by Katy White
My 14 month old was recently sick. The kind of sick that has you thinking some pretty dark worst-case scenarios when you're a new mom. I took her to the doctor on the first day of her sickness because she had such a high fever. The doctor ran some tests, ruled some things out, and then said some other things, like pneumonia, were quite possible. She gave me several "warning signs" to watch out for, and told me that I should go to Urgent Care if I saw any of these signs. Of course, she also told me that most things were not emergencies. So...um...
Mixed messages from doctors are fun.
That night, my daughter woke up after only a few hours of sleep. She had a high fever, but she was also shivering and whimpering. She also had some new symptoms that felt awfully like some of the warning signs the doctor had cautioned me to watch for. But not exactly. I had no idea what to do. I picked her up and held her and prayed urgently to know how to help her. I asked Heavenly Father a very specific question and asked him for a very specific answer: if she coughed and the rattling throat cleared, I would know that she was fine. As I thought those words, she coughed! The rattling in her throat cleared instantly! It was a sign from the Lord, and I felt so relieved.
Not ten seconds later, she vomited three times.
All thoughts of the answer I'd just received fled my mind. I called the on-call nurse and then a dear friend, who is also a nurse, and told them everything. They both felt that she did not have the warning signs I feared and told me some specific things to watch out for. I cleaned up my baby girl, gave her more medicine, and put her back to bed. Then I prayed again to be able to believe the advice that I was given. I felt peace quickly wash over me, and I felt myself calm down.
Within five minutes, she woke up screaming and crying.
The peace I'd just felt evaporated. I jumped up, ran into her room, and picked her up, sure that this fear I was feeling was actually what Heavenly Father was trying to tell me this whole time. I called my husband, who was in Florida for work and absolutely terrified to be getting a call in the middle of the night. I told him everything. He agreed with the nurse and our friend and our doctor and said that he thought I needed to allow myself to trust them, but if I couldn't, that he would of course support me in whatever I thought I should do. (He also said sweet things about how our daughter has a wonderful mother and that he was so sorry he couldn't be there to hug me. I missed him more than I ever have in my life.) Most importantly, he told me to trust the Lord.
I realized then what my problem was. My problem wasn't my sick baby girl. My problem in that moment was that I didn't believe my Heavenly Father. I could say that I simply didn't believe in my ability to interpret an answer from Him, but that's not quite true.
I'm really, really good at resigning myself to my trials in life. Like most everyone, I have experienced a fair amount of trials, some sorer than others. It has been easy for me to view this mortal existence as a time to experience trials and loss and pain. I have long considered our reactions to these "accidents of mortality" as the true test of mortality. Because of this perspective, I have found myself in many situations where my faith is tested, but not where I have tested my faith.
Yet Heavenly Father tells us to test him! He says in Malachi 3:10 "...and prove me now herewith...if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." And Enos 1:6 tells us, "And I...knew that God could not lie."
Okay, so God promises us blessings and cannot lie. In other words, He asks us to hold Him to his promises. So when He tells us, in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," it's up to us - to me - to believe Him.
So. That's my goal. I wish I could say I'm already there, but I'm not. I believe in Christ, but now I need to believe Him.
And maybe that is the true test of mortality.