Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"
We got up at 4:30 am to get ready to leave for Ann Arbor. Jason had helped me the day before to clean and pack so all we had to do was brush teeth and load the car. My in-laws showed up at 5:30 and we left. Originally, they were going to meet us part-way there because they were going to pick up Jason's grandma and bring her along, but she had a nasty cold and decided last minute to not come.
We left the house, took 24 to the 23/475 entrance and as we drove around the on ramp, there was a very strange thumping noise.
"A tire's flat, Erin."
"What?!? You're kidding right?"
Jason pulled over before we actually were on the highway. The in-laws pulled up behind us and sure enough, the driver side tire was flat. We unpacked the trunk and Jason and his dad got out the spare and the jack and started trying to change the tire. Semis and cars zoomed by, my husband and father-in-law laying on the pavement trying to desperately get us back on the road.
"God, keep them safe." I thought. Then, the car rocked and slide off the jack.
The jack was bent. There was no safe way to change the tire. I got Jerek out of the car and into the in-law's vehicle. I sat there with him and my mother-in-law as the men got the jack out of the trunk of the other car.
This one worked and they got the donut on. We all piled into the smaller, other vehicle. Jason, his mom, the boys, and I were going up to Ann Arbor in that car. Jason's dad took our car back to their house and got a different vehicle to get up to the hospital in.
6:20am finally back on the road, a half hour late. As we started back on the road, I said, "Ok, let's pray NOW before we even get any further!" Jason prayed for travels as we started back up to Michigan.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. I got a call from the pre-op floor wanting to know why we weren't there yet. I told them the 1 minute story and the nurse asked that I be dropped off at the front door to get there quicker. I got a call from my parents. They had made it there and were in the waiting room.
7:10 I checked Cullen in. 40 minutes late. I asked where the bathroom was and the receptionist, said, "Oh hun, you don't have time, they want you back there now!" Got into pre-op and Jason showed up shortly after. We answered the same 20-some questions with a hand full of people. We got to finally meet our anesthesiologist. The woman we requested because of how well versed she is with panhypopituitarism. She went over our endocrinologist suggestions for Cullen's special medication drip and told us that she was not happy. She was not sure that his suggestions were appropriate for the kind of surgery Cullen was having. My heart leaped into my throat. After all we had gone through to get the recommendations in the first place and now they were not "right". She told us that she was going to call the pharmacy and the endocrinology department in house and get their opinion. More people with more of the same questions. She came back and told us she wanted to give Cullen his meds in the way the endocrinologist wanted, but not the amount. She explained her reasoning and we agreed.
Jason went and got the crew to come back and tell Cullen good-bye. By this point, all the pre-op bays had emptied - everyone was already getting their surgeries started. This is the only reason I can figure they let ALL of us back, all 7 of us, when the rule is 2 :-)
I got to suit up and walk Cullen back to the OR. They laid him down on the table and started taking his robe off. He started screaming; he hates un/dressing. They put the little mask on his face. One of the nurses said, "Don't worry mom, the fact that he is crying is good. Two deep breaths and he will start to fall asleep." And sure enough, that is what he did. I was ushered out, I didn't cry. I had such peace about him being in there.
I got back out and told everyone what had happened in the back. Jerek was being obnoxiously loud with a toy car my mother had brought for him. But has he was laughing and playing, I noticed a woman sitting a few chairs down, thoroughly enjoying his silliness. She was even laughing out loud at him occasionally. I smiled, reminded that even though I might have thought he was nuts, in that waiting room, people had left their kids to be operated on. I let go of the "mommy needs to control her kid so people don't think I am irresponsible undisciplining mother" complex and enjoyed his laughter and crazies.
At some point the front desk called us and asked us why we were still up on the floor. Confused, Jason said we had been told that we would be released from the waiting area when we were called. There had been some miscommunication and we were actually suppose to be on another floor waiting. The receptionist told us not to worry, that we could stay and keep all of our stuff on the floor. Cullen's surgery would be done soon and there was no reason to go lugging all of our stuff to another floor to just come back in less then an hour to consult with the doctor. She gave us a buzzer and Jason and I went to the Cafe with his parents to get something to eat.
We came back up and I attempted to "play" with my crazy 5 year old. He was more interested in making as much noise as possible. I rummaged through his bag and got out his clothes; we had loaded him up into the car his dragon p.j.'s, and we marched off to the bathroom to change and clean the toothpaste off of the corners of this mouth, his nose, and his cheek.
When we came back, my mom and Jason's mom were talking to the woman who had been enjoying Jerek's sillies early in the morning. She introduced herself as Janice and showed us a picture of her daughter, Aubrey. Aubrey had hip dysplasia and was in for her second surgery. The first surgery had actually left her worse off then before. She had been in a cast from the waist down most of her life. They had traveled over 3 hours to be there and Janice was there by herself for her daughter's 4-5 hour surgery. Her eyes welled with tears. I showed her a picture of Cullen and told her I was so sorry and I understood. Her eyes locked with mine and for the first time that morning my heart broke. Not for Cullen or even myself like I assumed would happen, but for this very alone, very scared, and very hopeless mother.
My mom suggested we pray for Janice and my mother-in-law and I came over to sit next to her. Right there, in the middle of that waiting room, I prayed for this woman. I prayed that God would give her peace, that He would give the surgeon's wisdom to know what to do with Aubrey, that He would miraculously heal her and make her whole, better then even how she was before the first surgery. I prayed that God would show Janice how real He is and that again, she would find peace.
When I looked up, Jason was sitting next to me. He looked at Janice and asked her if she was a Christian. She said she honestly couldn't say yes because even though she use to go to church, she didn't anymore because it was too hard being a single mom of two. Jason simply told her of Jesus Christ's sinless life, his death on the cross for her, and how she was able to accept Christ's free gift of salvation. Did she want to pray and ask? She said yes. Jason led her in a simple prayer and by the end we were all teary. Afterward, Jason told her that just because she had now accepted Christ and was a part of God's family, that did not mean that everything would just be easy. He used Cullen as an example and encouraged her that even though the things in her life may not change drastically, God was still at work and He would be working in her.
Just then, the receptionist called us back to consult with the doctor. She said Cullen was doing very well. The surgery had gone really well and that we would be called back when he started to wake up.
Janice was gone when we came out of the consult.
I don't remember how long we waited before we were called back to the post-op ward/recovery area. As we walked back, we passed Janice! She yelled at us hello and said that the girl she was holding was her daughter and she was beaming. My brain took in the whole sight, but shut down and focused on Cullen because I couldn't make sense of what I saw. Janice was holding her daughter, who was fully clothed, even with her winter coat on. But she had just had surgery? My brain couldn't compute and so it pushed that out of the way and focused back on Cullen.
He was crying when I took him. I nursed him as he was so hungry and then he drifted back to sleep. They let me hold him and put me in a wheelchair to take us to our room. We were put on the 7th floor - the children's cancer floor. What a heart-wrenching ride down that hall. What a time to be thankful that all we were dealing with was a minor surgery, not a terminal illness.
Our parents came up to the room and told us the rest of Janice's story. She came out of the operating area, holding her daughter. She told them that the surgical team had never even touched Aubrey. When they got back, they realized that her hip was even better then it had been before the first surgery. There was nothing wrong with Aubrey. She was healed. Janice was crying. Our parents were crying. Janice was taking her daughter home. No surgery. No cast.
I couldn't say a word. Literally, I opened my mouth and yet I couldn't grasp the right words to express my awe, my joy, my confusion. I think for the first time in my life I realized what it was to experience the fear of the Lord, to see the power He has. I had my mom repeat the story to me. I was dumbfounded.
Aubrey was healed.
Aubrey was healed.
Jason's mom said that she had given Janice one of our church cards and had written down my name and number for her. I still have not heard from her. I don't know if I ever will. I do know that my God showed up on November 5th. He revealed Himself to a hopeless woman in a way that she cannot deny. My heart cries out to God that He would continue to show up in her life, that He would lead her to a solid church, a Christian man, and that He would use her and her daughter in bold and miraculous ways. I pray that she will be a banner for God.
The rest of our time was pretty uneventful. Cullen was squirmy and crying on and off at first as the anesthesia wore off and the pain meds still had yet to kick in. Finally, at one point, I cried. But it was only briefly. Not because I was trying to be strong, I am not, but because I just felt helpless to help him and that is a horrible place to be as a mother. I silently asked God to help him and spare him from the pain. He eventually fell asleep.
He slept well through the night and was happy and playful during the day. We avoided a lab draw thanks to the doctors being in the room at just the right time. A resident had ordered it, we questioned it, and the doctors on call sided with us and let our babe continue to sleep soundly.
I left Ann Arbor thanking God for flat tires. That for whatever reason, we needed to be late and God protected my husband and father-in-law as they changed our tire.
I left Ann Arbor thanking God that Jason's grandmother had gotten sick and canceled going so that his parents could follow us and help change the flat tire.
I left Ann Arbor thanking God that someone misinformed us and we stayed in the pre-op waiting area. If we had not, we would have missed Janice. We would have missed our opportunity to share the Gospel and watch a soul come to salvation and turn from hopeless to hopeful, sorrowful to joyful, sinful to saved.
Our road to surgery at Mott's was a long one. We tried to find alternates to surgery, but none could be found. We swung back and forth between peace and turmoil as we searched for those alternatives. But God knew that we needed to be in that exact waiting room, at that exact time and day.
NOTHING is a mistake or coincidence. Cullen's conditions are a part of God's plan. It seems like I have to come to terms with this anew every day. We have prayed from the beginning that God would use Cullen to bring glory to His name. That we would meet people that we would have never encountered without Cullen having panpit or the vertical talus. I have prayed that God would help me evaluate situations and see the Holy Spirit working and know His voice and obey it.
Thank you God for answering our prayers and for NOT answering our prayers.
Thank you that you did not heal Cullen's foot in a miraculous way, for although that would have brought you glory, instead you healed the body of a girl who could not be fixed. Her story will reach unsaved people and places that we would have never been able to reach. Soften the hearts of those her story touches and bring people into a saving and right relationship with You!
To God be all the glory forever and ever, Amen!
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.