Friday, February 04, 2011

Managing our Mess

I've been God.

There I said it.

But not to worry: He knows it; we've talked about it; and we're working on it.

Well, I'm working on it. Thankfully, He keeps loving me anyway.

Now, let me clarify. I've said many times that I have never been mad at God for giving our family a child with Spina Bifida. That is still 100% true. I am not angry about the Spina Bifida.

I've been angry about, well, everything else.

Let me explain. Everyone always talks about accepting your "new normal" when you have a child with special needs. And I got that. Or at least I thought I did.

I have totally accepted the fact that our "new normal" includes things that most mothers and families don't have to deal with -- constant doctor appointments, physical therapy, medication, catheters, surgeries, etc., etc. These things help Brooklyn, so I can deal with all that. (Most of the time.)

What I didn't realize is that our "new normal" ALSO includes the things most mothers and families DO have to deal with -- money issues, job stresses, lack of sleep, allergies, illness, etc., etc.

I guess I somehow thought we'd get a "pass" on some of the everyday stuff now that we had this new challenge in our lives. Like suddenly a money tree was going to fall out of the sky to pay for all the medical expenses. Or HGTV was going to show up at my doorstep and decorate my new(ish) house for free. Or that Jeff and I would become the world's best parents and know exactly how to handle a very sassy 3-year-old or a kindergartener that still has not outgrown full-out meltdowns.

Not so much.

I didn't realize all of this at first. It wasn't until some soul searching and some tearful discussions with the Man upstairs that I realized why I was in such a funk. Honestly, I guess I thought I deserved an easier life because of our challenges.

But of course, that is not true. I don't deserve an "Easy Button" any more than anybody else does. That isn't the way life works.

Life is messy.

Brooklyn is not a perfect baby. She cries a lot and most likely won't let you hold her. She doesn't sleep that great at night, has zero interest in cereal, and often pees through her outfit 10 seconds after she is fully dressed. She has reflux issues (like her sisters), and I have to avoid certain foods so she can better tolerate my breastmilk.

Granted, she is a rock star in many ways (and has the most adorable smile), but she is still a baby. A gooey, cranky, diaper-dirtying baby. But, really, why wouldn't she be? That's the way she should be. She is human, and she is wonderfully and uniquely made.

Even Jesus' life was messy. Look at his birth. Yes, we all know there was no room at the inn, but we still glamorize the whole event. Nativity scenes depict a warm cozy stable full of hay and adorable animals surrounding a peacefully sleeping baby. But the truth is, Joseph and Mary were probably in a cold, dark cave -- a common place to keep sheep and other animals in those days. A cave full of manure and animals that haven't been bathed and were probably not very understanding of the whole birthing process. Not exactly the ideal birthing scenario. Yet out of that messy situation, God brought the greatest gift of all.

So I am learning to appreciate our mess -- all of it --  and I felt it only fair to share that with you. I could hide behind this blog and pretend that life at our house is perfect and happy and full of adorable baby smiles all the time, but that's not true. It is often chaotic and sticky and most definitely messy.

But I refuse to turn this house into a pit of pity. Perspective is everything, and as long as I am talking to Him, reading His word, and accepting His grace, I am convinced this mess is going to turn out to be the life He planned for us.

Until then, I will do my best to enjoy the ride and dive straight into the goo if I have to. He will clean it up.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

1 comment:

Jodi said...

Beautifully and perfectly written. Thank you for those words and your perspective. I appreciate it more than you know. :) And you are NOT alone.