So after a rash of seizures one week last summer…nothin. I’m good with that. Emily’s general demeanor about the seizures has been pretty nonchalant, aside from occasional questions about if God makes her have seizures because He is mad at her. I’ve told her that God trusts her with seizures for some special reason we don’t know yet. And she asks often to see her video of one of her seizures, and it doesn’t seem to bother her.
But just last week, she started acting nervous about bedtime. She came to me after her bath and said that she still feels a hand on her face at night and now she also sees a face looking at her from behind a painting on her wall. Mommies don’t like that. I’m good at telling when Emily is lying, imagining, and when she is exaggerating. All 3 are likely. But this is different. Whatever she is experiencing is very real to her.
What I’ve learned about her seizures is that they can come in 2 parts. The first, simple partial seizure, can cause hallucination. She might see or hear or taste or somehow just sense something that isn’t real. I think that’s what she is experiencing when she feels someone touching her face and someone looking at her. The second, complex partial seizure, is the unconscious facial twitching, drooling, guttural noises that Paul and I have found and videoed during the night.
So after bath time, she showed me the exact spot where she sees eyes staring at her from behind her painting. She understands the video. She knows that’s real. But try to explain to a 1st grader that what she sees and feels with her own eyes and skin isn’t really real. She asked if I would take her painting down and put it in the closet. She thought if the painting was gone, the faces wouldn’t have anywhere to hide. My sister painted it for Emily. Laura painted a huge pink flower on an old window. There’s a purple background and polka dots around the window frame. It should be a peaceful thing to look at, and I know Laura wouldn’t want Emily afraid of art. “Mommie, will you please take it down and put it in the closet?” Of course Emily.
And I held her in our old rocking chair and I told her what I think. Well, I told her 2/3 of what I think. It could be her simple partial seizure manifesting as a visual disturbance. But I can’t make her understand that, and even if she did understand, I can’t blame her for being freaked out. Or it could be angels sent by God Himself to protect her. When she was showing me where the faces are, she picked up a ceramic angel figurine and held it right at the edge of the painting. But even the shepherds were afraid of the angels the night Jesus was announced. I can’t expect Emily to not be intimidated by that. Or if angels are a possibility, I have to concede that it could be something darker. I don’t need her to be scared. That’s the part I didn’t tell her about.
But as we talked about seizures and angels, I realized that if she sees faces because of seizures, angels, or something darker, it’s all ok. It’s all covered. Whatever the faces are, there are angels all around her. I told her that God sends His Army of angels for protection. “Do they have swords Mommie?” Of course Emily. I asked her if she believes God’s angels will protect her all the time. She dropped her face into her hands and cried. “No. I haven’t seen that before and I don’t believe it, but I believe in Jesus.” I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24 ESV) Gospel right here in Emily’s bedroom. And I told her that I haven’t actually seen angels before either, but Lauren says she saw angels catch her when she had her accident, and even without seeing it myself, I still believe it. So I told her I will believe it for her. And maybe someday she will believe it too, and when she does, she can tell me about it.
We prayed specifically each night last week about angels flapping their wings over her bed in her room. Emily laughs when I thank God for sending His Butt Kickers for Jesus to protect her. After 5 nights of those prayers, just as I was walking out of her room, “Mommie , I believe now. Will you put my Aunt LaLa painting back up?” Of course, Emily. She looked at it hanging there. Straightened it. Smiled at it. And went to sleep.
Right now she is on day 3 of fever and no school. She’s snuggled on my arm in pink jammies broken out in hives head to toe. Literally head to toe. There’s a fire raging inside her, and I’ve put some trust in the doctor and amoxicillin and Tylenol and Benadryl. But after I hit send, I’m going I carry Oh Emily upstairs and lie her in her bed under her Aunt LaLa painting trusting that there are Butt Kickers for Jesus flapping all around her with swords and authority sent from the Most High.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:7 ESV)