A Step Back

Have you ever read the poem that ends with this…”He whispered, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you; never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.'”?

I don’t exactly remember the first time I read or heard this, but I do know that when I was made aware of it I thought to myself that it sure was a comforting thought, in a figurative way. I never really thought about it in a literal sense. At least not until about the last month.

Apart from visiting Duke every few months, Owen has to visit our local children’s hospital for blood checks every couple weeks…the same hospital Mabry Kate passed away in. In fact, the entrance to the clinic is right in between the ambulance entrance and the ER entrance into the hospital. Mabry Kate and I  rode in an ambulance, followed closely by her father and Mia and Papaw the night she passed away. We entered into the hospital in that exact ambulance entrance and exited in that exact ER entrance. We left with empty arms, broken hearts and shattered dreams of the future we had planned for her.

But how? How in the world did we manage to gather ourselves enough to exit the hospital empty handed? How could we put one foot in front of the other? How could we muster up the strength to get in a car without her? How could we even breathe?

As I enter into the clinic with Owen, I can’t help but take a step back and ponder those recollections. It blows my mind, really. All the “how” questions flood my thoughts. The first few times I recalled that night, I didn’t have answers. Then, one day it hit me…

We couldn’t gather ourselves and exit alone. We couldn’t put one step in front of the other. We couldn’t muster up the strength to get in the car. We couldn’t breathe. But Jesus could and did and does all those things for us. It was then that He carried us. It was then that He wrapped his loving arms around us. It was then that He breathed for us. He alone is our strength and our comfort.

I’ve wanted to write about this for quite sometime, and it’s hard to gather my thoughts lately, but after spending a week with some of the bravest people I have ever met at Hunter’s Hope Family Symposium, I was reminded that Jesus also carries them through their battles with Krabbe disease or other leukodystropies like ALD and MLD as well. I heard brave and broken-hearted stories of other beloved children’s “diagnostic odysseys” and hospitalizations and passings. I heard the familiar sounds of suction machines, oxygen concentrators and pulse-ox machines.

BUT…I also heard laughter! I heard heartwarming and funny stories. I saw love — which is exactly what Jesus is. He is love and He carries us all. Not just those of us who have walked the path of a leukodystrophy, but everyone. Whether you’ve encountered another kind of illness or disease, death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or ANYTHING…whether you realize it or not, Jesus carried you through it. He is the only reason you can live and move and breathe.

I challenge you to take a step back and examine your trials and testings. I hope that you see you could not face those alone. I hope you see that Jesus never leaves nor forsakes you, and that He has and will continue to carry you through the times you don’t think you can survive.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who says to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Isaiah 41:10,13

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