In which God rearranges our day

I got up Saturday morning with very clear plans. I was looking forward to spending the better part of the day with the ladies of our church. I was looking forward to hearing from women that have much more experience than I. I was looking forward to sharing part of my own journey of striving for a peaceful and intentional home life.

I was looking forward to ministering and being ministered to. And mostly I was looking forward to having fellowship and creating deeper bonds with sisters in Christ.

Brian had plans for his day with the kids. The kids were looking forward to having Daddy all to themselves.

And then as I was doing my hair and getting ready to leave, my husband calls out “Honey, come here.”

It wasn’t one of those “come here’s” that you just answer casually. It was the kind that you go. Now.

I ran into the kids’ room to find my sweet daughter in my husband’s arms. Eyes in the back of her head, mouth foaming, body convulsing. A seizure.

Minutes felt like hours. “Please stop, please stop,” I plead. But you can’t tell a seizure to stop. I know that, but I plead anyway.

The seizure subsides and there are a few moments when it seems like she is vacillating between trying to be lucid and sleep.

Sleep wins. And my daughter, who normally is a very light sleeper, cannot be woken at all. For an hour.

We are at the hospital when she finally wakes.

Brian who is home with the boys makes some calls to let the appropriate people know that I won’t be able to make it.

Within minutes he has a call back from our pastor telling him that he is on his way to stay with the boys so Brian can join me at the hospital. He knew all the ladies would be at church.

Gratefully, Brian texts me that he’ll be on his way soon. Later on we will ask our wonderful neighbors to take over babysitting. Saturdays are busy days for a pastor and we wanted to be sensitive of his time.

In the mean time, I’m with my girl who has gone from lifeless sleep to screaming. It takes everything I have in me to not get angry at the fact that two nurses, 3 needles, and tons of poking later they finally get the i.v. in.

We eventually get through that, and I gather my girl up in my arms to calm her. We rock together. I tell her I love her. There is no place I’d rather be in that moment than comforting my sweet girl.

Cuddling with Daddy and her new stuffed cat given to her at the hospital

I’m thankful for a pastor who not only ministers to me through preaching on Sundays, but through his hands on Saturday by feeding my boys lunch.

I’m thankful for wonderful neighbors who love our boys and treated them with gentleness and care.

I’m thankful for the wisdom that God grants doctors and nurses.

I’m thankful for the calls, texts, and facebook messages offering to help with childcare during our follow up appointments and tests.

I’m thankful that though it wasn’t in the way I thought it would be when the day started, I was ministered to.

I’m thankful for the body of Christ that surrounds us and watches over us.

I’m thankful (oh how I’m thankful!) that my Mom will be here today. It’s been 14 months since I’ve seen her. We didn’t plan this timing, but it is perfect.

Olivia wouldn’t speak anything more than grunts for hours after the seizure. It was enough to make this Mama seriously nervous. Even now I smile that the first thing she said was, “Where’s Silas?” Concern for her baby brother even after her traumatic day.

I am filled with pride at how well Stefan handled everything. He was in the room when the seizure happened. We couldn’t shield him. He was brave and sweet through the whole thing.

I feel a pang in my heart when I hear Olivia telling Stefan that she cried a lot at the hospital. And then Stefan saying, “Olivia, we called your name, why didn’t you talk to us?” He loves his sister, and he hated seeing her like that.

Questions loom in my mind. Is this just one of those fluke seizures that kids have, or is it something more? I won’t be able to shake the glazed look in my daughter’s eyes for a long time.

I lay in bed that night and think about how differently my day unfolded from how I thought it would when I woke up. How thankful I am for the confidence that God plans my days.

I will myself to not check on my girl one more time. She’s fine, I unsuccessfully reason with myself. And then I go check on her anyway.

Coming back to bed my thoughts are whirling, and yet there is one verse I can’t get out of my mind:

“And not one [sparrow] will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”

And not one child will have a seizure apart from my Father.

And not one mother will have concern with unanswered questions apart from my Father.

And I rest.


  1. I’m so glad that your mom is going to be with you for a while. We’ll be praying for all of you for the “suite”.

  2. Reading this brought me to tears. I can’t even imagine what you all must have gone through. Praying for answers.

  3. RaShell S says:

    Oh Johanna! How frightening. I am praying for Olivia and for you and Brian. When do the test results come back? I am thankful the Lord has give you rest and I am so glad your mom is on her way. Praise the Lord for His timing! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  4. Oh, Johanna, with tears streaming down my face, I want to tell you that I will be praying for wisdom as doctors try to figure out why this happened. I will pray for you and Brian to have peace as you wrestle with all the emotions that come with a traumatic event with your little one. I’m so glad that she is doing better…I sure miss that sweet little girl! And how sweet that she asked about Silas and Stephan asked his sister why she wouldn’t answer. They sure do love one another! Love you all and we are praying.

  5. Praying for you all!!!! So glad your mom will be there. Lots of love.

  6. “How thankful I am for the confidence that God plans my days.” — what can I say but, Amen!! So thankful we can cling to that hope in the midst of uncertainty and turmoil!
    Praying that you might find some answers this week, and that your heart would be at rest in this hope. So glad your Mom will be there too!

  7. Praying for you, my dear friend. Don’t have words at the moment, but I do have tears and prayers. Love you and your sweet family!

  8. Isn’t there such hope in knowing that God has a plan which He is working for our good and His glory even when we don’t understand?!? You and your family are in my prayers. I am so glad that your mom is able to be with you.

  9. How scary, Johanna. I am praying the doctors will have some answers for you soon.Enjoy your time with your mom. We had a very scary choking accident with my daughter. Thankfully it all turned out well after 2 weeks in the hospital. But you are right that you will not soon forget the look on your daughter’s face. Mine gave me nightmares for a while. I am so thankful we have a sovereign Lord who loves us and works all things together for our good and His glory.

  10. Leigh Ann says:

    How scary to you all. Praying that you have answers soon. So nice that your momma is coming.

  11. Stephen Bixby says:

    Wow Johanna. Can’t tell you how that affected me. Reminded me of the time that happened to Amber, the long ride in the ambulance from Escanecrabe to Toulouse, the ensuing seizures and finally cardiac arrest. I had no doubt she was going to die and I was angry at God. Oh the mercy of God. Are praying for you Brian and kids.

    We love you
    U. Steve

  12. Nehemiah White says:

    I’m very glad to hear that your little one is safe. Praise God for His watch-care over our little ones! Thank you for your encouragement at the end of your post.

  13. Jo- Praying for you and your sweet family! Our youngest was diagnosed with Early-Onset CAE (Childhood Absence Epilepsy). At first, my head was spinning with the “what-ifs”, but the Lord reminded me my strength is from Him and He is in control and knows what’s best. All that to say, I understand a little what you are going through, and will be praying!

  14. Eli Escuain says:

    Oh Johanna, how frightening!! How hard to go through something like this. And yet you keep ministering through it all, taking time to write it down and show us what God showed you. With tears in my eyes I pray that He’ll continue to give you His peace through the rest of the ordeal – tests, follow-up, etc. Do let us know when the results come out. I love you and your little family already so much hardly without knowing you – sending you a tight, warm hug and lots of love in Christ. Be assured of our prayers.

  15. Oh, Johanna, praying for you all! Thanks for sharing. My friend, Kristen, just went through this scary experience with their infant daughter. She subscribes to your blog and has commented here before, but I’ll pass this along to her, as well.

  16. Praying for you and little Olivia. I hope you get some answers from the tests she had and will be having. Am so glad your mom is on her way to be with you!

  17. Hey Johanna, so thankful for God’s protection. Will be praying for you all and for wisdom for the docs for the days to come. Can’t imagine what you went through. Brought tears to my eyes. So thankful for God’s grace and strength.

  18. Isn’t it wonderful that we can KNOW God at these times. It’s great to see your heart of thanks and your thinking about what you know about God, even when your head must be whirling with questions, medical and otherwise. I am thankful you had those people in your life who were there for you–and that your mother is there. Give her a hug from me . . . and let her hug you for me. :o) Love “our” girl!

  19. Johanna, tears streamed down my face as I read this–how scary that day must have been for all of you! I’m encouraged by your attitude throughout this trial and thankful that the Lord ministered to each one of the needs surrounding this traumatic event. I’ll be praying for the Lord to touch Olivia and heal her body allowing this to be just a one time occurrence and that He’ll continue to surround you with His grace and peace. Thanking the Lord along with you that your mom is coming…what a blessing and help she’ll be to you. ((hugs)), Rachel

  20. Love and prayers surrounding you, Johanna. I love that the Father’s comfort and encouragement are still felt in this time. And thanking the Lord your mother will be there as well. God works all things, and we can always trust in that. Praying for answers and wisdom from the doctors and peace in your hearts. Love you, friend.

  21. Thinking and praying for you all, Johanna! We know well the agony of watching your little one go through seizures. If you need anything, please let me know!

  22. Oh Johanna,
    I was in the basement decorating for the women’s luncheon when Maghan got the call. We all stopped as Moriah lifted up a prayer for sweet Olivia. I praise God that she is resting well and we, as a church family, are praying for you this week as you wait to find out answers. What a mighty God we serve and what a beautiful Bride we are a part of.

  23. Stephanie B says:

    Even though I already talked to you, I read this with tears streaming down my face! So thankful for your sweet testimony! Even though His plans are not always our own, we know that “His way is perfect”. Love ya!

  24. I cried then. I cry now. Love you. Love your spirit. Live your openness. LOVE that Mom gets to be with you in just a few hours. Let her spoil you. You need it! Gros bisous.

  25. We’ll be praying much! Your account brought the tears abundantly–I’ve not been in your place, but I’ve heard many times my parents tell the story of my brother’s first (and worst) seizure and their terror. Praise the Lord for His sovereign plan and sustaining grace–and that you are able to wait on Him through this time!

  26. I am so sorry to hear what you, Brian, Olivia and the boys have been through. I can only imagine how frightened you were. I pray that God has healed Olivia and that he will give you the comfort and peace that you need. I also pray that He will bless this precious time with your mom. Hugs.

  27. Thank you for sharing your innermost emotions with us, Johanna. That had to be such a frightening experience. Your testimony moved me to tears. I am so happy that your Mom is now there with you. You can be assured, George and I will be praying for Olivia and all of you. God is so good and He knows the beginning from the end. May He wrap you in His everlasting arms and give you peace and a good night’s sleep. Praise His holy and blessed name!

  28. Ugh. Exhausted with you, for you. Praying for your needed rest and God’s continuous comfort.

  29. Johanna, praying for you and your precious family. Your dear girl. Was just talking about how true j

  30. Oops… true joy and hope are revealed in the believer who is enduring hardship and uncertainty and pain, thanking God for his faithfulness. How true this is of you, Johanna! I love your declarations at the end of this post —“And not one…And not one…And not one…” God has you and holds you. May you continue to know his hope and peace that pass understanding! Bless you.


  1. […] you for your patience this week. Not only did God rearrange our day, but my whole week has been a little different. I wrote a short update on Olivia, and am hoping to […]

  2. […] has had a seizure before, but the scary feeling of watching a seizure doesn’t go away. However, since it seemed to be […]

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