I know they mean well, but sometimes the questions feel like a knife slicing deep. Those standard questions you wouldn’t think twice about asking because it’s second nature to our “normal” conversations these days. Almost like “how are you today?” It’s funny how what used to be so common and what used to slip out of my mouth in almost every conversation with someone newly met has almost become taboo in my vocabulary.
1. What are you doing right now? Are you working?
Answer: I think this one is so deeply personal because my pride is really hurt when this question comes up. That is something entirely of my own doing but it doesn’t make the hurt any less real. I have worked since I was 16 years old. I have always been driven and dreamt of how to offer my life up to God so that I can impact others for His glory. I have gone to school and worked specifically with this goal in mind. I have been commended at every job for my dedication. My husband always kind of went crazy because I would work all day then come home and work until I couldn’t exhausted cleaning, cooking, etc. It was an never ending cycle, but I just thought that was how every woman was supposed to live. I thought if I wasn’t exhausted then something was seriously wrong and I needed to find something to clean or do! Then life took an unimaginable shift and I was bed bound for a little while for the most part. Luckily my husband had some practice at running the household after the surgeries I had so he took over. He thankfully took over with such a focus and drive. I had fought the reality that is chronic pain for awhile refusing to allow it to change any of my life. Now, I had no choice. That included my work. It is not just a private matter anymore which is how I liked to keep my pain. I liked to keep how bad it was to myself and my family. I think that is why when it got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, people were so surprised. But, they really had no idea the horrible reality we were living at home everyday. So, no, I am not working right now in the attempts that I may heal. It is humbling. It is hard. It was an adjustment. However, I do see the changes that God has allowed in my life from this. I was able to have the time and ability to style my daughter’s hair for her Jasmine costume for Halloween. She saw it in the mirror and gasped in excitement. My hands did go numb while I was doing it and that made it difficult, but if I had been working I would have most likely been in bed. If I was working I wouldn’t be able to go to her class party because I would be in bed every second that I was not working. That was my life before. I had nothing left to give my child, nothing left to give my husband. They suffered greatly. God is giving us back this family time. God is giving me back time to spend with Him and just sit in His presence. I am thankful that God taught us how to survive and thrive in any circumstances. I laughed with my husband the other day that I was thankful we are actually just struggling with regular parenting difficulties. It’s nice to have a “normal” struggle for once.
2. Are you going to have more kids?
Answer: This question really stings my soul every time. And it’s at no fault of the person asking it. I never thought about it before until a friend went through difficulties conceiving. Now, thankfully they are expecting two wonderful blessings. But, I never thought about before how that seemingly harmless question could truly wound a momma’s heart. We have one beautiful daughter and one amazing angel baby we will meet someday. God has already richly blessed our lives. I tell our daughter all the time how much of a blessing she is. She continues to teach me about my walk with Christ and who He desires me to be in Him. The responsibility that He entrusts you with when He gives you that blessing is something I never quite understood until recently. Since before my husband and I had got married we had our plan. You know, the “plan” that always works out and trumps reality, right? HA! Our “plan” was to have 2 biological kids and then to adopt one. But, then life stepped in. We never expected to lose our first child especially the way we did right around the holidays. I was not very far along and sometimes I feel thankful for that. Other times, I am sad that I didn’t get to bond with my baby longer if that was the only time I was going to get with him or her. I look forward to meeting our precious angel in Heaven one day. I know God is taking great care of our sweet love. Our daughter came a year after that as a surprise. It most definitely was not the right timing in our book, but man I wouldn’t have traded that awesome gift for anything!!! At that time, we planned on waiting another year and a half or two then having another. But, life had other plans again. One year and 2 months after I had our daughter was when I had my first fusion surgery. We still had hope for having another child after that, but hopes continued to be dashed after each subsequent surgery. My husband and I went back and forth on the subject, but with this most recent exacerbation we finally decided we would not be having any more children unless things were to miraculously change with my health. This realization was like another huge blow to how I saw my life turning out. There were days I felt like God was no longer taking little slices of my life but was now taking big slices that I held dear.
I saw this quote the other day that someone posted from their bible study. I’m not sure who the quote is originally from but it is too good to not post it. “I say I found peace. I do not say I was not lonely. I was- terribly. I do not say I did not grieve. I did – most sorely. But peace of the sort the world cannot give comes, not by the removal of suffering, but in another way – through acceptance.” I firmly believe that in order to move through the valleys of any form of loss and the grief that is there- you must fully experience the grief. You must be present and acknowledge what you have lost. There is sadness when you go through any form of loss whether it be a loved one, physical mobility, a job, a dream, etc. Once you have really acknowledged the loss then you can move through it and begin to experience the acceptance of the suffering. That was so key to regaining the joy of my salvation. For awhile I felt so misled by God. I didn’t understand why the suffering never came to an end. I could handle hurting for awhile as long as I knew it would come to an end at some point. The struggle was learning to acknowledge that this is what He has chosen, for now or maybe forever. But, for now, I hold on to the verses of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ‘But he said to me, “My grace is SUFFICIENT for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ Now, I am no Paul, but I remember our old Pastor telling us that in our different seasons to go through the bible and find someone that we can identify with in their season. This is my person right now. Paul suffered so much more then I can ever imagine, but I want to draw from the strength and wisdom he exhibited. I hope you find your person as well and draw from their example. God is so present and loves His children dearly even when it feels like we are far from it.