I grew up in a family that loved to camp. We had a 1976 Ford Ranger Pickup and it was a “Camper Special”. We would camp in the Rocky Mountains with our propane heat, the four little girls tucked into the bunks while my parents were up in the over-the-cab bed.
Recently, we camped with my husband’s sister and husband, and their three boys who are similar ages to our girls. Also some friends with a 3 year old son joined us. The last time the six of us camped together, my husband and I had an 11 month old baby, my sister-in-law was pregnant, and it was 6 years ago.
She began crying sharply just as I was about to change out of my swimsuit and eat dinner. (I had cooked for everyone else first). She was holding her leg and that mommy sense (like spidey-sense, only more helpful) went off. “Did you cut yourself? Are you hurt? Did you get cut?” She nodded. I didn’t see any blood but told her to come to me and “show me”. As she walked, I noticed a dark black line across the top of her right foot.
A sense of foreboding washed over me. By the time she got to me, there was blood everywhere. I went into auto-mommy mode, where there is no room for worst-case scenario, emotion, or anything but practical movements.
“apply direct pressure.”
“elevate wounds above the heart.”
“she weighs enough for two ibuprofen tablets.”
“we need neosporin.”
I believe that God stopped the bleeding, as did the swelling in her foot and the direct pressure and elevation. My husband found the medicine and handed it to me, my other friends got out the first aid kit. After applying pressure, I peeled back the paper towels I’d grabbed off the picnic table and peered at her wound. It looked to be at least 1/4 inch deep. I plainly stated, “she’s going to need stitches.”
I didn’t comprehend it, just matter-of-fact said that this was not a scratch. When the wound was shown to Daddy and I saw it opening up and saw that second layer of skin that until now was only in horror movies, I quickly had to cover it. Reality is not always pleasant, and though the blood was something I could handle, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief as I do with a movie. This was not a makeup artist’s creation, but the actual second “fatty” layer that you’re never supposed to see.
It was an hour’s drive to the hospital. What stressed us out was that when we left town the day before, my husband realized halfway out to our campsite that we might not have enough gas to get back into town. All day Saturday we’d discussed the possibility of running out of gas and now we had an emergency and had to drive without a gas station anywhere between us and the hospital!
My husband coasted down every mountain, and we passed a sign saying 31 miles to town. Our 2006 minivan stated “41 miles due to empty”.
We made it and the bleeding hadn’t started back up, though my arm was shaking from holding her foot up for 60 minutes by then. We filled up at the first station, then pulled up to the ER.
Once admitted, the nurse assured me I could put her foot down. My daughter didn’t cry at all, and even said it didn’t really hurt. I’ll spare you the photographs, but I did take some. They cleaned her wound and then applied a numbing gel in hope that we wouldn’t need to give her a shot. The nurse asked if she was brave.
“Not so much.”
(nurse) “I think you’re pretty brave. You know you can be scared and still be brave? Do you know anyone else who is brave?”
My daughter nodded and shyly pointed to me. At that point, my bravado was dissolving and I fought back tears and tried to smile.
“She’s never scared of anything.”
For the sake of my five year old, I was trying to be brave, but alone with my thoughts, I had definitely been feeling scared. I’ll partly blame my irrational thoughts on my lack of dinner, but in the admission process I was irritated at the 20 questions “while my daughter could bleed to DEATH!” (yes, that was a thought in my mind, but not an actual possibility, I found.)
She felt the doctor prepping her wound and began to cry that it hurt, so with my back to him and my face to her as I sat across her lap, I held her gaze. She reacted sharply to the lidocaine shot (for good reason), but it took a while to calm her down. I asked which hurt worse, the shovel or her shot and she said they hurt equally. Once numbed, she received five stitches. While receiving the stitches she was crying not from pain but from the shock and initial pain of the shot.
After he was done and she left, I told her she’d received five stitches and she’s five years old, and she’d have a great story to tell her kindergarten class this fall!
“Mom,” she said with a trembling lip, “I didn’t want for any of this to happen.”
“Oh Jaelle, none of us wanted this to happen!”
I held her and then she finally let it all out. I wanted to cry with her.
Doesn’t life feel like this for us at times? We want to be brave, but somehow a choice leads to large consequences that bring pain and inconvenience others. We don’t mean for any of it to happen, but there was no warning or inkling that anything could go wrong.
Jesus has sent His Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. That peace that comes beyond all understanding in the midst of life-changing circumstances, foreseen or not, is supernatural and available for all who believe.
26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (John 14:26 AMP)
The next day she was light on her foot, but not hindered at all and was running around playing chase just two days later as if she’d never been hurt.
She’s nervous about getting her stitches removed next week, but she won’t be alone.
And remember, dear ones, you are never alone either.
Are you in the middle of an ordeal? Can we pray with you? Please leave a comment for us!