it IS like this.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Have you ever had that thought?  I think it all the time.

I am 27 years old, about to graduate with my bachelor's degree. It took me ten years to get it. Yesterday I got a call from my top choice graduate school informing me that I had been accepted. I called my husband to tell him, sobbing because I knew I probably wouldn't get to go. I applied before we knew M's diagnosis and how much time and work I was going to have to put into her treatment.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

O learned how to pee in the potty in about an hour's time. His older sister M has been working on it for two years and has only been able to do it once. He's starting to talk more than her and have conversations. She doesn't even understand the flow of a conversation. My youngest child is significantly smarter than and developmentally ahead of my oldest child.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

My entire life, I dreamed of having a daughter. It was my most exciting dream, aside from marriage. Now I have one, but we might not get to do the things together that I always imagined or prayed for. Only 15% of people with autism are even able to find employment, much less have families and live independently. I have no idea what her life will be like, and I have no one to blame for it. She just got some unlucky combination of genes and was exposed to some unknown, random environmental 'thing,' and now this is her reality.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

We lost our first house. Every time we start to make enough money, something happens and it's not enough anymore. Debt, debt, debt. M needs a special diet and more therapy, and we can't even afford to keep our dogs and cat anymore.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I got fat. I never had to worry about weight, but I got pregnant and I've never looked the same since. Even after doing the work and shedding the pounds, I have huge hips, bigger feet and saggy, stretch-mark-injured skin. I found grey hairs on my head yesterday. The bags under my eyes have become more permanent. My teeth get more crooked every day and we can't afford braces. I swear my nose is still growing. I feel like a washed up version of what I'm supposed to look like. I feel pretty ugly.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

And I guess if I'm honest, I am just angry. I get angry when I hear people talking about their life as if they have control over it. I get angry when I hear moms talking about their kids as if they have control over them-- as if being a good mom and "caring enough" can protect your child from anything. Yeah right.  I get upset when I hear anyone talk about anything in this life as though they have it all figured out. Because you can plan, you can work really really hard, you can strategize, you can foresee obstacles, you can be more intelligent than anyone, and misfortune will still catch up with you one of these days. It's the world we live in; a world of suffering the consequences of others' mistakes, the evil of others, the selfishness of others, the unluckiness of random unfortunate chance, and worse-- the shortcomings of ourselves and our own foolishness.

There are very few things in this life I believe in, one hundred percent, without a doubt. But here are some that give me comfort when I am angry and tired and want to quit.

     “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
     “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
     “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
     “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
     “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
     “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

                                Matthew 5:3-8 MSG

At the end of the day, I believe with all I have in me that my circumstances do not ultimately determine the quality of my life. My attitude does.

Often, my assertion is correct; no, it was not supposed to be like this. Not at all.

But it is like this.

So I have a choice to make. The ball is in my court.

Am I going to trust God, or stay angry and say 'screw it'?

Am I going to follow love, or live in my hatred for how certain things in my life have turned out?

Am I going to choose joy, or daily fall into sorrow?

Am I going to choose peace, or believe the lie that the chaos in front of me is all there is?

I will choose God. His love, His joy, and His peace. I will keep hope in my back pocket at all times, and I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Because that is where I live. And He loves me. And he's going to show up, because that's what good Fathers do. I have a huge mountain in front of me to scale, and I am out of shape and exhausted. But in Him I can do all things, and we're gonna climb this  together.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Emily...your mom posted a link to your blog on fb and I just wanted you to know that I've been reading since. :)And what you're doing to raise $ is awesome! I'm hoping we can help contribute soon. I so appreciate your are a beautiful writer.
    It is clear that you love your daughter and that she is BLESSED. Although we are all scaling different mountains at different times in life, thank God we are not alone in this motherhood journey. I was recently feeling discouraged about being a stay at home mom...not feeling like I was contributing to a "ministry," or being productive for the kingdom. A friend reminded me that motherhood is a call and the most important ministry. So be encouraged to know that God has called you to the ministry of being your kids' mom and with every sacrifice, every menial, repetative task, every sleepless is for the Lord and a beautiful offering to Him. I'm learning the painful lesson that God's plan for our lives are often uncomfortable and not usually what we have planned for ourselves, BUT they are always for our good and His Glory.

    And from the wise words of yo gabba gabba..."don't stop, don't give up!" ;)