Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it. "Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen" (2 Cor 4:17, 18 NEB). ~ Elisabeth Elliot (daily devotional available by e-mail, subscribe here)

I guess I've always thought of "long-suffering" as "patience". A virtue. Not an experience. This long line of never-ending and escalating health trials has me seeing that particular fruit of the spirit in a new light. I never really thought of "patience" as a virtue that persists and pervades for months on end. I've always thought of it more in terms of the heat of the moment, the ability to withstand or wait for something for a few hours or a few days. Waiting for God's healing for our family has gone on now since June, 2008. Almost 2 years. Looking backward, it seems like we've weathered it surprisingly well, surprisingly intact as a family, as a couple. Looking forward, it is daunting. What if God calls us to be long-suffering for years and years more?

As of today, the waiting continues. Aaron was unable to tolerate the 3 ounces of chicken broth he sipped yesterday. He has been restricted, once again, to just taking sips with pills for another 24-48 hours. There is no end in sight to his hospitalization. Tomorrow is his last day of short-term disability pay. I don't have a good handle on the financial implications for our family. We have a small emergency fund saved, which has obviously taken major hit after major hit with cancer, encephalitis, and now this. I am starting to look into more work through Lippincott, the publisher I currently write for on a very part-time basis. I am also looking into renewing a few of my certifications and taking a job in the per diem float pool in the Cities. I spoke with my old manager today, and she is ready to hire me if I wish to do it, and can probably guarantee me 1 to 2 12 hour shifts per week between the pediatric and adult intensive care units. It would mean finding childcare, traveling, and relearning some very dusty clinical practice skills. But I will also be the first to admit I find the prospect a bit exhilarating! It may also be that God is providing an opportunity that will one day enhance my ability to work as a professor, because my clinical practice experience would be much more recent.

Caleb is also "resting" on IV fluids after a failed attempt at drinking this morning. He continues to have lots of blood in his poop, and his blood counts are consequently still dropping. The pediatrician did mention the possibility of a blood transfusion at some point in the future if he continues to bleed in his intestines. He has a bit more energy today, although he is already on his 3rd nap at noon as I write this. He did sit up in the wagon for one ride, and has sat in bed to play with toys for a little while today.

Prayer requests, if you would:
  • Aaron's rapid healing and ability to return to work
  • Wisdom for doctors as they continue to try to make a diagnosis as to cause of this illness
  • Wisdom for both Aaron & I as I pursue possible short-term employment
  • Healing for Caleb & that the bleeding would stop before a transfusion is necessary
  • Peace for Caleb tonight as he is without me - I am going to attend our friend's funeral this evening, leaving him alone for a short time with Kelley Downie
  • Peace, good behavior, and sweet times for my girls, who are without both parents for an unknown period of time
  • Strength for all those who are assisting us with everything from childcare to meals and constant prayer!