It’s quiet in my house. As always, my thoughts are running a million miles a minute. I’m thinking about Titus, always Titus, and the rest of my family. About the hope I dare to have for a future for Ely while in my mind I’m terrified of the results we could find once he is tested. I’m thinking about the thousands who are supporting us. I’m thinking about the things I am learning about God that are just at the tip of my reach, like I know what it is I’m learning, yet it is still so profound and mysterious. And then my mind begins to shape this conversation… with Satan. It goes something like this:
ME: “You think you’ve got this don’t you. You think you’ve got me down. I’ll tell you what… it’s been a valiant effort. And I’m broken, that’s for sure. I’m scared. I’m angry. But that doesn’t equal out to being yours. Because I’ll tell you what, Satan… you have to understand. I’m just the front lines in this story with a HUGE army behind me. When I go down, I will be pulled from that carnage and I will be carried away from it. I will be cared for. I will be loved on. You have to take down my neighbor who stands by us and supports us in the daily grind. You have to take down the friends who have felt loss and difficult parenting themselves and have chosen to support us and each other. You have to take down the thousands who are praying for strength and peace and joy and healing. You have to take down those who have chosen to support us through cards, money and hugs. You have to take down the first grade class who made cards to encourage our son. You have to take down a family who loves each other and stands by each other through the thick and the thin. You have to take down moms (yeah, those are the worst ones) who intercede on our behalf with a heart full of mommy love. And you wonder why I’m so strong… why I don’t just fall. Because God has used my community to reinforce what I already know; that He loves us and we are not alone. And I will do the very same for anyone else who finds themselves battling on the frontlines in their story. Satan, you need to know… you can’t steal my joy.”
God has made something abundantly clear to me. We aren’t doing this alone. I would fully understand if someone heard my story and excused themselves to exit our lives. It’s difficult. It’s sad. It doesn’t have a happy earthly ending. But people aren’t doing that. They are joining us. We are getting cards daily reminding us that there are others praying for us, hurting with us, encouraging us. Life has been overwhelming, but as people have offered to go grocery shopping, make us meals, watch the boys, and just sit and listen when I need to cry or talk through things, it all has felt impossibly manageable. It’s so weird… I have this unexplained joy in our daily moments. I mean, really, what business do I have being joyful?
If you could’ve opened a window up into my world this past week, you would’ve found myself and the boys driving home from a VBS meeting singing, “I love balloons, I love, I love balloons…” (If you know the tune to that song, I’m sorry… it is now stuck in your head.) My boys were laughing and giggling and I was acting like a crazy mom and it was joyful.
You would’ve seen our boys give each other the best (and apparently the funniest, by the way they were laughing) hugs and kisses at bedtime.
You would’ve found a boy excited to go to school and teachers who hugged him and welcomed him back and told me his smile and laugh brightens their day.
You would’ve seen us walking Titus’s dog, Sunny, and breathing in the fresh air while helping Titus keep his strength and letting Ely run his energy out.
These are the moments I cling to. Because we have other moments. Moments of panic when Titus starts seizing. Moments of fits because he can’t communicate like he used to and no one understands. Moments of tube cleanings and diaper changes on both my boys. Moments of no sleep at night and pain that I can’t ease. Moments of guilt as I try to continue to parent both my children while one requires the majority of my time. Moments of failure as I give up things I never thought God would ask me to give up because I simply can’t do it all.
Let me be abundantly clear. I couldn’t see above the muck we are in if it weren’t for you. Yes, you. You all are my community. Every card, every hug, every financial gift, material gift, every gift of time, every cup of coffee, every listening ear, every text and phone call, every facebook “like” and comment, and every single prayer is carrying us through.
I’ve gotta say this, being so buried under the ugly imperfections this world dishes out to us has in turn, made even more clear the beauty of God. The contrast is starkly drastic. I didn’t notice it before like I do now. When I’m comfortable, I’m not looking for it. But now I LIVE for it. I NEED it. I need his goodness, his beauty in the ugly when there is no other way to survive.
His beauty is seen in all of you as God weaves our stories together and uses us to build each other up. God has wired us to need each other and to support each other. I have not once felt alone in this journey. I have not once felt abandoned.
Don’t miss out on the incredible community God desires for you. We all need it.
Thanks for listening…