Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hollie and the Hand of God (Part 2)

"You need to get home."

My husband's voice was soft with concern.  There had been an accident.  Nothing malicious, the details do not matter here.  But one dog, in trying to play with the puppy, had accidentally hurt her.  She had been put up in her crate and we thought was separated and safe, but nothing is foolproof, is it?

I raced home and picked up the tiny fur ball.  She was whimpering and not breathing well.  I comforted her and held her and still she cried.  It went on and on and I knew she was more than scared.  She was hurt.  My daughter was afraid.  So was I.

We took Hollie to the local Veterinary ER.  After X-rays and oxygen they informed us her left lung had collapsed.  Without life support she would pass during the night.

Oh God, this can't be happening.  Not after the joy.  Not this soon.  Oh, Lord, please.  

We made the agonizing decision to take her home and keep her comfortable because a $5000 hospital bill for a 50% chance of survival couldn't be justified, no matter how much it hurt.  The Veterinarian gave her pain medicine and an injection to try to cause her bronchial tubes to expand, hoping it might help.  My daughter cried tears that burned my soul, then she mustered up the strength to ask the hardest question:
"Mama, should we put her to sleep so she won't suffer?"

Lord, why?  Do you see her heart?  Do you know that this had been a really hard year and Christmas is in two weeks and we do not feel strong enough for this?  

The Veterinarian sighed.  "Well, that possibility is not off the table.  If she begins to show signs of more distress and suffering you can bring her in and we will do that.  But for now we can see how she does through the night."

With heavy hearts and tears running down our faces we carried our tiny bundle home.  We set up a humidifier to help the air quality in the guest room and I decided to sleep up there, near Hollie, to take care of her.  My daughter wept.

"If she dies, Mom, I don't want to see her.  Please, if she dies, will you bury her?  I can't see her dead."

"I will, baby.  I'll do it.  Try to sleep.  But first let's pray because God could heal her.  He is Lord over all Creation and we can ask Him to heal her.  He might say no...but He might do it.  We have to at least ask."

So we did.  We held her and prayed and everyone cried.  Every single one of us.

I slept fitfully.  I went onto Facebook and asked for prayer.  I watched Hollie breath, noting how her left side did not rise and fall.  She struggled for every breath.  I caressed her back.  I begged her to fight.  I got on my face before God and I begged for the life of this dog.

"Because, Lord, this is NOT about this dog.  This is about my daughter's heart.  Father, I need you to do this for her.  Please, God, please.  Inflate her lung and heal her, please!"

I would doze off for about ten minutes then pop awake when Hollie made a sound.  Twice she stopped breathing and I massaged her, stimulating her, willing her to breathe.  Somehow she did.  She would inhale again and I would exhale and continue praying, begging for a miracle.

I don't know how long I slept, but around 5am I awakened and jumped up.  Hollie was quiet, but she was awake.  I crawled over to her little bed and her tail wagged.  My heart leapt with hope!  I put my hand to her face and she began to lick and walked out of her bed to me!  She then walked over to her pee pad and used it, then looked at me with that little tail still wagging!

I quickly got her water and she began to lap it up.  I wonder if she will eat?  I took a few kibbles in my hand and, sure enough, she ate them.

Oh Lord, could it be?  Is this really happening?

I continued to handle her carefully and around 6am the Vet called to check on her.  He fully expected to hear that she had died.

"She is still here.  In fact, she is eating and drinking and peeing and pooping!  Is it ok to feed her?"

Shocked, he said yes, to give her small amounts and see how she handled it.  "Now the first 24 hours can be really touch and go," he warned.

I thanked him for taking the time to check on her and he promised to call again when he was back on duty in a few days.

A while later the children began to awaken.  Slowly, fearfully they entered the room.  "She is still here," I whispered.  "I think she is going to be ok."

We all sat and look at her in wonder.  She walked around a little and slept a little more, but her breathing was normal.  That injured left lung was rising and falling just like the other one!

Finally, around 9:30, my big girl came to the guest room door.  Her face was puffy from crying and her eyes were full of sadness.


"She's still here, baby.  You can come in.  She seems to be better!"

She walked into the room and knelt beside her puppy.  She carefully ran her hand over her soft black fur.  Hollie licked her hand and wagged her tail.

Around 11:00 Hollie jumped up and started to play!  She batted at her toys and chewed her stuffed bunny and acted completely normal.  That was it.  I burst into tears and sobbed.  My kids looked at me in shock.

"Guys, do you realize what has happened?  This is a MIRACLE!  God has heard our prayers and He healed her!  Look at her!  She is playing!"  Then I took my oldest by the shoulders and looked her square in the face.

"Do not ever forget this.  I want you to remember this day.  God did this for YOU.  He did this because He wants you to know He loves you.  He doesn't always say yes, honey.  Often He says no.  But this time...this time He said yes for you, sweet girl!  Don't EVER forget this, do you understand?"

She nodded, wide eyed.

Then, as if healing her wasn't enough, Hollie had not barked even once since we had brought her home.  At 8 weeks old, she apparently had not found her voice.  But that day, she did.  She not only breathed with both sets of lungs, she barked!

And she hasn't stopped.

She is healthy, calm, playful, peaceful, (and hard to house train!) like any normal puppy.  Every time I look at that dog, I am reminded of what God has done.  Another stone of remembrance, placed in our lives by our Father who loves my daughter so much that He healed her puppy.

Her puppy!

Friends, I am fully aware of all the hurts we ask Him to heal every day.  I have had many occasions where I begged for healing but it was not going to come.  I have often questioned angrily how so much suffering, kids losing parents, parents losing kids, children victimized and trafficked, is allowed to continue.  I do not have the answer to that.  I don't know why God says yes to some things and "I'm sorry, but that is not my plan" to others.

But I do know this:  God reminded me that He is perfectly able to do exceedingly above all we ask or imagine.  He cares about the details and He knows our hearts and the hearts of our children.  Like I told my daughter, I want you to remember this because there are times where God does not say yes...

but this time HE DID.

Don't ever forget it.
Because sometimes we need to celebrate Christmas all year long!

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