Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Competent in Him

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Terror: the only word that truly described how I felt.

We’d just gotten discharged from the hospital, Peter coming home with a PICC line IV and TPN, IV nutrition, as he could not process any food past the blockage in his digestion system. The goal was to gain some weight via the TPN which should reopen the blockage caused by his rapid, significant weight loss over the past couple of months. He couldn’t be on TPN for long since it challenged the liver, an organ already at risk because of his mitochondrial disease. The doctors would reassess in 3 weeks. Then he could hopefully return to formula feeds through his Gtube and eventually back to regular food, so critical to a teenager.

But terror gripped my heart. So many problems could arise. Risk of infection required extreme caution and attention to possible contamination with each connection or disconnection of the IV. Past experiences with IVs in the hospital helped me understand the dangers possible if I allowed air in the line. Every aspect of dealing with the IV felt so critical, so high risk. I dreaded the possibility I’d somehow hurt my son. I felt incompetent, lacking expertise, and out of my comfort zone.

I struggled to manage the fear. I lashed out in stress at my husband and Peter every time I worked with the IV. After a day or two, Peter expressed anxious concerns as well. I’d transferred my fear onto him. It had to stop. In my fear of hurting my son, I WAS hurting my son by filling him with fear.

I prayed to God and begged for help. He provided two things. First, he led me to 2 Corinthians 3:4-5. “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. “ Through his word, he showed me my competence came not from myself, but from him. He promised to equip me for that to which he called me. I copied the scripture onto note cards and plastered them all over my kitchen – on the window over the sink, on the cabinet that housed the medications, on the basket of IV supplies. Every time I prepared to access the IV, I saw the scripture and spoke the truth into my soul. Then, when working with Peter, I purposed to reassure him and not instill fear. It took time, but we both grew in peace.

The second provision came through a friend who came for coffee. Being an IV nurse, I shared my concerns and frustrations with her. She took me to task and corrected my misconceptions. She brought perspective and understanding. She improved my expertise for areas I could control.

Then walking in peace became my choice. I chose to be diligent in those areas I could control and to trust God for everything else. I chose to trust his control. He knew the purposes and plans he’d established for Peter’s life and what aspects to his journey those purposes would necessitate. I chose to rest in His goodness and His control. I did find it interesting that he brought the scripture first before the practical help and reassurance. Trust proved more important than knowledge.

The TPN brought weight gain and reversed the blockage. But Peter also exhibited symptoms of a possible PICC line infection before we finished. We spent an afternoon in the local ER and then an overnight at our research hospital. I questioned God’s purposes but could only continue to trust. The cultures eventually disproved an infection and Peter came home.

It felt like a test. At first, there seemed little benefit to the overnight stay except a chance to practice faith without understanding. But while there, I met with a nutritionist that finally helped me put all the pieces together. I’d struggled all year with understanding exactly how to support Peter’s nutritional and metabolic needs as we dealt with various GI issues. Finally, I understood.

God used what I’d feared to prove he could sustain us even there. He proved he could use even what I feared to create good in our lives. God kept his word and became my confidence and competence. He worked even beyond my expectation, dealing with the true core of my problems, not just the aspects I recognized. His plans surpassed mine. His grace sustained me. No wonder He is God! :o)

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