My resolve has been much weaker as of late. Strange, I know, since one would think that the worst of this trial is (hopefully & prayerfully) behind us.... and Ethan has been graciously and miraculously protected! But this last leg of this particular marathon has been especially difficult for me. As we get a small taste of normal life, I'm reminded daily (well lately, anyway) that our lives are not anywhere near what my anticipation of "normal" would have been this time last year. And, it's been the small things lately that have caused me to crumble. Imagine a deck of cards that were transformed into a magnificent castle-like image - one card at a time, strategically placed and balanced on top of each other until the artist completed his creation. Only to have someone in the audience cough - and the tiny burst of air from that person's congestion - blew in its direction, even if only barely, and yet was enough to cause the cards to fall to the ground.
That would paint the perfect picture to describe how I've been feeling lately.
What do I mean by small things? Well, for example, Adam does a lot of the cooking in our family. Simply because he enjoys doing it. He really does. Throwing a meal together comes very easy to him... and he's very good at it! Well, yesterday I wanted to surprise him and make dinner for us myself. Ethan was napping, so I sorted through my recipes and was excited about finding a dish I knew we'd both like (we're very picky eaters!). I stumbled upon something that I thought would be perfect! I started looking at the list of ingredients and my heart sank. I realized that there were 2 important pieces of the recipe that I didn't have at home. And hot tears of frustration swelled up in my eyes as I realized that there was nothing I could do about it. Ethan can't leave the house - be in public - except for going to the hospital (even there we have to tell other people they can't get in the elevators with us). And no one can babysit him here at our house right now either for the same reasons (risks of infection) and restrictions. So making a simple run to the grocery store was completely out of the question. I felt angry and trapped by this trial in a way I hadn't felt before. And over what! Not being able to cook a meal?! But of course it wasn't just that.... it was the reminder of how limited we are right now.... and how much I dislike it. This is just one of the scenarios that inched me closer and closer to that metaphorical pool of water I mentioned earlier.... There's also the "having to plan" which one of us will attend a party/function or even run an errand - resulting in Adam and I having to live out various parts of our lives outside of the home, separately from each other.... and also without Ethan. That realization hit me particularly hard the night before last. Not being able to do certain things with other people, together, as a family. Anyway, all of this has been weighing me down... As well as just trying to balance the normal mom responsibilities.
The reason I write this is not so that you feel sorry for me, though I understand that it's only natural that you might.... so then, why am I writing it - telling you not to feel sorry for me - but readily admitting that I know you probably will anyway??
I share this with you for two reasons. 1) This blog is the one place that I am 100% me, all of the time. I open up my heart and pour out whatever is in it, because it's my way to release it or commit to it... whatever the "it" might be, because in many cases, I'm typing to you, but praying to the Lord at the same time. And 2) because many of you have shared such beautiful encouragement to me, saying that you've been encouraged by something I've shared here. So I see anything that I experience as a tool in which God can use whether in your life or in mine, or both.... so I feel it only appropriate to share it all.
So now you know where I've been the last several days. And today was no different. In fact, this afternoon I probably sat down on the brink of that pool and let my feet dangle in the water. I saw my reflection again... and I didn't like it. Which sparked the cycle of frustration all over again. I know better than this. I know the goodness of the Lord. I know the many blessings I can count... in fact, there are too many to count. But those things do not resonate within you when you are this close to the painful side of sadness. You have the head knowledge. You know what is happening to your joy, but you're too tired to fight it. The pool looks oddly satisfying. And it's true, I really do see what's been happening lately, as far as the attacks from the Serpent himself. But understanding that hasn't helped.... nothing has.
Adam came home from work today and found me in what has been a "typical" emotional mood lately. I immediately started crying - yes, I mean the bawling, dry-heaving kind of crying. Side note, I bet you think I must cry all the time. I really don't. Contrary to this blog and my some times extroverted personality - I'm actually a fairly steady individual... but that's neither here nor there... back to what I was saying... The overall frustration of the last 5 or 6 months came pouring out of me in about 5 or 6 minutes. Among the stuff we talked about, he encouraged me to go to church tonight. I was certainly not in the mood to be around anyone else. But for some reason, I got ready and decided to go while he stayed home and got Ethan all set for bed. I snuck into the back pew right as they had started the opening hymn. The songs were nice and I appreciated being out of the house. But I wasn't really seeing any direct hit of something special for me. Our pastor invited a missionary from Spain to get up and give us an update on what he and his family have been doing in their work in Barcelona. His presentation was very nice... and as he was sharing his message, I asked the Lord to give me something... something to help me get back on my feet again. The gentleman was about to sit down when he said, "I have one last thing I want to share with you before I go..." And with ease and assurance he gave us the verse from Galatians chapter 6 verse 9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." I have literally heard that verse thousands of times. But it wasn't until that moment that it changed me. And the strange thing was that the verse wasn't particularly in line with any specific area of his presentation.
But it was specific to me.
I asked the Lord to give, and He did.
If my verse of promise during Ethan's actual battle with leukemia was/is John 11:4 (...This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby). Then Galatians 6:9 is my verse of promise that leaning on His strength in the "well doing" profits much in the end, thus making the prize worth the aches and pains of the trial... even when (as another mother of a child with restrictive and special needs put it so perfectly in an email to me recently) "Sometimes we feel so 'stretched' and we don't feel we are doing anything particularly well, [and] it's kind of a lonely feeling."
Man, did her sentence hit the nail on the head with me! I think her explanation sums it all up perfectly... feeling so stretched AND feeling like I'm not doing any of it particulary well. Anyway, I'm working on giving even that over to Him tonight, but even if I am unable to fully escape this clouded grip tonight, I know His mercies are new every morning. And I know He knows I need them. And as Ethan and I make the drive to Boston again tomorrow, He will be with us as usual... but more than that.... what touched me tonight is.... He's paying attention to me. And sometimes just that reminder alone is the life jacket you need.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9