Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with My Lily, Part 1

I’m back! Lily and I arrived back to Iquitos a few days after my last post. We had our last U.S. missions team for the summer awaiting us with a grand home-coming celebration. What profound joy knotted my throat and pushed mightily up out of my tear ducts as we crossed the threshold…HOME!

We then had several more days of team-hosting, evangelism, and ministry to take care of before finally getting a chance to rest. After all those weeks of hospital vigils, praying for Lily’s life, and pushing through crisis mode, it has taken this long to feel normal again. But here I am!

I missed you all. This blog, and you all as my community, have become such a precious part of my life.  I can never ever begin to adequately thank you all for the way you stood with us in prayer for my baby. There just aren’t sufficient words. Although I wasn’t able to individually respond to each of your comments, I read and treasured every one of them. And now, I am rejoicing in spirit to come “home” to you! I love you all.

For my first two posts, I would like to share with you what I wrote for our ministry newsletter. They sum up quite well the whole of what I experienced through this ordeal. But first, though, I want you to show you this picture:

The Iquitos ICU staff put this blanket on Lily. It says “Jesus loves me” all over it in both Spanish and English. When I saw it, Holy Spirit spoke to me that it was a spiritual picture. He had her under a blanket of His love throughout the entire hardship she endured. Selah.

Here is the first of the two articles:

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“Lily’s airway is closing up. She might die. We are doing everything that we can!”

I never dreamed I would hear a doctor say such words to me. But I did, on June 23rd, the night we took our precious little girl into the ER. The memory is a blur. I was frozen in place, pleading with God. Israel was on his knees in the hallway. His hands in the air, he interceded, tears streaming down his face.

With epinephrine and steroids, they saved her. I watched her little chest heaving, gasping for air. Soon afterwards, they intubated her and admitted her to ICU. She’d had a seizure. She was soon diagnosed with severe bacterial pneumonia. They immediately put her into a medically induced coma.

Here we are, seventeen days later at this writing. In that interim, they also found malaria in her blood and successfully eradicated it. In spite of this, she was still not strong enough to get off the ventilator. They decided she needed to be airlifted to Lima for treatment not available in our remote jungle city.

All day on July 6th, we tried to secure an airplane for this purpose. The weather was stormy and flights were not getting in or out. Thousands of prayer warriors stood with us in prayer, petitioning Heaven. God provided a military plane and a brief window in the storm. It was just long enough for the plane to come get us out. Then the storm continued. Far into the next day, no more flights were able to land in Iquitos. Truly, He had opened the skies just for us.

Less than 48 hours later, the doctors here in Lima were able to wean Lily off the ventilator. She is now breathing on her own. Yesterday, she woke up from the coma. She looked so very disoriented. I asked her if she knew who I was. She shook her head, “no.” A little while later, she remembered, to my great relief.

Nonetheless, as I write, we have not gotten to the end of this trial. Lily is still quite out of it. Today, she couldn’t tell me how old she was. The doctors say her confusion may be caused by encephalitis or meningitis.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written a newsletter before where it wasn’t yet the glorious end of the story. However, I’m seeing the happy ending with my eyes of faith. I see Lily fully restored to health. I see her running and laughing. I can feel her sweet little arms hugging me.

This is my sustaining word: “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Heb. 11:1, AMPC).

As of yet, my little girl’s complete healing is not revealed to my senses. But I have the title deed. This is what the title deed says:

She will be home soon.

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When I sent out the e-mail version of our newsletter, some days had passed. I added this post script:

P.S. I wrote the above on July 10th. Three days later, she suddenly was fully back to her usual self cognitively, talking my ear off! My faith became sight!

We are not out of the hospital quite yet, but we are so close. Oh what beautiful, beautiful joy to have my precious Lily back! Yesterday I was reading a book to her about how much I love her, with tears streaming down my cheeks. I’ll never be able to thank Jesus enough!