A Limited Number of Days

What would you do if you knew your days were limited? What would you change? By: Lisa Ellsbury (guest devotional)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mainly, I suppose, because I have children with medical issues. Medical issues that will ultimately shorten the number of days they have on this earth. This fact has changed who I am as a mother. It has changed how I handle things, how I view things. There are days I wish I had done better, but there are many days I know I’m covering the things that are truly important.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that Hope, my 12 year old, would be considered middle-aged based on what we were told when she was born. If you were to look up Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome life expectancy now, you would find that it says “unknown”. Treatments are getting better. She has the best possible condition because her heart is backwards so she has the stronger pumping chamber. So in reality, we are back to just not knowing what the future has in store for her. Only God knows the number of her days, as it is for any of our children. We aren’t guaranteed a healthy child. We aren’t guaranteed that we will be able to see them grow up and marry and have children of their own.

So when I worry about whether or not she’ll ever get her division tables memorized, I remember that it may not matter. Do I want her to remember me harping non-stop over multiplication tables and division tables or do I want her to remember how much God and I love her. I know that eventually she will master the tables. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the balance though. In reality, I need to not worry about worldly things and measuring her up to those worldly standards. What she truly needs is a good solid foundation that will take her through this life and the hard times that are sure to come. She needs to know that God has a plan for her life. (Jeremiah 29:11) She needs to know that there is something beyond this life. She needs to have a strong, unbreakable faith.

When Hope was born, we were just going to take her home. She had been abandoned in the hospital because her pre-adoptive parents backed out when they learned of her heart defect and her mother was going to leave her there. We had been through Kyle’s death, knew we would survive, and our family truly believed that no baby should die alone. We then came to the conclusion if we were going to do that, maybe we should try the surgery and give her a chance. We would leave it in God’s hands and see what the good Lord had in store for this little girl. The surgeon came forward and said he would do everything in his power to bring her through surgery if we were going to adopt her. There is a 50/50 chance of survival through the first surgery. There is a 70% chance of survival to 5 years of age. Those were the odds we signed on for.

Years later and we come to Benjamin, he has limited time on this earth. We knew this and still God said, “This is your son.” Both Dan and I just knew he was ours. The fact that I would have limited time with him was irrelevant. I just wanted a chance to hold him and let him know he was loved. I’m trying so hard to be patient but each day that passes by is one less day I get to love, no…wait, one less day that I get to hold him. I already love him. I just want to get Benjamin here so I can love him up for as long as possible. Dr. Divekar has said he might be able to buy Benji 10 extra years if he is able to do the procedure as soon as possible. 10 years is an eternity when you think you only have a couple of years.

I thought about the fact that God did the same with His son in measures I can’t even imagine. He knew what Jesus was going to go through and yet, Jesus must die on the cross to fulfill His plan. I cannot even fathom that. I watched The Passion of the Christ and was just blown away, at not only what Christ went through for me, but what Mary must have endured watching her child suffer.

10 years – what I wouldn’t have given to have had 10 years with Kyle. 5 days isn’t enough. 5 days is enough to give you a glimpse, but 5 months would have shown me his personality. I would have seen him smile. I could have held him tight. 5 months would have let me show him just how much I loved him. 5 years would have been heaven. 10 years would have been a gift beyond measure. I read a prayer on another mother’s site. It was her saying to God, “I wanted to hold my son and tell him of your love but instead, please God, hold my child and let him know of my love.” I wept because that says it all. Heaven is beyond anything I can even imagine, greater even than a mother’s love for her son. But I would have loved to have had the chance.

So I ask you…what would you change if you knew your time was limited? Because the truth is, you aren’t guaranteed anything. You aren’t guaranteed old age. You aren’t even guaranteed tomorrow. Hold your children tight. Give them extra love and extra hugs and let them know what is truly important….God’s grace and a mother’s love. 🙂

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