We had a rough week. My parents left last Thursday to return to Florida, Dave went out of town on a hunting trip with friends, and Ben ended up in the ER Saturday evening with appendicitis.
Because Dave was out of town, a couple of dear friends dropped everything to sit with me at the hospital. As we waited for the results of his CT scan, they helped me soothe Ben and took care of details such as providing a phone charger and water and a stocking up my purse with snacks for later, all while ensuring other friends and family were kept updated on Ben.
My natural response of fear tried to yield its power as we waited. Mommas, you know what I’m talking about: intense, debilitating fear. Yet, they were there, praying and holding me up.
After the diagnosis, we were told that surgery would take place the following morning which left me anxious as I feared his appendix would rupture in the night. It didn’t. God protected my boy immensely and He covered us in His peace.
The surgeon entered around 5 am to explain the details of the surgery. Because of some abnormalities on the CT, this would essentially be an exploratory surgery to determine exactly what was happening. Best case scenario: a routine appendectomy. Worst case: we would be transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for a much more extensive surgery.
Fear kicked in and the tears I had been holding in fell. Ben was still sleeping soundly so I paced the hall and starting making phone calls. First, I called Dave. He was still en route back home and feeling incredibly helpless but managed to keep his calm demeanor and confident faith as he spoke truth over my immense anxiety. Next, I updated my mother-in-law. She and my father-in-law had stayed the night with my other kids at the house. She immediately left to join me at the hospital. I texted my community group gals with an update. Within fifteen minutes, my dear friend who had just left the hospital at 1 am was back to sit with me and pray over my Ben.
Other friends just showed up. As he was wheeled back to surgery, tears pooled in his little fear-stricken eyes and I just prayed and prayed and prayed. My sweet friends prayed with me and kept me company in that stale waiting room.
When the surgery-update-phone rang, I jumped from my seat. As the nurse relayed the details, I exhaled in deep relief. The surgery would be a simple appendectomy. The pain was caused only by his appendicitis. Best case scenario.
Our little crew in the waiting room rejoiced at the news. Text updates were sent and prayers of thanksgiving were offered up. The mood shifted dramatically at that point from a veneer of calm to actual calm.
Dave arrived and friends and family made arrangements to watch our other kiddos so we could spend the day together caring for Ben. All of the emotions from the past 24 hours hit me pretty heavily at that point.
He spent several days recovering in the hospital and was eventually released on Tuesday afternoon. All the while, friends stepped in to help care for our kiddos, deliver meals, drop coffee by and pray for Ben’s recovery.
If ever I had reason to believe that God made us a body of believers in order to care for one another, it was now. My people carried us through an intense 24 hours. I learned the immense value of showing up. Regardless of how small our offering feels, we can’t let it stop us. Because I’m here to tell you, sitting in a waiting room next to a fearful momma is BIG. Driving a good cup of coffee across town is big. Delivering lunch in order to circumvent hospital food is big. Providing dinners for daddy and kiddos at home is big. Delivering homemade cards and signs is big. Picking up brother at school is big. Arranging fun playdates for confused siblings who are worried about their brother is big.
I want desperately to be a friend like Corrie and Marci and Mendy and Melissa and Erin and Bridget and Karey and Sara and Julia and Amy. A friend who prays diligently and fiercely. A friend who encourages and uplifts. A friend who loves tangibly. A friend who shows up.