Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Giving it to God

Lately, I've been wondering what God is trying to teach me through all the struggles of the last few months. And I think that over the last couple days, the lesson has been driven home in a way that I don't think I have ever understood before...

Thursday night, Michaela started vomiting, and Friday morning started running a fever. I called our doctor, and he thought it was probably some kind of flu virus and gave me some medicines to give her to help with the vomiting. Friday night I was nursing Eliana and putting her to sleep when all of a sudden I heard Josh yelling my name. I rushed out of the room to find him holding Michaela. She was convulsing and then went limp. I have never been so afraid in my life! We immediately rushed out the door and to the car, me calling our pediatrician on the way. I tossed Eliana in her car seat and took Michaela from Josh. He drove like a crazy man from our house to the closest, most reliable clinic - honking, passing cars, hopping curbs, running red lights. And as I was sitting there holding the limp, unconcious body of our Michaela, all I could do was say "Oh, God, please", and keep trying to get her to respond to something - at least she was breathing. I have never felt so helpless before - and Josh kept saying "She's in His hands, Julie." She finally threw up all over me in the car, and that seemed to help her.

We got to the hospital, and rushed her to the emergency room, where she started crying. Our pediatrician arrived shortly afterward - I have never been so happy so see someone in my life! We thought maybe she had an allergic reaction to the medicine, or possibly had hit her head (now we think she fell when she had the seizure, when Josh picked her up at the beginning, he thought the fall triggered the seizure). But Dr. Monroy was almost positive it was a febrile seizure - one related to the fever she had been running.

They put her on an IV, and we stayed overnight for them to monitor her and run some lab work - thankfully, the lab work all came back negative for bacteria (the doctor would have run some more tests for meningitis if it had come back positive), and her electrolytes were fine, which made him sure that it was a virus.

We got home yesterday afternoon, and she's on some meds for the fever, vomiting and an anti-seizure. Her stomach is still bothering her, and she is just really fussy and wants to be held all the time - but she's alive! and talking!

Again, I just wonder what God is trying to teach us through all of this - in my earlier blog, I talked about His sovereignty and I think that's part of it. But I think more than that, He just wants me to give everything to him - knowing it's not my strength, but His.

Josh's swollen lymphnodes - Give it to God.

Stomach viruses and amoebas and colds and strep throat- Give it to God.

Daily frustrations of living in Bolivia - Give it to God.

Surprise! Third baby is on the way! - Give it to God.

Yes, even the lives of your children - Give it to God.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Ps. 68:24

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tribute to Moms - Past and Present

Sooo... the newest development in the Marcum house has been that Eliana has amoebas (the doctor thinks she probably got them from her bath water, because try as I might, I can't keep her hands, or for that matter, her feet, out of her mouth). Which in practical terms has meant: tons of runny diapers, a fussy baby with stomach cramps, another round of sleepless nights for Mom and baby, another 10 days of forcing medicine down her throat. Needless to say, mom feels like the world's worst mom because her baby has been sick off and on for the last 2 months (stomach virus, strep throat, a cold, now amoebas). A very wise woman at Livonia (yes, that would be you Rosemary!) told me that "guilt" is every mom's middle name. I told Josh - try as you might to be careful with your second child - it really is impossible to keep Eliana healthy with a runny nosed two year old around your house kissing her all the time.

But lest I digress to far into my pity party - I have been counting the blessings of being a mom in this day and age. Living here has given me a whole new appreciation of what billions of moms in the past and millions of moms in the present (missionary moms, moms who live in 3rd world countries, moms in the States who choose alternative child rearing methods) have to go through on a daily basis. How did/do you guys do it without ....

1) Disposable diapers. Trust me. After having 2 children with stomach viruses and 1 with amoebas (and one child potty training), disposable diapers/ pullups never looked so good. I can't imagine what it would be like washing them out, drying them, folding them, pinning them. For that matter - how did my mom do it without a washer and dryer the first few years of child rearing?

2) Canned baby food. I have a whole new appreciation for moms who make their own baby food now, because I am in the process of doing it myself. Canned baby food is too expensive to buy all the time here. It is an all day process - washing, boiling, pureeing, running it through a strainer, and storing it. And I can't imagine having to do it all without my food processer!

3) Over the counter child medication. This is one of those items that I will stock up on when we go on furlough. The child medication tastes good and is packaged convieniently (here, it tastes terrible and you have to count drops for every kilo your child weighs- really difficult when you're trying to drop it into your baby's mouth and they're screaming). How did parents do it without teething gel, baby tylenol, gas drops etc.? This is another one that I have gained a new appreciation for the last 2 months with so many sickies. For that matter, where would we be without vaccinations? It's hard enough watching your kiddos be sick with common colds and other bugs. I can't imagine having to nurse my child through a deadly or debilitating disease.

4) TV. Now let me preface this one with the fact that I have been reading recently online how TV increases a child's risk for ADHD - and so all of a sudden, the TV has been much more curtailed at our house (no more than an hour a day for Michaela, and preferably none for Eliana). But I have to admit, when I'm putting Eliana to bed and am here all by myself, the TV comes on for Michaela. And in desperate moments, it has been a salvation at times.

5) A baby swing. I went into mourning when I had to pack Eliana's away a couple weeks a go.

6) A breast pump. For my male readers, I won't go into detail on this one, but mine has been invaluable.

8) A myriad of child friendly toys and books. Thankfully, Eliana is at the stage where she can sit up on her own and play with chew toys and cardboard books. So many children and parents in the world live without a single toy in their house, much less a book. Kids in Kenya used to play with balls made out of plastic sacks and rubber bands. And so many of the toys available for toddlers here are so cheaply made, they come apart and are a choking risk.

7) A husband. My hat is off to single mom's - who I know do it all for their kids. I am so, so thankful to have a loving, involved husband and father by my side.

My list could go on and on - baby monitors, rocking chairs, etc. etc. etc.. But the real thing that is keeping me going in all of this is my Father. Knowing the extent of his love for me, the things he has endured, the fact that he is with me day by day every step of the way. How do people do it without Him? Most of all I am thankful for my relationship with the Lord.