One Chapter

Books are divided into chapters much like life. We go through each one not knowing how it will play out. And how one chapter ends will determine if we want to continue turning the page.

When I wrote my book, Through The Eyes Of Grace, about the life of my maternal grandmother, my sister told me she had stopped reading. When I asked why, she said she couldn’t get past one chapter that was such a horrible part of her story. I told her she needed to keep going because this was the worst part of the story. Grace didn’t stay in this hard place, but God led her through the valley to green pastures.

The point is to keep going!

I am on a similar path. I’ve made it through a really dark valley the past three years:

  • We have a granddaughter who faced the fight for her life and sanity with PANDAS
  • Our grandson was born a micro-preemie with several mental and physical challenges due to CMV
  • We lost two parents
  • We lost my brother to COVID
  • A pandemic shut the world down for a season
  • We closed two estates and sold three homes
  • We moved three family members – two across state lines, one across town

And we’re not finished yet. I realized today that these are all chapters of the story God is writing of my life. I can choose to engage with it or withdraw. To be honest there are days when all I want is for life to go as planned, as I’ve planned. But this isn’t reality. Life is made up of ups and downs and they’re not for nothing. They have a purpose if I’m willing to do the hard work to find out–to turn the page.

Ann Voskamp’s new book is titled, Waymaker. It is a timely read for me as I’m finding connections all through her story to mine. One in particular is what she calls living SACRED lives. It’s an acrostic for

Stillness – to know God

Attentiveness – to hear God

Cruciformity – to surrender to God

Revelation – to see God

Examine – to return to God

Doxology – to thank God

Ah, just typing out this sacred process fills my heart with an expectancy. Like getting to the end of one chapter and diving right in to the next because you can’t wait to see what happens. I am realizing that God is leading me through the valley to green pastures, but He wants me to learn the lessons of the valley. This comes by spending SACRED time with Him.

I have one chapter left in Waymaker, and I’m hesitant for it to end. I have cried through page after page when her pain mirrored mine. I have anticipated the Word becoming real to her in her time of need. I have been thrilled as she connected the dots of God’s faithfulness to her in her darkest times. And I have nodded in agreement with the lessons she learned acknowledging it was all worth it .

We are all growing into the person God made us to be. But we can’t get stuck in one chapter–whether we love the chapter and don’t want it to end, or it’s a horrible chapter and we want to quit because we are weary and afraid of what will happen next. No. Read on, press on.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13 – 14 ESV

Tweet this: Looking back keeps us from moving forward.

About Elias

Yesterday I invited questions from readers, and I received some outstanding ones. Thank you all!

Tamara asked about our youngest grandson Elias.

Our daughter and her husband were expecting their first baby on January 29, 2021. Tom and I were so excited to finally visit them in Arkansas to see Heather pregnant. It was such a happy anticipation to welcome grand baby #9 and watch Matt and Heather receive the blessing of parenthood.

After our wonderful visit. I got a phone from her saying the doctor was putting her on bed rest. I flew out to take care of her and to help keep her baby safe and secure.

But what we didn’t realize was God was working to rescue Elias from a virus he had contracted during the first trimester called CMV. Babies that go full term with this virus often have very serious health disabilities including hearing loss, lung, liver and brain damage. Some don’t survive.

Elias Angel was born on October 14, 2020, at 24 weeks and 5 days. He was 1 lb 6.6 ozs and 12” long. Roughly the size of a water bottle.

Elias and Ollie Octopus at one month old

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The NICU staff was amazing. Our daughter calls them God’s angels. They began Elias on medication right away to fight the effects of CMV. Everyday he surprised all of us making forward progress.

From his little NICU cubicle we were able to watch God do what He normally does in the “secret place” as Psalm 139 declares. We were in awe of this miracle being formed before us.

He was in the NICU a total of 116 days. When Matt and Heather were finally able to drive him home from Oklahoma to Arkansas (a two hour drive), Papa and Nana were there waiting to see and hold him for the first time. What a moment that was!

He was so tiny and quiet. The ventilator and his immature core muscles made his voice very weak. The only way we knew he was crying was when his heart rate monitor would go off. His care required 24 hour diligence with feeds and medications.

Fast forward to today, Elias…

  • Is still making forward progress, thanks to an amazing team of doctors and therapists
  • can hear well
  • can see and recognize people
  • Has the cutest personality
  • Loves to belly laugh (still quiet but now he’s audible)
  • Is trying his best to crawl
  • Is eating baby food
  • Has two teeth
  • Loves books
  • And kisses Mommy every chance he gets

His prognosis is wait and see. Every child in his condition is unique. There are no certainties. But one thing we know! But God! He has been leading every step of Elias’ treatment since the day He was conceived. He is our miracle baby and one whom we call our Tiny Warrior.

He now weighs over 14 lbs at 13 months of age.

I write a song for each of my grandchildren. This is Elias’ song, sung to the tune, Jesus Loves The Little Children…

🎶Nana loves Elias Angel. He’s as sweet as he can be. When he was born he won my heart, tiny warrior from the start. I thank God He brought you to our family!🎶

This is my 23rd post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to write everyday in November.