It’s amazing what a little alone time in an MRI machine can do. I spent some time in that tight, awkward, noisy space tonight and tried as best I could to find a little peace. I should preface any reflections by saying that I didn’t go into this test with a high level of apprehension (outside of knowing I’d need contrast midway through). Needles and I have a tough history, and tonight was no exception to the normal shenanigans of hunting down veins and a lot of trial and error. But besides all of the poking (and foreign chemicals running through my body–yuck), the actual reason for the test wasn’t terribly stressful to me, because we’re not anticipating anything major in the results. I’ve just been anxious to put it behind me, as I figure is normal with any kind of hospital test or procedure.
But back to the isolating, albeit loud, tunnel. I figured if I was going to be alone and stationary in a tube for a while, I should take advantage of the space to think. It’s hard to sleep in that machine, and just lying there does nothing for passing the time. The beat of the machine kind of naturally conjured up songs for me, so for a while, I was worshipping in my head. But beyond that, the space elicited a daydream like mode that I rarely discover in a house with two little ones running about all day.
That is to say, I discovered an odd sweetness stuck in an otherwise claustrophobia-inducing situation.
Why am I sharing this tonight? Because since last night when I told Henry (our oldest) that I was having a test done at the hospital, he has been praying for me non-stop. “I’ll pray for you when you leave the room tonight, Mom,” he promised as we said our goodnights before bed. And this morning, “I’m praying about your test mom and that it won’t hurt you.” At lunch time, “Jesus, please be with mommy and her test tonight and help it not to sting in her arm and help her not to feel scared.” And tonight as I left, an extra long hug from my sweet boy, followed by “I prayed for you just now, Mommy,” as he kissed my arm and didn’t want to let go.
Man, that kid blesses my heart in so many ways he’ll never know.
Admittedly, there were moments tonight when being alone in that room and confined to that space were a little less than comfortable for me. I get super nervous when I know the techs are going to have to work hard to find my veins, and I don’t do that well without a hand to hold (ok, squeeze). But tonight I wasn’t quite so worked up inside. Instead, peaceful reminders just kept floating my way.
During one test, the machine hummed a rhythm that sounded just like “As I Went Down to the River to Pray.” I’m sure the technicians in the room would have found it strange if they could see the tears welling up in my eyes. I imagined singing that sweet song with Henry–one we’ve sung over and over together at bedtimes for the past few years. At another point, I was reminded of other situations, people, patients under far more duress, while I was just hanging out in an inconvenient machine for part of the evening. The perspective filled me with gratitude and prompted me to pray.
On the whole, the experience could have just been another routine medical procedure, but instead it was a God encounter–a reminder to me that when we invite him in, and when we invite others to invite him in, he is there. Ready and waiting to meet us in any place, at any time.
Outside of the great peace that I experienced during my scan tonight, I am also just filled to the brim with gratitude as I watch Henry’s heart form for Christ. It is so affirming to see the trust building, the expectation of his childlike faith teaching me, right in front of my eyes, as he prays with anticipation for what God is able to do.
Tonight when I got home, I went upstairs to say goodnight to our little ones, already tucked into bed. I knew that Henry would be awake, as he so often is when I’ve been away for the evening. As I rounded the corner to his bedroom door, he looked up from bed and asked immediately, “Did it hurt you, Mom? Because I prayed that it wouldn’t hurt you so much.” What a joy to be able to share that moment with him, where I could tell him that it really didn’t seem so bad afterall–that I’d had a lot of peace, and that I knew God was hearing his prayers.
This is everyday faith at work. In the little things that I’m afraid I miss all too often. Yet somehow, when God is working in the hearts of our children, it feels so obvious and tangible to me. This is grace made flesh right in front of me! I am challenged afresh to seek faith like a child, and stretched in a beautiful way to continue cultivating the faith example I set for our babies.
The test is over. The results will come, and I’m truly at peace about them. In a few weeks or months, the whole thing will likely be a blip on the radar screen. But this joy in watching faith grow in our kiddos? That will linger for a long, long time. And I will remember Henry’s determination to pray me up well, and his precious little heart trusting deeply that God will answer. This is balm for my mama soul.
digging in deeper to find the Henry heart in me,