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Joy

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My eldest has struggled with kidney issues for the past few years.

It all started the summer before Kindergarten when she became very ill.  She woke up in the middle of the night vomiting and with a slight fever.  The next day she was unable to keep anything down and her fever spiked to 105.  The whole time I was thinking this was some super tummy bug, and I sure hoped it was over fast because we had a family trip to South Padre scheduled for the end of the week.

I still feel pangs of guilt over those thoughts.

Early in the afternoon, she took a turn and quickly became delirious, and then unresponsive.  For the first time in my life I had to call 911, and it was for my child.

In that moment I had the scariest thought I have ever had,

“I could lose her.  She is so sick and there is absolutely nothing I can do.  She could be gone this quick.”

I immediately retreated back, back, back, into the furthest corner of my subconscious. I was numb. I was a robot with no feeling, going through the motions I needed to in a hazy fog.  Time stopped.  In retrospect, I know it was the Lord protecting me.  It was Him preserving my fragile emotions by taking them from me.

There is no such thing as time with Him, so I imagine in those moments when time feels like it stands still, He is very present and in the midst of what is going on.

Thus began a series of hospitalizations, tests, rounds of different medications, and exhaustion.  We spent about two months trying to figure out what was wrong and the best course of action for her.  We found what she had was vesicoureteral reflux and a bifid renal collecting system- basically her urine refluxes back up from her bladder to her kidneys and she has two sets of ureters.  Lots of people actually have two sets of ureters and walk around unaware with no issues, but for Ava this combined with the reflux was a perfect combination for constant, severe kidney infections.

Since then she has been on a daily dose of antibiotics to prevent infections and further damage to her kidneys.

It’s been tough.

The antibiotics kill all bacteria, including the good, so she is constantly battling thrush.  It’s painful and can cause bad breath which isn’t fun in elementary school.

Because she has to be on antibiotics daily, we worry about her body building a resistance and every so often we have tried to take her off, but each time she has developed another infection.

The testing she has to endure can be very invasive and for a little girl, it’s hard to understand why you need to have tubes inserted into your private area.

I don’t know if you have ever had a kidney infection.  They suck.  I don’t have any other eloquent way to put it.  I developed just a bladder infection last year and it was so painful.  I was wiped out, had no energy for the entire week, and barely ate.  Ava has had numerous kidney infections which are even worse.

But through all of it she has never lost joy, hope, or faith- and she doesn’t complain.

Through it all she has the best attitude about her set of circumstances.  She has a peace about her.   Through the shots, IVs and vomiting, she manages a smile.  Through tests where she has kicked and screamed and cried, she still looks over and tells me she is okay because she knows I need to hear that.  When I tell her she does in fact have another infection, not one shred of discouragement crosses her face.

1Peter 1:6-9 tells us:

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

I’ve seen what it looks like in a person to have that inner peace, joy, and trust in the Lord no matter what comes at her- and that person is my six year old daughter.  Ava has shown me what it looks like to walk this scripture out- what it means to find joy in all circumstances.

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When reflecting on what has happened through Ava’s illness, I have been let down.  My momma heart always hopes and prays she is healed from this, and with each infection brings another punch in the stomach.

But God in His infinite wisdom and love is using her circumstances, making beauty from ashes, and teaching me what it looks like to truly rely on Him.  It’s as if Ava and God have a pact.  She knows she is going to be sick, but she is secure in whatever happens, He is there and will take care of her.

He grieves she has to go through this, but it is not in vain.  He works marvelous miracles in the trial.  My girl is resilient and tough. She is strong and she perseveres.  She has a gentle heart for people and can see outside of her own circumstances to reach out to others.

What a strong warrior she will be as an adult because of the refinement she went through as a little girl!  What a testimony she will have because of this!  It already is such a walk of faith for me to witness.

That’s the thing.  You never know how God will try and teach you different things, but every time I am shocked when He uses my children.  Maybe, He knows those lessons will take root because they are my world.  Maybe because, like the scripture says, that’s when Jesus is revealed to me the most.

So for those reasons, my momma heart rejoices!  My heart praises God for using this circumstance and bringing His light through my baby, making her strong and allowing me to see His hand in all.  I am thankful for how it has brought together my family and what I have seen from others reaching out to help.  From my parents cancelling numerous trips and plans, to my sisters taking my other two babies so I can stay with Ava in the hospital.  To friends’ listening ears, warm meals, and encouraging words.  I have seen the good in this land.  The revelation of God’s goodness and love through the people He uses is overwhelming.

He adores Ava.  He adores me.

I still pray Ava is healed.  It’s hard to see her go through it, even with all the revelation, lessons taught, and refinement.  I want her to be free from this….

But if not, He’s still good.

 

xoxo

 

Katie

 

 

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