Sometimes this road is bumpy. I am often reminded of a passage in Mark 9 where the guy I call the "unamed father" brought his sick child to Jesus in hopes of him being healed. Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Blatant honesty there and I feel the dude. On the real I do. It has been hard for me to navigate with the shaken faith. I have trusted God for provision and I have trusted His patience. What I have doubted even though I try not to is the idea that I am as important as say Thomas was or as important as my children are. It is hard to admit, but sometimes I feel like I'm just here to take care of people.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I could be there for Thomas. He was my heart. He outlived his prognosis by over 3 years. And I like to think God allowed me to help that happen. I also adore my babies and I love being their mother.
I loved Thomas, but I never got to really feel important to him or like I was first after God with him because of his illness. Our lives revolved around his condition. When he died I had a 6 year-old and a 2 month old so it was about them. Nearly 4 years later I have a 3 year-old and a 10 year-old. It is still all about them. My 10 year-old daughter is dealing with Dyslexia and ADHD Predominantly Inattentive and every night it literally school work from the last bite of dinner to past bed time while I try to make time for the 3 year-old and his ever developing brain and personality. What a worker that child is though. Once motivated, she puts in the work. Motivation is a challenge and the same method might not work on consecutive days. But you could say that about any child. Somehow, she's developed an internal expectation of herself beyond what is generally expected of a child with Dyslexia and ADHD-PI. But then I haven't shared those typical expectations with her. She is expected to work at the level at which she is capable. I spend hours and hours finding ways to increase that level for her.
And I find myself thinking…where am I in all of this? In the midst of 2 jobs, education plans for 2 children, a 20 year-old house with a mortgage that needs work, vehicle maintenance and everything involved in taking care of and truly parenting 2 children, where am I? I want to lean on God, but I can’t seem to permanently and completely escape the feeling I have to make everything happen. Thomas depended on me to run the home when he was here and I remember being very afraid of making mistakes. I still made them. Usually unless it was a huge screw-up, I could fix whatever happened before he even knew because I thought he couldn’t handle the stress of anything going wrong. There were also times I cried from the stress and he didn't know why. The medication he was on would not have allowed him to comprehend the situation. Other times, I figured he had all he could handle going to work (even though he’d been told long ago to stop) and going to church.
Every day was like a battle for survival and as weird as it sounds knowing how unlimited God is, it’s like I somehow thought, we’re using up our share keeping Thomas alive and I can’t ask any more of God. Then afterwards with everything that happened, I converted from that to thinking we’re using up our share with me staying employed in this economy and being able to keep the children on the track on which they started and them being happy and healthy. It’s like provision is all I expect. For everything else, I literally bust my behind day in and day out. Nothing wrong with that I guess, except for the fact that I know that sometimes I'm doing it because that's the only way the life I want will happen.
I know in my head I can hand God my shattered heart for mending and I know only He can mend it, but I get half-way in and step back. I’m on guard so the healing process I believe has slowed for me. I spent so much time on guard as a spousal caregiver and now as a solo parent, it is troublesome to think of completely letting my guard down even with Him. Lately when I am brave enough to talk to God about me and listen I hear “true love”. It’s not just what He’s offering. It’s what He’s been giving the entire time. Only that could have stuck with me not just the now nearly 4 years Thomas has been gone, but during the time of caregiving.
I made rash decisions then. I sometimes had a crappy attitude about having to give up so much. I was angry about losing our dreams and sometimes I felt cheated having to be married without certain privileges, others enjoyed. But true love came through in the fresh air, in the love from my (then) little girl, in a rare moment we could laugh together Thomas and I without thought of his condition and in being able to watch him interact with his children, especially the times my stepchildren came to visit. And I was given one dream back when I had my son. His conception was nothing short of miraculous.
God has shown me true love and patience beyond what I have shown. I know it. I’ve even expressed appreciation for it. I just don’t think I have fully embraced it. And I think that’s resulted in some regretful decisions. Some was “I’m going to do what I want right now because I’ve been cheated out of so much already.” Some of it was just not looking far enough down the road to see the full result. Some was thinking I have to make life happen because no one else will.
But I’m smart enough to know that as alone as I have felt, God has been there or I’d likely be somewhere in pajamas looking at the soft walls. Still trust is an issue. It’s like when employers have teams do that trust exercise where you fall back into someone’s arms because if they really trust each other things will work better. Life is decent, fun even with multiple difficulties and challenges, but I think one of my issues lies in wondering how much better it could be if I let myself fall backwards to Him. Am I keeping myself and my children from better? A new love even? God’s never let us down. Not really. And I hear that still small voice: “Trust Me, I’m not out to crush you.” Still with everything that has happened, I haven’t yet been able to completely and permanently shake that nagging feeling that I can’t ask any more of Him and if I lean back I’ll get hurt.
My hope is in His patience and understanding. We can all place hope in that. God loves us. He loves me and even more than that, He is well aware of how difficult all of this has been. I'm aware that I can keep going with apprehension as long as I keep going. Afterall, it worked for that guy.