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After we brought Nathan home from the hospital …
I struggled with depression, driven by post-partum hormones, anxiety about his diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and the holes in my baby’s heart. How was I going to meet the needs of my family as I had before and find my way through the mysteries of the unknown path ahead?
Two months after Nathan was born I stood in the shower telling God all about it:
I am sick of crying, God. I’ve cried every day for the last two months and I’m tired of it. I can’t fix me. I can’t fix my baby. I can’t fix my life. God…I need help….and on and on and on….”
I call that ten minute episode, surrender in the shower. It was a turning point for me.
- I surrendered to the fact that I was powerless to change Nathan’s condition.
- I could’t rewrite the script. Nor could I erase the last year of my life.
- I surrendered to the fact that I wasn’t meeting my children’s needs the way I wanted to. God knew that too, and He was going to have to make up the difference.
- I surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t control the future. It as in God’s hands. And I surrendered to the fact that my feelings were my feelings – even though I was weary of them – and the only way to get beyond the grief was to go through it and to trust that in God’s perfect time he would heal my heart.
I see now …
that much of my anguish in those early years was caused by my own resistance to reality.
Being in a tug of war with the events or circumstances in our life does not change things. What is, IS. Trying to escape or leave the present doesn’t help either. But I know something that does help.
Acceptance doesn’t make things harder; it makes them easier. It empowers us to see with a new set of eyes.
Acceptance is powerful. It brings quiet peace to a heart torn with conflict. It comes when we make the choice to take a deep breath and say, “We are exactly where we are supposed to be at this point in time.” It means we stop wasting precious time and emotional energy wishing things were different, or longing to be someone else, or wanting another set of circumstances. Its a force for change that can turn bad into good.
It’s trusting that my times are in God’s hands. Psalm 31:15
The circumstance doesn’t matter. It may be singleness. Or widowhood. A heartbreaking marriage. Disability. A lingering ailment. Or shocking betrayal. Any life situation in which we find ourselves and over which we have no control.
Here I am 23 years after Nathan’s arrival,
and seven years to the day following his departure to heaven …
Anniversaries like this cause me to stop. To reflect. To cherish. And to give thanks for the sixteen years we shared life together.
I’m reminded of a surprise gift I received from Nathan during this past year.
An unpredictable and painful incident occurred. Without warning I was blindsided by a verbal blood bath. Accusations. Unchecked words of death. Darkness unleashed. My stomach was tied up in more nasty knots than I could count. I went to bed that night in agony, soaking the pillow until sleep finally came.
Up to that point, I had not dreamed about Nathan for five years.
But on this particular night, much to my astonishment, an intensely vivid dream startled me awake.
In the dream I observed a scene in front of me, in which I also played a part.
Jesus sat facing forward looking at me while I watched the scene unfold. Nathan sat on Jesus’s right knee facing center, while I sat on Jesus’s left knee facing Nathan. Our knees touched together. My mom stood behind me silently rubbing my upper back in gentle circles. Suddenly Nathan placed his hands on my knees and leaned towards me until his face was within an inch of mine. With perfect speech (something he did not have in this world), he looked me straight in the eye and boldly declared, “It’s OK Mom. Jesus has a plan.”
I bolted up in bed, craving more. More of my son. More of this comfort. More of God.
It’s OK Mom….
Once again Nathan draws me to God and reminds me of truth …Youdon’t have to make your life work out. God has a plan and it is good.
It’s OK Mom. Even the strange, the unplanned, the painful, the things we call awful can be woven together for our highest good, and God’s highest honor. It’s all going to be OK.
OK Nathan. I’ll choose to embrace what is and lean into acceptance.
Acceptance doesn’t mean …
Acceptance does’t mean we don’t feel sad now and then. We do.
Acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t ever play the “what if?” game. We do.
Acceptance does’t mean we never day dream about what could have been. That’s not likely.
But less. Much less than before.
Thank you Nathan for your timeless love. Yes, my son, I hear and receive your words.
God is with us and Jesus has a plan.
It’s going to be OK.
***a portion of the post is found in Angel Behind the Rocking Chair
where Nathan’s story and those of other special needs children
who have experienced incredible encounters with God, are shared.
Their stories infuse me with hope and courage while embracing the daily joys and sorrows of life.
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