At times, I know I sound like a broken record. These things I write about, they are nothing new under the sun. These truths have been written since the beginning of time, but are being deeply imprinted on my own heart now; and for that I am forever grateful. On the way home from a friend’s baby shower last night, Hugh and I talked about our life and the pains that are always there. We discussed the hurts I have with not being able to have “normal mom talk”. I know I am not the only one out there that feels this way. True, there are universal truths in motherhood; but if I’m being real, my life is very much different than most of the mothers I know. It’s hard to relate at times, and certainly can be isolating. It’s why many of us moms find ourselves in online support groups. We are able, in these groups, to talk about OUR normal with people who get it. I am so thankful for the opportunity to do this, but we all need real, live breathing bodies to relate with as well. It is a part of the way the Lord made us: we all crave a sense of community, and we need tangible shoulders to cry on. That being said, these days, Hugh and I attempt to relate to those around us by reminding ourselves what we do have in common rather than focusing on what we don’t. There is something we all desire no matter what stage we are in: connection with our Creator. We are all in need of grace, all sinners who are met with our own unique struggles. These sufferings may be different, but the emotions and the hurt that go along with them are not. The truth is, I may not be able to relate to what you are walking through right now; but I AM able to relate to what suffering feels like. And, I believe the more authentic we are with others in our own journeys, the more we are able to connect. This is why I have been obedient to choose to pour my heart out on this blog and into the hearts of others; because I believe while we are all learning lessons in our own circumstances, I do not think we are supposed to keep those lessons to ourselves. So, here I write.
This week. This week, we sit at our house, praying for wellness and wisdom in what lies ahead. Next week, we will head north in hopes of opening up a new chapter of information for our family. December 17th will not bring any new knowledge to our Lord, for I am most aware that He already knows what’s ahead. This brings me so much comfort in light of recent conversations with our physicians. This roller coaster has been filled with mountains and valleys; yet in all moments, it has brought us to our knees. I pray and anticipate the coming days to do the same. It occurred to me that while we have continued to look at different diagnoses, there has not been one we have considered that has been “good” or “mild” in the world’s eyes. Truthfully, I don’t expect a diagnosis of that capacity. I know our girls, I know where we are in comparison to their peers, and my mother’s intuition knows this isn’t something that is going away. I have suspected for a while that this is not something God is going to bring us to for a season, but rather through. I know many might find it confusing that I do not consistently pray for healing (on this side of heaven) for our girls. I did, in the beginning. But, as time has gone on, as I have seen the fruit of our sufferings and the Lord has changed my desires, I cannot bring myself to pray against something that seems to have such eternal significance. Instead, I find myself praying for the things that I know truly matter: for people to continue to see Christ’s hands, feet, and heart in the midst of what He has for our family. Through it, not out of it. While every bone in my human body wishes otherwise, I sense the heart of God leading my prayers in this manner. This concept of “through” has been on my mind for a while now, and I have been so encouraged as to what God’s word says about it.
“But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them…”-Exodus 14:29, emphasis mine
When the Israelites arrived at the Red Sea, desperately trying to escape the Egyptians, the Lord chose to ask them to step out, in faith, into the sea. He could have easily made the waters disappear, but this is not what He desired. You see, the Lord always has layered motives in the circumstances He puts His children in. The beauty of this story is that it was the very waters the Israelites feared that ended up being the walls of safety God provided them. This happens many times throughout God’s word. In Daniel, the furnace was heated up more, not less. Jesus Himself was not spared a painful death on the cross, yet brought through to victory. I believe it is true in our own lives as well. I believe that it is through our trials and afflictions that we are able to see God the most. We are able, when our vision is darkened to hope in all other things, to truly see the Light of God in its truest form. It is often in these moments that we are genuinely taught to say, “Thy will be done”. As it says in Hosea 2, He often allures us into the deserts of life in order to give us back the vineyards that truly matter. And, He is always, always able to make the Valley of Achor (trouble and tears) a valley of hope.
“We often pray to be delivered from afflictions, and even trust God that we will be. But we do not pray for Him to make us what we should be while in the midst of afflictions. Nor do we pray that we would be able to live within them for however long they may last, in the complete awareness that we are held and sheltered by the Lord and can therefore continue within them without any suffering or harm”. (Streams in the Desert)
This mindset, friends, is completely other. The world would tell us to avoid suffering at all costs, fearful that struggles and hardships hurt and harm. God’s word is clear that while healing is absolutely in His hands, that struggles are simply another way we can know and become more like Him.
So next week. I will go into this appointment fully aware of my human desires; but most aware of my desire for His plans and purposes. I know that everything within in me desires a clear diagnosis, and I know God is fully capable of making this happen. But, I trust Him. I trust Him much more than my own ever changing and feeble emotions. I trust Him more than any physician, and human, any report. And, whatever those answers may end up being, this I know most of all: He is not surprised. He is sovereign. He has a plan. He loves Ally and Bailey Grace more than I could ever love them. He is working. Friends, this is true for each of you in whatever God is walking you through. My prayer for us is that we would meet each other IN the other’s suffering. That we would not try to understand, but would instead, encourage one another to hope in not avoidance of the suffering at hand but to hope in God Himself. He meets us in all things and, thanks be to God, He has overcome!