I have been really encouraged to see God answer prayer this week. When I last blogged, I shared that Caleb had a runny nose and a cough and we were concerned he was getting sick. The very next morning he woke up completely fine, no symptoms at all, and when the doctors ran every test imaginable on his snot (that was pretty fun to get a sample of, and by "fun" I mean the opposite of fun), and every single test came back negative, including the test for the simple common cold. Awesome! Caleb has been in the hospital for 10 months and has never been sick, not one day, not one fever, no infections. What a clear provision from God! For other kids, getting a cold or flu isn't that huge of a deal, but for Caleb, it could mean huge problems... it could take him off the transplant list until he's better, or he could very quickly deteriorate since his heart is so weak. But praise God, we saw a total turnaround in a very short time and I really think God just touched his little body.
You know, I thought for a minute, God, if you can touch Caleb and so easily take away whatever was making him cough, couldn't you have just extended that touch to his sick little heart while you're at it? The way God answers some prayers in seemingly obvious ways and other prayers not at all just baffles me. But instead of being focused on what God has NOT done, I would way rather focus on what God HAS done, because that list is so long! There is so much to be thankful for, every day we have with Caleb is a gift and a blessing that at one time we didn't think we would have. I find God to be somewhere between super weird and incredibly frustrating sometimes, but I definitely want to focus on thanking Him instead of being ticked at Him. Easier said than done, but I am committed to it!
It really is easy to miss the things God IS doing when there is something we want that we aren't getting. It's really easy to be focused on the things we wish we had, or that we wish would happen, and completely miss all the ways God is at work in our lives. I think so much of how happy or unhappy we are comes down to how thankful of a person you are. I have learned a lot about what it means to have a lifestyle of thankfulness, and I can attest to the fact that being thankful in all things is the only way to be happy. I'm actually going to be speaking at a women's retreat in New Castle on September 21 and the session I am leading is all about that very topic. I'm really excited about it. (If you live in the area, you should totally come to the retreat! You can find information on facebook, there is an info page called Henry County Women's Retreat.) I'll also be sharing some of my testimony about the last year during the main session in addition to leading a breakout time. One of the really good things about going through what I've gone through is getting the chance to share my crazy life with other people. The longer we're here, the more invitations we get to talk about our story. Just this week I got to speak at an IU Health Staff Retreat to a conference hall full of people in suits... it was a privilege to talk about Caleb and hopefully motivate them all to do their jobs really well. :) And in 2 weeks, the Ronald McDonald House is going to be making a video with our family, interviewing us about our story to create a video to use with all their donors. Completely unimportant side note: I REALLY wish they would have put me in a video BEFORE I got so pregnant. I'm totally going to have a double chin in that video, I know it. But oh well.
God has been working on my discouragement the last few days, mainly through my time reading Scriptures. I have been reminded through my Bible, and through the encouragement of a couple friends, that my hope doesn't actually come from Caleb getting a new heart. My hope is in Jesus and my citizenship is in heaven. Even though this world feels like all there is sometimes, I remembered this week that it's not; my real home is waiting for me in heaven and THAT is a thought that can lift me out of dark moments. Still praying for perseverance! Still praying that God would help me keep my eyes on Him. Still feeling at times like I have reached the absolute end of my rope, but that's when God replenishes me and lifts my head. He has never once left me- and for that I feel like I owe Him everything I have.