One of the hardest things I have ever started to do is to pray the words that go something like this, “God allow me to be surrendered to you. Allow me to die to myself so that I may live the life you have intended.” It’s a challenging prayer on so many levels. Afterall who does not want to be in control of his or her own future? We humans love control and power and planning and on and on the list goes. That’s exactly why I so need this prayer. It humbles and grounds me and shows me daily that if I am willing to listen my steps will be guided. But certainly there are questions that creep in and ironically the questions seem to apply to all areas of my life from how I parent, the hardships of my children, definitions of happiness and contentment and where and to whom are we willing to go to follow Him. Will we still speak this prayer when we do not see victory or success? Will we lean into God and choose His leading even when there is a lack of understanding and or answers we do not like set right before us? Will we change directions or go when called?
We are in a hard season of life lately and as a family we are walking on eggshells with a difficult child. It’s a very isolating place to be yet I am restless to begin sharing this part of our story not only as a means of coping but also because I believe there are no mistakes. God wants to use me to be a light to others with the same struggles and questions. For now it seems that is to be a bit more open about school anxiety. Daily that is made clear through the run ins, conversations and connections only He could orchestrate. While somedays are so frustrating we know we are the family meant to walk this road with our son. There are new requirements that have been asked of our whole family to allow our son the best of health and wellness. The lack of alone time or predictability of routine while annoying, brings me back to the place of realizing that time is generally the greatest gift we can give anyone and that even as a wrestle with how to find time for other things being his Mom is the greatest gift and reward. So as usual I strive to seek, sit and then listen for the answers and direction I am supposed to walk While we can go the traditional route of medical care and or learning new parenting strategies what we are learning most is that prayer and surrender matters. Even my children are learning that sometimes the only thing that works is dying to yourself, letting go and allowing God’s grace to enter in. Many days it is all we have got when the going gets tough.
As Bob and our family were preparing for his departure to Haiti this past Saturday I just kept wishing that God could wrap up some of the hardships we see in our dear boy. That is what we want. It is what I want every second of every day. Just package it all up and tie it with a little bow so it is simple to understand and easy to explain and hey God while you’re at it take away the stigma too. Take away the doubts and the pain and the questions others ask us as if we have not asked those questions ourselves. Oh and one more thing, help me not to feel completely down as the Mom who puts in the most time and energy with him and yet cannot seem to find the perfect solution to his behavior or fears. My nice little package did not exactly happen and in fact some of the hardships intensified just hours before Bob’s departure when our little guy vomited during our family meeting. Yes God has a crazy sense of humor. Of that I am sure. There were doubts and feelings of insecurity. There still are, yet several days into his trip and with limited communication with he and the team God is making it abundantly clear that He is equipping all of us as a family. We are making it and even having fun while going through our days. My children are rising up, helping more and even supporting one another in different ways with Dad gone. It is a beautiful thing. We are enjoying our days with Aunt Shannon here and acutely aware of how fortunate we are that the broken arm that happened just hours after Bob’s take off was not worse. You see we had family available to help, a car to get us one of the best Children’s hospitals and superb medical care and medicines to take away the pain. It is all OK. Even in the dark and questionable moments it really is all OK.
God really does show up in the little details, the hard and questionable moments. He is there to feel our frustrations and he quietly whispers if only we listen. The sacrifice of missions has taught us all so much. I talked with my husband yesterday and all he could say was that there is so much work to do just to get people out of pain. As he talked I was very aware of the blessings in our life. Bob has a skill that so many in a developing world could never attain due to circumstances far beyond their control. So God gives the gifts and then asks us to use them for the greater good of others. We die to ourselves so that others might live. We die to ourselves not because we are better or need the badge of superhero but because to whom much has been given much will be expected. Tonight the dental team repaired four front teeth of a sixteen year old girl who will need all the rest of her teeth extracted today due to infection and severe pain. She looked in the mirror and saw beauty in her smile for the very first time.
Peace and Grace,