Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blessed Enough to be Speechless

Image "Mother Giving Hand to Child" Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/
While he was saying this to me, 
I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless.  Daniel 10:15  NIV

A few weeks ago we were at an ophthalmologist's office.  My daughter was meeting this specialist for the first time as she has several eye conditions which include, but are not limited to; aniridia (no irises in the eyes), and glaucoma (high pressure within the eyes).

If you've never seen how doctors measure the eye pressures in children and infants, they typically use an item called a tonopen.  This pen must be placed directly on the eye ball, right where the iris and pupil are located.  The pen takes several readings which reflect how high the pressure in the eye is. 
Because my daughter doesn't have irises, she is photosensitive; meaning, she has extreme sensitivity to light.  She wears sunglasses at all times when she is outside, even if the sun is low on the horizon or behind clouds. 
Keep in mind that my family just moved from the Midwest to the far West under a year ago.  We have become acquainted with all of our new doctors, but don't know them NEARLY as well as we did our doctors in Wisconsin.  Often, I just assume that the doctor knows what he or she is doing; but that's not the best thing when it comes to rare diseases.

For example, when the doctor was trying to check my daughter's eye pressures with the tonopen, she made her tip her head back and stare straight up into an overhead fluorescent light.  It didn't dawn on me to tell the doctor to turn the light off, nor to ask her to dim the light.  My daughter kept closing her eyes while the doctor had the tonopen set on the eye ball attempting to get a reading.  
I watched, silently, as they both struggled to do their jobs:  my daughter was struggling to protect her eye from the blinding light and the doctor was struggling to get a reading as quickly and accurately as possible.
It was excruciating to watch.  

But I couldn't say a word.  
The woman who has lost her cool at the pharmacy, on the phone, in the hospital room...the woman who NEVER seems to be at a loss for words was SPEECHLESS.
The doctor finally said, "Okay, let's take a break." 
My daughter sat up and dabbed at the tears running down her face.  She choked on a sob and her face crumpled into the sad-wrinkled chin that hardly EVER shows up at a doctor's appointment.  "I CAN'T," she said.

Whoa...that never happens.  She would bend over backwards for her doctors. 
"I can't keep my eyes open."  She repeated.
Suddenly, it dawned on me; up until now, the fact that she was being forced to stare into the fluorescent light had alluded me.  "Oh," I said with the realization, "Is it because the light is too bright?"  

"Yes."  my daughter replied.

The doctor did her best to turn off the light and still get a pressure reading using the light coming in from the hallway.  As it turned out, this was a disappointing appointment for more than one reason, but as we drove home from California, I just couldn't help but start to cry as I admonished myself:
Why did you wait so long to say anything about the light?
Why did you let her struggle to the point of tears?
But, a verse from Daniel came to mind as I was pondering this:   

Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, 
"This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: 
Your royal authority has been taken from you."  
Daniel 4:31 NIV

While I realize I'm not a king, and while I realize I don't have THAT much power to begin with...God gave me this message to soothe my soul and to remind me that I need to be speechless more often.  

God told me that if I'm always the one to speak, my daughter will never learn to speak for herself.  I won't always be here; I can't be everywhere she is.  She needs to learn to advocate for herself and say, "The light is too bright" or "my eye is too dry".  

It's not easy to watch our children struggle to become independent, but it is necessary.  Listen to God as He guides you in your parenting and allow Him to make you speechless in order to help your child find his or her own voice.

Pray:  Heavenly Father, it is so hard to watch my child be in pain, afraid, or struggling.  Help me to know when to step in and when to allow her to act on her own.  Give me the courage and strength to give her courage and strength IN YOU.  Thank you for being a sovereign and merciful God.  Amen.

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