Those who know me well would not be surprised to hear me call myself a box checker. I enjoy knowing where I'm going and then feeling the accomplishment of checking off the box when I'm done. I get a sort of endorphin rush from checking things off. My sweet friend Melissa would call this being my "gold" self...right Melissa? Well this gold box checker has been having a difficult few weeks coming to grips with the reality of sweet Daniel's condition. We still do not have an official diagnosis but I know in my heart that we are dealing with alcohol related something. Whether you call it FAS, FAE, ARND, ARBD, or pFAS matters little the reality is we are in for a long haul and a lot of unknowns. I think that what I have been feeling is in a manner of speaking grief and it has put me into a bit of a tail spin.
Things came to a head on Thursday morning while I was doing my Bible study. I'm studying Esther and Beth Moore's lesson on Thursday was ironically talking about the joy that the Jews felt after Haman was hanged and Mordecai was promoted to his position and emerged from the palace clad in robes fit for a king. The paragraph that got me was when she said, "At times I feel stressed beyond human capacity and other times profoundly lonely. Sometimes I feel so frustrated I could scream and other times so ill-equipped I could panic. And those are only the things I feel free to tell you. The far more challenging conditions are too private to share. I venture to say that for this brief season I'm possibly living life as good as it gets...yet even it is hard. So when a time of happiness comes, I think we ought to take it and run." The words ill-equipped jumped off the page at me at that moment. That is how I feel right now. I know in my heart that the Lord will provide all the necessary equipment that I need in His timing but in that moment and really for a few weeks now I have felt so very ill-equipped for this task that He has put before me. And I could not face another box checking day, so I did something fairly radical for me and decided to chuck the day and take my children to Phoenix to hang out with my friend Nancy and her two kiddos. I know that doesn't sound too radical, but for a box checker like me it was pretty huge. I called Nancy and she was gracious enough to change her day (she is a fellow box checker so this was difficult for her too) and allow us to come hang out for the day.
It was exactly what I needed at that moment. The drive down was a blessing in itself as I listened to praise songs and prayed for wisdom and guidance. The Lord brought to mind a sermon that one of our elders preached a few weeks ago. He was talking about Psalm 127 and the fact that children are such a blessing and that even though having many of them can be stressful that he often prays that the Lord will give us each just one more than we think that we can handle so that we are desperate for His help and realize that we can do none of this on our own. I think that is where I am right now. I realize that in my own strength there is no way that I can handle all of the issues that we are currently facing as well as all those that we will more than likely face in the future. The beauty is that if I will allow Him the Lord will do the "how" for me. I just need to worry about the "what". I believe that is knowing that He has called me to raise these children in this time and that they are a blessing and that He knows what they need and what I need and He will provide each thing as it is needed. If I could just remember that when I begin to ruminate over what Daniel's future might hold what adolescence may be like, what adulthood is going to hold. I know that I'm definitely not the first parent to have these thoughts but they are in fact overwhelming none the less.
In any case this week He has provided for me in a myriad of ways. He provided a day of rest and refreshment and a friend who understands and was willing to take the day and spend just reflecting and sharing her heart. He provided a wonderful phone call from another friend earlier in the week from sweet Melissa who always listens and provided such encouragement and wisdom. Then last evening another phone call from sweet Jodi who is walking much the same walk that we are with her own son. We were able to download some of the feelings of grief and frustration with the medical establishment and the public in general who don't seem to think that alcohol related birth defects are necessarily a big deal. He also provided a husband who processes things quite differently but who is so willing to listen to my heart and support me and us in this grief process. And to let me know that we will succeed in this journey with God's help. I am so grateful for the people that the Lord has brought into my life to walk along side me in this. They are gifts that He has provided for this ill-equipped box checker to lean on. And even though the grief is still there I feel just a little more equipped to handle it.