Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Well, I’ve just been sitting around lately, bored and wondering what to do with my time. 😉 Seriously, I wish!! It’s more like, I haven’t had a spare minute to even think about writing. Or when I do, it’s at night when all my eyes really want to do is close! It seems “Mom duty” has been needing a lot more attention lately, so I’ve just been trying to survive.
The initial title of my post was, “Hard,” but another “H” word kept sneaking in, so I changed it. (It’ll come up later-don’t worry!) Lately, for a week or two at a time, life has simply been hard. I don’t know another way to put it. I think we’ve established before that I really do try to stay as positive as possible, and clearly, the devil picked up on that. We had the good majority of a week where Lindsay had a stomach “bug,” and it was terrible. Not that any are lots of fun, but throw in a child who is both nonverbal and not particularly mobile, and that leaves a very frustrated momma and little girl. At one point, I literally got all of the boys’ clothes/lunches ready for school the next day and was sure I was headed to the emergency room with Lindsay. As much as she had gotten sick, I just knew she had to be dehydrated. Of course it was after hours, so I called and spoke to the on-call nurse to relay my concerns. She asked all of the obvious questions to try and determine if Lindsay was dehydrated and in need of possible IV fluids. After speaking to the doctor, they decided we would first try a few doses of an anti-nausea medicine, which slowly started to work over the next few days. (As a side note, can I just say how much I love the questions from the nurse such as, “Is she still able to get up and go to the bathroom when she needs to? Can she still walk to the kitchen to get a cup of water and drink a few sips?” Of course, I would like to respond, “Oh yes, she also does back handsprings down the hall, while telling me what she’d like to drink.” Now, I know the sweet nurse doesn’t know Lindsay or her abilities, but it doesn’t make it any more fun to explain that she’s actually nonverbal and cannot get out of her bed without being carried.) Once we finally got her to feeling better, she made it a few days in school before they were out again for spring break. So, we had a few “normal” days before we had another solid week of hard. For reasons I still do not know, Lindsay was UNHAPPY for an entire week. I don’t mean a little fussing here and there; I mean anytime she was awake, she was crying. I’ve often said that one of the things that makes dealing with all of her issues a little more bearable is the fact that she is such a happy girl! Her overall disposition has just always been so sweet. So, for her to be obviously miserable, it was excruciating. I even left her physical therapy early one day and marched her into the doctor’s office, just knowing he would find an ear infection or something. NOTHING. He determined that she was just throwing tantrums, and that it was a “typical” behavior. While I agreed that she was, in fact, doing that to some degree, I know something was bothering her. She would just arch her back in pain, and scream. Exactly a week from when she started being so upset, the boys were having some friends come to a bouncy place to celebrate their birthday. I decided not to bring Lindsay along, because it would have been next to impossible to carry her around for two hours. And given her awesome temperament lately, I didn’t want to chance dealing with that as well! She stayed with my dad during the party, and he said she was happy almost the whole time. I was sure that it would all change when we got home, but she was still happy! It was almost like a switch had been flipped, and she was back to her “old” self.
Sometimes, I let the hard stuff almost consume me. I get wrapped up not only in my own, personal difficulties, but I feel so deeply for others who are dealing with their own. It gets overwhelming hearing and reading about those coping with “ugly” diagnoses, dealing with losses, struggling with infertility, losing relationships, etc. This world is just hard.
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
One day when I was just overcome with frustration because I couldn’t do anything to make Lindsay happy, I just lost it. Cried like a baby. I gave myself a good ten minutes or so in the shower, where I knew no one was listening. Then I just started praying for “moments.” I prayed that if Lindsay was going to be upset all of the time now, that I would just cling to the little moments when/if she was happy. If this was going to be her new “normal,” I asked that I would learn to be grateful for the tiniest things. (The truth is, I was so worried that she was going to be unhappy from now on, and nobody would want to be around her. I think that was one of the scariest things to me. ) And, as much as I just wanted to throw my hands up and give up in the middle of some of her fits, that wasn’t really an option. You know, because I’m the mom.
In the middle of the hard, I had hope for better things to come. (I told you there was another “H” word!) Sometimes, I might just hope for a few quiet minutes. Other times, I have great hope that Lindsay will overcome many of her obstacles. I will NEVER, as long as I live, stop hoping that she will walk, talk, and be able to learn how to do some things independently. I posted a little video on Facebook one day showing her playing one of the apps we added on her iPad at speech therapy a few months ago. One day, it all started “clicking” with her, and it was obvious that she was understanding a little cause/effect. I stated at the time that it might not seem like a big deal, but that it is huge for us! You see, something that small gives me bigtime hope for things to come! We had Lindsay’s annual IEP meeting at school a little over a week ago, and I commented to everyone in the room that one sensitive area for me is when someone may innocently ask me what Lindsay understands. Maybe because I don’t really want to know, or maybe because it’s scary, but I try not to really think about that specifically too much. I get tears every single time someone asks me, but Lindsay’s school physical therapist gave me a great response for the next time: She said, “Ask them, how much time do you have?!” She might be one of my new favorite people. ;-)Lindsay’s teacher and all three of the therapists quickly jumped in to give me evidence of her understanding in the classroom, and I left with more hope than I’ve had in awhile.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Last Friday, I did a rare thing for me, and I left the kids home with Chip in order to go to a women’s event at my church with my friend, Laura. (Because our moms both had excellent taste in names. 😉 ) We heard speaker and author, Annie F. Downs, talk and preview her new book, Looking for Lovely. I loved so many of the things Annie spoke about, as she encouraged us to look for ‘lovely’ things in the midst of so many hard things we encounter in this life. Some things are simple. Some are profound. One of my favorite quotes that I underlined in her book says, “If you aren’t experiencing pain, you aren’t experiencing beauty. Darkness makes us appreciate the beauty of the light. If you aren’t allowing yourself to feel the hurt, sadness, loneliness, and disappointment this fallen world has to offer, you probably aren’t feeling the fullness of the joy and beauty the redeemed moments have to offer.” She’s referring to her tendency to be a “quitter” and to not really want to stick around and see uncomfortable or painful things through to the end. It speaks to me in a little bit of a different way. What I am learning to be true is that even in the middle of the very hard times, in your lowest of lows, you learn to appreciate the beauty of the smallest things. I am desperate for anything for which to be hopeful during these times.
In my case, a lot of what keeps me going, is laughing at the things the boys do and say most every day. One night, Carter said the sweetest prayer followed by, “Lindsay, let’s talk about your future. You could be a very successful underwear model.” Another night, he said, “When I grow up and get a job, I’m going to bring everything I need to my office-including a mug that says, ‘I love Wednesdays!'” When Cason was trying to ask him a question one afternoon as he was drinking water, he said, “Cason, a man drinking out of two straws is serious. He doesn’t want to talk.” A few weeks ago, for book character day at school, Cason chose to be Dobby, (a vertically-challenged house-elf from the Harry Potter series) and he said, “It’s like I’m the perfect size!” As if my kids weren’t entertaining enough, I have texting with my mom!
Even when life feels overwhelming, when we have to look a bit harder to find hope, we have it in Jesus. He is the way to two of my favorite “H” words: Healing and Heaven. Oh, how I long for both!
*I heard this song by Lauren Daigle recently, and it has played over and over in my head. This is the first verse and chorus.
Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what you see
I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side
When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you!
Until next time…