Where We’re Supposed to Be

The blog world is interesting – it goes out there for everyone and anyone to see, and well, when hard stuff happens sometimes we just need to lay low and breathe, pray and wait. I love to share, but when it’s not just my stuff to share…so our blog has been quiet. I’m sorry if you follow us only by the blog, I have sent out some emails and shared some on Facebook.

The fall began full of promise and new experiences, with both Joshua (as student) and Norbert (as 1st time teacher) new to the International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB). But the fall also soon brought us into a new experience we would rather not have had to deal with. We spent months, basically from late September until December wondering and seeing many different doctors to find out what was wrong with our daughter. It was an often scary time of uncertainty and huge frustrations. She did not have an easy diagnosis, and it was only through a long process of elimination that we’ve come to know she has both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, on top of clinical depression.

Doing school, and then just getting to school became harder and harder for our girl. We live in the center of downtown Budapest, and the school is out in a town just outside the city limits, so it takes over an hour for us to get there via public transportation including one tram, one subway and one bus. It’s how we have lived for three years, so we really think nothing now of getting around this way, but it is physically hard when your body is already struggling with so much, and it was really frustrating to have no way of just picking her up and bringing her home easily in a car if she had a bad day or time at school and needed to leave. School basically ended for her in early November, though she did manage to complete the first quarter and her grades were stellar especially considering all she was dealing with at that time.

We did not get a concrete diagnosis until December, and so treatment also did not begin until then. She’s doing so well, it’s an amazing difference – and yet, there is also much slow progression, physically especially. And there is much that she will be living with and much we’ve needed to adjust in our family life. Some changes have been easy, such as moving our big comfy recliner into her room, giving her a soft place to combat the Fibromyalgia soreness. Other changes are harder, we waited until this week, when school began after the Christmas break and the 2nd Semester started, to decide how Anna Danielle would continue school this year. She’s just not ready yet for daily attendance, and so, we’ll be homeschooling for this semester, taking the same core subjects as her class at ICSB and working to have her ready to re-join them in the fall.

Obviously, none of this is how we envisioned our fall and holiday season. And there was lots of life to keep living and doing in the midst of the questions and heartache and frustrations. I admit to many bad days, well, weeks even. And yes, while our frustrations were not purely because we were dealing with a foreign Hungarian health system, that was a huge extra headache that only added to our questioning of moving our family here. But through it all, there have been many positives BECAUSE of where we are and we remain confident that moving our family back to Hungary was not only wise, but following God’s plan for our family. I guess I want to voice that clearly on here, because we’ve had caring friends suggest we ‘come home’, return to the US, to deal with our daughter’s health. Because if things are not easy, we must obviously not be in God’s will, right? Why? I admit, I didn’t expect the many obstacles our family has faced in the past three years, and they’ve often made me wonder if we heard God correctly, or at all. As I planned our Pastor’s Wives Retreat this year, back in November, I felt so inadequate and so much more in need of the time away than in being able to bless the women as is the purpose. I was dry and empty and not able to plan more than the basics, leaving the rest up to God. And I think it turned out better because of that, I wasn’t able to get in the way and think up anything outside of what God wanted to do that weekend. It was the third retreat I’ve planned so far, and I think we had the best time of sharing and prayer yet. We have crawled out of 2014, on our hands and knees, empty of ourselves and exhausted – but God has been faithful, and we see much before us that looks different, and yet better.

The year began with a sweet outpouring of the friendship our daughter has found at ICSB, something we were desperate for her to have, only one year ago. We knew on Monday that she’d not be heading back to school this semester, and so among the communications we needed to make, I also wrote an email to her class and sent it through their ‘class sponsor’ teacher, Ms. Cole. I simply told the kids their Danny would not be coming back as a student this year, told them how she missed, explained about her diagnosis and that we plan for her to be back full time next year. I then suggested, if any of them wanted, we’d be seeing Big Hero 6 at a certain theater on Saturday, if they wanted to come and surprise Anna Danielle and see it with her and then kidnap her and hang out afterward. I thought maybe a few kids could come and cheer her up. Ms. Cole wrote back that several planned on it. It was such a touching testimony that basically her entire class showed up at that theater! And for me it was a shining reminder that we’re right where we’re supposed to be.

Most of the Sophmore/10th grade class of ICSB before seeing Big Hero 6 with Anna Danielle (middle right in grey hat)

Most of the Sophmore/10th grade class of ICSB before seeing Big Hero 6 with Anna Danielle (middle right in grey hat)