Heart-printed legwarmers. Pink, snap-up pajamas. Hayden’s heart blanket. Essential Oils diffuser. A big bottle of thieves. And ziiiip we pack Annie’s hospital bag. And ziiip we pack away summer with our girls.
I wanted a different summer. I’m not ready to go. But Saturday morning we will leave dark and early on our 20-hour trip to Philadelphia. If only one minute of these next 36 hours could pass as achingly. eternally. turtlesquely. painstakingly. slowly. The same way our recent inpatient moments sauntered by. Instead I know they’ll pass in a nascar exhaust haze and all too soon we’ll be blubbering goodbye to Audrey’s morning breath in the Saturday dawn.
We are excited to hear, though, that Annie is as ready as she’ll ever be for her next open heart procedure. Our Little Rock cardiologist was a little skeptical because she has a cold right now that has required her to be on oxygen most of the week at home. He was prepared to convince us that we might consider rescheduling when Annie’s heart echo convinced him otherwise. He was excited to report that her echo showed continued improvement in her heart function. Her heart is recovering on its own…a heart that we seriously considered “discarding” for a new one only weeks ago. And for further proof, her heart failure numbers have decreased from 10,000 (when we were required to be admitted June 6), to 2,900 two weeks ago, to 2,300 this week.
While all of these sound promising, my mind is haunted knowing that there remains more than a small chance that when we give our smiling, engaging, holding-on-tight-to-snuggle baby over we could get back a cold, lifeless memory.
I mentioned this to a friend who called to pray with me this week. She reminded me of a well-known story with even gloomier odds. A 9-ft tall professional murderer, who had his own shield bearer assistant, taunted an enemy army. In skipped a shepherd, delivering lunch to his trembling brothers. David, “only a boy handsome and ruddy,” wanted to try his hand at battle. Everyone laughed and scoffed at him. A little boy who cuddled sheep all day had no business fighting a giant.
But we all know how the story ends. “David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. Without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” While holding Goliath’s bloody, decapitated head in the air, David exclaimed, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.” (See 1 Samuel 17.)
So my prayer for the next week is that I’ll remember it’s not by scalpel or incision or favorable odds that the Lord works, because the battle is His. And whatever He has for Annie’s life and our future is the right thing.
“Do not be afraid…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Exodus 14:13-14