Ever had that vague feeling of déjà vu, like you’ve been here, done this, and seen all of this before? Have you ever stared in the mirror for so long your own reflection didn’t make sense, or have you ever wondered what has happened to you – to whom you used to be and to your entire life? Have you ever been caught in the swirling vortex of emptiness, the desperation surrounding you like black does a night, the hope that life will ever be better completely out of reach? Have you ever been so hopeless you wonder what the point is anymore?
I have sat wide-eyed, clutching my sanity by a very thin thread. I have, at times, let everything good in me be extinguished by the pain I was in. I have been hopeless, desperate, anxious, and so full of fear for what lies ahead I have forgotten how to live. It’s a cycle, a long, hard, exhausting cycle that I’ve been trying to break free of ever since my son was first diagnosed. It ebbs and flows, some days I can conquer the world and other days I am reduced to a pile on the floor. I can go from feeling capable and strong to helplessly out of control. I can feel strong in my faith and feel God’s plan for my family one minute and the next minute rage at a God who could allow my baby boy to suffer so much. The struggle is constantly changing me, chipping off more of the old me and exposing more of the true me underneath. It’s a painful process, one that leaves me feeling vulnerable and raw at the end of the day. I was just like everyone else, until suddenly I wasn’t. My son was just like everyone else, until suddenly he wasn’t. I never signed up for this. I never checked the box for optional yet honorable suffering on the release forms when I took my baby home from the hospital. It blindsided me. It came running after me and no matter what I did, I could not escape it. I went down kicking and screaming, fighting this monster I couldn’t see or predict. It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t escape it. This was going to be our new life.
There’s a lie being circulated out there about caregivers, about parents of special needs children, and really about anyone that has ever been broken apart in two and had to find a way to carry on. The lie is that God only gives you what you can handle, and I don’t believe it for a second. I’ve lived it. I know I had way more than I could handle. I’ve been crushed under a burden I couldn’t move on my own. I have fallen apart and been put back together again, the pieces of my broken heart precariously glued in place, but I can tell you it wasn’t on my own. I didn’t handle it; God did. I couldn’t put myself back together; God did. I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel; God knew. I couldn’t love God; God loved me anyhow. When I was at my most broken and hopeless, screaming like a wounded animal, God was there. When I was crawling up the wall, desperate for a way out, God was there. When I was sitting in the hospital, time after time, God was there. God was always there; I just had to be willing to see Him. He didn’t want me to do it on my own. He wanted me to trust Him, to rely on Him, and to believe Him. I spent a long time refusing to do just that, sure that God had turned His back on my family. When there was nowhere else to turn, I turned back the way I came, back towards the God that had always been there despite my erratic behavior.
If you are in the middle of that tumultuous cycle, I grieve with you. I know the pain you are in. I pray for peace as you transition into this life that doesn’t make sense. I know God has given you more than you can handle, and I won’t tell you everything will be okay because I don’t know if it really will. I will tell you that whatever happens, there is always God, even when you don’t feel Him, even when you don’t see Him, and even when you desperately want Him to not be there. You can always go back home to God. You can always turn back around. God will be there whenever you are ready to see Him again.
“And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:7
© August 21, 2014