I'm reading the book Totally Desperate Mom right now. A woman from church gave it to me on Sunday. Her friend, Wendy Hagen wrote the book. She Wendy's first child had Trisomy 13. When Traci heard our story she brought us a copy of the book.
It's not a sad book. It's a realistic book about motherhood. So far I'm loving it (I'm only 25 pages in). Early in the book she tells about Faith, her first child (who died from T13). She also touches on the difficulties some couples have in conceiving, and adoption. She has so many poignant thoughts to share, and plenty of humor to go along. (no I'm not getting paid for this advertisement :) ).
Wendy writes about how motherhood is permanent. "No give backs. No do-overs." She also mentions how the permanency of parenting is actually part of what makes it so incredible. And that God "has chosen you to be the mom for your child."
I'm sure if I read back I will find a post where I've written that I don't think God gave us this situation, but that He walks with us and allows us to find growth in pain. I'm finding myself a bit more confused with this idea. I know that little Abby is a gift from God. I think in this situation specifically it is our culture that makes Abby's life more difficult. That we have a belief in what is supposed to happen, what a healthy child looks like. I truly believe that she is a gift, that she is perfect in her own way (just as I am perfect in who I am... right? okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch). And it's such a beautiful idea that God picked our family to love and embrace Abby. To show that she is important, that her life although different from my other children is precious and she deserves a chance to live it.
It would be easy for me to just say that God is in charge of everything, that He only gives us what we can handle, that He gives us challenges as opportunities for growth. I do believe that we are only given what we can handle... when was the last time you saw someone actually die from a difficult situation (well other than Padme from a broken heart at the end of Star Wars III)? And I believe that if we look to our faith we can find meaning and growth in the moments of both pain and joy. But I'm still not sold on the idea that God is completely in charge of everything. There are two hiccups in that for me. (1) Free Will, ya that's kind of a big one for me. (2) Satan's influence on our world.
When someone is brutally beat to death, did God really do that??? Or does He help us through our pain, does He help us to start taking baby steps towards healing? Here is my thing... if we believe that God is in charge of everything then he is surely responsible for all the evil in the world. Maybe I'm just too young in my faith, but I can't connect those dots yet.
I'm not certain why this is important to me right now... but I want to have this written out for my kids. I want them to learn and decide for themselves. I hope they find strength through the Lord, that they don't give up when life gets tough. That they allow themselves to grieve and then work to find meaning in the difficulties of life. I think finding a lesson, a meaning, a purpose can make moving forward possible. Which doesn't mean that the situation itself ever makes sense, or feels less painful.
I just really want my kids to believe they can make it through anything. And that the greatest rewards come from working hard, facing hardships and not selling out when life gets tough. So often it is the anticipation of an event or a change that is harder than the reality. (in my mind I know there are plenty of realities that are harder than I could even try to imagine).
I'm so thankful for little Abby. For her strength and our chance to love her. And I'm so thankful for all the people who offer us support and love, who stay in touch and reach out. I'm so thankful that Abby is able to leave her footprints in this world, even though she may never take steps.