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Invincibility Impeached (mine, not His)

January 19, 2013

feamale superhero courseradotorg

This is an Invincible Mom. She has things so in-control she has time to bleach her teeth, dye her hair and do Pilates. And she’s smart enough to wear safety glasses as she zooms through her family’s atmosphere righting wrongs.

*****

Every story needs a beginning. So I might as well pick one: ten years ago, when we first began pursuing adoption.

When you know the God of the universe orders all things, it is an easier thing to look squarely at a “high risk”  referral and see the High God who ordained that child’s circumstances, and your own, and to find divine coincidence in the fact that her eyes, and no one else’s are looking back at you. When you know the God of the universe can do all things, it is an easier thing to say, “Yes,” trusting He will do what you cannot.

It is with genuine faith I stepped out into adoption, not with my fingers crossed.

I naturally imagined that I was part of God’s plan for my children’s future. It’s so logical that I didn’t even stop to think about it. Until some unexpected possibilities like blindness, cancer, and MS, popped up last April.

In fact when my doctors discovered a key vitamin deficiency that could account for my symptoms, I thanked God and in my heart thought, “Of course it turns out to be no big deal! God orders all things and knows there isn’t room on out family plate for any new Big Deal things right now. He knows my family needs me.”

The deficiency was corrected and all was well. For six months.

Late this fall it was time to revisit all the Big Deal diagnoses set aside last spring.  The result: MS.

That diagnosis took a lot of getting used to. Not only did MS impeach my ideas about being there in my kids’ future, it revealed my folly in thinking I was handling the extra stresses of special needs parenting pretty well. It felt like my body betrayed me, like it wasn’t up to the “Yes!”s sung by my mind and my spirit.

And I felt foolish that I had not realized that caring for my physical self, too, was not optional. How could I have memorized, but never really pondered verses like, “Do you not know your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God?” (I Cor. 6:19-20)

The context in which to ponder them wasn’t with me back in my AWANA days. It is now.

My neurologist didn’t quite say, “Your body is  like an overtired, overstimulated, hungry child melting down in the grocery store when asked to make a simple decision like, ‘Do you want plain or Honey Nut Cheerios?'” But she might have; it is an apt analogy.

It as been painfully humbling to realize that in some areas of my life God has to do something dramatic to get my attention –like extinguish neurons –because he knows that to some messages, I am deaf to the still, small voice I might have listened to all along.

I have struggled not so much with the question of would God be there. With the diagnosis, I found my spirit reacting with the same glorious “Yes!” I experienced in the days immediately following my husband’s heart attack: God is sovereign and his plans are unshakable. My eternal joy in His presence was secure.

Instead I struggled instead with a very new thought (to me): my children’s security here on earth. My invincible God would be there for my family. But He might choose to be there in  some way that did not include me.

Or did not include the same me we’ve all come to depend upon.

Families are complicated, even without special needs. Over time, moms, especially, become really good at juggling the ever-changing array unique to their family. We understand our children and our spouse better than anyone short of God. It is really easy to imagine ourselves essential to the mix, especially as long as we have children living at home.

And with special needs in the picture, some of us realistically imagine some children will never leave home. Or, if they do, never leave our guardianship.

Therefore we must be invincible; we are essential as far into our children’s future as we can foresee.

That’s where my faith has been most stretched in the past three months: reckoning with and beginning to trust that God can do my family without me. Not that He will necessarily choose to. But because He is God. And if that is His plan, then it will be good. For all of us.

With thanks to Dorothy for starting this conversation with her post, Scary?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2013 3:07 pm

    As the mom of 11, many with special needs, I can relate to your thoughts about being invincible. We do just assume we’ll always be here for our kids, but, the older we get the more we struggle with the idea of what will happen when we’re no longer here or unable to care for our kids. Although we often discuss these realities we also remind ourselves that we’re not in control and His plans are greater than ours. Thanks for sharing and remember it’s ok to put yourself first once in awhile.

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