Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. - John 12:25
And there it was, the verse that God was revealing to me after enduring one of the worst days of our lives.
She fell asleep like every other night. Except this night, she had crawled into her little sister’s bed because she was not feeling well. By 11p.m. she was in my bed uncomfortable because her stomach ached. She said it was about a 3 on a scale from 1-10. She moved all night long, insomnia is what we figured. She was restless.
By 6am, her entire countenance had changed. Pale and with pain-stricken eyes she cried, “my stomach hurts, I don’t know what to do.” She curled up and soon enough her cry turned into screaming and panting. What to do? We got our youngest daughter out of bed, dressed and we all ran out the door to the emergency room. As we drove, a song I will never forget, played on the radio. My husband turned it up as he drove:
“You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight 'til the final round
You're not going under
'Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when he reminds you
That you're an overcomer”
With tears in her eyes, my youngest looks at me and says “mami, this song is so perfect.”
We knew that holding on to God was the only thing that was going to get us through today. And these songs got us through that unbelievably long ride to the hospital.
We arrive and they see us immediately. We are in the room within 15 minutes of arriving. In record time for any ER visit, I must say. The doctor comes in and they draw blood. You don’t want to get bad news, but you also want to get some news because the unknown might kill you faster than the truth. But we are sent home with a clear. Blood work and urine sample are negative. Well, a virus for now that my sweetheart will have to ride out. We leave the hospital. But just as we pull into the pharmacy near our house to get her some meds for the pain, she gets worse. “Why couldn’t this have happened while still in the ER,” I ask myself. She’s throwing up and in so much pain. All I could think of doing is calling her Pediatrician to see if he had seen patients with the same symptoms. He might know what to do.
Her Pediatrician calls back right away and calms us. It will pass, it’s going around. There’s some relief in knowing that others have it. But then again, it’s awful to think that anyone else could have such a horrific virus. Two o’ clock comes around and it’s the worst episode yet. My sweet girl begins panting and kicking and screaming. The pain is unbearable this time. She curls up and screams and can’t find a comfortable position. Standing, sitting, laying, crawling, it all hurts the same. Oh my heart, what to do. They didn’t want us giving her anything more than tylenol so as to not mask any other symptoms in case it is appendicitis or something worse. There’s nothing I can give her. Another call to the doctor because she is telling me she doesn’t want to go back to the ER. But I have to do something. The doctor tells us to bring her in, right away.
I don’t know what was worse, hearing her in pain at home or in the doctor’s room and still feeling helpless. Hearing her scream “I’m tired. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t have any energy left. Why does it hurt so much?” So I cry out, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” I cannot conjure up anything more. When all you can do is cry out His name, you hope that the army of prayer warriors you have texted, are lifting you up in prayer because you’re just barely holding on. So when you’re barely holding on, you let others lift you up. You let Jesus lift you up.
Too many minutes had past and the doctor was still not in our room. It felt like forever. He finally comes in as he hears her screams through the walls. My poor baby girl, sits up and explains her symptoms through her tears. He checks her, and he sends us to the Children’s Hospital ER, immediately.
We arrive and they call for more tests. Ultrasound, blood work, IV. She had not eaten for almost 24 hours and had not been able to keep fluids down.
The agony of the wait. Why is this so hard?
But praise God, the ultrasound comes back negative. We have some answers. But then, what is it? It’s clear, it’s viral. My goodness, how can a virus cause this much pain? By now, she’s feeling hungry and thirsty. No doubt this whole ordeal was the most intense workout of her life. She’s famished. We get the clear to give her some water and juice. After keeping that down, we give her some rice. She’s able to keep that down and has earned some motrin! I don’t think she’s ever been happier to drink medicine in her life. Finally, some relief.
January 16 is a day I will never forget. Seeing our daughter in so much agony and unable to take it away, felt like my oxygen had been taken from me. But we saw a miracle. After 12 gruesome hours, she was healed. He heard and He answered.
I have to be honest with you, though. The question still simmered, “but why?” As she recovered the next day, we heard the story of Lazarus on Haven Today Radio. She looked at me and said “in the same way Jesus raised Lazarus, Jesus healed me yesterday.” And there it was, the first answer to my “why?” You have to let your kids endure these hardships. God is writing His story in her life and she has her own story to tell now. Her own story of pain, suffering and victory. I absolutely hate what happened, but I absolutely love that her faith is stronger. You can’t have faith without adversity because it’s the only way to know for certain that your God exists.
The following day she wakes up so ready for school. She has never been so happy to get back to the day-to-day school life. As she leaves I’m able to sit back and reflect. Once again I listen to Haven Today Radio. As I listen, there it is, it hits me like lightning: The second answer to my “why?” "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (John 12:25) Another version says: "Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity." I love when things become so clear to me where I can grasp the meaning and the purpose of it all. A revelation from The Father to a mother. Our lives are not meant to be easy. They’re not meant to be without difficulties. Though I never, ever want to go through that again, I realize that if my daughter falls in love with this world, she has not grasped the reality of where God wants to take her. He wants to take her to an eternal home. A home where she will be with her Jesus, with her eternal Father. A home where pain, suffering and sorrow will not exist. It will be perfect. So at the young age of 11, my sweet girl has learned a very harsh truth - life is hard! But with Jesus within us, surrounding us and above us, we will get through it - one day at a time.
So I leave you with the words to the last song we heard in the car that morning:
“He's making diamonds, diamonds
Making diamonds out of dust
He is refining and in His timing
He's making diamonds out of us”
In His Grip,
Damaris U. Avila
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."