Marshall had spilled scalding hot water down his front. As his pajamas came off, I could tell that his burns were much worse than I'd expected to see. I was screaming for Eric to come downstairs. Poor Eric was getting dressed for work, and had no idea what was going on. But when he came down the stairs, he could tell immediately that the burns were bad. I think at this point we both went into auto-pilot parent mode and just tried to do what needed to be done.
There are so many things to praise God for in the midst of a horrible accident. I just can't stop singing the old hymn: "To God be the Glory, great things he has done!" Amazingly wonderful paramedics were at our front door step within minutes. All of them were about our age, with young children at home. They were well aware of how we must feel. And they were so wonderful with Marshall.
Marshall had an emergency appendectomy about two and a half years ago. From that experience I knew he would be just fine on morphine - which was the only pain medication they had available in the ambulance. Because I had experienced God's hand in the appendectomy experience, I was able to trust Him more fully to come through in this emergency. It gave me an immediate peace that transcended my own understanding. I was able to wait with expectation for the ways that Jesus would show Himself to us in this trial. Not that I'm a sadistic trial-seeker! I never desire to go through another trial. And yet, when a trial appears, I seem to experience God in a more real way than I do during "normal" everyday life.
In God's timing, Eric had not yet left for work. He was able to ride along in the ambulance while I prepared Eliza and Jameson to go to Gram's house. As I saw the ambulance pull away, one of my dearest friends from law school, Yvonne, drove up. Yvonne moved in down the street last summer, and in God's timing she was leaving home just as I was outside. To see the face of such a dear friend, who also loves the Lord, was exactly what I needed! It reminded me that God was in control, and was going to provide everything we needed.
Back in the house, I was grateful to know Jesus, as I sat praying on my family room carpet with Eliza and Jameson. Grateful that Eliza knows Jesus as the one who takes care of her and her brother. That even though Eliza and I both had tears flowing down our cheeks, Eliza is learning to go to the Lord immediately when she is scared and overwhelmed. I can seek Him with my 4-year-old and know that He will give her a peace that I cannot provide.
My next thought was to call my best friend. She is more like a sister than a friend. And since Eric was in the ambulance, I was hoping to find comfort in her human voice. But, she didn't answer. And, I think God was saying, "Talk to me. Your human, tangible comfort is unavailable, and I want you to talk to Me. I'm real and tangible and right here with you." Thank you Jesus for taking every opportunity to demonstrate yourself and redirect my way of thinking and doing things.
Gram graciously welcomed Eliza and Jameson to her home, even though she was having a meeting there that morning. Being somewhere so familiar and fun as Gram's house distracted Eliza from the trauma she had just witnessed. And blessed my heart, as I knew Eliza and Jameson were so comfortable and felt at home with Gram.
When I arrived at the emergency room, Marshall was virtually pain-free and had found new friends in the paramedics, doctor, nurses and a sweet teddy bear later named Crutches. He happily told me that he had to go to Portland. The doctor at Salem Hospital was more comfortable sending Marshall to the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Now that the pain was gone, I think Marshall was experiencing a slight sense of adventure.
So, Eric rode with Marshall in the ambulance again. I followed behind them. And soon we were up in Portland, getting settled for an overnight stay. Marshall entertained his doctors and nurses with stories about his siblings and being homeschooled. At one point he proudly announced that being homeschooled means he gets to stay in his pajamas all-day, just about every day! Thanks, buddy. LOL!
And, God showed up even in the smallest details. For example, the pajamas that they give kids at Emanuel have penguins all over them. Marshall loves penguins. There was a really wonderful chaplain who visited us twice in the hospital. And, in many regards he spoke the same "language" that we do in regards to Jesus.
In God's mercy and loving kindness, the burns were limited to second-degree burns. It is almost 100% certain that Marshall will not need any surgery to heal his skin. The burns to his chest are mainly superficial. His left thigh bore the worst of the wounds. Changing the bandages daily is proving to be the most difficult part of the healing process.
But there is beauty, even in the pain and suffering of our six-year-old. And, Marshall can see it too. There is beauty in listening to Marshall pray for himself, asking the Lord to make his bandage changes happen without pain. As Marshall and I considered all of God's blessings in the midst of the pain, Marshall thought "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow" was a good hymn to sing.
There was beauty in listening to Marshall and Eliza share a sweet conversation over the phone while Marshall was in the hospital. Beauty in hearing Eliza spontaneously praise Jesus for the details - in particular that Marshall's face, feet and hands were not burned. Beauty in seeing the joy in Marshall's face when he heard the list of names of those praying for him.
There has been beauty in experiencing God's love as friends, family, and neighbors have poured out their love on our family in so many ways. I think Marshall experiences God's love even in the cards, treats, and balloons and in the sweet neighbor who loaned Marshall his helmet from his firefighting days.
There is beauty as our family has the privilege of experiencing God's provision, even down to the smallest details, and the reality of who He is.