It's been a really bad couple of weeks.
Most moments have been spent carrying a floppy Mabel over my shoulder and praying under my breath that the Lord would quickly help this pass.
What is 'normal' baby stuff, like teething, seems so enhanced with our girl.
Think about it--a 'typical' 18 month old who is teething is usually up and active; busily entertaining themselves and therefore easily distracted from the constant pain and distress of the huge teeth busting through their gums...
But not Mabel.
She is weak and tired; exhausted from simply being awake. Not being held means a trembling body and usually increased seizures. Holding her tightly means an achy back for mommy but a quiet home.
Sweet moments with Mabel; less time for the redheads.
Thus the constant pull I feel between special needs and the practical needs of my older children.
That alone can be agonizing for me. The guilt weighs heavily.
Mabel is extremely 'chokey,' as I like to call it. She can't take a drink without choking and ultimately throwing up but she is throwing up her tube feeds almost immediately as well. We meet with her GI doctor on Monday but honestly, it couldn't come fast enough.
Initially we saw huge improvements with her g-tube. Now, we feel like we've taken 10 steps back.
The sound of her choking from her crib is haunting. I lay in bed and worry about things that no mother should have to. Is she aspirating? Will I know if she is? Will she get pneumonia because she isn't strong enough to fight it...
...and on and on and on.
The last few weeks have proven to me how deeply I have grown emotionally and especially spiritually. It has taken a good year to bring me here but I am stronger. I am more equipped. I am less afraid and more proactive. I am depending on the Lord and not on myself. I have truly released my ideas of control to Jesus and have allowed His peace to rush over me in situations that use to take me under.
Everyday I am learning more about Mabel and how to take care of her. I am learning more how to take care of me and allow the Lord to saturate this home with His goodness and mercy.
As I stood rocking Mabel in my arms in the dark a few nights ago, I prayed quietly in her room and I felt the Lord meet me there. He always meets us where we are, but sometimes where we are is not welcoming visitors.
For the first time ever, I am truly open.
For the first time ever, His Word rings true to my spirit.
I have read it my whole life and yet it is now that I understand it.
Did you know it took me almost an entire year of not opening my Bible before I felt like I could again? I'm not ashamed of that. It's not as if I didn't read the Word because I have; almost every day. I have taught the children and counseled others and depended on verses to pull me through each day.
But MY Bible; my favorite, personal copy of the Word was closed for a very long time. And in that, I truly formed a living, breathing, conversational, intimate, and personal relationship with Jesus.
I cannot speak for others, but as much as I thought I knew our God before--I know Him so fully, and wholly now that it can't even compare. And I feel sad for my former self.
You know, the self I have grieved for so long?
This new self has grown into someone who has something so much greater than my old self ever had.
And when I opened MY Bible last night in a dark, quiet parking lot-I felt the Lord softly settle into my spirit and meet me there. I am in this dance with Him that is close and protected. It feels very delicate and gentle. Before this journey with Mabel my relationship with Jesus was completely opposite. In fact it was bold, loud, reckless and unashamed.
Now it is more careful, more sacred, more quiet.
Now when the dark rolls into my home and the nights seem unending, I truly feel the Lord near and I know He's here with me. I truly know that He's the only one who cares more for Mabel than I do and He knows each moment before it happens. He is prepared in great amounts to care for this child while I am sleeping or weary. He is in control and although I don't understand all that feels helpless and terrifying, I can lean on Jesus to bring peace.
Peace. Peace. Peace.
I would never want anyone to go through the things we have gone through this year. But I know that my faith has been simplified and enhanced through a situation that has been heartbreaking and draining. I know that it is the exact thing that I truly needed in order to experience all that I have been speaking about to others for so many years. But what I was saying was somewhat empty compared to the fullness of this Love with Jesus that I have now.
I didn't know that it was empty. It felt real and alive and perfect for that time. But now, in this time, I am humbled to know the Lord in the way that I do and I can only hope that all of you get to experience it in such a vibrant way at some point in your journey as well.
And maybe you have. I would love to hear about how your life changed and your love affair with God was re-defined.
Hoping for better days ahead.
Hoping for new teeth and less pain.
More sunshine and less rain.
But in the meantime, my hope is truly not in those things at all but in the One who holds my future in His hands.
I am weary but I can rest in God alone.