top of page

Training Ground of Suffering

Two children. Two surgeries. One summer. Major surgery was not the summer headliner I had hoped for my teenager and tween. For three years we have asked for answers as to why our children’s stamina decreased as they participated in sports and day-to-day play. It took a while, but the answers eventually came.

We took them to doctors, adjusted their diet, and while some things helped, nothing relieved their increasing distress. Heart checks and lung checks showed healthy systems. We were honest in our prayers and frustrated at the silence. God, why don’t you answer? Yet I am reminded that God's timing is perfect.

Two years ago, a chance encounter with a young man, ironically with a similar build to my children, revealed a possible reason for their symptoms. He, too, felt his heart racing at the age of fifteen, and decreased stamina even though he was a healthy swimmer. He got called lazy or was told to put forth more effort. He was fully grown before the doctors diagnosed the problem. I called the meeting a divine appointment, and we shared with others the hope now claimed for a way to help our children.

A year ago, the doctor determined that my children’s chest walls put pressure on their hearts and lungs, which made each work harder. Tests confirmed the severity of their problem. Finally I had received the much sought-after answer, but I slammed my trust into reverse. I changed from wanting an answer from God...from the doctors to demanding a different explanation, altogether.

The surgeon's plan was set. They would make several incisions in their chests. Then, put two metal bars through their chest to create a brace for the proper formation of their rib cages. These would remain in place until they were fully grown. I was petrified at the thought of causing my children further suffering. For their part, they were grateful for an answer and solution, and they committed to facing the surgeries together. They made plans for their recovery, while I questioned the wisdom of God. Despite the doubt, God reminded me that He uniquely formed my kids and will inspire the best possible outcome for them.

God lined up many hands to physically, mentally, and spiritually care for our family amid the surgeries in July. I live across the river from one of the best team of doctors for this particular surgery. They have even added a pain management structure that has decreased the hospital stay and improved at-home care that they did not start using until this year. This past year, multiple parents crossed my path who shared their children’s positive outcomes from the same surgery. Each had a word from God and encouragement: