If you love your pet you’ll know they are more than just animals, they are family. Charlie is our firstborn. When you listen to Randy talk about how he rescued Charlie from the rain and let him sleep on the floor that first night, you’ll hear love in his voice. He’s traveled with us across the country, to Germany, and has been there for both our kiddos. He is family.
So the night we noticed him walking a little funny we started to worry. Within two hours he could barely walk and at midnight Randy was off to the vet. That night I was a mess. How could this happen? How did it happen? Why? I’m not ready to say goodbye. Like a pleading five year old, I was asking God to heal Charlie’s back. He is the God of the whole universe, he could do it. The blind, the sick, the lame. He had the power to do it at that moment.
Over the next week of wondering if Charlie would make it through surgery God putting two verses in my heart:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Charlie went through surgery successfully. Three herniated discs in his back with a 50% chance to ever walk again. A week later we picked him up. It was an adjustment. Charlie is still unable control his pee or bowels. We manually express his bladder. There were lots of baths and washing of sheets in the pack and play. He can’t walk and roams in his adorable wheel chair. Prayers upon prayers and sometimes it felt like they were falling to the ground. Lord, please heal Charlie’s leg. Bring life back into his legs!
My prayers were answered but not the way I had hoped. God was telling me again, my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways. Maybe just maybe God wanted me to learn, wanted me to grow through the process. Growth I would have missed if he instantly healed Charlie’s legs.
This struggle deepened my trust. This song was my personal prayer during the month of loss.
Up until this year, I’ve never really gone through a tragedy that forced me to ask God why… until Charlie, until my cousin. There are still many unanswered questions. I could probably think myself crazy living in the past wondering how I could have done things differently. But God is saying trust.
Do I trust that He is good, that he cares for me and knows what is best? Do I trust when says He make all things good as he has told me time and time again in Romans 8:28? Do I trust him to bring me the peace and strength to get through?
I do and in that trust I find peace.
I always say it but growth hurts. It’s painful. But growth produces maturity. During this time I learned a little more patience. I lived out Philippians 2:14 and learned how to do what I use to complain about without grumbling. It took self-control. I learned to not look back or think how things could be different if… There is no if it’s only now. Now this is our reality and I have the choice to find the joy in it.
I know there were a lot of you praying for me during this time and I can tell you, I felt those prayers. In the struggle I really did have peace. Back in January when I was going through nothing the doctor told me my shortness of breath and headaches were from anxiety. Here I was in this storm, yes with tears and sadness but no anxiety and no panic attacks.
This time produced love and brought Randy and I closer together. One day he stood behind the couch watching me help Charlie go pee and simply said “Thank you for taking care of him.” The words were full gratitude, and I saw him look at me with a love that I’ve never seen before. He watched me wake up early day after day cleaning up poop and caring for Charlie and I knew that he appreciated that I was caring for something that was precious to him.
In him I saw devotion. To stay up all night to drive Charlie to get surgery. He was strong for us. He is my physical emotional rock when I’m falling into bits. That man is amazing.
I learned during this time that God does answer prayers but sometimes it’s not in the way we expect. I have a new understanding for James 1:24
"Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."
In the midst of the struggle I can tell you I was not thinking this is pure joy but I understand now that everything is over what James meant. God allowed the testing of my faith to mature me to teach me and to draw me closer to him. I don’t know if Charlie will ever walk again but now it doesn’t really matter to me because he is family and I will take care of him until he decides he’s ready to go.