For those of you who follow me on Facebook, I'm sure you have been wondering how long it would take me to turn our December emergency-room trip with Camden into a blog post. It was a very emotional and heartwrenching and vulnerable night for my husband and I. I've written about it a million times in my mind. Words that I'm certain would bring you to tears. BUT Keith asked me to keep the details just between us. What we experienced when faced with the possibility of losing something so precious to us both should not be posted for all the world to see.
HOWEVER, writing is therapy for me. So not being able to write about this monumental event has been only making it a bigger deal in my mind. I've been struggling for about a month now with how to keep my promise to my husband, yet still be able to talk through what I have been going through as a result of that night. The answer came to me this morning, after watching a broadcast of Dr. Charles Stanley, and after chatting with a childhood friend who recently lost her grandmother.
It's all about faith...
Years ago, my best friend called to tell me they had recently discovered that her daughter has peanut allergies. I remember thinking, "Oh, I cannot imagine. If my child had an allergy like that, I would live in a constant state of panic." A few months later, we had the same discovery about our youngest child, Camden. He was 22 months old, and decided to take a few bites of his brother's peanut-buttered toast. I didn't see it happen, but I heard the coughing, and he started crying immediately. When I got to him, only seconds after those dreadful bites, his face was all splotchy and welped around his mouth, and he was scratching at his neck, and screaming uncontrollably. Thankfully, his breathing was never impaired. After some blood tests and allergy tests, it was determined he is in fact not only allergic to peanuts and peanut butter, but he is also allergic to every single tree nut, including pecans, walnuts, macadamias, almonds, etc.
Shortly after that, I really did start suffering from panic attacks. I truly was in a constant state of panic, worrying about everything he ate, every place we ate, who fed him. Although, the tests revealed his allergies were not life-threatening, I was told that at any moment they could be. So I believed his life was literally in my hands.
Over the next few years, there were a few incidents where he came mighty close to eating something he shouldn't, but thankfully, he faired well. At the age of 5, he was to be tested again to determine if he had outgrown his allergic reaction to nuts. He had not. In fact, his allergies actually became worse, and are now classified as severe.
Camden went the next two years without incident. I was beginning to feel more confident in my ability to handle his allergies. But in the last five months, he has come into contact with those forbidden nuts three times. All three times, I was in the room next door. The third time, we wound up in the emergency room where he had to be given steroids to counteract his body's reaction.
Since that night, I've maintained my composure on the outside. But on the inside, I have been beating myself up. I can't believe I let this happen. What kind of mother am I? He could have died. He could have died. That's all I keep hearing. He could have died. I don't like who I am when I have this inner dialogue. I become almost immobile, feeling such self-doubt and unworthiness that I can barely crawl out of bed. I've been praying for a release from this bondage. I am so thankful that God has heard and answered my prayer. Read on, as I tell you how...
A friend of mine whom I grew up with, lost her grandmother just before Christmas. She shared her experience with me last week. She was with her grandmother when she left this world. She told me that while watching her grandmother stuggle in pain the last hours of her life, she wondered why God would allow her to suffer on. While she knew this woman who she dearly loved was in such obvious pain, my friend did not curse God or doubt God. She actually tried to wrap her brain around what good could come of it. She found her answer moments later. But that's a whole other story.
As I listened to Dr. Charles Stanley teach about faith this morning, I began to see the good that could come from Camden's allergies. While I have prayed to God almost daily that He would heal Camden of his allergies, I have not asked myself why He has chosen not to do so. What purpose would these allergies serve? What good could come from Camden's allergies? The answer is "faith".
Mark 4:35-40 reads,
And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, "Let us pass over unto the other side." And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as he was in the ship. And there also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, "Peace, be still." And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"
I wonder, as I worried about every little thing Camden ate, if God said, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" I wonder, as Camden lied there in that hospital bed, and I prayed so desperately for him to be okay, if God said, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" I wonder, as I cried myself to sleep, thinking what an awful mother I am, if God said, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"
My faith has been in myself, and in my ability to care for Camden and keep him alive. No wonder he ended up in the hospital.
I repeat what I wrote last August. If Camden has taught me anything in these seven years I've shared with him so far, it's that ~ if it were only up to me to keep this child alive, I would have failed him so many times. What joy and relief I feel to know that it's not only up to me.
My faith is in the Lord.