It's been awhile.
The past few months (ok, almost a year) have tried and tested our faith.
Our family has seen the faithfulness of God in a hospital in Romania, where we rushed Ellie after a freak seizure.
Continued grace as we completed our 6 weeks in this beautiful country we came to understand and embrace, with beautiful souls we connected with and still pray over.
Clarity in the midst of frustration as I rushed Ellie through a thunderstorm 5 hours back to our hometown from a beach retreat with XMC students. She had had another seizure.
Guidance to the right doctor, the right neurologist, the right dosage of meds.
God spoke to me through my amazing daughter's perspective.
I was scheduled to minister in Australia for a month following XMC graduation, June/July.
With all the challenges our newfound diagnosis had brought, I seriously was considering canceling the trip.
Talking my decision through with Ellie (because that's how we roll in our house), I began giving her my concerns of why I probably shouldn't go overseas when we were still navigating the waters of uncertainty following her diagnosis.
Ellie put her hand on my arm and leaned in to look me directly in the eyes.
"Mom. Don't be dramatic."
"I'll be fine."
"Well, I'm sure. Daddy will be here, but I was just worried about leaving you. I don't want to leave you when we're still not sure about all this..."
"Mom." Ellie interrupted. "God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. You know He has a purpose for my life, and even if I have another seizure, I know good will come out of it. The Bible says God works everything out for good."
"Well, yes, I know that..."
"...and Mom," she continued earnestly, "you shouldn't worry about me. Jesus will take care of me. You need to go lead worship. Go sing and tell people about Jesus. I'm seriously fine."
I did go to Australia for a month.
I ministered over 14 times in 4 cities, various smaller towns, and saw salvations, healings, and true worship birthed in the hearts of those who had been hurting, depressed and alone.
Upon my return, we geared up for another year of XMC to start, and welcomed 65 students.
I have had the privilege and honor of working not only with Pastors Shawn and Nichole Marcell again this year, but my wonderful husband, Biker Man joined the staff this year! How cool is God's goodness.
I've taken students to a few different churches, Teen Challenge, a weekly chapel at a small school, as well as our weekly classes and rehearsals.
In the midst of it all, I've seen Ellie grow both discouraged (after having another seizure) and then more determined to not accept the diagnosis as a permanent fixture in her life. The latter attitude came as a result of her going off by herself to think and pray about whether or not she should take ownership of said diagnosis.
"The doctor said I can outgrow this. I have decided not to blame every time I'm tired or feeling weak on a diagnosis."
Biker Man, Drummer Boy and I are backing her decision.
She will continue to take her meds, and follow the guidelines from her neurologist, until his diagnosis is the same as hers. Healed.
I just took Ellie with me two weeks ago to speak at a camp in Sydney, Australia.
She had a blast. The most rewarding part of the week there, for me, was seeing her receive the love of God in a deeper way. Pressing in to worship, sharing what Jesus means to her with other students, competing in squadron battles, and just hanging out with me in our off time was a gift to this mom's heart.
She is still somewhat recovering from jet lag, but back to her sweet, caring-although-sometimes-sarcastic self.
As I sit here, pondering the past few months and the immense changes they have wrought in all four of us, I know these changes are for the better.
Because they brought about a sharper awareness of God's presence and present mercies on our lives.
A firmer understanding of His love that shapes our hearts.
A fiercer trust in Jesus and His faithfulness to us.
And I know these changes were brought about, not just by what happened to Ellie, but mostly, by our reaction to it.
God has been giving me songs during this past year. Part of the "one more reason to worship" time in my life, I guess! I'll share one next blog.
Thanks for reading!