It has been so long that I hardly know how to even get started blogging again! This past year has contained so much that would to fill many blog posts, yet the ability to write seems to have completely left me. So many blessings and so many struggles! In our entire time here, I cannot remember a time when we have seen God work so much in the lives of the people here but I also cannot remember a time when we have been under such attack. One of those blessings of course was our dear, baby girl ~Abigail Grace. It truly was God's grace in giving her to us for she can bring a smile to your face no matter what you are going through. We have had answers to prayers like co-workers and those who we've been praying for get saved. Through all of this, there have also been struggles. I was brought to my knees...to my face many times this past year.
It felt as if we were attacked on all sides. On the physical side, my baby boy was brought to the emergency room before his second birthday twice. The first time was not even 24 hours after Abigail was born. Daniel grabbed a can out of the trash and cut his finger. Eric brought him in and he had to have stitches. That's no big deal - except I knew where he had brought him. I had seen how rough the nurses were with Anna when she broke her collar bone and this time it was a different doctor who would not allow Eric to go in with him. It made my heart faint! To know my baby was in there with a bunch of strangers who were most likely not being very kind to him. Eric paid them extra for the cosmetic stitches and for anesthetics. The bandages accidentally came off one time and we noticed that they had not used cosmetic stitches but instead the cheaper stitches. I felt sick. Not so much at that thought, but at the possibility that they had just pocketed the couple dollars instead of giving him anesthetics to help with the pain...figuring he would cry anyways. How I wished that Eric would have at least stayed to make sure they administered that! I vowed NEVER to allow them to do anything else to my babies without me or Eric being there with them. The second time was New Year's Day. New Year's Eve Daniel had a big bruised looking bump on his leg and a high fever. We were nervous about bringing him in especially since all of the doctor's we would trust were on holiday break, but we felt like it was serious. When Eric got there they told him it was an infection and he needed to be brought in and have it opened and drained right away...but Eric could not go with him. Eric said he would just fly him out to America or somewhere else then. They said he had that right, but they did not think there was time for that. He could tell they were getting irritated with him for not just doing what they said right away. What a hard decision! Just remembering makes me want to cry all over again! After consulting with a few other people both Stateside and here in Ukraine, we agreed to do it. How hard it is just to hand your baby over to someone else when they could not even assure you that you would ever see him again! Originally they told Eric he could stay the night at the hospital, just not with Daniel; but when Daniel came out of surgery, they told him he had to leave. They told him Daniel was being moved into the intensive care unit and to come in the morning with all of the other parents to find out how he was doing, they did not even take his phone number...again warning him that there was still a possibility he could die and it could be 3 days before we could see him. I don't know if I've ever cried so hard. All I wanted was to hold my baby - yet he was SO far from me and I did not know if I'd ever get to hold him again. Laying there curled up, rocking - not knowing if I was going to wake up and find out my son did not make it through the night- I was brought to my breaking point. Eric sensed it too and knew there was a good possibility that we may be heading back to the States. It was more than a strong consideration for me, what exactly my thought process was I cannot remember. I do know that the Lord is gracious and merciful to my frailties. I surrendered myself and my son again to Him. How grateful I am that God did not chose to take my baby! And that He did not make me wait 3 days to see him! When Eric talked to the doctor the next day they said Daniel was awake and screaming. They were going to move him to a regular room and Eric could stay with him! (Probably because Daniel was too much work to try to hold down in bed. I guess he was kicking and screaming quite a bit, probably from all of the strangers and being in a strange place hooked up to IVs.) To be honest, it is only by the mercy and grace of God that I am still here. I am humbled that He would continue to use such a weak vessel as I.
Besides our physical trials, there have been the spiritual battles within the church. One of the biggest of those was with Slavic and Olea, who have since left the church.
Then there are the wars without, which I am sure all of you know about. At the moment, we have perfect peace about staying here and we are seeing God confirm that decision by blessing and answering some prayers that are closest and dearest to our hearts. I will share those blessings and answered prayers in my next post (hopefully very soon), since this post has ended up being much longer that I intended...and MUCH more open and candid than I planned. I think that is the biggest reason I have avoided blogging - I was afraid of sharing too much of my heart. It's a little scary to do that, but I pray that God will use it. I look forward to sharing with you next time how little all of this is in comparison to God's blessings. Pray for Ukraine. Pray for their salvation, and pray for us.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;"
II Corinthians 4:8