One thing God has been speaking to me over the years is that no matter how much at times I think that God has left me in the dust to fend for myself, he never has nor will he ever abandon me. In fact, truth is, sometimes there are things that I take for granted as, "well that's just how things are" when actually, there is no such things as "that's just how things are." We are not guaranteed that things are supposed to be one way or the other. In fact, all we have is because of God's grace and mercy.
What I'm realizing is that it is would be nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around and comprehend just exactly how much the Lord has done for me. In fact, I think I am probably blissfully unawares of some of the imminent dangers that the Lord has thwarted from coming my way simply because I never experienced it, so I didn't know it was coming.
I think this cartoon illustrates what I'm trying to say well:
I mean of course, I don't think God is ever capable of accidentally "missing one". But you get the idea.
So basically yesterday, I was having a conversation with this acquaintance when he just casually mentioned that his mom has had a series of health issues ever since she gave birth to him unexpectedly during the hottest part of the year over 20 years ago. Being a dad of an ex-preemie, my ears perked up. Unexpected birth? So I asked him what he meant. He explained to me that he was originally due in November, but he was born mid-August. Three months early, just like Alicia!
He told me that he stayed in the incubator for 10 days. "Ten days!" I exclaimed. He said, "Yeah, I know. A long time, right?" Flabbergasted I explained that Alicia was in the hospital in the incubator for four months! It was his turn to be shocked. After further discussion, we realized that the reason he was only in the hospital for 10 days was because back then Taiwan National Health Insurance was not as comprehensive as it is today. His family could only afford to keep him in the incubator for 10 days.
One other thing about this acquaintance of mine, is that he walks with a limp. Turns out one of his legs is longer than the other and he's had the problem since he was a child. But, since info on preemie care and early intervention was not as prevalent and developed when he was young, his parents were unaware of his need for therapy until he was nearly five years old and still unable to walk. By then it was a little late for him to begin therapy and get the help that he needed, and so he ended up with a permanent limp.
After this conversation, I was just in awe. I mean, have we had a hard time? Yes! Have we had to face a slough of unanticipated trials and uphill battles? Sure! But could things have been 10 times worse? Oh, MOST definitely!
I mean, seriously, we were already so thankful for the medical insurance that brought our over $1,000,000 NT hospital bill down to only $50,000. But to think that had Alicia been born 20 years ago, we would have most likely only been able to allow her to stay in the hospital for 10 days and then what? Linda and I would have had to provide all the medical treatment and care for her at home. (On a side note, we've heard rumors that the government is considering cutting funding in preemie care so that insurance will go back to covering only 14 days of incubator usage. ARE YOU KIDDING?! Talk about sentencing these kids! But that's another soapbox for another time.)
And is it challenging and draining for Linda to schlep Alicia, her diapers, toys, bottles and formula multiple times a week to therapy? OF COURSE! But, am I grateful now for the availability of such therapy and the protocols and resources available in order to diagnose Alicia's need for said therapy so that we were able to get it so early for Alicia? OH, FOR DARN SURE.
So, Father, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that sometimes I take things for granted. I'm sorry that I think I'm entitled and that you're not doing enough. And I complain and whine that it's too hard! When, in reality, you have already done so much. Every day I'm sure there are countless things that you do for me and my family that I am quite unaware of and oblivious to.
Lord, I want to say thank you. Thank you for all the things that you have done and continue to do for us both seen and unseen, known and unknown. Thank you that nothing gets by you, and you know exactly what we need even before we are conscious of it.
Thank you for allowing Alicia to be born at a time such as this when medical information and knowledge is more developed. Thank you for providing insurance so that Alicia was able to and continues to be able to get the assistance that she needs without costing us an arm and a leg.
THANK YOU, DADDY. THANK YOU!
P.S. Here is on other amazing thing that Linda just pointed out to me after reading what I wrote above. Even if Alicia were born 20 years ago without the developed medical care and insurance, God's grace would have covered her and us even then. Things in the natural realm may have been more "difficult" or "challenging" but in the spiritual realm our God is the same God he was yesterday, today and will be tomorrow. So his grace would have been sufficient for us even Alicia were born back then. THANK YOU, LORD!
Only God knows why he had Alicia born at such a time as this. But see, that's actually the only thing that matters. God KNOWS. And he has plans for her. Plans to prosper her and not to harm her, plans to give us hope and a future.