I will strengthen you and help you

I heard Maryam before I saw her today; she was in her bed as her mum and two nurses wheeled it down the hall into the operating room. She was crying hard and as she went into the anesthesia room, she continued to cry inconsolably. Maryam was very aware of her surroundings, I think she recognized the room from when she had her cath and understood, something abnormal was about to happen. Her mum stayed strong, trying to calm her as she signed the papers for the surgery. The anesthesiologist put the sedation in her cannula and soon the room was very quiet. One of the doctors gathered Maryam in his arms after her mother said goodbye and walked through the doors into the operating room.

There is much to write about the hours that followed; the faith of Maryam’s mum is what stood out the most. When we sat down in the waiting area she immediately asked if we could pray. She in Arabic and me in English.  We then looked at pictures of baby Maryam or ‘Mimi’ and her family back in Kurdistan. We shared parts of the bible. At one point, one of the women who cleans in and around the cardiac unit, offered to bring us coffee which we gratefully accepted. There is a common bond I find with people who love coffee, and Maryam’s mum, Sara, said this was something she and her family did every day: drink coffee together. We both agreed that Jesus probably drank coffee, even though there is no biblical evidence for it. We can ask him when we are in heaven together, and heaven will most definitely have coffee.

Our Shevet head nurse Colin, who was Mimi’s medical escort from Kurdistan, wrote a note for them. She quotes Isaiah 41, ” I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Much of the wait was spent in the echo area with other Shevet families such as Adam, Imdad, and Khonav. This was very good because Maryam’s mum was constantly with others who’ve gone through the same agonizing wait. She could talk with them and though her mind was always on her daughter, having the other families provided welcome support. Intermittently she would be on the phone or sit for a moment with her hands clasped and her head bowed, in silent prayer.

After four hours, the surgeon came out to say that the surgery was good, and they will watch her in these next one to two days, because she will possibly need a second follow up surgery to this one, where they would connect her pulmonary arteries. At this news her mum was initially dismayed and fearful. It is daunting giving your child over to surgery no matter how brilliant the doctors, but over the next hour as Mimi was brought out of the OR and stabilized in her room, Sara began to feel peace about this and the future.

Please pray that little Mimi’s heart stays strong and responds to the surgery well. Please also pray for her sweet mum Sara who wants to see her daughter healed. As we talked in the waiting area, I said how amazing it is that in our Christian faith, God knows what it is to give His most precious Son over and experience death, but in doing so gave us life. So when we say God is with us, it isn’t just for sentiment sake. He gave up heaven to have our hearts. He is with us and for us.  Amen.