eden that my name is Charis Rebekah. But Eden can't handle it. If I try and tell her that my name is Charis Rebekah, she gets really upset and says, "No, you Mommy." Which is true. But I'm also Charis Rebekah. But its kind of useless to argue the point. I don't know why Chad gets to by Daddy Chad without any argument. For some reason the idea that I might be someone else is particularly upsetting.

Last night we were driving home from dinner and Eden said, "Hey, somebody turned the lights on! [meaning someone turned the lights off] God, turn the lights on." This has been going on for a few weeks now. Eden isn't a fan of the dark. When we go into a restaurant while it's still light out, but walk out when it's dark, she's confused. And she frequently likes to ask God to turn the lights back on. But I've been trying to explain that it's good that the lights are off, that we get night time because it means it's time for bed and we get to rest so we can play more tomorrow. But again, that kind of logic doesn't really appeal to her. She'd rather do without the night. What's funny is that I agree with her. Ever since I was little, I've hated the dark. My main struggle with winter isn't the cold, or the snow, or the ice as much as it is the dark, seemingly ever-shortened days.

I was thinking about it last night, how Eden hates the dark, but how God created it. It's His idea. And it's for our good. I tried to google why night is necessary, and there were a bunch of reasons, but mainly its proof that the earth is going around the sun, and that way the entire earth gets warmed. If the earth stayed still, and we got sunlight on only spot, the rest of the earth would be uninhabitable and cold. And I hate the cold. And I hate being cramped, so if I got sun all the time and everyone on earth had to cram into the state lines, it would be uncomfortable. So I'm glad for night. God knows best.

I am an awful lot like Eden though, with Jesus. I frequently ask for things that I don't really mean. I learned this lesson with special significance eight weeks ago. I was 40 weeks pregnant, completely full term and in comparison with Eden, I was past full-term. And I told God I was ready to have Cade. I was finished being pregnant. We were scheduled for an induction on December 18th, my due date. Chad and I went to the doctor the night before where we discussed the process of induction, and when I got home, I began to realize I still didn't have total peace about it. But I told myself that it made perfect sense for me to force Cade out. Tons of women do it, without any harm to mother or baby, and besides, my mom had already been in town for a week, my dad and brother were coming for Christmas day and I definitely thought I needed to have a one week old before they arrived so I could avoid the first week craziness...and physically, I was just sick of being pregnant. As I was preparing dinner that night, I started to think back to the week before, when in a quiet time I had read Psalm 37: 7 and this verse stuck out to me, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

The last thing I felt that week of pregnancy was patience. It didn't help that about four times a day I got a text asking if Cade had me people, if he had arrived, you would know. But I knew God gave me that verse. So I was reflecting on that verse and what it meant for me that night before our scheduled induction, and Chad walked into the kitchen and announced that he didn't feel peace about going to get induced the next day. It was like someone had popped the already wilting balloon of confidence in my mind. "Me neither," I admitted to him dejectedly.

So we texted my doc, and let her know we wouldn't be going through with the induction. And the next morning, despite my wishes otherwise, Mom and Eden and I went up to the hospital for a routine ultrasound that would check to make sure everything was okay with this full-term baby who was taking his sweet time getting announced to the world. And the ultrasound tech spotted for the first time Cade's cleft lip. She wasn't sure if it was in conjunction with his palette, and she wasn't sure the severity of it. She didn't know if he would be able to nurse, and she basically couldn't give me any guarantees that he wouldn't need to be in the NICU in order to thrive.

The first thing I felt when she told me was relief...she had become so suddenly serious that I thought something really terrible had happened. A cleft is a great problem to have. As much as I'd rather not see my son go through surgery in his first year of life, this is a great surgery to have to face. And once I got with Chad, we both realized how gracious God had been.

It wouldn't have been the end of the world to be induced that day without knowing about Cade's lip, but it would have been far more difficult. The delivery would have been a little traumatic, going in with the assumption that everything is perfect with your baby, and hearing that something wasn't right. It might have been difficult to process.

I realized that what I had prayed wasn't really what I meant. I asked God for Cade to be born early, or on his due date. I thought I was ready. But God knew my heart, that I desired to be ready for Cade. That I wanted to be prepared for his birth. In Romans 8:26, it says that the Spirit Himself intercedes for us, and later in verse 34 it says that Christ Jesus intercedes on our behalf. And in 1 John 2:1 it says that we have an advocate/intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. In a lot of ways, its like Jesus interprets my meaning. He knows my heart better than I do what I really mean, and more importantly, what I really need. And so I got the answer to my prayer, Cade arrived when I was ready. A week and a day later, after refusing to research any sort of clefts online, and recruiting a lot of my friends to pray with us that Cade would be healed, that he would be able to nurse, and that he would only have a cleft lip and not a cleft palette, Cade was born with every doctor and nurse who saw him declaring that his cleft was one of the most minor cases they had ever seen. And the child eats just fine. He gained four pounds in four weeks, and from the ever-increasing double chin, I'd say he is probably still gaining. ;-)

Sometimes God turns the lights off, and a lot of times, its in a far more difficult way than the one week I faced where I was asking God to heal my son, and trying to realize that either way, God was good. But during that time where the lights were off, and my heart was trying to pray and understand and have faith and not be afraid of what could be, God was also storing up light in my heart. There is a verse in Psalm 97:11 that says, "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." Even in your dark time, somewhere in heaven, God is preparing a store of light for you, and a vat of gladness with your name on it. It might not come as quickly as mine did, with a peaceful delivery of a perfectly healthy little boy whose little cleft makes him look like an adorable cartoon lion. And I don't know how many nights we might be assigned throughout our life, but I know that God is trustworthy. And that He is faithful to His word, and if He says He stores up gladness and light, we can rest our weary souls on that eternal truth.

And just like I know what Eden really means when she tells me she wants me to not turn the TV on so she can continue to watch her Angelina Ballerina, Jesus can interpret our imperfect prayers, and all the while fulfill the desire of our hearts. Because He knows the best way to get us to the point of fulfillment, and that like the Psalmist says, "all of our fountains are in Him".