I Exalt Thee

By Krystal Woods

The puzzle you don’t want to build.

My husband and I make eye contact over our sweet, unsuspecting 7 year-old daughter’s head, with a look no parents ever want to share. The look that says, “This cannot be happening! I’m afraid. What are we going to do? I don’t want this!” All in a look that takes 1 second to share.

But the Holy Spirit brought us to this look-exchanged, to this point in time. He caused us such unrest today. He pushed so hard. He would not be ignored any longer. All the puzzle pieces were there, piled up in disarray but we hadn’t sat down to place the pieces together. We didn’t want to. There was nothing in this puzzle that appealed to me! It wasn’t going to be a pretty landscape or a cute puppy when it was finished. We didn’t want this puzzle built; we didn’t buy it; we didn’t go looking for it. It found us.

I’m so grateful that the Holy Spirit is not fearful of this puzzle or the pieces- there is no fear in HIM- just love and power, a whole lot of POWER. A power that presses in and pushes those puzzle pieces right into my heart. They poke and prod and demand to be put together.

One corner piece has ANXIETY scribbled on it with shaky, jagged letters. Our daughter was suffering from crippling fear that appeared suddenly and from no direct point of origin. Her prayers to Lord had been, “Jesus, help me be ‘old Kate’ again. Free Kate.” We prayed, we sought counsel, but still the anxiety persisted. It was as if her entire being was screaming, “I’m dying; help me!”

Another corner piece was intense MOOD SWINGS and EMOTIONAL REPONSES. They were uncontrollable. They ranged from hysterical crying jags to violent rages. What was happening to my sweet Kate?

These 2 pieces of the puzzle laid haphazardly on the pile for 3 months. Then corner piece 3 started screaming, “Put me in the puzzle.” This piece had WETTING THE BED and DRINKING GALLONS of liquid painted on it. At first it came on slow, but after a couple of days, I started keeping track of the drinking and all to often urination. It was breaking my heart to see her struggling so much, yet trying to go on about her little girl life. Playing with dolls was interrupted by a thirst so great the water bottle had to be filled each hour. Hide and Seek lost it’s fun and excitement when potty breaks were happening so frequently the only place to hide was the bathroom. It was overwhelming and I felt myself unsure of my next step, of her next step. But the Holy Spirit knew the placement of our steps and He brought us to corner piece number 4.

The puzzle had started coming together in my mind but was dismissed with a very firm, “NO!” And then I saw her finger on that final corner piece. It gave us the framework for the puzzle we didn’t want to build. Her finger wouldn’t heal. For weeks and weeks this little cut along her cuticle would not heal. I called my husband and told him, “We could be dealing with ___________.” We both agreed it was possible but just weren’t ready to go there. The Holy Spirit in HIS boundless love and power began to petition our hearts on Kate’s behalf. An unrest began to well up deep within. A bubbling stirred and gushed out, “You need to look at this. She is in danger and you have to get her help.”

After a sleepover with my parents, full of movies, candy, soda and tons of grandparent fun we got Kate back and found her to be foggy, pale and eerily void of energy. She had a vacant stare about her and she just didn’t seem to be present. I asked my dad if he thought it could be _________. He confirmed, “Maybe. You should get her checked out.” With that confirmation we knew we had to get her help now. We could delay it no longer; her life was draining from her. We went to my father-in-laws; he had the meter. The meter could confirm or dispel all we were afraid of, all we were terrified to face.

The meter blinked: repeatedly, urgently. If it could have projected a voice it would have yelled, “Get her to the hospital right away.” It didn’t need a voice though, the blinking worked!

Now we now know what the puzzle was going to look like. Our fearful eyes meet over her sweet little head and we knew what we must do. Arrangements are quickly made for our other children and off we go down the highway, headed to Baltimore, headed to the hospital.

A couple of days before this, the Lord had brought a memory to me from long ago when I was about 12 or 13. It was a beautiful memory of  worshipping the Lord through the song, “I Exalt Thee” and I knew the Holy Spirit, in HIS infinite love, had sent this memory to me for this moment, for this trial, for this pain. I had a choice before me; a choice we all have in these moments, in every moment. The choice to exalt Him. The choice to say,  “You are exalted, no matter what. You are exalted through joy and suffering; the greatness of your name never changes on the pendulum of my circumstances. You are always worthy of my praise and you are always to be exalted!”

I made the decision then to exalt Him as all this was unfolding and so I sang, because that is what I do. It is in my very DNA; my core, to worship in all moments and so I sang or hummed, “I Exalt Thee,” thousands of times over those next few days.

I Exalt Thee- On the way to the hospital, as my little Kate is petrified of what is happening to her.

I Exalt Thee- As they check her sugar levels and the meter reads 500.

I Exalt Thee- When I am told it is chronic illness and my husband starts to cry.

I Exalt Thee- The first time I have to pierce her tender, precious skin to give her insulin.

I Exalt Thee- When I hide in the bathroom for a few minutes and sob over the sink; the shower running so she won’t hear my cries.

I Exalt Thee- As we pack her up after 3 days in the hospital and bring her home to her new life of blood, carb counting, needles, and finger pricks.

It’s now been 4 months since the puzzle was completed. The center pieces of this puzzle spell out Diabetes – Type 1. The Lord keeps us steady through His Presence which annihilates waves of fear and dismay. Day to day life is getting a little easier on us all but we are NOT ok with it! I’m not ok with my daughter having a chronic illness; one that can be extremely life-threatening. It cuts my soul each time I have to press a needle into her skin and she yells, “Ouch, that hurts!” It takes my breath away at times when I realize my care for her is vital to keep her body alive, because on its own, her body would become sick and perish. Weak as we are at times we live in hope that the Lord, with His great power can heal her. We have anointed her with oil and prayed for this to happen. And my sweet Kate, through it all, she sees it! She says all the time, “Even if God doesn’t heal me on Earth, I know He will heal me in Heaven. I won’t have diabetes forever!” Amen, little girl, Amen!

For Thou, O Lord, art high above all the earth
Thou art exalted far above all gods
For Thou, O Lord, art high above all the earth
Thou art exalted far above all gods

I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee
I exalt Thee, O Lord
I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee
I exalt Thee, O Lord


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