Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life, Interrupted Part 2

The previous post gave a glimpse of our lives these days. It included talking to our kiddos about how we all must sacrifice and help out Chloe these days as she awaits her heart surgery.

It's hard, explaining that concept of not getting to do what you want all the time to a young child. It's a concept I struggle with at thirty-two years of age.

Graduations just happened. Seniors probably were handed out senior class awards. Someone in some class somewhere probably received the "Most Likely To Succeed" award. Another senior probably filled out the "Where Will I Be In 10 Years" question.

Where will I be in ten years...

I think back. Ten years ago, my husband was down on one knee proposing. We were planning a wedding. We were starting new jobs. We were becoming a family. We had dreams that were beginning to take off. We were owning our first home. We were squarely on the track to our American Dream.

We were still on that path five years later when we entered full-time ministry. And as we shifted into ministry, life changed. Sure, we had struggles in our first glory days of being newly weds, like when I was laid off from my job and we struggled to make ends meet. We thought that was hard. We felt like our world was crashing in that moment. We were frustrated because we had plans to redo our floors, tear up the carpet and put down hardwood in our first home. We had dreams of remodeling a little on the side while we paid off our student loans and began this new life together. But that lay-off threw things off course that we didn't expect.

I think back now and see that as a time when God was stretching us and using us and teaching us.

I see the same thing happening now. But the road forked off of the road to our American Dream is a road that is being blazed through tall untouched prairie grass, often the grass waving wildly in a Kansas thunderstorm. Our American Dream has been gracefully and amazingly and abruptly changed to a Gospel reality.

Are we OK with that?

There are times when I look around our home and see the crib/hospital set up in our living room and gaze unfocused on it all.... This wasn't the scene I'd pictured when I filled out the Senior Survey about where I'd see my future.

But Someone has already gone ahead of me and planned this future for me. And for that I'm thankful. And I'm still learning. It's hard at times to hear everyone's summer plans. To hear of their Memorial Day festivities or mini vacations out of town. To watch as Chloe's peers, her birthday-mates who born around the same time as her last see them taking their first steps. Diving into their first birthday cakes. It's hard to hear the cry of an infant when my one year old is mostly still silent. It's hard to watch life move around us at a faster pace. We feel stand-stilled again. New phrase.

But am I OK with that? Am I OK with God, the Maker of everything, stepping into my life to tell me He wills me to live this way or that?

Raising Chloe is actually exactly what I think I need(ed). It's teaching me grace and humility. It's teaching me that this life is about so much more than anything I can ever dream up. He's teaching me that this life is not about vacations or big salaries or owning homes or driving nice cars. It's about serving one another in love. It's about showing the love of Christ to all we meet. I fail daily, it seems at times. I wrestle with if what I'm doing is enough. But I'm ever thankful that the Lord is the One writing this story, not me. Because this story is for His kingdom. I don't know how He'll use it, but one day we'll see clearly as we see in a mirror dimly these current days. It's hard to grasp this concept. Oh how hard and how it's a DAILY challenge and calling.

I think having a special needs child is sometimes more about the special needs of the parent than the child. I need to be more patient with those who do not walk in our shoes. I need to be less selfish in my time and desires so that I can meet my child's needs before my own. I need to be more loving as I deal with nursing companies, with doctors, with schedules. I need to think of the needs of those around me more often and help them to meet those needs. I need to be more patient in friendships when they try to understand but can't quite compare. I need to invest more into relationships than in activities or society's expectations of time well spent...the list goes on.

Yesterday I tried explaining the concept of not always getting what we want to our small children. I tried explaining how there are times and things we want or long for or desire, but we cannot have. But that often, that's because it's for the better. In this case, if we had not ventured out onto this unknown path with Chloe, our lives probably would have been comfier. Calmer. Smoother. Quieter without all of the beeps. But we wouldn't have grown in Christ. We wouldn't have been seeking His kingdom, we would have been living for our own. And though I struggle with my earthly and selfish desires, I'm trying to pray that He would make my heart to seek His will. Trusting in the Lord with all my heart, and He will give me my desires--not because they are my desires, but because He's molding my heart to His desires to make them my own.

I don't write any of this to in some way boast that we're better off because of this or to glory with an air of  "Hey, we're rocking this and growing closer to God//We've got this!!" concept or attitue. I write this to share that constant human struggle of realizing as a parent-as any parent-can testify to which is that we live in selfish flesh and bone. We life in a world and society that has the slogan "I want; give me; now, please". But the Gospel screams joyfully that you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.

That's the lesson we're learning. That's the journey we're on. We're learning bit by bit, day by day, to sacrifice more and more. My fleshly desire is to see Chloe walk. It's to see her run. It's to see her sit up in her high chair and eat cake by her 2nd birthday and to survive open heart surgery and to lose the annoying but necessary oxygen saturation monitor and to get to a point in our lives where one day we can take that much needed family vacation and to have a date with my husband where I'm not texting the nurse about how much oxygen Chloe needed while we're gone or to sit at Radinas for three uninterrupted hours.

But my God is saying be patient. Be still and know that I am God; that My ways are higher than your ways. That when the waters rise, they will not overtake you. That behold, I have overcome the world.

And we get to be a part of that. We get to be a part of overcoming this world and all it lacks to offer as we seek to serve Him by caring for Chloe and teaching those in her world around her more about life and love and the beauty that it holds.

This wasn't where I expected to be ten years ago when I set out to get married and start a family. Or fourteen Mays ago when I walked the stage and received my ticket to the real world.

It's so much better. This life is hard. Following Jesus is hard. But it's worth it, and I'm so thankful that He interrupted my plans for His.


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