A Hard Providence from Our Loving God

The past two months have been hard. Well, even longer than that, but especially the past two months.

We’ve been dealt a blow regarding our son, Titus James. Without going into great detail, it is enough to say that he has some brain abnormalities and we do not yet know what all that will mean for his life and abilities, or even the length of his life.  The doctor tells us that we should do as much as we can to help him grow and develop, regardless of how bad it might be, and so, between doctor visits and lots of testing, that’s what we’ll do.

This has been a hard and bitter providence as we’ve contemplated the grim worst case scenarios told to us by the doctors. I feel as though I’m on the Dawn Treader in Narnia in the Lone Islands approaching the terrifying darkness: The Island Where Dreams Come True, and the terror sets in as we realize, just as Lucy and Edmund and Eustace did, it’s really our worst nightmare come true. I cannot contemplate anything worse on this earth than losing a child.

Regarding this possibility, I’ve moved from grief to denial to grief to hope to grief to denial to grief to acceptance and so on. I am slowly getting some footing, for today at least. Our journey with Titus is largely hidden from us. We don’t know what it will be, we don’t have a concrete diagnosis, we don’t understand all that’s going on in his brain. But I’m finding real comfort in remembering that God does know all these things. Nothing is hidden from him.

And here’s what I know for myself: I know that tomorrow I’m going to get up and love Titus and each one of the people under our roof. Tomorrow I’m going to fix food and teach little people and get my oldest to her orthodontist appt. I’m going to do tummy time and sweep the floor and have the fireplace going. I’m going to light a candle and put on Christmas music and really smile at each of the kids. And I’m going to cherish every moment with the baby son that I longed for and prayed for and was finally given. He is a tender undeserved gift.

And some days I’m just going to scrape by and dinner won’t be made and the house will be a mess and I’ll rewash the same load of laundry in the washer for a week because I’m too tired and sad and overwhelmed to figure out how to get it to the dryer. And no matter which type of day I’m having, my God will still be kindhearted.

I also know that we can’t walk this road alone. The past few months have felt lonely, lonely because we knew even less than we know now–just a vague: something’s not right. And how do you ask for prayer for that? Most people just want to convince you that everything’s fine. And I wanted to believe it so badly.

So, I will write about this trial, when I have the ability. I’ll ask for prayers. I’ll accept the (beautiful undeserved) support from God’s people who love us and love Titus, I’ll share as much of my heart as I’m able. And when I’m not, I’ll still be here, probably more in need than ever. But the Lord has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. Our pastor quoted part of this passage today and it was a balm:

“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..” Is. 49:13-16

No, just as I can never forget for one millisecond my nursing son, even more so the Lord cannot and will not forget us. So whenever I’m feeling despair, I will remember that the Lord has compassion on his afflicted. He has graven us on his hands. He’s written our names in a Book. He became weak for us: the weak. He became helpless for us: the helpless. And he loves this son of mine immeasurably. He made my son in His own image and because of Titus, my picture of God is becoming more of who He really is. I have a lot to learn.

13 thoughts on “A Hard Providence from Our Loving God

  1. Abigail and Tom and family Our hearts and prayers go out to all of you. I know you have a strong love in God and a great support system that goes out further than Minnesota. Trust that when you need us we will be here for you.

  2. Abigail – you are dear to share your journey. My heart is heavy – and yes I am so thankful that you know God in a deep and meaningful way, not a far off way. I have heard time and time again of those who have gone through difficult journey’s how God’s grace got them through – that is what is so interesting, is God’s grace is unique and given to each person individually. So I know it to be true – God will minister to you, meet you, and your whole family in miraculous ways. Our thoughts and prayers are with you on this journey – and if you need me to come move the laundry, I know how to do that. With a full heart!

  3. Thank you so much for being willing to share your journey and for inviting us to pray. You’ve been heavy on my heart this week, and I am praying for you all. All our love to you, Dodds family, as you walk this road and cling to the Lord.

  4. Dear Abigail and Tom, our hearts go out to you. God is good. It is good to be anchored in that truth. What a joy it is to have you proclaim his goodness in the midst of this trial. God knows Titus God formed him in your womb Abigail. He knows the purposes for Titus and for you in this. We will be praying for you. May God comfort, hold you, strengthen you with his righteous right hand. May his heart minister to you sweet closeness and truth. We want to be here to serve you. Let us know how we can do that. Mark Andrya Dieter

  5. Thank you for your post. We have lost a son. He was an adult of 25 so we have many wonderful memories of years of health and joy. Elliot died 8 years ago and the loss has been woven into our lives but remains loss. Through it all, though, God is good. He has done, and will continue to do great things for us, and for you.

  6. Abigail, Josh and I just heard about Titus James. Our hearts are heavy for you and your family. I know that we are miles away but please let us know if you need anything. We will be praying for you and your family.
    Love, Josh, Casey, and Laken

  7. My heart breaks as I read this post. I will be praying for little Titus and Trusting our Lord to give you strength, comfort, and wisdom as his mom. May your family draw close to each other as you go through this journey together. God still does miracles and I will be praying for yours. Love, Mellanie Hinrichs

  8. That scene you mention from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is actually my favorite in the entire series because of the glorious display of the love of Christ for a lost and frightened child. With the nightmares surrounding her, Lucy cries out in her despair “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us, help us now.” In response to that cry, a light shines in the darkness and the ship is given a guide to lead them out and the voice of Aslan reassures her “Courage, dear heart.” May this be your experience in this nightmare.

  9. Tom and Abigal, I am so sorry. I am holding you in prayer as you traverse this journey with your hand in the Hand of the One who walked on water.
    Shalom, Sandy Kuka

  10. Thank you for sharing — I plan to read all of your posts about this journey with Titus. I just found you today, and I am so glad.

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