First all, I want to say a huge THANK YOU for all the kind words & comments & messages & helpful advice on the previous post. I cannot even tell you how blessed I felt by every single one! Time hasn’t allowed me to respond to each of you so far, but know that I so appreciate you all. Wow. I know surgeries like this happen all the time and I was feeling like an over-protective mother, and your words encouraged me SO much. You will really have no idea!!


Zoe said something the afternoon of her surgery that pretty much sums up how this week has been for all of us. We had come home, but she was still too weak to walk around alone. But in the middle of all of that she said,

“Mommy, I was surprised by Jesus today. You told me this would be a time when I would know how much Jesus will take care of me: AND HE DID!!”

I don’t think my mommy heart has ever swelled so big. Tears splashed out of my eyes, and we hugged each other tight.

That is just our Jesus: to take something scary and unknown, and turn it into something beautiful. Jesus didn’t just help her be brave through it all; He showed her Himself, and His great love. I was blown away.

Just a bit of surgery recap, for those who are interested…

// the night before the surgery, another journal entry by Zoe:
“I am having surgery tomorrow. I am trying to be brave.
I hope I will know that God is with me!”
// hashtag meltmeinapuddle //

Zoe, Ben, & I arrived at the hospital at 6am Tuesday morning. Zoe took along her favorite little stuffed animal (yep, she’s a stuffed animal lover), and we were in various waiting & hospital rooms for the next about two hours, with nurses in and out.

// 6 o’clock A.M, in the hospital //

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// the cutest little kid i ever saw in a hospital gown and cap //

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We prayed together, we read stories , Zoe & I painted our nails together. We talked about how Jesus would take care of her and be with her,even when we weren’t there. “Jesus is inside of me, and that’s really close to me!” she laughed. It was a calm feeling, and Zoe had not one trace of fear. It was amazing. I thought of the people who were praying for her and realized again how powerful prayer really is.

// painting our nails a matching color //

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// a little gift from the hospital which was immediately loved upon by Zoe //

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Then came the hard part: kissing Zoe goodbye, ME – not her – trying to hold back the tears as we watched the four nurses roll her little bed down the long hallway, her little blonde head bravely peeping over the top. *deep breath*

In that moment I thought of the many mothers & fathers that I know that have done that – and often in much harder situations than this. Yes, there are risks with a tonsillectomy, but it’s still SO minor compared to say, open-heart surgeries, or brain operations, or surgeries because of legs not growing properly, or… Wow. Letting go of your child in that moment is so difficult!! I have new sympathy for parents like that.

Then Ben & I waited another 45 minutes, watching the screen that said “Number _____ in surgery.” It’s a surreal feeling.

A super neat thing during that waiting time was when a dear friend of ours, a nurse, came out and let us know she would be there for the surgery and helping in the recovery room.

We were allowed to be with Zoe almost as soon as she was out of surgery and in the recovery room. She was still out from the anesthesia, and had an oxygen tube right by her mouth. Within 10 minutes she was waking up, and I was so glad we could be there for that!

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The nurses showed us her tonsils in a jar, and said they were some of the largest they’ve ever seen. Not gonna lie – seeing my daughter’s body parts in a jar was a little too much for me to handle. I have a vivid imagination, and just picturing what her poor throat must be like  after slicing those giant-marble-sized tonsils out…. Well, it wasn’t one of my finest moments! Yikes. Enough about that!

She drank some juice, ate a popsicle, was transferred to another room, and very soon we were being discharged and headed home!

The rest of this week has been so much better than I ever expected in many ways.  There has been no hemorrhaging so far, something I was really scared about. She is on pain medication every four hours, day & night, ever since we brought her home, and if I’m late giving it she started hurting pretty bad. But while on schedule with the pain meds, she really isn’t in pain. Discomfort and some weakness, yes, but not pain. It’s amazing.

We’ve read lots of books, watched just a few little movies (Anne of Green Gables is still on hold at the library :( ), and really spent a lot of time with each other. Zoe’s love language is quality time, and is she ever loving all this one-on-one time! :)

Although she’s pretty much been on the sofa since Tuesday, she’s been able to drink well and has been okay eating soft food, still mostly cold (thanks for all the great suggestions with food & drinks on the post before this ~ that was SO helpful!).

Little Sis Olivia is really milking the system too… Ice cream whenever Zoe wants it?
Well, of course she needs some too!
And applesauce for supper? Yes please, I’ll take some!
Yummy juice drinks & protein shakes? Don’t forget about me!!
And so she’s included in it all too, because I want it to be a fun week for everyone.

// ice cream has become nearly as common as drinking water :) //

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And we have been BLOWN AWAY by the kindness of people in our life. Blown away. They have been the loved of God with skin on! Zoe has loved the visitors, and had ice cream and balloons and a little stuffed princess bear brought to the door, and the mail delivery almost every day since then has brought more surprises than any little girl would ever dream of! Olivia thinks having surgery sounds like a blast, and has made wistful comments about wishing she could have HER tonsils removed. Ha!

// we decided this would be home-ecky-becky week 101 //

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The recovery time is two weeks, which is longer than I realized it would be. That means no running, no hard playing, nothing that really gets the heart-rate up and pumping fast. That will be the hard part, because this little girl is a tomboy! And sitting still that long won’t be easy. She can return back to school studies next week, and people have given great gifts for a long recovery – a puzzle, bead set, coloring books, little cooking projects, writing activities & art projects. I’m not even joking, we have the best friends anyone could ever ask for!! It is so humbling to be cared for so very much. I’m so wowed. And Zoe keeps saying, “They are just SO KIND! I can’t believe they gave this to me!”

// Grandma came over with a sweet package of fun little games //

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// special delivery: balloons and a bear from our church ♥ //

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// fun glasses make smoothies taste even better //

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It has been so very precious to see how God has used an experience like a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to boost the faith of a six-year old little girl. He has taken something that could have been terrifying and scarring into something that has instead been huge building blocks of her own little walk with God.

This week it seems like her walk has gone from believing that Jesus loves her to experiencing that He really does. Soon after the surgery she asked me, “Mommy, can we thank Jesus for helping me be so brave?” She doesn’t take credit for the bravery ~ she knows it was Jesus.

And I love that He didn’t just help her be brave: He showed her more of Who He is. He showed her that He takes good care of her! I love that!

Before I had kids of my own I never would have known that a little child can have a relationship with Jesus. Now that I have children? I’m completely amazed. It is no wonder that Jesus said we must have the faith of a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Thanks again for all the love, prayers, & care! It has meant so much. The family of Christ means more to me all the time!




25 thoughts on “Surprised by Jesus.

  1. Claudia

    Boy Can I sympathize with Olivia…
    I still have memories of James getting Red Lobster clam chowder on A SUNDAY when we all had to eat mom’s food…
    LOVE YOU GUYS!! See you next month! :))

  2. jennie z

    Oh this is an amazing story….you are so wonderful at pointing your child to Jesus…enjoyed all the pictures….may the next week fly by on the road to recovery!

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      This week has gone by so well, I’m so thankful! She’s back to school today, not too happily – I think she was quite enjoying all the fun crafts & stories and other surgery-related things. Ha!

  3. Neil & Cheryl Martin

    Such a beautifully written account of your past week. I was thinking of you guys on the day of the surgery….I’m so glad that everything went well. Blessings to you as you serve being the mom to your littles as Jesus has called you too and helping them to know who Jesus is. Loved your post.

  4. Karyn

    This is so sweet and precious, I kept tearing up throughout the entire post. It gives glory to Jesus and is a beautiful example of what happens when we “let the children come to Him.” God bless you for sharing!

  5. Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA

    I follow you here in Chesapeake, VA…….I just love your cozy cottage!!! As a preschool teacher who LOVES to teach the word of God, I often tell my kids in class that Gods Word is a treasure just waiting for them to discover it!! I love that kids just get it…they don’t have our adult hang ups and hold ups…they just get it! As a woman, I always love your ability to translate “real life” into words. As a mama, I love how you have taught your babies about Jesus. As a believer I LOVE how Jesus never fails to show us just HOW REAL he really is, and meets us right in all of our “hospital beds”. GIve that baby a squeeze, and make sure you save that note of hers…..what a keeper!!!

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      You are so right – kids just GET it. I think too often we adults try to rationalize and analyze everything, rather than simply trust the Lord. These little ones are such a challenge to my own walk with God! And thank you for your kind words – I feel so undeserving! xo

  6. Jessica @ This Blessed Life

    I didn’t get a chance to comment on the pre-surgery post letting you know I’d be praying…but I did pray! I know all too well every.single.emotion you were feeling that day. The memory of my Olivia being held by the anesthesiologist and being carried away from me is an image that will never leave my mind – ever. I am so thankful God carried sweet little Zoe through to the other side safely! What a blessing! He is faithful!

    Also…do you ever have a bad hair day?! I mean seriously. :)

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Jessica, you are one that I thought of while we were in the waiting area! I cannot imagine having your little baby being carried away, and because of heart surgery… That would be the scariest thing a parent could face! And yes, there is so much gratitude for the safety and health afterwards…
      And I laughed out loud at your bad hair day comment, because I almost didn’t want to put these pictures up, because all week my hair was SO FLAT and I cannot stand when it’s like that!! :)

  7. Cheryl Knepp

    Thank you for the update… never ceases to amaze & thrill me when Jesus shows Himself in our lives :) Oh, how He loves us! …..wishing Zoe a full, total, and uneventful recovery!

  8. amber

    this is just preciousness at it’s purest. i love LOVE the title of this post – it caught me. stuck with me. i had only seen it the other day and not time to read anything else and as i ran errands and went about my day it rung over in my mind, “surprised by Jesus…” and i smiled recalling in my own life all the times He has. love that He showed up for zoe in this way and became real to her! says alot too about her sweet mommy and daddy.. a young one so in tune shows parents who have long been pointing her in that direction. i’m so glad she came through well and hope she continues to heal quickly. enjoy those cozy couch times. reesey and i are putting a little somethin somethin in the mail for her, though she just came in eating one of the “prizes” so looks like it’ll be minus the tic tacs! ; )

    love to you both! xo

  9. Christy

    I’m so glad surgery went well!!! Seeing your child disappear down the hall is such a scary, helpless feeling. It’s really precious to see our children catching onto our love for God and dependence on Him. Zoe is such a sweetheart, and has a great role model in you.

  10. theordinaryhousewife

    Clarita, You are such an inspiration to me in many many ways. Mainly being the Godly woman that you are. I really like what you wrote in your last post about telling Zoe to talk to God when she’s upset. I would love to practice that with my lil girl. I’m always up for trying new things that will draw my children closer to our Father. Keep up your hear to serve Him and your family! Blessings.

  11. Shelly

    I missed this sweet little post somehow ~ until tonight! I want to be more faith-filled like Zoe . . . And such a good mamma like you to encourage that faith . . . And to make this one of the best, fun, memory filled weeks of her life. :) And I just wanted to “like” Claudia’s comment as I gave a big snicker. You most certainly could still hear emotion in that comment! :)

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