My daughter is at a friend’s house. Well, actually, it’s another RV, and she’s just playing in her friend’s lot/yard. It’s only maybe half a mile away, a simple bike ride, perhaps even within whistling distance if I could make one of those super loud whistles through my lips and tongue like my mother could do. So, she was close, but that didn’t make it any easier. It just didn’t.
Yesterday evening she had asked me if she could ride her bike to her best buddy’s house.
“I could tell when we video chatted that she was scared for me,” my daughter had said. “I want to make sure she can see that I’m ok.”
She was ok, but had literally been discharged from the hospital a couple of hours prior, so at her request yesterday, I had answered, “you’re so tired, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Seeing her disappointment I had added, “but me or your dad can drive you there.”
And that’s what we had done. We had driven her the little more than a football field distance to see her friend. This morning, she had slept in later than me, and as I sat in the living room I found myself wanting to go check on her in the bed. She had an acute seizure less than 48 hours prior, and I had not stopped replaying the scene in my head. I saw her eyes rolled back, and it brought tears to my own eyes, the memory was so fresh. It hurt just to recall the event I could not control, and my husband said as much.
“I keep seeing it in my head,” he commented from the other end of the couch. “I think the worst part was just watching it happen, because really there was nothing we could do to make the seizure stop. We just had to wait for it to end.”
I wanted to go check on her then, and even as I realized the irrationality of the desire, it made me feel better to look at her still, sleeping face, to kiss her forehead. My worried mind had wondered, what if she has another seizure, and you’re not there to help her? Somehow placing my eyes on her helped, but I also knew I couldn’t always have her in my sight.
We had allowed her to have her friend over this afternoon, but when the little girl needed to go back home, Chloe had asked to go with her. I heard Ben say he’d drive her there, but when he appeared in our bedroom a minute later I realized he had not.
“Did she ride her bike there?” I asked.
He replied, “yeah, I told her to come back in 40 minutes. I’ve got to just let it go.”
I nodded understanding. We had already began the discussion in the bathroom earlier. After I had been praying in the shower, I had asked him, “are you finding yourself worried about her?”
The nurse discharging us had told my daughter, “Wanna know the best part? Your life doesn’t have to change. You can do everything you’ve always done; you’ll just have to take a pill twice a day.”
I knew he had said it for her, but I also think it was a bit for me. Regardless, knowing and doing were two different things. I didn’t want her to feel different or handicapped. I remember how bad it felt for me as a little girl to be treated like the “weird, sick kid.” I remember teachers saying I shouldn’t be allowed in the computer lab with the other students because the screen might induce a seizure. I remember not being allowed to ride the three wheeler with my cousins because of the worry of me hitting my head. I remember the way kids treated me different. I even remember some family members questioning my mom for allowing me to get my driver’s license. It was not cool. I didn’t want her to feel like epilepsy made her abnormal. Just because her brain waves were.
I didn’t want to treat my baby like she was made of glass, but I also realized this was still new. It was a fresh insult to my senses, and I cut myself some slack for that. As with anytime I find myself in turmoil or worry, I had sought the Lord’s voice in the midst of my concern.
He reminded me of my own childhood. I had only had one seizure in my twelve year diagnosis of epilepsy. That’s unheard of! My first seizure had been my last, and even though I stayed on medication until I was twenty, I never had a seizure after third grade.
As I thought of this I felt the Lord say, “you see, I was with you then. Always. Even though you didn’t realize it.”
At the time of my diagnosis I did not know the Lord. I had not gone to church, and I had even initially been raised in an atheist home. I didn’t understand things like prayer and healing, or even calling out to Jesus for help. And even when we began attending a church on Sunday as I went through elementary school, it never occurred to me or was suggested to me to pray about my diagnosis. It was just something I lived with.
Last night my daughter had said, “I hope I don’t have to take medicine until I’m twenty like you did. Why did God wait so long to heal you?”
Even though the answer was easy, it surprised me when I had said, “I never thought to ask Him to. It wasn’t until I was twenty that people prayed for me about it.”
As I stood in the shower talking to My Father, and He reminded me of His presence through my time with epilepsy, I realized the gift of His love. I had not known Him and I didn’t pray to Him, but He knew me. He loved me even when I didn’t know He cared, and He had poured out His favor and mercy on me even then. He was the reason I had only one seizure. He was the reason my illness was not worse. He had always wanted to heal me, but He had to wait until the right time.
“I had to wait until you would know it was me.”
As I listened to the Spirit of the Lord I realized He loves Chloe, my firstborn, even more than I love her. He didn’t want to see her in pain or sickness. It hurt His heart too when she convulsed on my lap, but just like me, He was also with her. He would take care of her. I was reminded of how He cared for me, even when I didn’t know Him, and I thought, how much more will He pour out His favor on my daughter who cries out to Him in faith! On my daughter who we all intercede for!
Then I pictured myself at the feet of Jesus, at His thrown. I laid down my worry, my anxiety, and my child. I surrendered my girl to Him. I trusted that the One who loved her even more than I did, that He would do what was best for her life. I released her. I let go of what I loved. In return, I took the gift of His peace and comfort.
The fact is, I can’t always be with my child. I don’t know if she might have further seizures. I can’t control the future of her illness any more than I could control her seizing body days prior. But I can trust the God who has all control. So that’s where I am with this right now.
Before I even got halfway through this post my daughter returned from her friend’s house. She was all smiles and no worries. She sat on the bed with me as I wrote, telling story after story of her latest slime she had made, and I realized some things didn’t change. Her epilepsy had not changed the joyful nature she exuded, and the Father who had held me as a sick child was the same Father who now held her. And that gave me peace.