. . . and the beginning of His.
November 30, 2016
Yesterday my son, Seth, celebrated his 17th birthday. Today, he smiles, he fishes, he plays basketball, and pursues his dreams for the future. He lives a normal teenage life. Three years ago, when I originally wrote this blog, the days were very different. Those days were filled with intense physical pain and struggle. My prayers and the prayers of everyone who loved and cared for Seth seemed to be unanswered and I questioned my faith in a way that I never had. I listened to “Draw Me Nearer” by Meredith Andrews as I wrote the original blog because He did indeed draw me nearer.
October 13, 2013
Many times when God works in my life in a very powerful and personal way, I feel a longing to communicate and share the depth of that experience. Sometimes I think that I am accurately able to convey that experience. Other times, words seemed inept. I think most believers can relate to having experiences with God that we simply cannot articulate. For me, most of those moments come from times spent alone with God. Although, some times those moments are a part of corporate worship or conferences. It’s not just the emotional aspects of the experience that I wish to share. Although it is emotional, it’s so much more. It is something deep within my soul. As I write, I suspect that this is one of those times that it will be difficult to express the fullness of what is in my heart. I will just say that it feels like God’s “perfect storm”. It took a turn of difficult events to prepare this mother’s heart to receive all that has transpired in the last few days.
On August 31st, the morning after Seth’s lumbar puncture and diagnosis of intracranial hypertension, I woke him up to check on him.
I cry when I think about Seth’s words that morning. I think of the carefree days. When Seth was born he had dark hair and beautiful blue eyes. He peed on me twice before I learned the art of diapering a boy! I remember rocking him and stroking the top of his head as I held him. He later lost that dark baby hair and became a “toe head”. He loved riding his Little Tikes scooter in the house on the wood floors. He played in the sandbox with toy dirt bikes being ridden by imaginary dirt bike riders named Ricky Carmichael and Macaroni. He later became a gifted student, and a young teenager who was known for his passion and talent as a percussionist. But now the days are much different because he is limited to only a portion of the life he used to know. There has been quite a bit of pain and loss over the last year. I grieve the parts of life that have been lost. It was hard to tell his band teacher that he wasn’t going to be able to continue this year. It was difficult to return the marimba that he rented. It was difficult to withdraw him from school. However, the hardest days so far have been when his room is quiet and black and there is nothing but intense physical pain. Sometimes when I laid on the bed with Seth on those days he asked me not to move. It hurt him when I moved. Other times he kicked his legs because he said it hurt too much to be still. Watching my son endure this pain, watching him endure the pain of the injections in his head, the nerve blocks, and testing left me feeling worn out physically and emotionally. I missed time with my daughter and husband. I missed so many things. I missed the normalcy of life. However, in the midst of everything Steve and I both realized and discussed the fact that we have much to be thankful for. As you can imagine, there have been a roller coaster of emotions along this journey.
Somewhere along the way I became angry with my God. I placed my Bible in the bottom drawer of my nightstand. I deleted all of the Christian artists on my Pandora account and I stopped going to church. Why would He allow this suffering? What are we to learn from this? What am I to learn? A friend of mine asked Seth what he prayed for. He said, “I pray that this will go away”. We have all prayed that in some form but it hasn’t gone away. Countless medicines, treatments, and doctors and it hasn’t gone away.
But today I finally understand, neither has He. Several weeks ago, I told a friend that I felt very distant from God. She simply said, “He sees”. I didn’t tell her. I didn’t say anything at the time but that comment saddened me. If He sees, why didn’t He do something? At that point in time, I didn’t voice my thoughts and my doubts. As a Christian counselor, I didn’t think I was supposed to have thoughts like this. I struggled with the thought that these emotions that I was experiencing revealed the shallowness, the immaturity of my faith. All the while though, I truly felt that God was okay with my struggle, that it was almost necessary. We all have times when we want answers and that seems ironic to me. It seems foolish to think that we can, in any way, grasp and understand the fullness of God’s plan.
The one answer I do know for sure is this. During the times when I was asking God why, when I was asking why He didn’t stop this or intervene, He was teaching me something that I could learn in no other way. A couple of days ago at a conference I heard someone sharing a story of a man holding onto a rope to find his way between his home and barn in the middle of an intense blizzard. I remembered Steve telling me that scuba divers do something similar by using a rope or guide wire when they are cave diving. Not holding onto that rope and becoming disoriented can be a matter of life and death in either situation. When I heard this story, the speaker said that God is much more intent on us keeping our hands on the rope than stopping the blizzard. That one statement comforted me in a way that I cannot even describe. It helped me to breath again. It helped me remember that God was up to something really beautiful. It helped me realize the truth that I had lost site of – God wanted to woo me once again, to help me understand the fullness of His love. Once and for all, He wants something settled deep within my heart. As my Father, He wants to wrap his arms around me while I lay my head on His chest and rest. He wants to call for me as I hold on to the rope and He wants to speak truths not fully revealed before. He can’t do that in the same way when I am inside the house -warm, safe, and comfortable.
If you are struggling and would like to talk to a counselor, please call 817-704-6991 or go to www.rushcreekcounseling.org to schedule an appointment. Also, we are offering a women’s depression and anxiety group beginning January 10, 2017, contact Cecily Rodgers at 817-704-6991 or click on the Resources tab on the website for more information.