I was sitting in church this morning and was hit with a memory as if it was something that happened just yesterday. In actuality, it was really 10 1/2 years ago.
Our youngest had been involved in a accident that caused part of one of his fingers to be amputated. It was a surreal moment riding in an ambulance with my then 17 month old on my lap. His hand was bleeding profusely and the end of his finger was literally in a cup of ice on the other side of the rig near the paramedic. How could this be happening I remember thinking? We were transported to the local hospital which quickly determined that we would need to be transferred to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati.
Once in the ER at Children’s, the plastic surgeons arrived to begin developing a strategy for reattaching my son’s finger. I imagined that they would whisk him away to the operating room, but instead they decided to not wait for an OR to open up and would do the necessary work right there in the ER. We were in a relatively large private room. Up to this point, Josh was amazingly calm. There was no question that God’s presence was there.
However, that calmness was fleeting when they began to prep him. They would need his arm restrained to a straight board while he was also placed in a papoose restraint to minimize any movements while the surgeon worked. The nurses tried to calm Josh. The recreation therapist with all of her tricks and tips was also unsuccessful. The restraints threw him into a cycle of fear and anger. The surgeon finally looked at me with all seriousness and commanded me to start singing his favorite song.
I found myself frozen. Of all the things in the midst of my son screaming and holding him in his blood drenched clothes, the surgeon wanted me to sing. Wanted me to sing his favorite song.
Before we had children, there was an older couple in our church that had counseled with us. When we first became pregnant, one of their nuggets of wisdom was to sing hymns over our children instead of regular children’s lullabies. They encouraged us to flood our children with Biblical truth in all aspects of their lives from the very beginning. Can you see where this is going?
We had taken Wayne and Ginnie’s advice. And fast forward to that ER at Children’s hospital, I find myself frozen as the surgeon tells me to start singing my son’s favorite song. How could I? Could I really in the midst of watching my son undergo surgery, covered in his blood, and scared begin to sing Count Your Blessings.
Are you getting the picture? Do you see the irony? There in the middle of that chaos, hurt, and scared feelings, God was using the surgeon and my screaming son to remind me more than anyone that even in the most difficult times, we need to pause to Count Our Blessings naming them one by one. I began to sing. As the very first strains of that hymn were heard being sung in that room in the ER, my son was overcome with complete peace. I watched in astonishment with tears rolling down my face as my son became completely calm and surrendered in the moment. I was convicted as I humbly continued singing realizing that the words were growing louder as some of the nurses joined in.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Upon returning to the plastic surgery clinic a week later, it was determined that the grafting of our son’s finger did not take. The prognosis by the doctors was 100% confidence that our son would still lose the end of his finger. We turned to churches and friends for prayer. The doctors offered nothing else for us to do, but to return in 6 weeks to assess the condition of his finger as the graft died away and fell from his hand. As a determined mom, I returned home to apply natural health strategies that I thought may offer some hope and lifted each treatment before the Lord. It was now completely in His hands.
After the six weeks, we did return to the plastic surgery clinic as scheduled. The doctors and nurses were in astonishment. God had allowed a miracle against all odds and restored our son’s finger.
In some ways, I wish the story ended there, but God had a bigger plan. In our humanness we want to tell God thank you ever so much for that miracle. We can now use that for quite some time in sharing your greatness and power so there is no need for additional trials. But His plan is greater and sometimes that requires a journey that requires a greater uphill climb and battle.
Just 10 days after that follow up appointment in the plastic surgery clinic, our family would face one of the most horrific and surreal experiences of our life. Yes, more horrific and surreal than your child having his finger amputated. In the days to come, I remember people asking me in disbelief how I could be still standing in the face of the adversity that we were facing. I shared countless times in those days how I served a God that grows back fingers and performs miracles. I shared with them the important lesson I had learned in Counting My Blessings and Naming them One by One.
The days were not easy. Many challenges would come to us especially over the course of that year. However, I could still stand because I knew the author of the miracle and the one worthy of my praise for each blessing. The key was in keeping my eyes on God and not just our circumstances, because God is always more powerful than the circumstances around us. Sometimes He allows us to endure those days to show forth a miracle of healing and sometimes it is because we need the blessings of initial challenges to carry us through those that are yet to come. And yes, there are those times that through sharing these experiences, we can also encourage one another.
Keep counting your blessings. Say them out loud. Record them in a journal. Share them with a friend. Utter them as worship and praise to our Savior. Give them as a gift and legacy to your children so that as they grow they may too know where to focus there eyes and place their hope.