Few things reveal our cracks, flaws and inadequacies as much as marriage and parenting. When Gabrielle was born I had a glimpse of how God loves His children. Holding that precious, fragile life in my hands and knowing that her need for me was so great... even if she herself had no idea. I was reminded of our Father's love again when Isabelle was born 18 months later. But recently I got to identify with another of God's parenting attributes - Grief... amidst his children's suffering.
Isabelle was admitted to Glasgow's Yorkhill Children's Hospital on Thursday afternoon and diagnosed with croup, a respiratory virus/disease that afflicts infants and young children. The symptoms (fever, sinus infection, "barking cough") are caused by inflammation of the larynx and upper airway, which restrict breathing and lower oxygen levels. The doctors decided that it was best to keep her overnight for observation and make sure that she didn't take a turn for the worse.
Nearly seven months old and already spending the night in hospital - not a place parents expect to find themselves so soon after their birth. What made it even harder was watching Isabelle labor to breathe and struggle to get sound sleep. Her wheezing and subsequent pain in her throat when she coughed was heartbreaking.
Being the primary source of food, Jasheen elected to stay overnight with Isabelle. The isolation unit they kept Isabelle in was furnished with a bed for parents. I had to return home with Gabrielle so she could eat, sleep and question where mommy and sissy were. "Mommy and Sissy have to stay at the hospital," I explained, "but we can pray for them and ask God to heal sissy and let her come home tomorrow." There's nothing sweeter than the prayer of a two-year-old... even if it's relatively unintelligible and scattered with distractions of hiding behind the curtains and feeding dolly a sip of milk.
Jasheen's evening was less endearing... and less restful.
The prayer chain extended beyond our immediate prayer warriors and we received multiple email-words of encouragement and prayer. Thankfully, Isabelle is resting here at home now and showing marked improvement in both her breathing and her emotional health. She's smiling, sleeping and feeding again. Praise God!
It's these experiences that put life into perspective. All the petty things that occupy our thoughts and fuel our anxieties fall to the wayside, and we discover the things that really matter... and are reminded how grateful we should be. I have a wife that LOVES me and her children very much. I have two beautiful, healthy girls that light up whatever rooms they're in. I have a God that loves me even more than I love each of them... and He anguishes when I suffer. I have family and friends that love, care and support us... and they are there for us whenever we need.
Thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes. It was a real source of comfort and encouragement.