Caleb has a lot of "jokes" right now that he believes to be hilarious; they're not actually that funny, but he is so cute, and so popular with the nurses, that they laugh at him and now he thinks he's a comedian. One of his favorite "jokes" is to pretend to sneeze. Another is to put whatever he's eating on his head. That one actually is pretty funny. Looking over and seeing a half-eaten chicken nugget just resting on his head would make anyone laugh. See picture below.
We have had several very good days in a row. Caleb has been in a really good mood, and has even become much more social here at the hospital than he has ever been. He calls his nurses by their names, plays and sings with whomever will give him attention. It's actually awesome to see his little personality shining.
I have experienced a personal revival in the last couple days. To be honest, all last week I was slowly sinking into a depression. Every day I struggled to accept our circumstances and would fight off tears every time I thought about the life I am missing out on now that my family has been relocated to a hospital. Then on Sunday while driving back to the hospital, I spent some much-needed time with God, alone and focused, and I started out just listening to some songs about Jesus. I listened to one particular song over and over and just let the truth of the words sink into my head and my heart, and suddenly a thought came to me that was truly a break-through moment. I thought about how excited I've been to go home and how that return to normal life will be such a precious experience after everything we've gone through. I realized how my level of thankfulness and appreciation will be through the roof, because of how painful this time has been. Because I will have experienced this contrast, this season of dark and painful times will make that homecoming so much brighter. And THEN, I realized something even greater. If I think THAT homecoming is going to be great, how much greater of a homecoming, how much sweeter and richer will it be the day that I walk into Jesus' presence in heaven? After experiencing the depth of pain that this life can bring, how much more JOY will I know when I leave this world and step into the Kingdom of Heaven, when God makes me new, and makes Caleb new, and there will be no more tears or death or painful joints or sick hearts. And in that moment, I was so overwhelmingly thankful for how hard life has been at times. I was so thankful that this life hasn't been smooth and easy, because it's those of us who have suffered the most that can also know the deepest joy.
And my heart swelled and I praised God at the top of my lungs and laughed and cried as I worshiped, and people passing me in their cars probably thought I was out of my mind. And I was! I was out of my mind with the thought of how beautiful our Savior is, and how much He really has saved me from... my sin, my hopelessness, my fear, it's all swallowed up by this love that is so much greater than I even understand. All I had to do was think about His love for a little bit and I remembered that I don't live like those who have no hope. And I've been smiling ever since.
The hope I have in Him doesn't erase my pain, but it changes it. It makes the pain bearable and it gives me the perspective that this is all so temporary. The Bible says our lives are like the morning fog, which is here a little while and then it's gone. What's amazing to me is that God doesn't just say, "Sorry this sucks, but someday you'll be with me in heaven so just endure it." Instead, He comes right alongside me NOW, in THIS life, and gives me a joy and peace that has nothing to do with what I'm going through. Who wouldn't want that? Who wouldn't want Him?
It's so strange to me that anyone is even reading these little blog entries... but if you are reading this, let me tell you that I'm so thankful that you care about Caleb and about us. Thank you for keeping up with what's happening in our life. And I hope that you'll forgive me for not being able to shut up about Jesus. I like talking about Caleb, but I love talking about Jesus. If you know Him too, then you understand. And if you don't know Him, or you thought you did know Him and yet haven't experienced this joy and peace that I'm talking about, by all means let's chat. I mean it. March yourself up here to Room 4158 and let's talk. I'm thrilled people are praying for Caleb, but the reason I write about his story is not so you know the details of our life; it's so you'll hear the REAL story I'm writing about, the story of a God who is worth following. You might be praying for me, but please know I'm praying for you too.