Immanuel – God With Me

Christmas was prefaced with a surgery for our middle child.  Our sweet Noah needed a surgery common to people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, called pharyngeal flap surgery.  Not a life-threatening surgery, but definitely a life-disrupting surgery, as all surgeries are.  Many prayers, plans, and provisions from God alone were laid down before we left for the Dallas area, leaving behind two of our three children.  We budgeted for travel, hotels, hospital bills, gas money, appropriate foods for after the surgery. We prepped the oldest child, who at times battles anxiety. How helpless I felt to support my boy as he dreaded what was to come. Parents gone, routine thrown, brother having surgery, hospitals, boo-boos.  I prayed that God would keep his overactive ADHD imagination in check as we tried to explain, carefully, what his little brother would experience.

We chose NOT tell the patient much. For weeks, he knew that he was going to the doctor (not an unusual occurrence for him), and that we’d spend some time in a hotel. The night before, we told him the doctor would have to give him a boo-boo in his mouth. It would hurt.  But we’d be there with him.

And we were.  As soon as he awoke in recovery and they let us in, I crawled up onto his hospital bed, curled myself around him. Those first moments in the recovery room, were some of the hardest of my life, watching him awake and cry, whimper in his sleep, blood staining his lips.

Human touch is amazing. I don’t know the science behind it. But he calmed. His little arm thrown across my torso, my hand on his cheek, his forehead.  The whimpers fell away and he fell back into blessed sleep.  Skin-to-skin touch is part of a premature baby’s treatment plan, called Kangaroo Care. It’s beautiful.  These tiny babies’ brains are calmed and nurtured by their mamas’ touch, the harsh cold effects of the NICU momentarily suppressed.

I don’t know the science of a parent’s touch in a 3 year old developmentally delayed boy, but I stayed curled around him, praying it eased some pain.

It was a hard week, watching him hurt, begging him to drink, to eat his yogurt. But we had such sweet blessings. An amazing medical staff, a giant playroom down the hall, toys and movies tailored especially to Noah’s favorite things, Christmas carolers, a Lady and Knights from Medieval Times coming to visit. My parents around. And, unlike many other children in that hospital, we were able to come home. A blessing in itself.

So Christmas felt … secondary for awhile.  I had no spare energy for typical Christmas anxieties, we were wrapped up in medicine schedules, nights of painfully interrupted sleep, constant vigilance about full liquid diet, the soft diet.  But routine returned, sweet boy’s appetite improved, pain decreased, and his smiles came back.  We praised God for all that He’d done, all the prayers He’d answered, all the specific, personal attention and blessings we’d felt.

And then it was Christmas. I had no time to get stressed out!  It was just…time! So we baked goodies and wrapped the few gifts we’d allowed into our budget this year and showed up to see family.

And it was wonderful, one of the most enjoyable ones in many years. We were so, so blessed by the support, prayers and love we received. The generosity that came from so many unexpected places.  The assurance that God IS aware and deeply involved in the details of our lives.  He IS walking us through hard times. The knowledge of His love for us was renewed fresh in my heart.

It’s like, the perceived big-ness of the surgery kept away all the extra-holiday clutter in my brain.  The big-ness of the surgery combined with the awed gratitude I felt to such a generous God really did keep me focused on the true Reason for the season.  I had hope. I had strength. I had help. Peace. And I was regularly reminded of all these graces through my family, my church family, my prayer circles, my husband.

“and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.”  –Isaiah 9:6b

“…She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” –Isaiah 7:14

This Christmas, God was with me.  I felt His presence often, I was reminded of His goodness through doctors, nurses, friends, prayers, Scriptures.

God is with us.  God sent His Son, He was with them, with Mary and Joseph, with the disciples.  But, He is also with us today!  And we have the sacred privilege of a relationship with that Son, today.

I had hope this Christmas, and throughout the year and into the next year, because God is with us.

Because He made a way for hope to get through. 

Peace on earth. Which includes in waiting rooms, on the road, at the supper table, tears in the shower, and sleepless nights.

Today is New Year’s Day. We stayed in, no real plans.  The kids have cabin fever, it is unusually cold here, and I have NO desire to get out in weather under 20 degrees. I battled irritation and impatience. I prayed up praises. For my big boy playing and dancing through the day. Happy and carefree (and LOUD!). He never had any anxiety that week, I remember again.  He hasn’t had any since. Thank you, God.

For Noah’s healing, new speech forming, stitches and pain dissolving.  No unforeseen complications, no hypocalcemia, no infections. Thank you, God!

And baby girl, with that toothy grin, personality busting out of that tiny body.  Firecracker, I think again.  Please God, harness all that personality into Your work.

I don’t know what the next year will hold for them. For us. For me. Many joys, many tears, probably pain, laughter, lost tempers.

Many, many, many, many more opportunities to choose hope. Grace. Peace. FAITH.

I don’t know what’s coming. But I don’t have to. I have hope. I have peace on earth, I have God with me.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” —Isaiah 43:19

#22q #adhd #anxiety #2017 #NewYear


  1. Morgan, you amaze and inspire me. And I hope you pursue more writing in the future. Your writing is a beautiful thing. Blessings and prayers.


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