It seems there are just too many of them.
They are all so unique, so important, each thought carries complexities of their own.
I just can't seem to wrap my finger around what is going on.
To be honest with myself, I find myself lacking in so many ways. I find myself saying words to my husband, children, family, friends, that I shouldn't have. I find apologies nearly impossible. I find tears come all too easy. I find parenting tiresome. I feel scared. I feel inadequate. I find myself struggling to discern "real" feelings, feelings that are warranted, that are genuine that are practical and cautious from the feelings that are crippling. Feelings that Satan uses to turn me away from the one I need to turn to.
I find myself in God's word more than I have ever been. Ever. And yet, my failures, my sin, my mistakes, my conflicts, my sin nature seems to be quite evident- evident in my relationships, my parenting... you name it!
I find myself continually navigating through new waters. I am reminded that no matter what, we don't arrive, we don't stop growing, we don't stop changing. Each new day, brings new challenges. Each hurdle I cross, there is another- brand spanking new one- waiting on the other side of the one I just crossed.
Take today. I took Isabell for her second opinion at Shriner's. We are up to four medical professionals giving their advice and opinions, and now we added a fifth. Background info first though-
Last summer Kenney saw the picture of a darling little girl. A little girl with the sweetest smile, cute piggy tails and pink hair bows. This little girl carried a BIG diagnosis- clubbed hands, clubbed feet and MOP/FOP. Well, we got together a bunch of people, researched, made calls, yadda yadda, and came to the conclusion the big scary diagnosis of MOP/FOP (her body turns to a giant skeleton before the age of 20 and she dies) probably really is not accurate. While we couldn't be certain, we were confident. Which left us with a little girl with clubbed hands and clubbed feet. Well, medical intervention and modern day medicine can "fix" those conditions, so much so that you wouldn't even know the problem was ever there...we read that Kristi Yamaguchi (the Olympic figure skater) and Troy Aikman (NFL) had clubbed feet.
We started to prepare ourselves. Read up, research, you know, become informed and educated, because that was so important. We kinda had a black and white reasoning. On one hand, her issues were nothing really, simple, fixable, some work, time involved, maybe a couple of years, but then its all better and we can "forget" there ever was a problem. On the other hand, it was terrible, nothing we could do, no interventions, she'd have to live her short life in a bubble, we'd pray for her, love her, and she'd loose her life early on to her disease.
Today again. I took Isabell for her second opinion at Shriner's. I spent hours talking about wheelchairs, mobility devices, braces, splints, OT and PT until she is an adult, surgical options, all kinds of things to consider, choices to make, weighing the odds of different quality of life scenarios, I met another little four year old girl with Arthrogryposis. Every where we went were kids in braces, wheelchairs, missing limbs, walking with mobility devices. Today Isabell was another one of those kids.
I drove home mostly confused. Not confused about moving forward. Not confused about what the doctors said. Not confused because I was sad or scared (however those feelings were there too.) But confused because I had no idea how I got here.
I remembered praying for clarity and wisdom. I remember wise godly people saying they didn't think they could adopt a child with a blank disorder. I remember weighing our options. I remember praying, praying, praying. Looking for open doors, closed doors, cracked windows, you name it. Yet my heart is and was sinful. I still put conditions on my unanswered questions. I still focused on what "I" wanted. I prepared myself for what "I" thought God wanted for me. I almost chuckle to think that I even thought to think I knew what all the options were. I actually thought I had it figured out. I thought I could prepare myself. In no way am I knocking preparation, readiness, knowledge, etc, but I am laughing, mocking myself for thinking I could even know all of the possible outcomes. I was the kid that read all the possible scenarios in the Choose Your Own Adventure Books, and then went back and re-read the story and read it exactly how I thought fitting. I'd sometimes choose a bit of struggle, excitement, some problems for character building along the way, but in the end it would end up just like I knew I wanted it to.
I just spend so much time too much time weighing all my options, and forgetting that God may have a completely different direction to send me in. I am continually reminded that no matter how much I research, think practically, pray for wisdom or seek guidance- God's word says:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
I am at that place again where I realize I am incapable of managing my family, my children, my spouse, unless it is Christ in me who manages all of this. All the practical advice in the world will and can not save me or my children. I am working on five years of practical parenting advice, and while it is practical and important, it does and will not do me any good without the mercy, grace and love of Christ working in me. My kids don't always (but should) follow the rules. They don't always eat well, sleep well, handle their problems well... etc... but even if they did... if they did so without having Christ's love in their hearts... it is of no use. I re-read 1 Corinthians over and over again.
I begin to realize over and over again that without Christ's love, without His mercy, without a faith that saves, without a savior, myself, my children, my husband... we are all doomed....nothing, not rules or behaviors, not walking or talking, nothing is profitable if I don't have Christ's love.
I have felt the failure of my parenting. But, with Christ, I can mimic the gospel. I want to bring that to my children, because I have been given that gift, while still a sinner, every day. I want to give that to my children because it has been given to me. I do not want my children to see me wallowing in my own self-pity, I want them to see the forgiveness and the joy that only Christ can give.
On a car ride home, confused about mobility devices, God reminds me I need to bring these things to Him with open hands. He reminds me that the Spirit in me can parent my children. He reminds me the Spirit is God, and God can do anything. He gives me the courage I find I do not have. He gives me the grace I can not find anywhere else. He gives me the encouragement I can't find. He gives me the unselfish love that nothing can compare too.
Where I think I am going, well, it just may not be where God sends me. Just a bit like this post-where I thought I would end-I didn't.
I ended on my need for more of Christ and less of me. It is where it seems I keep being brought to.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease