This week I’ve gotten to pause and realize there are huge differences to be seen here. Things that have filled me with praise, things you can’t help but share in your joy. This is the first of a series of these stories, where change has never been seen in a moment – but compared to snapshots of months ago, real movement is happening.
I stop to say hi to Sian’s family & hear a two-year-old babble “Staff!” (That’s what ‘Steph’ sounds like from Maxon) squealed to me. I look over to see my tiny friend naked & sitting cross legged in a tub of bath water, splashing as happy as could be with wide eyes and a toothy smile laughing as I look over and greet him.
I bubble over in joy as I can’t help but remember the non-respondent little walker from six months ago, covered in dirt and clearly in his own world – while I now feel water drops splashed on me from a boy who literally can not stop giggling. His brother even tells him to stop playing and get out – which Maxon laughs hysterically at!
I watch him and flip through my mental scrapbook of the past two months. The boy who used to act as if I was not there has now learned to call me by my name (the best that he can) as I walk near his house and he runs (runs!) to come cling to my leg. He splashes in water and offers me a bite of his potatoes when I visit in the afternoon. After his bath, he ran to grab a school book for his older brother and confidently pointed to objects and talked about them (in a babble talk that didn’t create real words) with me.
Rewind, you need some background here:
This is a story that’s been tumbling around in my brain today. My plans always seem better than waiting on the Lord. I’m sure waiting on the Lord has always been tough, plus we’re in this instant-gratification culture that everyone is always talking about. But when we choose to wait, to force ourselves into dependence as we release our own control, the results are so beautiful in the long term. I’m blessed to get to experience just the beginning of the long term as I can so vividly think back to July.
My heart was broken. I mean, into a million pieces. After walking about five minutes through the dry land between the Bercy hospital and CPR-3’s property, I hiked up the stairs with my last bits of strength and gently placed a skinny, silent, and angry (if he had the energy to express it) little boy on the ground.
I felt shattered inside. I tried to lose myself in the task of finding some food. As I tried to come up with something (peanut butter was the solution in the end), Amanda came in to ask how the doctor visit had gone. She was pleasantly responded to with me trying to get words out as I started bawling.
“Well, we’re adding both malaria and parasite meds to his pneumonia prescription from Monday. And then basic vitamin syrup too, because he needs those basics on top of being sick.” This one-and-a-half-year-old little body was wracked with a cough that took over his body, exhausted from malaria and a parasite, and was malnourished to top it all off. This was Maxon last July.
I had to get a moto to Cabaret to pick these up, but couldn’t help myself from first taking the detour to our house first to try and get some food in a belly that possibly hadn’t eaten at all yet that day. I’d made the decision as I’d carried him back from the hospital, praying over him in my wrecked emotions with no idea where to start.
And you know what I wanted to do in that moment? I wanted to keep him. I wanted to buy some clothes (except for the hospital, he basically always walked around naked. Actually, he just stood), keep him with me all day, and hold him through the four prescriptions he had to take three times a day. I wanted to hug him and wipe tears away. I wanted to see real life in him – the only reaction I’d ever seen in him after two months of knowing him was the fierce crying that burst out from the blood work taken to test for malaria. I wanted to feed him three times a day (with food made in a clean, parasite free environment) and make sure he was always bathed.
How often do our plans sound better than waiting on the Lord? Maybe we don’t even realize that the other option is to wait on the Lord, we just think that our plan is best. Better than waiting, better than Maxon’s own family was offering him, better than having to depend on anyone but ourselves to solve whatever issue is in front of us.
I didn’t want to take him back home to a room the size of mine that served for a house to over half a dozen people. I didn’t want to place him in an environment that he’d “get so many colds untreated that they eventually turn into pneumonia”. I didn’t want to see him staring, emotionless, standing away from people with crusts on his face and no pants.
But that choice wasn’t really mine to make.
So I prayed, and I prayed hard. I tried to get him to eat some peanut butter – which took at least ten minutes of coaxing. I took him home and found his fifteen year old sister, we went through the medications slowly and repeated the instructions back and forth. She smiled and reassured me, I thanked her profusely for what a help she was.It hurt to set him down and walk away.
But our Father didn’t leave his side, just as he walked back home with me as I asked why. And I wasn’t just asking why, but pounding down metaphorical doors in my questions, wrestling all night long in the why.
And here I am, six months later, seeing that it was better to wait on the Lord. That Maxon was seen before I even knew he existed, and God had a plan the whole time. He broke my heart and created a prayer warrior for Maxon, he used my little friend to break my want to control that situation. There was nothing I can do, I can’t just keep him. And who am I to keep a child with his own loving family?
That’s what’s beautiful to see in the long term. I get the rearview mirror perspective to see Maxon go from non-respondent to thriving in his own environment. Lifted by his creator, filled with joy, and with a future ahead of him.