No matter how prepared I think I am, life always seems to throw in the unexpected, things for which I am totally unprepared. As my dad has always said, “Expect the unexpected.” When will I learn? We’ve been preparing and preparing for baby #3 at our house, looking at that as our next big family milestone. Last weekend, our oldest son, D, complained of a tummy ache for 24 hours which ended in acute appendicitis and an emergency appendectomy. It was a totally unexpected adventure to be in the hospital for 4 days with just 3 weeks left til my due date. And you know what? I’m so thankful. I’m exhausted beyond belief and wonder if I’ll ever recover. I even thought about (for about 30 seconds) getting an epidural when labor comes. For those of you who know me, you know how serious of a breakdown that is for me. (For those of you who don’t know me, don’t be thinking I’m all tough. I’m just super afraid of needles and meds.) There are many things about this experience that I have still left to process, but overall, I really am thankful. I have no other way to explain it than to just list all the mercies of God we experienced along the way…

– God gave my hubby a clear sense that D needed to go to the ER. This was truly a mercy because D did not have any symptoms of appendicitis. God was so kind to give us insight and direction when there was no clear direction in front of our eyes.

-D was immediately seen at the ER even though there was a longer wait time listed online.

-The ER Dr. was a believer, a father of young kids, and a friend of my hubby’s family.

– Many tests were run in the ER that did not show anything conclusive. D’s final test, a CT Scan, was almost not performed because of risk of radiation exposure. Thankfully, the risk was deemed worth it and the Scan clearly showed acute appendicitis. Within 15 minutes of the scan, an ambulance was on its way to take D to our wonderful local children’s hospital.

-Upon arriving at the hospital, D was taken straight from the ambulance to the room we stayed in for the next few days. A nurse was waiting there for him.

– We received excellent care and even had the Head of Surgery operate on Drew. He was thorough and careful, which meant a lot to this mama’s heart.

– We were surrounded with both spiritual and blood family. Our parents were all very helpful and attentive, taking care of both boys. My mom even cleaned our house for us to arrive home. Such a meaningful blessing to me! Our church family surrounded us with prayers, love, texts, calls, food, etc. 3 Pastors from our Church made the trek down to the hospital just to pray for our boy. There is no price I could put on these gifts.

– Perhaps one of the most poignant mercies to us was that D’s appendix had not ruptured. Let me explain the magnitude of this mercy from God… After the surgery was over, we learned more about how sick D was. The surgeon told us he had fully expected his appendix to be ruptured and was very surprised it was not. He said that his appendix, as well as some of his surrounding organs, looked extremely sick. My brother, who is a radiologist, read D’s CT Scan and said that it was the worst appendix he had ever seen. I asked if it usually looks that bad before it ruptures in other children and we learned that it usually ruptures long before it gets as sick as D’s. A child’s ruptured appendix usually calls for a 4-7 day hospital stay. My brother estimated that had D’s ruptured, it would have been more like a month in the hospital. One pediatrician who has praciticd for around 40 years said that D was the first young child in his whole career to have appendicitis without rupture. To me, this is all so amazing. It’s amazing that D’s would be one of the worst cases AND one of the few cases not to rupture. I can only say, thank you God! I feel He completely intervened and held D’s appendix together long enough to get to surgery.

On the night we took D to the ER, my husband I encouraged each other with these verses. Philippians 4:5-7… “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There are many parts of these verses that helped me that night but especially the sentence, “The Lord is near.” Because He was near and is near, I could have His peace. When we did not know what to do about a tummy ache, we knew that God was near, seeing into D’s little body, able to direct us just as He did. When I was extremely anxious, I was not alone because God was near. When my heart and mind wanted to run wild with fear, God’s presence guarded me and gave peace that cannot be understood apart from Christ.

In some ways, I hesitate to blog all this because I know there are many families who are dealing with so much more than appendicitis. I learned through this experience that I am much, much weaker than many people I know who have dealt with more serious things with their kids. My capacity for this kind of thing is truly laughable in comparison to theirs. But I also learned that God’s capacity for every kind of trial is inexhaustible. No matter the scale, God is near. What a God, what a God.

Lord, thank you for your nearness. Thank you for staying close in both trivial and gigantic matters. Thank you for your mercy. Show it bountifully to all who need it today. Thank you Lord. Amen