Be warned my friends...this is a ranting and raving post. Lunacy abounds and a straight-jacket may be required. Read at you own risk.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at (T)the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
1 Peter 1:3-7
The one question I am asked more than anything else, is "Mary how to you cope with it all? Why are you always smiling?"
Some days I feel very confident in my answer. "Because I have HOPE. I know that God loves me and my girl. I know that one day she will be free of fear and pain, dancing at the foot of the throne of God. I know this therefore I smile, I laugh, I seek joy because time is short and I don't want my memories of my daughter to be all about pain and suffering."
Other days I stare into the abyss and simply state "What else do you want me to do? Just give up?"
Then there are the days like yesterday when nothing was going right yet I did every single blessed thing I was supposed to be do and still I had bird poop on my face.
There are moments when the hard seizures come for my girl and she is crying out in fear, scared about what's happening, her body beginning to shake and pulse to a rhythm all to familiar to us both, and all my heart cries out is "Why can't you just make it stop Lord? What purpose does this have?"
There is no hope in those moments. No smile. No encouraging trite response indicating my incredible holiness and piety.
There is a desperate mother who just wants God to make a choice. Are you calling her home or do we get to have more time?
As I held her last night during yet another seizure, all I could think of was "How much more Lord? How much more?"
We are tired. Yes, I said we. I know, I know I am not the patient but I am being completely and totally honest here. This is not getting any easier. This is getting more and more complicated and I am freaking exhausted. I can only imagine how wrung out Courtney is.
This is my space, my heart. No bullcrap. Just open and real.
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
I went to bed in the wee hours of the morning thinking about my buddy Job. God knew he would remain faithful so He allowed the devil to test him. Job praised God from the ash heap with sores covering his body. He had lost everything and then some. He questioned God constantly and still in the end he PRAISED Him. He didn't fully understand the mystery of God, but he knew that God could do anything. He could deliver Job from any situation at any time. He just had to believe and HOPE. In the end, God rewarded Job's faithfulness and bestowed countless blessings upon him and his family, more than he ever had before.
How do I find hope in the face of a daunting task, diagnosis, ill-fated relationship, illness, depression, job loss, financial worries, parenting issues, wayward children, etc. etc. etc.
How do I find HOPE when children suffer and innocence is shot down?
How do I find HOPE when my daughter seizes and fights for her very breath?
How do I find HOPE when medical bill after medical bill rolls in and I haven't been able to work for a year and my heart beats faster trying to figure out how to pay for all of it?
How do I find HOPE when my husbands job is less than secure and there are constant worries of lay-offs and un-employment?
How do I find HOPE when most days all I want to do is run away to the land of mani-pedis, lunches with friends, shallow shopping and girls night out?
Oh yea, I am sounding holy and righteous now aren't I? Definitely hero material...NOT!
It's the truth people. Real and crumpled and worn down. Most days I have to convince myself that jeans are better than yoga pants and yes, my husband would like to eat something other than eggs and toast for dinner. Sometimes it takes ALL day to accomplish that.
You want to know why I Instagram what's for dinner some nights? It's to prove to myself that I actually made it! This is all done while I am on anti-depressent's...yea.me.
I am not stronger than anyone else, people. Believe me when I say I am not. The sleepless nights pacing and questioning God are proof of that. I cry in the shower. I lament in the car. I question God and frequently yell at Him. I have been known to tell Him quite directly that He is "freaking out of His ever-loving mind if He thinks we can do this!" loudly where other people can hear me and that's when the funny looks come.
I get a lot of funny looks.
"Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
So back to the question now that I have completed my very public mental and emotional breakdown...
How do I do it?
How do I find HOPE in the midst of the dung heap?
How do I smile like I mean it?
What the hell else am I supposed to do? God is the omnipotent, omniscient, all-knowing, all-loving God. He created long-division, I failed it. He created Geometry, I failed it. We won't even go into the whole Algebra and what use does it have for my life thing because that's just a waist of oxygen.
Obviously He knows a smidge more than I do about how this whole "I know everything that has been and is to come" thing more than I do.
Just a smidge.
Like Job, I don't get the mystery of God. That information is way above my pay grade. Maybe that's why it's called a mystery? I just know that He knows more than I do. He loves deeper than I ever could and he never ever gives up.
Remember the whole "go get the one sheep thing". Yep...most days that's me. He is fishing me out of some thicket that I have stumbled into due to my own pride.
So to find HOPE, I look around me to the people God placed in my life to help me, love me and teach me.
I look at my daughter's face, her sweet smile and beautiful curls and know that if I don't fight, no one else will.
I look at my husband, with deep circles under his eyes, who carries the weight of this family's future in his hands and know that if I don't step up to carry the burden as best I can, I will be carrying it alone one day.
I look at my son, who longs for an apartment of his own but isn't quite ready to make the leap, and know that I need to practice courage and fortitude so he will emulate what he sees. I don't care how old they are, your kids pay attention and will do what you do and not what you say.
So HOW do I do it?
Ummm...I don't...God does through them.
So courage, fortitude, HOPE and joy it is.
It's a choice, to love and HOPE and work and serve and love some more.
It's a choice to put the yoga pants away and blow dry my hair.
It's a choice to defrost some meat and search for something new to cook for dinner.
It's a choice to pray through a seizure with my daughter and not curse God.
It is NOT AN EASY thing to do, day in and day out. Somedays I am successful, others not so much.
BUT...today is a new day. The jeans are on. The hair is blown dry. The laundry is going and a recipe has been chosen.
Now it's your turn... go choose HOPE today. Blow dry your hair, put on some shoes and get something going on the stove.
Who knows what today will bring. Just know that I am right there with you sista.
NO yoga pants today!