|My first granddaughter, Brielle, and I enjoying some quiet moments in the midst|
of bustle of the CollegePlus! gathering in Minnesota in August.
Photo Credits--Brielle's Aunt Lissie
I feel a little odd filling a post with pictures of me. This is a post I've put off writing for a long time. In many ways, its all about me. I'd much rather focus on my husband or children or the other passion that grips my heart--orphan care for the sake of Jesus. However, since we have many readers who are willing to cover our unusual tribe with prayer, I think an update, on what has turned out to be a major family event, is overdue.
In June we shared that I was due to have surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary prayer heading into the surgery was that the surgeon would be able to accomplish the task laproscopically through five small incisions, rather than needing to make a major cut in the muscle wall. We hoped for this because we knew we could then anticipate the recovery to be significantly quicker. Those prayers were answered! Using an almost surreal technical advance, the surgeon sat behind the controls of a multi-armed robot. She accomplished the removal of tangled scar-tissue attached to numerous locations in my abdomen, as well as a full hysterectomy--a four-hour operation--robotically. Amazing!
Despite the tremendous blessing of a technologically-advanced surgery, my healing has been slower than we'd originally hoped. We're not sure why. Although its only one factor, the doctor's estimate for the recovery time most likely didn't take into account my being a mother of twelve.
The unusually dry summer ticked by, one sweltering day after another, and I gained little strength. When we returned to Rochester for my six-week check-up, we thought the mystery surrounding the slow healing had been discovered by the doctor. I hadn't healed internally--something that happens in only three percent of the cases she said.
While in Rochester, Mr. Beaver worked on documents pertaining to our adoption, while I underwent a series of medical tests. He finished the first of two significant batches of paperwork necessary for us to add the 'Fab Four' to our family. With the submission of these documents from the FedEx office there in Minnesota, we had to commit, several weeks in advance, to whether I would be up to the rigorous travel necessary to meet our four kiddos in Russia, as well as getting Lissie settled in her new location. I was still weak enough with lessening-but-ongoing pain that we were unsure. We sought the Lord fervently in prayer, and sensed Him whispering to step forward in faith. He gently urged us to go ahead and make the reservations trusting that He would provide the grace necessary for me to make the trip.
If you've seen some of the photos from the trip on this blog, you have witnessed in my happy face the Lord's provision of a perfect umbrella of grace for the wild adventure that spanned the end of August and the beginning of September. During eleven days, we slept in nine locations! On a couple of the days, I did need some extra rest, but the timing was perfect. I slept and posted while Lissie and her dad spent precious time touring together, first in Moscow and then in the Central Asian country where she now lives.
I said at the beginning of this post that I was reluctant to share this story because it seems so focused on me. However, God has woven a twist into the tapestry of this adoption that isn't about me and my health in reality, despite all the details I've shared here. The tale of my weakness is a story of His strength. His greatness. His goodness. His provision. And, we're learning to trust Him--even when the way seems dark.
This season of clinging to God in the midst of the shadows inherent to ongoing physical suffering isn't yet over for me. Since returning from our international trip four weeks ago, my pain level, which had never fully abated, has increased steadily. Within the past week there have been days when the pain has been down-right debilitating and nights when I haven't slept. So tomorrow night Mr. Beaver and I will make the five-hour drive back to the small city that is the home of the renowned Mayo Clinic. On Friday, I'll see both my original surgeon and a gastrointestinal specialist to try to understand and solve the mystery.
The tapestry of this adoption isn't finished yet. When asked by our former agency if we would consider adding three brothers and their little sister to our family, my health was already sliding down hill. However, as we wrestled with whether to adopt yet again, God pressed upon both our hearts--through time spent in His word and in prayer--that we were to have faith and say yes. We continue to we walk in faith toward that goal, despite my compromised health. Walking by sight simply won't work right now. I'm not yet fully healed, but we're trusting the Lord to make this mother of twelve ready to be the mother of sixteen in His timing. He is God. He is good, even if the healing is slow in coming in our eyes. We're learning to hang on to and believe this familiar verse in a whole new way, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 NASB