We didn’t expect to be back so soon, to this building that has become an extension of our lives. It’s a place we are so very grateful for, yet also a place we never desire to go. Just last month we were here for eleven days. Little did I know this time it would be for weeks.
The space between life and death is so small. At any moment you can be watching your child struggle on the fence that divides the two. You realize you have absolutely no control over the outcome of any minute, hour, or even day. It’s such a busy place, yet as a “busy mom” I found I had very little to do. There are no dishes to wash, or laundry to switch over from the washer to dryer. In this place, my child doesn’t even wear clothes … there are just too many wires and tubes coming from all directions.
Methodically I go through my hospital routine, marking the days by taking a shower and changing my clothes even though I’ve hardly done anything. At the same time though, I’ve done the hardest things I’ve ever had to in my entire life. I’ve watched my son pant for hours on end in attempt to keep breathing while his heart rate went through the roof. I’ve watched our room be transformed in moments to a miniature operating room so that they could place an emergent central line into his neck to gain access to give him fluids and meds. I’ve watched his weak body finally give up, unable to breathe in air any longer …. all the while rubbing his legs and calling out his name while they bagged him so he would know I was still there. I signed consents for procedures and a surgery that I knew he very well might not come back out alive.
Witnessing the suffering and gravity of your child’s condition can make any parent buckle at the knees. Yet that’s exactly what we need to do in those moments. We need to fall down and let the One who is far stronger carry us. Choosing to do that though recognizes we are not in control. Sometimes that’s the most terrifying reality we face. Each day I am in control of so very much, just to get my child through another day. Yet, really… I’m in control of nothing.
One day a doctor came in to check on us and I asked him if he had any new insights on our son. He humbly said, “No … the only thing I can think of to do is pray – can I do that right now for you?” It was the first time I felt like we might have hope to get through. People think it’s such a small thing to let you know they are praying for you when you’re in the deep waters, yet for those that have been there know it’s so very much.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” –Isaiah 40:29
Four weeks later it was time to leave this place and go home again. It felt like we’d been given this enormous gift… to take our son home. We hope to never take a moment for granted. As I looked out the window and saw the glorious shades of Autumn, I realized in a deeper way that the One who changes the seasons will faithfully walk with us through each one. He gives strength to the weary and draws in close to His children. I am so thankful.
Shelly Roberts is a dedicated wife and mom to 8 kids from around the globe (3 grown & 5 at home). With God in control, Shelly’s family has experienced twists and turns that have made for an inspiring story. Serving in foster care brought the new dimension of disabilities to her family, transforming their hearts to welcome these children as daughter and son and advocate for vulnerable children. Shelly understands the unique dynamics of a family that has complex-needs kids and desires to encourage and lead other families to the One who is bigger than our circumstances. Whether camping out in a hospital room or at home enjoying time with a grandbaby, she’s learned to find joy in the moment and to trust His grace for each season.