Well, today is the 40th birthday of our oldest child, Kristin. Oddly, I thought that for some reason, the entire event of her birthday would be difficult for her, or for us, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Of course, there are the memories of the day that she was born. And the times that she was very small and would wake up in pain every several minutes. We took her to the hospital and the docs wanted to do “exploratory surgery” to see if she had an intestinal blockage. Just as Janet and I were trying to decide what to do, the pain left her and we were able to head home – she never had another bout with that issue.
And then there was the time in college when Kristin was suffering another abdominal pain and the doctors wanted to remove her appendix. She was hospitalized at Ball Memorial and by the time the docs gathered all the data about her condition, they were sure that Kristin’s appendix was about to burst. So, since Kristin wasn’t in any condition to make the decision, I made the call – take it out… I left our home, drove to the hospital and waited until she entered the recovery room. Surprise, surprise – her appendix was fine and it was an unnecessary surgery. They did, however, find another issue that could have been treated without surgery.
When Kristin was a little girl, she used to watch me cut the lawn on our garden tractor and when it came time to dump the clippings, she would run out and keep me company. Unfortunately, she sat on the hot muffler and really burned her leg rather severely. She ran in the house, never letting on that she was hurt. She couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 years old at the time.
And while I am thinking about it, there was the time that she got her foot stuck in the birch tree that graced our front yard back when we lived in Inverness, IL. She was scared and crying and didn’t think she would ever get out. Janet and I ran out front and I was able to get her out without further injury. That was a close call and Kristin was pretty lucky. She also had the run-in with the wasps that ended up attacking me rather than her – I paid dearly for all those stings, but at least Kristin wasn’t hurt.
There was the time that one of her students stepped on her foot and sprained her ankle. Or the time she was playing tennis and used her two handed backhand to hit a tough shot. Unfortunately, the butt of her racquet hit the edge of her kneecap and knocked it out of place. She dropped to the floor in pain and luckily, once again, as she moved her leg, her kneecap popped back into place and she was fine. And if memory serves correctly, she also had knee surgery later in her life.
Wisdom teeth and a host of other issues have plagued her as well throughout the years. And this past year, Kristin has faced the toughest health challenges of her 4 decades of life. More tests since Christmas than I have had in my entire life. And scary ones at that. Brain scans, kidney biopsies and more still to come. She is suffering an auto-immune disease that is attacking her own body. Her courage and perseverance have been an encouragement to others and has steeled her resolved to survive all these mind numbing medical issues.
You can see that this birthday, I have been consumed with medical events that have marked Kristin’s life. And I have been praying that 40 is a great year for her. The Bible uses references to the number 40 to signify completion – 40 days of rain, 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and a host of other references to the number 40 that some believe have validity to mark the end of a life chapter. Moses was in the house of Pharaoh 40 years, he had the experience of the burning bush when he was in exile for 40 years and then the led God’s people in the wilderness for 40 years before God gathered him up to his fathers. Each 40 year period marked the end of a chapter and a new beginning in the life of Moses. Certainly, when it comes to Kristin, I hope that this birthday marks the end of a chapter that has dealt with health issues since the beginning of her years.
I have watched Kristin grow in her faith and raise her own family. She works in a church, has earned advance degrees that aid her in her kingdom oriented work and always lives life to the fullest. Appropriately, our verse for this evening has to do with faith and healing. We are told by the good doctor, in the Gospel of Luke, that Jesus was dealing with a woman who had struggled with health issues. In Luke 8:48, we are told, “Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to bring Him our desires and ask for things in His name. More than anything else Kristin could receive as a gift this birthday, I pray that God will grant her good health in this next season of her life. I pray that for the rest of us as well. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace… And Happy Birthday, Kristin! You’re a special person, loved by God, and by us…