I made a mistake. It’s one you’ve probably made as well.  I made plans.  A slew of them, crammed into a week and a half. Let me tell you, they were going to be awesome.

One of the reasons for the awesomeness was simply how much effort I had put into timing everything and preparing for each step of the plan. I’m not a super organized person, but even I had appreciated how much smoother things go when you prepare ahead of time. Another reason for the awesomeness was that tucked away in the middle of these plans was a tiny trip away with my man. When you have five kids, overnights away from kiddos are a rare occurrence. The husband and I were counting the minutes till we could drop the kids off at grandma and grandpa’s for Cousin Camp, and we could flop down on a king size bed and sleep uninterrupted till we awoke on our own. I was giddy at the thought.

Stage One of the Master Plan went off without a hitch. We had guests arrive Friday afternoon to help us celebrate Independence Day weekend. We cooked over the fire, enjoyed a new s’mores recipe, lit a few tame fireworks, tossed the kids in bed, and had cathartic campfire talk till midnight.

We were on track for Stage Two of the Master Plan: get a good night’s rest and be ready for a fun filled Fourth of July Celebration including games, go-karts, prizes, and yummy food. We would end the day of jubilee with a city fireworks display. Yippee!


At 3:30 the morning of the Fourth, my five year old woke me by coughing in my face. There was crying and wheezing, too. Yep, wheezing. That was strange, but I asked him if he wanted to lay on the couch for a bit. Off he went.

Ten minutes later he was back asking to crawl into bed with me. In he crawled and as I wrapped my arms around him, I could tell his body was working too hard to breathe, and the wheezing was really bad. I laid there listening and feeling for a minute or two more before I nudged my husband awake.

Have you experienced the “middle of the night trip to the ER or not” discussion with your spouse? The kind where you’ve both been jolted out of a deep sleep and must make intelligent decisions about your child’s health and well-being? We spent a few minutes listening to the terrible wheezing together, wondering if it could just be allergies or if it could wait till office hours were open. We decided to consult Dr. Google. Within two seconds of reading the results for our “wheezing cough” search, we made the decision to drive the 25 minutes to the ER.

Good thing, too, because our son was swiftly admitted with pneumonia.

My son making the most of a hospital stay
My son making the most of a hospital stay

When the decision to admit my son was made, I watched all my plans wisp away one by one. No Fourth of July celebration, no Cousin Camp, no much-needed trip with my husband. My son’s health was my number one concern, to be sure. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed about how things were turning out.

However, in place of all the excitement and fun I thought we had needed, God has given us different gifts instead. We have received much support from friends and family. Prayers, meals, offers of childcare. We have been given a chance to grow together as a family in a powerful way. From the twelve year old down to the three year old, my children have been kind and helpful and gracious and patient as we figure out our life every few hours. The most annoying things about my son are the exact things his siblings are missing most right now. My sister was with the kids at home for a chunk of time yesterday and really worked hard to fill the time with fun things. But when I asked my kids what the best part of their day had been, they each said, “Getting to see Isaac.” Talk about melting a mama’s heart.

On my drive up to meet my husband and son in the hospital, I was reminded of a bible verse I had read the week before from the book of James.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a  town and spend a year there and trade and make profit’ -yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

Right now I say, “If the Lord wills, my son will get to come home from the hospital today.” That sentence is my prayer and my reminder that my God is in loving control of all of this.

**I’m happy and thankful to add that my son was, indeed, released from the hospital that day and is making a great recovery.**

Dusty Reed

Dusty is a wife, a mother and a friend. Having grown up in a big city, she is now raising her family of seven on a farmstead in rural Nebraska. During weekdays Dusty can be found teaching her children at the dining room table. Or napping; it can be exhausting raising five kids! Dusty is always on the lookout for ways to avoid housework. Her favorite ways are meeting friends for coffee, preparing meals to take to others, or simply laying in a hammock with a good book. Often feeling like an inadequate mess, Dusty is allowing God to enter into those fragile parts of her heart to heal it. Anything she learns along this tangled path of life, she longs to share with others.