Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Prayer For Mercy

The morning that Joshua died.

I'm going there again.

I'm going there again because I know that God has a purpose for the experience of Joshua's death.

I'm going there because I want to understand, as well as  I want YOU to understand how God is working.

I had been up late the night before, making sure that Joshua was stable. The nurses had strict orders to call me if there was any sort of trouble. They knew they needed to call me if he needed a blood transfusion. I was exhausted. 50 days of living in the NICU watching my baby struggle was more than I could handle. I was at the end of my rope, unsure of how much more I could take.

I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing. It wasn't a nurse. It was my dad. He was coming for a visit and wanted me to know he was leaving home and would be at the hospital in 2 hours. It was 7:30am.

I was going to try to go back to sleep, but instead I decided to get up and take a quick shower and head over to the hospital. I wanted to spend some time with my baby before my dad got there. I was hoping to get out of the hospital for a little bit that day- it was a time with my dad that I needed.

I drove over to the hospital. I walked into the lobby. I almost veered to the left to go visit my nurse friend. I knew she would be in her office. I visited her often- she had become a good friend of mine and such a support for me. Instead, something inside me told me to go straight up to Joshua's room. There was an urgency within my soul. I NEEDED to see my baby before anything else.

I got up to his room right at 8:00am. As I walked past the window to his room, I saw that he was kicking his blankets. I entered into his room and he was fussing. I picked him up and he immediately calmed down. I held him for a few minutes, said good morning to him and kissed him- just as I had every other morning (at least the mornings I was able to hold him.)

Then alarms started sounding. His oxygen levels were dipping. This was typical for him. His alarms were always going off. I ignored it for a minute because they always corrected themselves.

This time they didn't. His oxygen levels went from the upper 80's to the upper 40's. I watched the numbers on his monitor fall. I tried to play it cool. A nurse came in and turned up his oxygen a little bit. But that's when it happened.

His heart rate dropped.

It had NEVER done this before. I watched Joshua code 3 times and his heart rate had NEVER dropped. I knew in my heart that something wasn't right.

As panic welled up inside me, a nurse started screaming for the doctor. The doctor rushed in. I fumbled around, Joshua still in my arms, to get him to his bed, so the doctor could start CPR. I was so worried about his dumb mobile hanging in the doctor's face. I tried desperately to get that dumb mobile off the bed so she could see.

Joshua looked up at me with those beautiful wise old eyes. The doctor performing CPR, yet there were his eyes. A picture that has haunted me and blessed me over the past 2 years. He looked at me and all I could think was he was begging me to help him. I have no words for the look that was in his eyes. I'm not sure if it was fear, peace, or understanding. I wonder if he saw Jesus Himself standing in the room, waiting to take him Home. The look in his eyes has been burned into my brain for the rest of my life.

It's strange where my mind went while I was watching my son die. There wasn't a thing that I could do to help, medically, so my first concern became getting the mobile off his bed. After I was ushered out of his room, my mind went to prayers. My soul was crying out to God- something I believe a mother's soul automatically does when she's desperate. My fingers went, automatically, to my phone. I typed up a quick Facebook status simply saying, "His heart has stopped. please pray." I needed others to storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of my baby. Then, I fell into a chair and I wept.

At that point, I remember praying for mercy. In my mind, I prayed for mercy for my baby- meaning mercy enough to let him live.

I was ushered to a quite room on the other side of the NICU, where a kind and unknown (at the time) nurse went back and forth from Joshua's room to me with updates. The last time she came, she told me I just needed to come hold my baby.

At that point, I believe my soul was praying for mercy for my baby in a way that I never wanted.

As I held him and heard what little breath he had left in him exit his body for the last time, I became aware of God's Holy Presence in that room. It was unexplainable.

Looking back at that morning, I remember so much, but for some reason, I specifically remember praying for mercy.

Looking back, I don't think I knew what I was praying. In my humanness, I begged God for mercy to let him live. I wanted my baby here. I didn't care if that meant a life of suffering. I didn't care if it meant that my family would be bankrupt, homeless, or unable to support ourselves. I didn't care about any of that. I wanted my baby.

I was selfish. I prayed for mercy and God granted it. And when He gave Joshua mercy by taking him Home, I was mad. I cried and screamed and cursed God. Those things didn't come immediately, but they came- and they were fierce.

Here we are 2 years later. I still scream at God. I still try to understand His ways. But now I can see. God truly was merciful. Not only to Joshua- saving him from the pain of multiple surgeries and a life of extensive medical needs, but also to our family. He has taken us on a journey that I would not have ever traveled willingly. Our faith has been tested, stripped away, and started new.

It has been the most painful ride of my life, and I don't really see an end in sight, but I know that through the pain, there has been mercy and blessings. There has been healing.

And even though it hurts and I don't understand it, I trust that He is in control. I trust that He has a plan for our lives. I trust that He used Joshua's life for a purpose that is greater than I can ever imagine. And even though I don't understand it, I know he answered that prayer for mercy.


Peggy McPeggy said...

Psalm 31:7-10
7I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.
9 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.

I have hesitated to give you scripture for a few reasons. One being, because when I was hurting so much, I didn't want to hear it. I really didn't. I didn't want to hear that God understood, that He was a good God, etc. Because I couldn't reconcile that with how I felt in losing Michael.
Two, because I think you know as much of these scriptures as I do by now.

But I remembered this one. When Michael passed away, and I could open a Bible, I poured over the Psalms, and Job. To try to voice my pain to a God I was beginning to know more.

God, in His wisdom, gives us the words of David, all the pain-filled ones, the desperate pleas for help, for rescue, for healing...And the victorious ones as well. How thankful I am, that our God is big enough and God enough to handle us when we're raging, when we're questioning, when we're truly seeking in all it's ugliness.

Proverbs 3:3
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

I don't know what it's like to watch precious life slip into the arms of Jesus. When I saw Michael, he was already gone. But I remember the feeling of sitting alone and people in and out of a room, while part of you is frozen and watching and the other is on her knees in wordless prayers.
I also know what its like to pray for something and God to answer it...yet not the way I meant it to be answered. (When my Dad passed away in front of me).

I don't know where I'm going with this, but you know my heart grieves with you, and along side you, Jill. Oh, how I wish this path wasn't ours to take, but in Gods wisdom, we do. We are. Have I ever thanked you for speaking, blogging, being honest about this path?

Be well, my friend, my sister. God is enough.


JoEllen said...

Oh, Jill. So often I read what you write and your experiences during the time that you had Joshua and in the time since his passing and it is spot-on how I have felt too since the passing of our Lincoln.

Please know that even though I do not know you personally, I think of you and your family and pray for peace and continued healing. Thank you for sharing this post with us.

dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammie Lewis said...

Big California hugs to you my friend!

The Real Life of a Red Head said...


What are you trying to accomplish with your comments like this?

I want you to know that your words have absolutely no power over me.

I pray that you find some happiness in your life and some compassion in your heart.

Jessica said...

Thank you for sharing this. I know that it was hard to share that and thank you for sharing that. I hope that you have a good day. If you need anything, Let me know!

Auntie M said...

Bless you Jill for your compassionate reply to an ugly and untrue comment. You walk in a grace & beautycaring that can only come from God.

Auntie M said...

Jill --Thank you for sharing this story once again. Tears roll for your loss, for precious Joshua and his wise eyes, and for the tender & mysterious mercies of God.
I love you. XO~Mary

McEngland like the McCountry said...

Oh wow, Dawn, tell me more about what your message board has to say about circumcision. I'm sure you guys each have far more access to sound medical research data bases and far more medical training than Joshua's doctors and nurses. Seriously, Dawn. I hope the gates of hell burn your evil hands, you cruel and black-hearted excuse for a human.

McEngland like the McCountry said...

Jill, this was beautiful....and I cried for the hundred millionth time over that sweet, beautiful son. I think as time passes, the clarity of God's amazing grace though out these last few years will really come into focus. I am so so sorry that I had to get ugly with "Dawn of the Dead". I'm proud of you. Joshua is proud of you. You are far more of a class act than I will ever be (simply because I will battle with trolls. I can't help it if I expect people to behave not he internet like they would in person).

Em said...

Eva collapsed in her daddy's hands. She was smiling at her daddy when her heart ruptured. I often think that her daddy's face became the face of Jesus in that moment.

Your Joshua saw your face all the way to the end.

Thank you for sharing your love and hope of Joshua.


Melissa said...

My heart truly hurts for you Jill and your family. Thank you for sharing your feelings both good and bad with us the last two years. Just reading your blog has helped me with my grief in losing my baby girl. I pray for peace for you in the next coming months.

Stefenie said...

No words my friend. Just many tears and a HUGE {{{HUG}}}.

Mary Matsuno said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile. I am thinking about you, Joshua and your family for the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing our grief, and your growth. God bless.

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