What is your story? As I was being the carpool mom this morning, carting three kids to school, I thought… This is my story. Wife, mother to three – one special needs child and two others in private school. This wasn’t supposed to be my story.
When I was in counseling so many years ago… I only had Canon at the time, and I was still working part-time from home. I remember my counselor asking me, “Kathryn, what do you want?” That question seemed foreign to me – being such a people pleaser, I always considered what other people wanted when I made decisions. But I allowed myself to dream about the life I wanted. I pictured myself sitting on the floor with three sets of eyes looking at me – eagerly – wanting to learn. I wanted children, and I wanted to teach them. I ended up quitting my job and getting pregnant with Anne :-)
I love teaching. It’s in my DNA. I’ve been teaching my whole life – from playing make-believe school on the playground, to holding chemistry study sessions in high school – to teaching bible studies in college and beyond… I’ve always taught. I wanted to teach my children at home – I wanted those three sets of eyes looking at me – eagerly – ready to do school. But that’s not my story.
God is the author of our stories. I’ve prayed often for him to weave my story into the Grand Story of Him preparing a people for Himself – a people that will spend eternity with Him. He is fulfilling that desire – just not in the exact way I’d envisioned.
As I was carting the kids to their different schools this morning, I found myself grateful for this story God has given me. I am the mom to a disabled child. I am keeper of my home, and I’m waiting for God to open up my next teaching job! It could be writing or speaking or leading a bible study at church. Whatever it is… I’m thinking it’s going to be a good one :-)
In short, Anne wrestles with God …and it’s good.
She is constantly asking questions about God…
When we get to heaven, will we still need God?
What does God’s face look like?
What is mercy?
What is the lamb of God?
She reminds me of a curious four year old, but all of her questions center around Jesus. I’m so thankful. She still struggles with God’s goodness. She often says that God doesn’t love her or help her. Or she’ll say, “I’m done with God – because he let the car crash happen.” But then she’ll look up at me and say, “But I do love Him, mommy.”
She’s wrestling. We all wrestle with God’s goodness, we just don’t have the courage to admit it :-) Anne doesn’t have the luxury of hiding. She can’t inhibit herself from talking… you always know what she’s thinking. Thankfully, she has a safe place to wrestle. There is no condemnation in this home – we do not blindly accept God’s goodness. No, my prayer is that God will bring her out on the other side, stronger and more convinced of His goodness and love for her – able to face more of this life’s hardships. And yes Anne… we will still need God when we get to heaven :-)
This past Sunday was my week to sing in the worship ensemble at church. It’s rare that I love all the songs we sing on a given morning. There might be one song that really resonates with me …on a good Sunday, maybe two or three – but never all of them :-) But this past Sunday was different. It’s like Greg (our worship director) handpicked my favorite songs – interspersed them with my favorite scripture – and then asked the Holy Spirit to give me a supernatural ability to hear all the harmonies so I could sing without thinking too hard. It was amazing :-)
Here’s a recap of my morning… Continue reading
Is God enough?
A friend of a friend is wrestling with this question… I don’t even know her, but I wrestle too. Her marriage is excruciatingly disappointing. She has a child with a chronic, possibly fatal disease. I don’t share her circumstances, but i do share her question.
I can’t wrestle for her. I’ve done enough wrestling myself. But I can wrestle with her.
I’ve been running lately – straight away from God. I’ve been seeking solace in other things… not bad things – just busy things. And you know what? I’m spent. I can’t run anymore. But I’m also too tired to seek the only One who is enough.
A friend of mine came over today to help me plant a flower bed. We worked hard as the sun rose high in the sky. We finished, and she took the water hose and watered. And watered. And watered. She’s older than I am, and therefore more patient. I watched in wonder as she found peace in the water spray hitting the newly planted flowers. Drink… Drink. Stay awhile and drink, my child.
Oh Living Water. I am thirsty, oh so thirsty. I want to drink – it’s the staying awhile that I have difficulty with…
I went out at dusk to water. I tried to linger. And I received… a drop of peace. One drop to this parched soul is more satisfying than all of my busy substitutes. The one drop gives me the answer. No more running. Only God is enough.
Control. It’s every woman’s greatest temptation. And I’ve fallen… again.
We’re thinking about moving. Well, we’re more than thinking, we are working to put our house on the market. I remember thinking that after this past year and all the lessons God has (tried) to teach me about trust, that trusting Him to sell our home would be easy… It’s a house – not my daughter. If I could learn to trust God with my own flesh and blood, how much easier would it be to trust Him with a temporary object?
Ugh. I give myself way too much credit.
From the moment we decided to pursue moving, I jumped in… cleaning, de-cluttering – trying to get the house perfect as fast as I possibly could. And when Eric decides to go at a different pace, or use a different strategy – well… Hear me Roar!
Oh Jesus, you’d think I would have learned just a little about trust – just a little? Tonight’s devotional from Streams in the Desert was like a punch right in my gut: Remain still before Him, and stop your own restless working until He begins to work. Do nothing that He Himself has not commanded you to do. Allow God time to work and He surely will.
Trust, Kathryn! Stop trying to control everything. Stop. Stop! Help your husband and trust God to work. …As Anne would say, “Easy-Peasy.” HA!
I was just outside playing basketball against Canon and Kate. I was guarding Canon, and Canon yells, “Down low, Kate – go low.” Canon and I turn around to see Kate kneeling down “low” to the ground. We both burst out laughing. For you basketball newbies, “Go low” means go toward the goal and be ready for the ball. We were playing while Eric was inside putting Anne to bed. (And now Eric is playing basketball with Canon while I stay inside with Anne…)
This is just one example of how the dynamics have changed within our family. Because Anne gets so tired in the evenings AND because of her disability… Canon and Kate are together alot.
In the beginning, this was difficult because Canon projected his grief onto Kate. There was lots of bickering. Now that Canon understands the true source of his grief, he has prayed for his relationship with Kate to improve – (which is AMAZING. My jaw almost hit the floor when I heard him praying for that!)
The other day Canon said, “God has changed my heart towards Kate. I really like playing with her now.” It’s true. They have so much fun together!
Even though their relationship is wonderful, and brings me much joy… lately I’ve been more aware of Anne’s absence in their play – which has made me sad.
Last night, Anne had an extra boost of energy, so she was able to stay up later with Canon and Kate. Instead of two kids playing, it was three. They were all wrestling and tickling each other on the living room floor. There were lots of squeals and laughter.
As I watched the THREE of them playing, I felt especially aware that this was God’s gift to me – a deposit, if you will – of things to come.
It is so hard to accept this new life God has given us. I’m tired of feeling sad. I just want to submit and accept and move on. I still feel like God’s hand is pressing me down into grief – like I have more work to do – more wrestling. It WILL end, and God will help us to submit and rest – all in His timing.
We covet your prayers…
- for comfort and rest for Anne – that she would know God’s love for her
- for perseverance for Anne – and for all of us :-)
- that we could find joy in her current recovery and trust God for her future (instead of worrying about it).
- And for God to continue His healing work in Anne!
THANK YOU! -kathryn
Anne continues to improve little bit by little bit. She’s come so far since she was released in the hospital last June.
She’s doing so well during her hippotherapy (horse therapy) sessions. This past Thursday she rode frontwards, backwards and sideways. Watching her ride sideways with her feet dangling over one side of the horse and her torso moving in rhythm with the horse ALL WHILE KEEPING HER BALANCE – reminded me of how she could barely sit up by herself when she first came home from the hospital. That’s good progress :-)
Considering the severity of her injury, she has some amazing cognitive strengths – including her memory, language and reasoning skills. It’s a good base for her to build upon.
The past month or so I’ve been wrestling with God’s goodness. I’m finally in a better place – closer to surrender and trust in His plan for Anne. I’ve been reading a book by Nancy Guthrie called, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow. Great book…
I’ve moved to a place where I am less concerned with Anne’s physical well being than with her spiritual well being. Don’t misunderstand, I’m still praying for her continued healing! I just pray more fervently for her to love Jesus and trust Him in the midst of her tragedy. I pray that for all of us… Canon, Kate, Me and Eric – to move into a deeper more meaningful relationship with Christ.
Anne brings us so much joy! We are so grateful to God for her life!
Thank you for your continued prayers :-)
We had a wonderful visit with family yesterday. Eric’s family from France are in the States for a few days. As we gathered with everyone, Anne seemed more lucid. Her eyes were bright, and she seemed less impulsive than usual. It was a good time.
This morning, Anne’s PT visited. It is so clear that she is God’s provision for Anne right now. She spent extended time with Anne, and Anne seemed to perform well for her. The PT is genuinely excited to work with Anne which is so encouraging to me. She’s so knowledgeable and experienced. I’ve learned so much from her already!
One interesting observation she made was that Anne’s muscles have good strength and seem to work well. Her brain just needs to be rewired to move them correctly. This requires that we are consistent with her exercises. She seems to learn quickly – but she doesn’t carry over new skills from day to day. Repetition and consistency are very important for Anne – two things that I do not excel in.
So please pray that I might be disciplined to do Anne’s exercises and also creative to see ways I can incorporate ‘therapy’ into our daily activities.
One last thought. I’ve had more peace about Anne than ever before. I think it stems from two things… First, acknowledging that Anne is forever different is a step toward acceptance – which is one of the stages in grief. In other words, I don’t feel as weighed down by grief as much as before (that could change, but for now, it’s nice :-). Second, I feel like I’m resting more in God’s hand and plan for Anne. It’s easy to place my trust in good things – like therapy, nutrition or Anne’s progress – but ultimately, God has the final say about Anne’s life. It’s refreshing to find rest in God alone.
Anne is FINALLY starting to make a little progress with her walking.
On her first day of rehab (May 7th) – she had no head support, and the only part of her body she could move on command was her right index finger. She made great strides in the next few weeks (especially cognitively), so that when she left the hospital, she could sit, track with her eyes, eat and talk – but her walking never really improved…
Just in the last few days I’ve seen the first improvement in her walking. Her feet are more relaxed. She’s stepping great with her right, and even moving her left leg a little. I don’t have to assist her as much with weight-shifting… and her balance seems to be improving. I’ve been helping her climb the stairs. She’s got great strength in her right quadricep. We’re even working on descending the stairs. This is harder for Anne because when she initiates the step down with her right leg, she must bend her left knee, but she can do a few steps :-) All of this is very encouraging!!
We’re still praying constantly for sweet Anne. She’s made so much progress, but we’re humbly hoping for more. We’re trying to remain open handed with Anne. Every day, I go through the same emotional pattern… Grief, followed by surrender, followed by hope.
Please pray for Anne:
- That her walking will continue to improve
- That her focus and attention will improve so that she can particpate in group activities\
- That God will give her a clear and crisp mind, and
- That she would be aware of God’s presence and care for her.
Thank you! -kathryn
God has me in a very good place – one of surrender. Every morning, I ask God to keep me here, and I ask for the grace to surrender Anne to Him (again) and leave her with Him for the day.
This place of surrender is one that I could have NEVER come to on my own. It is a glorious place to be. Surrender brings peace -true peace. A peace that rises above circumstances and rests on the promises of a good God. I don’t know how long God will let me stay here, but I’m trying to drink as much as I can while I can :-)
Meanwhile, Anne seems to be flourishing. Her attention is improving. Her abilities to ask appropriate questions and make conversation are improving. Her hand to mouth impulses are still strong, but have decreased slightly. She’s warm, engaging and fun to be around. Her stream of consciousness chattering is distracting in group situations, but is delightful at home.
Overall, we’re just so thankful for the person God is shaping her to be. We’re still praying for her to be able to participate in group activities with appropriate behavior, for her to be able to walk and use her left hand – but mostly for her to experience the joy of God’s presence on earth and for her life and spoken testimony to glorify Him.
Thank you for joining us in prayer, and for loving Anne and our family through this journey. – kathryn