Since Joy Belle’s surgery, she’s pulled my heartstrings with questions and concerns of her own. While I won’t lie, I was a blubbering mess in the moment. A friend encouraged me to use these moments for both of us to learn and grow. To remind her that God chose her and created her special. He created her special and for a purpose. Explaining that to a 3 year old was a bit challenging, but it’s been a reminder for me too.
With this discussion, I started to think of scripture where the protagonist of the story had to endure hardship for God to receive glory. In popular stories like Daniel in the lions’ den, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being tossed into a fire, and Noah building an ark, each character had to demonstrate faith before God saved them. But because of them and the pain, anxiety, fear, and criticism they endured, God used their story to bring many to know Him. He’s still using their story today.
On the day we came home from the hospital, Joy Belle cried and promised to always wear her corrective shoes and bars if we would cut her casts off. The next day, she held my hand and promised to never “be bad again” and to never walk with her feet turned in. Each promise was like a dagger to my heart. Not only did it hurt to see her in pain with nothing I could do about it. But to hear those words come from a scared, hurting three year old… I would have given anything in those moments to change her story. Anything to take away her pain, her fear, and her disability. Anything to never see her endure the pain and suffering she’s been through.
But then, her testimony and mine would never be the same. Would my faith be the same? Would I trust Him for all things big and small? Would I take our health for granted? Would I have ever known the peace that only He can provide?
While Joy Belle’s story isn’t written in the Bible for millions to read, it’s my hope that by sharing her story here (on our little nook of the internet!), that others will be inspired and encouraged. I don’t share our trials, fears, or faults for any reason than to bring Him glory. My prayer from the day we first learned of Joy Belle’s clubfeet was that her story, life, and journey be a testament of His faithfulness and goodness.
My prayer today is that days, weeks, years from now, that I can look back and say I wouldn’t change one thing about her story or our journey. To know that any one person’s life (mine, Joy Belle’s, Justin’s, or Britt’s included) could be altered for the better because of her journey and our hope in Christ… that would make every fear, worry, trial, surgery, sleepless night, and cast worth it.
Fun little fact: Our girl has had 46 casts, 5 pair of corrective shoes, and 3 surgeries since the day she was born. (3 years!)