Friday, July 11, 2014

Bravery Beads

It's been a long time since I made a post referring to SickKids Bravery Bead program...I took this excerpt from the SickKids website describing the program: "The Bravery Bead Program allows children who wish to participate, the chance to collect a different bead for each procedure or event while visiting the hospital for treatment. The goal of the program is to make a necklace with colourful beads that represent the unique and special journey of a particular child and to make something that they are proud of and want to share with family and friends. Beads are not given as a reward or something to be earned but rather to represent each child’s individual story through treatment."  Different departments of SickKids have unique beads, for example ECMO and Pacemaker beads are unique to the cardiac wards.  I have a few photos taken by the very talented Vanessa Pretty of Jake wearing the bravery beads from his first trip to SickKids - from birth to two months old.  Look at them! My little heart warrior...

If someone were to open up my head and look inside, I think they would find a million little compartments.  I tend to compartmentalize my life and experiences, especially the negative ones.  I have a compartment for Jake's bravery beads.  It's one that has been pushed to the back of my mind since coming home from Toronto in September 2013 after a month long stay for Jake's Glenn open heart surgery.  I came back from Toronto with two hospital baggies filled with bravery beads and red thread.  When we got home I took the baggies out of my suitcase and put them out of sight, telling myself that when life calmed down I would sit down and put his third bravery bead necklace together.  Every couple of days since then I have glimpsed these bags sitting tight on their shelf, and always shied away from picking them up and putting them together.  These simple beads represent so much for my son, and for me as a mother.  Last night I made myself take them out...

I put Jake in his high chair, and we opened them up together.  So much pain, suffering, brokenness in these two bags.  And yet, each bead was a stepping stone to the miracle of God bringing Jake to the point he is at today, his broken heart has been patched and each day is a gift from God.

Jake and I went through the bead together...until he tried to eat one, then I had to confiscate them :)

Each bead represents a different procedure or medication or achievement on Jake's road to recovery.  These beads are from his Glenn surgery and recovery, which lasted only 9 days at SickKids!  I have kept these beads compartmentalized for the last 10 months since we came home from SickKids because of the pain and suffering they represent.  My little baby boy has been through more than most people will endure in their whole, long lasting, lives.  I would give anything, literally out my own heart if that was an take the pain away and make him healthy and whole.  As a Mom it's the worst feeling on earth to see your child suffer, and in some cases to be  the one pinning him down for the suffering to occur which happens each month during his bloodwork at the Janeway.

Why is a question that I have asked a lot.  Why is Jake subjected to this pain and suffering? Jesus said it himself, "You will have suffering in this world" (John 16:33).  This whole world is full of individuals who are suffering, either themselves or by watching someone they love suffer.  It's a world full of pain.  But let's go back to John 16:33 - there's more to that statement from Jesus.  The entire verse is a revelation for me.  Here's the complete statement: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  But be courageous! I have conquered the world."

Jesus is perfectly honest with us here.  We will suffer - each and every one of us in some way.  But through him we can find peace and courage to face the day.  Jacob's God is in control of his pain and suffering, he has overcome much more than a congenital heart defect.  God gets the final say in this story - not a worried Momma or an innocent child.

I love to sing this song these days..."Cause when we see You we find strength to face the day, and in Your presence all our fears are washed away."  Truer words were never spoken for my life right now.  

In Jake's bedroom now all of his bravery beads are proudly displayed...a testament to his strength and to God's will for his young life...

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