Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…- Proverbs 3:5
“Look at the babies!”
A little girl, probably two years old, shouted this with glee as we passed her in the store. She was munching on a cookie and “getting into everything” as some parents say.
“Those babies are about to take a nap!” The mommy smiled.
“It gets better, I promise.” She winked at me.
My children no longer take naps.
They are three years old.
You are the fourth person who has told me that they look tired in a span of twenty minutes.
This is just how they are.
These are the things I thought. My response?
“That’s what I hear! Have a great day!” (insert enthused fake smile on my face).
“My brokenness is a better bridge for people than my pretend wholeness ever was.”- Sheila Walsh
As a parent of twins with special needs, I have connected with many caregivers throughout the past few years. I can tell you that one of the biggest struggles we all share is other people simply not understanding our world. There are many hurt feelings, broken relationships, and frustrations directed towards moments in which already opened wounds were poisoned with salt- most of the time unintentionally.
When we know better, we do better.
I am the QUEEN of opening my mouth without thinking. Word vomit, I call it. I shudder to think of the number of things I have said to strangers that were untimely at best and hurtful at worst. I say this because I am a firm believer that we have to assume the best in people- not against wisdom but in honor of the grace we have been so lavishly given.
Love believes the best in all…- 1 Corinthians 13:7
In situations like the one above, I truly know that she was just making conversation, completely unaware of our story.
I was wired as a processor. I am very aware of my emotions and the emotions of those around me, sometimes to a fault. There has been a common theme around our family recently, one that no one has stated until Hugh- out of no where- spoke up a couple days ago while we were sitting on the couch waiting for the girls to fall asleep:
“Ally and Bailey Grace are getting a lot bigger”.
I know this.
I carry them around solo all day.
This is what I thought. What I said?
“Can we change the channel please?”
This signified much, much more in my heart than a television button.
Even as a processor, this is an area of our life that I absolutely do not want to touch. You see, I have watched people I know be a caregiver for one immobile loved one. While this is not to be taken lightly, it makes sense to me. But two?
Even the children’s rehab center laughed (not in humor but out of awkward nervousness) when I asked them how I was going to navigate getting the girls around as they got bigger.
Their lack of answer spoke volumes to me.
Now, those of you who have logically-wired minds are currently coming up with a list of devices or mannerisms or formulas for how this is all going to go down. I am sure that there are some practical answers here- but I kindly ask you to not give me ideas on transporting my girls after reading this post. We have plenty of knowledgeable people in our medical and therapy teams that will walk us down that road when the time comes. My heart is not grieved or worried about the actual logistics; my heart hurts over the reality that a time is coming in the distant near future where some of the freedom we have with our “babies” is going to be taken away.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.- Colossians 3:23-24
obey…not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord…- Ephesians 6:5a,6-8
Those of you who have read On Milk and Honey have heard me speak of the Newborn Trenches. These infantile days signify a season of life for parents with not much sleep and a baby’s complete dependence on a parent for their every need.
These Newborn Trenches?
They are our day-to-day life.
This “getting better” that that mother spoke to me in the store?
It is getting harder.
The girls are getting heavier, their needs are getting greater, and we are not getting any younger (and I’m pretty sure we are aging at a rapid pace- insert my constant eye bags and Hugh’s gray nose hair recently spotted. Sorry, babe).
My confession to you is that sometimes, I want all this to be seen. I want at least one person to be a fly on the wall for one entire day. To watch me lift 60 pounds into a car, only to have someone vomit and have to unload the car yet again. I want to broadcast all the medications- times two- all the quick decisions- all the waiting for a seizure to stop- all the feeding debacles- I want the applause here. I want my friends who feel frustrated that I forgot to text back, seemed distracted when they last saw me, or cancelled at the last minute to understand the chaos that is my normal.
It’s ugly, but it’s the reality of my heart.
Yet- and you know where this is going-
He reminds me that I have an Audience of One and that He sees all. He looks at me; and like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, disappointed that the younger brother is getting a party- feeling cheated and unloved- He reminds me that the kingdom is already mine and that this grace in itself is enough to praise Him forever and ever and ever.
He knows our exact lot because He has written it and walked it.
And, when I am fearing wheelchairs or new medical concerns or prognosis or illness or the girls getting older (or worse, the girls not getting older)- He encourages me to not lean on my understanding but to instead, lean on Him.
Friends, I don’t know where your heart is. I don’t know what you are walking through that feels like you are alone or misunderstood or unseen. Hear me say this, however:
God is with you.
God is working.
He never tires, never quits, never gives up on you.
He is faithful.
His mercies are new every morning.
No burden is too heavy when placed in His mighty hands.
Even so, it is well with my soul.