For those new to the game, this blog started over 6 years ago when Josiah was born with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Vessels. In the most basic terms, that means the two main arteries coming out of his heart (pulmonary artery and the aorta) were switched.
Without surgery this is a fatal condition. He was three days old when he went under the knife for open heart surgery.
We didn't know Josiah had this condition before he was born. I still remember his birth and the ensuing events of the night quite vividly. I cried and wailed that night, feeling so afraid my baby was going to die.
He (obviously) didn't die. In fact, his surgery was textbook perfect. His recovery too. He had no major complications and basically, he's had best-case-scenario kind of situation. He's healed. All the way. He doesn't need additional surgeries. He has no higher chance than any one of my other kids of having future heart problems. God, assisted by the hands of a skilled surgeon, healed my child.
Days, sometimes even weeks, go by and I forget this close call we had with Josiah. It never crosses my mind anymore that he had open-heart surgery. I can watch him playing on the beach or helping him take a bath and his scar may be visible, but I don't really see it anymore. I forget it is there.
And then other days I remember. Today was one of those days.
I was sitting in the office waiting for Josiah's cardiologist to come see him for a checkup. This was all very routine. It was time for him to go in for a routine EKG and echo. And I was sitting there waiting for the doctor to come in and I was reflecting on the crazy couple of weeks that we lived in the PICU. And I was thinking about the physical scar that he still bears from the surgery.
It's totally healed now. Dr. Milazzo even commented on it. He ran his fingers up and down his scar and said, "This incision healed beautifully."
And I thought about how the emotional scars we had from that scary time have also healed beautifully. And in my mind, it was as if I could see that this wave of grace had washed over us then, and we continue to soak in it now.
That scar-- that's part of Josiah's story. He will always be marked with it.
And rather than looking at it and seeing this place where he was sick and broken and defective, I look at it now and I see God's kindness to us that he cared for Josiah when we could not.
I see healing. I see resilience. I see GRACE.
Were Josiah's chest smooth and unpuckered, I wouldn't have gotten to see God's grace in this way.
Psalm 119:71 is my favorite Bible verse-- "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." (And yes, I am aware that you're probably aware that's my favorite Bible verse because I mention it every 20 seconds or so.) And again today it rang new once again. It's not, "It's okay now because it all turned out okay." It's, "It was GOOD for me to have had this experience because I learned to trust God's character so much more." (Maybe this is what James was talking about when he tells us to count it all joy when we face trials?)
And so this got me thinking about all the CRAP that has happened in the past few years of my life. We often joke about how we have bad "Haiti luck." But seriously, people. Some of the the things we went through over the past few years have been really, REALLY bad. They've been traumatic. They've hurt. They've cost us. And they've left scars.
But just today as I had this mind picture of grace washing over Josiah's scars, I had to wonder if that same grace could extend to my scars, too.
I have to believe it can.
And if can extend to my scars, then I have to believe it can extend to yours.
May grace wash over our scars as we entrust our times to His hands.