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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Thermometer or thermostat?

Author, blogger and marketing guru Seth Godin published a book I read this past week called Tribes. It is a collection of daily blog entries for a one year period. One of the entries was titled Thermometer or Thermostat in which he likened the action and reaction of marketing to these two tools. Do you just record the temperature or do you make changes as needed?

There was a lot more to it than that, but it made me recall the days we spent in the surgery and Cardiac Pediatric Intensive Care waiting rooms this past week and the different emotions that we experienced compared to the many others that were sharing in our same experience of a child facing cardiac surgery.

Many of the faces of family were those of thermometers, directly showing the ups and downs of the news that came from the operating room, recovery room and from the days following from the Intensive Care Unit. I can’t go without saying that we experienced some of those same ups and downs. But, I can also say that we were prepared and equipped ahead of time with a thermostat to accompany the thermometer that could be adjusted. Our thermostat consisted of the thousands praying and with the passing of a tweet, a text, or a Facebook update, would go to the Father with the power of many voices. The thermostat also contained the power of peace, knowing that whatever the outcome would be, we would accept it as God’s plan…even to the point of handing our precious boy back into His hands. Our thermostat contained the Truth of God’s word…

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalms 46:1

We were not the only ones there who’s thermometer was equipped with a thermostat…we met another amazing family that God arranged to have us meet. It was not just a chance meeting as our paths continued to cross even to the point of having beds next to each other in the Intensive Care Unit and further on to share the same room in the regular Cardiac Peds floor. We were able to pray each other through recover and rejoice with each other’s families and friends as we progressed to being discharged. We were a witness to all who entered that little room from doctors, nurses and other patients families who seemed to be drawn to our room as God was glorified and His community of believers grew.

Back to the thermometer for a moment. I felt the pain of the others who did not have the power of a thermostat. I  hurt for those who did not have the hope of a future beyond the words that came from the lips of a doctor or nurse. I felt the pain of a young couple who’s child was air-lifted from South Dakota, another family who had been there for over a month and had two very young children at home…both families several states away from home and seemingly no support. Even though we were facing our own moment of trial, we reached out and prayed for others who’s only hope was in human words and the reading-of-the-moment on the thermometer.

Matthew "Spring Cleaning" his room...all items under five pounds in the hall...except for books

Matthew continues to do better…sometimes we think he is doing too well as his high pain tolerance may be allowing him to do things he shouldn’t yet. At least he was adhering to the advice of the doctor of lifting nothing over five pounds (see picture)…otherwise we would have seen furniture as well in the hall today. We are cautiously awaiting how this surgery will effect him as far as growth, and, do I dare say…more energy?

My prayer this week is to not forget the thermometer, as it is a great tool…but also more powerful when used along with the thermostat. Lord, teach me to use both in the way you would want me to use them.

What one do you find yourself focusing on the most…Thermometer or Thermostat?

Many have asked if it is okay to share this blog about our Lessons from Matthew…not only is okay, but we emphatically ask that you would. We welcome any chance to show how good God is and how he is working through the power of prayer.