There it was. What we had prayed for, hoped for, consulted nearly a dozen experts on, and spent a small fortune on was sitting on a paper towel.
“God gives us these things to build our faith.” That was our diagnosis today. Interesting how these words weaved together by our friend and Australian audiologist serving in the Dominican created a tapestry of courage, faith, and perseverance we could wrap our family in. Grateful that she was the one telling us disappointing news because she started with a phrase like this putting everything in perspective.
The tests she performed were the same ones that slapped us in the face 8 years ago. I found myself once again looking nervously at the concrete floor hoping the tests would produce good news, rather, the news I wanted to hear. The surgery we painstakingly waited 6 years to do and saved up money to have done in May had failed. The grafted skin didn’t stand a chance against planes, humidity, ear molds, and a nasty infection that blew her new ear drum.
My first thoughts led to blaming myself for what I did or didn’t do to create the situation. How do you “lessen” humidity on a tropical island? My second went to the hospital bills still pouring in and how that money could have been used to feed children here instead of on a surgery that only had a 60% chance of taking. Then it came like a tidal wave. I couldn’t look at Jeff for fear of sobbing. I couldn’t look into the big brown eyes of the fragile yet courageous one for fear of falling apart. How could I tell her after everything she’s been through that it didn’t work and we were going to have to go back to all our extra precautions, away from a pediatric ER, away from our expert surgeon, away from specialists …and then her calm eyes met mine and she reminded me that “God gives us these things to build our faith”. Before fear could consume me, Hope arrived.
I learned that my faithfulness was still determined to have conditions. We would go, we would stay, if we found a teacher of the Deaf to go with us and if Sophi’s ear was healed so the risks were decreased. Our hearts continued to not only be tugged, but pushed, pulled, dragged towards moving back to the Dominican. And God has shown me on His terms that it was without a teacher of the Deaf and now, painfully, without Sophi’s ear being healed.
And there it was in black ink underlined years ago from another battle with overwhelming fear “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
So, we walk forward in faith. We dry our tears. We dry Sophi's tears and encourage her through her fears and frustrations. So many challenges in 8 short years. Yet I look at how each challenge has grown her character deeper, her wisdom wider, her fortitude stronger, her empathy and compassion towards others greater. We can't protect our children from every hurt and every frustration. In doing so we stunt their spiritual growth, their dependence on their Creator, their character development. In overprotecting we actually keep them in shallow waters when indeed, they can swim in the deep end.
We appreciate your specific prayers that the infection has not affected the electrodes in her implant and we pray against meningitis. We pray for courage and peace for Sophi as she faces old challenges.