Tuesday, June 21, 2016

3 Truths When Grace Feels Out of Reach

A couple of months ago I could physically read "His grace is sufficient" (2 Cor 12:9) and "He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it," (Phil 1:6); but my weary body just didn't feel it.

What do we do when we know the promises of God, but just can't wrap our minds around them and feel them inside us? I so WANT to find my calm regardless of what is going on around me, but seriously I'm so BAD at it.  The whole tone of our home rises and falls with the circumstances of this life.  Usually it's closely tied to the state of Abby.  I get stressed when my normal is like a boxer bouncing around the ring dodging a punch.   I stay at a hightened state of anxiety trying to love on and entertain the sweet sisters, tend to Abby's cares, or find another specialist with the hope of unearthing a new remedy.

A blanket of sadness covers our home when she has to be contained in her enclosed bed.  Even though she likes it and doesn't seem one bit upset about being in there, it still breaks my heart to not have her as an active part of our family.  

Abby is not the thorn in my side, but her aggressive seasons seem to be.  Her little life has been God's greatest tool to change me.  I love being her mom, but each time she enters these aggressive states I feel so helpless other than to pray that this time we will figure out the cause or just beg God for it to be brief.  She seems so unsettled as she grabs at me to tell me something, yet my efforts to figure it out or calm her by osmosis when I wrap my arms around her just end in more pain and frustration.  

Three truths I found in my darkness:

1.  "His Grace is Sufficient... His power is made perfect in my weaknesses..." (2 Cor. 12:9)
Even when I feel I can't go on from the exhaustion of caring for her while she hurts me and the emotional strain threatens to drive me insane, I continue to wake up each day and have a measure of hope that gets me through.   I'll have my sweet Abby back.  This hope doesn't come from me, but it wonderously appears each morning.  

2.  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) I draw closer to Him every time we visit this place because, as Jen Hatmaker said in her book Ms Understood,  "...all a Christian wants in the night is her God.  We experience single-minded devotion othat sustains us in the night and changes how we live when the sun rises again." These days always bring me to my knees.  When I'm paralyzed with the circumstances in my life, I stop the rat race I let myself get sucked in to and run to the one who sustains me.  I grow more because I listen better and more often.  I need Him more, so I seek Him more and find him immeasurable more than I could have ever asked or imagined.  He fills me to overflowing, and gives me the strength to... wife, mother, daughter and friend again. 

3.  I don't pretend it's okay and that I'm fine.  I acknowledge my pain and share it with friends who carry my burdens with me to a big God.  "Two are better than one... if either of them falls down one can help the other up.  Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." (Eccl 4:10).  I've been blessed over and over in this life with some of God's best jewels in the form of blood siblings and body of Christ sisters.  They don't grow weary with my pain but lock arms and carry me... over and over and over again because that's what real friendship is like.  

When we least expect it, she comes out of it.  It's as if she wakes up a different person one day and we have no idea where she was or how and why she came back all "sugar and spice and everything nice."  As much as the blanket of stress washed over us, the giggly gladness permeates us as well.  Abby hugs, kisses and smiles.  She sits and plays, eats without grabbing and navigates around her sisters without incident.  Undoubtedly, we love her the same through every season, but it sure is easier to show it during these times.  I admit I pray over and over for The Lord to let this version of  Abby stay and keep the other away, but once again He has other plans as he proves his ways are higher than mine.

We've began a journey this past week into another Alaskan winter of long, dark nights as we prepare for our first trip back to MN in a year and a half.  My fight wanes at the thought of close quarters and an exhausting visit with an aggressive sidekick.  Despite my tears and fresh wounds, I choose to trust in what I don't see and have faith in the beauty He can bring when all I have are ashes.  

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