I think it’s a comment that many parents of a child with cancer, or special needs, or even just parents of many children:
“You’re so strong!”
These last couple of weeks, I have felt anything but strong. My own personal health has given me some unsolved mysteries and often saps my strength as I try to navigate life while managing pain.
And I think, if I’m honest, that even though Elijah has been doing well in the cancer department….it still becomes wearisome. This weekend will mark two years that we have been traveling back and forth to New York. After two years, the exams have not gotten much easier. You still feel the drop in your stomach when you hand your baby over, and even when you’re feeling pretty confident that things are just fine, you still have to sit and wait. And even without the constant possibility of regrowth or new tumors, there’s just the logistics of daily life, and flights and airline representatives who may or may not be kind to you.
It’s letting go of the little wants and wishes….letting go of preferences.
I PREFER a certain airline. But that one was almost double the cost this trip.
I PREFER to have someone accompany me, but it means buying another ticket.😉
I PREFER to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, but due to the construction, they didn’t have room for us this time.
I PREFER when airline representatives are kind and understanding, and help with carrying luggage and car seats (especially when I call ahead to arrange for help), rather than when I carry all the stuff with a screaming toddler reluctantly following behind me because he wants me to pick him up.
But let’s face it-my preference would be to not be walking this road anyway, but if I were not, I would have also missed out on countless adventures, treasured friendships, and growth for our whole family in ways my words cannot express. So, preferences aside, we move forward. We step ahead even though it doesn’t match the *ideal* or even the “wouldn’t it be nice?”
It’s easy to wonder, when your heart becomes a little tired, if you’ve made a wrong turn somewhere. If maybe you got on the wrong plane instead of the one with the nice attendants.😂. Today, I am crying out for God to pour His courage into my heart, to give me the kind of faith that sees beyond what is seen, to trust that I am on the right plane and He is with me every step of the way. It may not be easy. It may not go according to my preferences. But it’s time for “wheel’s up”, and I don’t want to miss the adventure. My weak and wobbly heart can trust the God who goes before me and is guiding every step of the way.
And I’m happy to report that just when my little heart thought it would burst open with tears…..Elijah had his best flight ever. Another reminder that the hard things also have blessings hidden in them.
So! While people often comment on how our family is “so strong”, I smile and think, “We are only as strong as we must be, and even then, it is God’s strength at work in us.”
We made it to NY. I attracted more than a few glances and got a hefty workout pushing the stroller loaded down with the car seat and Elijah’s bag and pulling my roller bag…..one young man even pointed and said, “That’s cool!” I think he thought that the car seat was supposed to be on top of the stroller.
I had to chuckle. I don’t feel so strong. I feel nothing but my painfully obvious weakness. And sometimes your weaknesses become even more obvious as you press on. Today, I’ll admit….I was embarrassed. It hurt my heart to have Elijah standing there crying because he wanted me to pick him up. In order to get to the plane, I needed him to walk–even if it meant an airport gate full of people thinking I was a mean mommy. It required me to be stretched and for Elijah to be a “big boy.” I didn’t like it, but we made it. And my weakness just gives more room for Christ’s power to rest upon me. And boy, do I need it!
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9