Things have been piling on lately. Ever feel like that? Like one small thing may actually break you in half because what you’re already carrying is so vast and huge and wide and deep that you’re past your capacity to cope in every single way you know how?
I’m sure you have! Or, maybe, it’s just me… Because I know that a lot of you are carrying so much more and coping so much better. What’s your secret?
To be honest (which I hope we can be, without judgment)—I’m way past breaking point. This last month I walked out of a doctor’s rooms after being told that my eldest son, my baby boy, only seven years old, must undergo surgery, the outcome of which will determine a major part of his adult life. I don’t want to go into the details, for fear that he reads this post one day and wants to kill his mom for oversharing (which as a blogger, let’s face it, I’m already in danger of!) but I will say that I’m sad. I dropped my boys off at school after the appointment and then cried my eyes out on the side of the road.
Surely enough is enough?
Our little guy had a rough start in life—he was malnourished and emotionally neglected by his tummy mommy. He doesn’t know how to trust that we’ll stay. He doesn’t know how to rest in the love we will always have for him. So as soon as something changes or mommy or daddy lose their tempers, or he can’t have his favourite cereal because it’s finished, he checks out, emotionally and verbally. To be honest, most times, we don’t even know what the trigger is, but this vacancy can last hours, days or even months at a time. It’s devastating.
So what do we do?
Everything we can! We’ve worked/are working with occupational therapists, a play therapist, a neurologist, and he’ll shortly be starting speech therapy. But deciding what’s best for him from day to day is tough. Are we pushing too hard? Are we not doing enough? What makes him smile? How can we support that? There’s so much more I want to give, so much more we need to give. He deserves the moon!
But it all adds up.
The emotional and the financial. And we all know what this type of pressure, especially the financial kind, can do to a relationship. As a result, my husband and I go through difficult patches too where we need to focus on the fact that our relationship, as much as our relationship with our kids, is permanent in every way—so we better make it work! And, praise the Lord, most times, we’re each other’s biggest support.
But the difficulties don’t end there. Our big boy has a lot to deal with, mommy and daddy have a lot to deal with, but there’s another, very small but amazing survivor in this story—our littlest guy. After all, everything’s a system, right? Most especially a family. So he feels it all too.
Our boys’ relationship is strained at best because our big boy doesn’t know how to engage, how to let people into his world. And our littlest guy is only four—he can’t understand why his big brother rejects him over and over again, day in and day out. Mommy struggles with the same issue most days, and I’m just a little older than four. But our little guy tries so hard to control his frustration, to be good, to understand, to reason. Until he can’t. Then he acts out. But the world doesn’t give him the same allowances they give his big brother because he’s not the one with the painful past. But he is someone with a difficult present, and he too needs that bit of extra love and understanding—every day.
It’s hard all around. And frankly, enough is enough. Surely!
But, apparently, as this recent doctor’s visit seems to indicate, there’s more forging ahead for us all. And despite my perceived inability to cope, I will have to get up off the floor of the pity party I like to throw and put myself on the front lines again and again.
Because this calling—this mommyhood that’s too big a mantle for me to wear—is not one that I fell into by accident. Yes, I was naive when I said I wanted to be a mom. Yes, I was ignorant to what it would entail. But my God was not. And He chose me to be the mommy to my two boys and the precious life growing in my belly. (Yes – another child into this chaos – and boy, have we heard about it from every stranger and those closest to us too! But this little person is so desperately wanted—as are the other two who make our lives as difficult and as beautiful as they possibly could be!).
So, now what?
So I’ll make the appointments with every specialist under the sun and, Lord willing, we’ll find the finances to pay the bills. And where we fall short, He will provide. And He has. Every time things seem too much—when there’s too much debt on our credit cards and the medical aid will only pay a fraction of the cost of the treatments—something happens. It’s usually something small: a doctor or therapist forgoing a charge that they really didn’t need to but chose to, the right job, a promotion at work, a family member sending a meal, a loved one or sometimes even a perfect stranger gifting us with exactly what we need at the moment.
The reality is that we’re being looked after.
Are we still drowning? Yes! But I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.
Ok with not being ok?!?
Yes… Well—I’m trying to be.
Because I’m finding that in this place where I’m so far past my own means, where no amount of striving, plotting or trying to be the best I can be, will ever help, is a strange kind of peace that comes from having—not choosing—but having to rely on God.
Because only here do I see the enormity of Him and of what He’s already done. Only here do I see what He’s currently doing. Only here do I see the immensity of what I could become if I surrendered more.
Here, life is simple. I only have two jobs…
Pray – give it all over to Him: the good, the bad, and the ugliest parts of me, and…
Love – because that’s the only thing that will make this life count (after all, there’s a reason it’s the greatest commandment!) and, in the end, it will be what my little ones and those around me remember me for – or wished they could remember me for.
“Trust in the Lord and do good”
This journey has been harder than I ever believed it could be. And I’ve been broken by it… but not destroyed. I’m just being remade. And if you’re clinging to Him today the same way I am, then you are too!
I can’t wait to see the beauty revealed in you, and me, once the forging is through.