“She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him.”
March 15, 2023
Just going to pour out my heart here.
Today, I walked to the fridge, opened the door, looked at the bottle of Benaiah’s brain medication, and left it sitting there. This is Day #1 of NO DIAMOX for Benaiah. And he is all grins.
Lord Almighty, Thank you for restoring my little baby.
I was watching “Prince of Egypt” with Abi yesterday and the scene where Moses’ mother lays the baby in the basket and releases it to the Nile – with its waves, the crocodiles, the ships and nets and hazards, and then it finds its way to the calm riverbank with a bathing princess, ready to take him in and return him to his own mother’s arms. It had me breaking inside. THIS. THIS is what I felt with my baby. Releasing him into all these dangers I was helpless to protect him from. Pressed between the soldiers coming after him and the unknowns of pushing him out to sea. CSF shunting on one hand, Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization on the other, watching and waiting and begging for a med that never works to WORK, please God, WORK! Helplessly releasing my baby to His hands – I’ve done everything I can for him here, you have to protect him now.
I didn’t know what God had for him. But like Moses, I see that he is a special baby. And just as He shielded that little basket and swept it to safety, He held my baby with delicate care and dropped him back into my arms, healthy and whole, despite every odd. Despite hydrocephalus, despite arachnoid cysts, despite congenital malformation of the cerebellum, despite spina bifida, despite strabismus, despite nystagmus, despite weight loss and jaundice and tongue tie and lip tie, despite abnormalities on his abdominal ultrasound, despite birth defects, despite complications in surgery, despite plagiocephaly, ear infections, and fevers, he is okay.
He is okay.
The river was turbulent and the dangers were many and the basket was handmade and it was out of my hands and my heart screamed “SAVE HIM,” and you heard my cry. The basket held – watertight – and you swept him into peaceful waters.
Lord. What will his life hold?
And why do I need counseling after a miracle?
Because no mother should have to lay her 17 day old baby in a basket of wires and testing and specialists and hospitals and brain scans. And if she must, the basket and the baby may make it to safety, but she will not be okay.
Past the stage of not okay, I’m trusting that this makes for a strong mama. One that has practiced acknowledging how little control she has and releasing what she holds most precious in the whole world into your capable hands. One that knows she can trust you.
But in the aftermath, I do not feel strong. I feel like someone took a blender to my heart.
I told a few close friends the full story this last week, and I shared about a brutal moment. After all the results had come in at the children’s hospital and I’d called Cody to come – come right now. And I was curled up in a recliner staring and Cody walked in the door, scooped our new baby from his hospital crib and held him and grinned at him and bounced him and sang him a silly song.
Here’s the picture of that moment:
I remember it, because he was being what I so badly wanted to be for Benaiah.
I couldn’t look at my baby – tears would start spilling and it would be too hard to breathe. I wanted in that moment to cuddle him close and reassure him and tell him everything would be all right, but the world had just spun out of my control and I couldn’t make it okay for him and I was afraid that if I picked him up and took a good long look at him, I would scream. I was afraid I would give into the utterly devastated wail of my soul and it would frighten my baby instead of soothing him.
I once asked Cody, “How? How did you just swoop in and find that silly place and love him so well in that moment right after that news broke over us?”
Cody’s eyes misted over, “Beka…I didn’t know how much time we had left with him. I wanted to cherish him every moment of it.”
This last week, a close friend of mine was sharing some scary possibilities she’s facing for her baby – he has some persistent symptoms she’s afraid to get checked out. She told me, “I can’t do it! I can’t test him because I can’t face it if it’s bad news. I. will. die.”
“Yes,” I said, “A part of you will die. And then you call me.”
Because that part of me has died, too. When you push what you hold most precious out into the water in a handmade basket and it drifts away from the reach of your fingers, you will not be okay. That moment will wreck you and a piece of you will die. Surrender is a death. And in this life, our God will ask us for surrender.
But Lord, you are the resurrection and the life.
So, I bring that death to you. That churned up, bleeding heart. The fear and the heartache and the despair I felt. The layers of being so sick for so long and finally the nausea is over but I’m facing uncertainties with my heart arrhythmia and tons of tests are slotted for me and I just found out I have a dilated heart ventricle and I don’t know what that means for my future and I’m trying to heal post-partum and coughing all night long in the recliner at the children’s hospital because I’m also fighting the flu and trying to nurse and it’s not working and there’s a thousand wires coming from my baby’s head and his eyes won’t stop tremoring.
The moment the resident walked in and started listing things they’d found that they were hoping they’d rule out – after I’d been trying to convince myself all night long that what I saw on that scan could somehow be a variation of normal. I give you these moments that wrecked me, Lord, that are painful for me to revisit. That visit me unprompted.
I have never felt so helpless, so afraid, or so much dread as I have this year.
Heal me, Oh Lord, and I shall be healed. (Jeremiah 17:14)
Surrender is a death. But when I went limp, you held me. And when my baby swept out of my reach, you had him. And what you have allowed to break and die in me was not serving me. It was a pressure to strive for control that suffocated my spirit. What you plant in its place will breathe life and trust.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
Every place in me that you’ve allowed brokenness to touch holds the promise of resurrection. You give and take away. And what you give is more than what you take away.
Teach me to leave time in our schedule for all that is happening underneath the surface in our family as we recover. Lord, give me patience for the time it takes to feel better and the process it is to work through things. Teach me to hold space for soul rest, and the labor it takes to enter into it.
I don’t want to be afraid of the things I am afraid of. I don’t want to be twisted up over the things you have allowed. All your ways are just and true. You are trustworthy. Start to smooth the knots in me, Lord.
I read today in Hosea that “Jezreel” means “God plants.” The very place of Israel’s downfall – the name that meant their doom, also prophesied restoration. Our God is a restorer – and we have his promise that what He gives and what He grows will outweigh the suffering that once overshadowed this place. If my heart is thoroughly churned up – may it be as fresh tilled soil: ready for the planting. Plant your truth deep and bring forth life, Lord. My prayer for this grief is “Jezreel” – God plants.
And to you who are reading this with tight throats and hearts in shreds, my prayer for your grief is “Jezreel” – God plants.
“And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley…Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore – too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, “You are not my people,” it will be said, “You are children of the living God.” Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be – the day of Jezreel – when God will again plant his people in his land.”