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The Power of Suggestion

January 29, 2013

Over at SheLoves, the theme for January is Bravery.  I’ve read the daily posts on bravery and thought they were nice.  That’s about it.  My life didn’t require bravery right now, or so I thought.


Yesterday, I remembered the theme of bravery.  My little Isaac had a wound in his toe that got infected.  Without grossing you out too much, let me just say it was a bad, ugly, in your face, make you worry, looking infection at the wound site.  We took him to the doctor on Sunday (thank goodness for Sunday office hours for sick kids) and started him on antibiotics, because there was obviously an infection.  After almost twenty-four hours on antibiotics, the infection site looked twice as bad and his fever spiked from 101 to 103.  Back to the doctor we went.

A word of advice–Don’t goggle ailments right before you leave for the doctor.   A half hour before we had to leave, I was starting to panic a bit.  I made sure all the dishes were washed and our bed was made.  Supper was in the crockpot and I felt slightly relieved knowing that if someone was in my house that afternoon, having picked my big two up from school, my house wasn’t a complete disaster.  As we drove to the doctor’s office, I was envisioning us being sent to the Children’s Hospital, declining the ambulance ride, and deciding I could drive him myself.

Oh yes.  This is how my brain works.  Always has.  I focus on what I can control and try to plan everything out before it happens just so I can feel like I have a semblance of control when we all know I don’t.  One of my most vivid memories of breaking my leg in Guatemala occurred after the accident when I was being carrying out of the Mayan ruins on a rudimentary stretcher.  My bone was sticking out of my leg. I kept worrying about how I would get my suitcase, which was still at my host family’s house.  I couldn’t control my broken leg, the pain I was in, or what happened next, but I could help figure out how I was going to get my suitcase.  Sigh.  Yep.  I’m that person.

I digress.  We stopped at a stoplight about a mile from the doctor’s office, at which time it finally dawned on me to pray.  I took a couple of deep, cleansing breaths, also known as monstrous sighs.  “Oh God,” I prayed.  Then what?  “Oh God, help Isaac and me to be brave.”  That was it; a prayer for bravery.

Why bravery?  Over the years, I have shied away from specific prayers like, “Oh God, heal this toe right now.”  While one part of me would like to say that I seldom say such specific prayers because I trust God will have my best interest in mind always, the honest part of me knows better than that.  The honest part knows that its really a fear of failure that prevents asking for specifics.  What if God doesn’t answer that prayer?  Then what?  Do I feel bad for myself that I didn’t have enough faith that God didn’t do what I asked?  I have found broad prayers to be much safer.  Bravery it was.

A few more deep breaths, a few more prayers of “Oh God, help us to be brave,” and we were at the doctors office.  I carried in my hurting, almost four year old with a sense that we were not alone.  God was with us.  No matter what the outcome of that visit was, God was there with us.  That knowledge was enough.  The bravery came.  I could deal with my fears without crying (not that anything is wrong with crying, but for the situation, crying in front of my three year old wasn’t really going to help him be brave).  When the doctor drained the toe and bandaged it, Isaac was incredibly brave.  He cried and clung tightly to me.  He didn’t fight.  He did what he needed to do, even though it was scary and painful.

Bravery is enough.  Bravery is remembering that God is with us and we are not alone.  Bravery is remembering that we are loved by God and always safe in his arms, even when things feel uncertain, scary, and painful.

And Isaac’s toe?  Staph infection (which is what I expected from my google search).  The toe was drained and bandaged.  We changed antibiotics and had a different plan for care.  No hospital needed.  Today, the fever is down and the toe looks much better.  Thanks be to God.

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