It was the most free I have felt in a while.
A much-needed date night where we laughed more than we cried; conversed about silly details more than heavy realities, and then we got in the car and we drove and we drove and we drove.
The temperature was that perfect ocean feel- windows rolled down, music turned up, my hand out as the wind beat against it.
It felt like I was escaping for a few minutes.
Yep, you read that right. Sometimes, I am ready to escape this story.
This week, Hugh and I will celebrate five years of marriage. Over six months ago, we had grandeur plans of taking a longer vacation, just the two of us. Convicted that extra money should go toward the adoption, and realizing that, let’s be honest, we aren’t in a place to be able to leave our girls for an extended time, that dream dissipated pretty quickly. As I have glanced through social media this week, pictures of beaches and fine dining and laughter and carefree living have abounded.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…”- Luke 22:42
Jesus, in the Garden of Gethesmane- a garden whose very name means, “a place or occasion of great mental or spiritual suffering”. For a few agonizing minutes, He wanted to escape. Surely, if the Son of God, who knew no sin, asked that the cup be passed- surely I am allotted days or weeks or months of the same in the midst of my humanity.
In the beginning of this new normal, the adrenaline was still going and the reality of our story was fresh on people’s minds and the drama of twins with severe special needs was still potent. These days, the Children’s ER feels sadly comfortable and days that include seizures and medicine side effects and unknowns are more familiar than days that do not. We, and everyone else, are immune to a story that we wouldn’t have written if it were up to us. This week alone, we have watched Bailey Grace scream and cry in pain- sometimes for hour upon hour at night. No one is sleeping, and we are finally treating her for an ulcer related to the feeding tube despite not being quite sure of the source. As a mom, I can’t finds words to express the pain and helplessness involved in these dark moments. On top of that, Ally has been waking up some mornings just “off”- sometimes seemingly having clusters of seizures, sometimes just dazed and not her happy self. Again, reasons no one can quite peg. The added mundane of appointments and feeding and medications and attempts at stimulating one child who is out of it and one child who is crying and hurting feels purposeless and heavy. When friends and family call, I hear the, “Well, how are y’all?” on the other end; and it tends to have the tone someone uses when someone has lost a loved one. I usually respond with a cheery, “We are fine. How are you?”, quickly reverting to something else because the truth is, I get tired of always having heavy hards to discuss. Some days, I want to talk about things that don’t matter. Someone close to me recently mentioned that the blog sometimes felt uncomfortable because I made things sounds so challenging. Truthfully, I don’t even give the half of it on the blog. The parts I do share are simply pieces of the reality of our family’s story.
Always, but God.
If it were up to my flesh, I would be posting more pictures of playdates and nice dinners and weekend anniversary getaways and cheerful, mundane moments instead of continued reminders that the chronic nature of severe special needs isn’t going away.
But thanks be to God nothing is up to my flesh.
All those things are passing. They are here one moment, gone the next. God as our Refuge is the only Answer. You see, unbelief looks at God through the circumstances, just as we sometimes see the sun dimmed by clouds. But faith- faith puts God between itself and the circumstances. Faith looks at circumstances through God, not vice versa.
Because this is our story- because the second part of the verse says, “Yet not my will but Yours be done”, all I have to offer a watching world is the reality that my flesh is currently failing but that God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25). That’s it. Only He can fill the dead dry places with light and life. Currently, I relate to David in the Psalms in which he said, “I thirst for You in a dry and weary land with no water”. Currently, it seems as if the fog is never going to lift. Yet God and His promises still reign true and thanks be to my Lord, things are not always as they seem and the river of God is full of water (Psalm 65:9). Living water. Eternal water. Limitless.
So, I come.
I come to His throne room day after day because His Word tells me that if I thirst, this is where I must come (John 7:37). I come because, as Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
And friend- I share this with you because I want you to hear me shouting loud and clear that we have an enemy of our souls that wants us to attempt to escape to the dust in these moments. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to cling to futile pleasures instead of resting in the shadow of the Almighty’s wings. Yet it is in these times- the ones in which we are quite literally battling to believe truth and fighting to live out the truth that only God satisfies that are faith is stretched the most and our lives are transformed for our good and His glory— and if all this sounds depressing to you, then you have missed the beautiful truth behind it—
Though there may be an enemy- greater is He that is in me (1 John 4:4).
The story does not stop in the dry and thirsty lands- it ends face-to-face with the One who saved us from futile escapes to things that are here one moment and gone the next.
He can be trusted. In His faithfulness, He is making all things new. Our situations and trials and hours do not control our God- our God controls them and He is sovereign in all things.
I am trusting that God is bigger both for you and for me.
I am believing that God’s plans are good.
I am clinging to the One who promises me that He is working.
I am setting my hoping wholly on the grace that that is coming when Jesus is revealed (1 Peter 1:13); even when my flesh would rather wallow in what seems to be the story based on my current, faulty lenses.
Will you trust Him alongside me?
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.”- Habakkuk 3:17-19