Tuesday, May 24, 2011

He's Got My Number

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. Job 14:5

The third week of October we celebrated Peter becoming a teenager. Just over one month later, we learned Peter’s body was shutting down. Although we struggled through the fall months, varying back and forth between stability and decline, the timing of Peter’s death caught us completely off guard. We had one final week with him, a tremendous gift of grace and mercy and love.

But though we didn’t know, God did. Hindsight always proves 20/20 the saying goes. In the days of reflection following Peter’s homecoming, God’s hand of control showed so evidently, a few places in particular.

One place involved Peter’s medical team. At Peter’s birth, he suffered jaundice severe enough to require rehospitalization for 5 days. I remember sitting in the pediatrician’s office, getting the blood test results and crying at the thought of taking Peter back. The doctor attending us that day encouraged me like a father would a daughter and helped me gain perspective and endure. From that day forward we never saw anyone else in that practice. Dr. C guided us through Andrew’s illness and passing, fought with us for insurance and medical assistance, and guided our boys’ medically, our family spiritually, through the entire 13 years of Peter’s life. But 5 days before we learned Peter’s body was dying, Dr. C retired.

I had no idea how we would get through Peter's future struggles without his help, but trusted God’s plan. 5 days after his retirement God revealed that plan. We simply didn’t need Dr. C’s help anymore. God was defeating the disease in Peter once and for all.

Another place God’s hand manifested involved insurance coverage for Peter’s mitochondrial vitamin cocktail. Early 2010 we found a compounding pharmacy that could create a liquid cocktail of the 8 vitamins Peter took to maintain a base level energy supply. Having taken the cocktail, over 24 pills a day, since age 3, suddenly being able to provide the treatment via gtube regardless of Peter’s awareness or condition greatly increased his stability. Even when he suffered from nausea and GI instability, the cocktail could usually be administered and kept down. However, it was expensive. Our insurance company didn’t like covering it since most of the ingredients were non-prescription vitamins. We fought for coverage month by month the entire second half of 2010. We appealed denials. I played phone tag between the pharmacy and the insurance company who refused to talk to each other. Our case manager became a good friend.

Finally, they rendered a permanent decision with appeals no longer an option. Coverage would extend through 2010 but then end. As of January 2011 we’d have to cover the expense ourselves. But great is God’s faithfulness, because he knew. He knew the coverage wouldn’t be needed after December 2010 because Peter would no longer be sick. He’d be dancing healed and whole in his presence by then.

A third area displaying God’s sovereign timing involved my job. Spring 2008 it became quite apparent that Peter needed to modify his daily schedule. He no longer had the energy for a full day of school. As a family, we decided I’d take leave from work to maximize our support of Peter. God had faithfully supplied our financial needs and honored the responsible choices we made under his guidance. We chose to trust that would continue without my income. Yearly, I renewed my leave under the child rearing plan offered by my school system. Spring 2010 I filed my request for the 2010-11 school year, knowing it was my last year of childrearing leave. Unsure of what I’d do the following year, I left it in God’s hands knowing he’d show me what to do.

When God freed Peter of his disease this winter, he also removed my need for leave. Instead, he released me back to the school system within the normal time frame. That guaranteed me a placement the coming fall. I’d still need to interview for an exact position, but I didn’t need to substitute or fear unemployment in an unstable economy. God’s timing proved exactly right, and included the spring months to grieve, heal, rest and prepare for re-entering the world that coming fall.

Each of these areas proved critical to our family’s stability and success. Each of these areas proved God’s faithful control. As the Word says, our days are determined, set by God himself. I can trust God’s control for each of those days to be sufficient, timely, and faithful.

I can also trust God’s control to be merciful. For God’s control also manifested another special way. That fall, when Peter turned 13, we lavished him with gifts and presents, wanting to honor the milestone he reached in becoming a teenager. We toyed with saving some things for Christmas, but chose not to. As we neared the winter season, I had no ideas left for Christmas gifts. Before Peter passed, I’d only bought one thing. So in God’s mercy, we were able to love on Peter when he was present and were spared the pain of returning gifts ungiven.

The only thing I’d purchased was a pair of winter running gloves as Peter loved to borrow mine. With our hands the same size, they became a gift to me instead. Now every time I wear them I remember God’s holding my hand, keeping me safe, provided for, and loved, until my family is together again.

I’m thankful and find peace knowing God’s got my number.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible! What a testimony to His wondrous love. I'm speechless...God is so good. Your willingness to give Him all the glory makes my heart well up with thanksgiving.
    Thank you...thank you for giving your life, your pain, your future to Him.