My post today is more for my own journaling than anything. I really do not journal much other than when the kids say and do cute things. Otherwise, journals to me feel like a ball and chain. Plus, the “cute things” journal does not include any of the BMT journey we are experiencing, so thanks for your understanding as I allow my mind to run for awhile.
I had an interesting conversation the other night with my mom and as I was considering it over the last few days, had some further processing that I feel is worth sharing. The two of us were discussing how difficult it is for many people who are not going through this directly to try to imagine what the day-to-day is like or conceptualize what it feels like to have to go through this. I have many times heard of other persons’ life situations and have wondered how in the world they process things and move through their particular circumstances. If I was reading this blog and it was someone else’s story, I am sure I would be feeling that way now. We went on to discuss how the cliché saying, “God only gives you as much as you can handle” really is true. But when I have thought that about other people and the things they have gone through I still wonder how exactly He equips them. There are a couple of things that have been an integral part of my ability to handle a lot of this (and I know Terry concurs on much of this, but for now I’ll just speak for myself). These things that I will mention are in addition to God’s releasing I have mentioned in earlier posts.
First, much mental preparation has gone into this situation. All the decisions we’ve had to make to get here and the timeframe in which they have happened make this not as shocking for us as it probably seems to an outsider. The situation in its entirety will always be shocking to us in some way, but our level of analysis on the matter has gone so deep that much of the day-to-day is back to normal; this is our reality and our life. So when you read about someone’s life and think, “Man, that seems like a lot”, for us, this wasn’t just dumped in our laps yesterday. It is still pretty fresh, but we are beyond those immediate raw feelings. Everything that we are “learning” at the hospital has been told to us over and over again by many doctors and nurses for the last several months. The only exception to this is my constant need to guard my mind against prognosis.
Second, and even more importantly, I never realized that part of God’s way of giving us only what we can handle would include the removal of many things as well. Sure, we have other things we are still concerned about in life–day-to-day things that will always be there. But for the most part, the normal “noise” of life has been veiled for me. And coming from a person who worries and stews over very minor things in the grand scheme of life, that is God at work in me. He has simply taken those things and put them away for me for the time being. I am sure there will come a day when they creep back in, when our life is more “normal” again. But for now, He has us focused on the present and not much else. It is very freeing. Additionally, He continues to correct me on my life expectations for all of my kids, but right now Reece in particular. He continues to show me ways that I have mapped out roads in my mind that may or may not be traveled down and how instead of projecting the long-term, I need to focus on what is specifically in front of us. He is conditioning me to remove all the wasted time and energy in planning things out and redirecting that energy back towards the task at hand.
Third, because of the extreme nature of a bone marrow transplant and all of the many variables we have to consider or at least be aware of, we have had to take a hard look at life. I have posted about bits and pieces of this along the way, but ultimately, we have had to bring our minds to places we would have never voluntarily taken them. I have considered just about every scenario I can think of and I have concluded that I am as much at peace with the possibilities as I can humanly be or at least be at this point. Being “at peace” is somewhat fluid in that there are moments of doubt, worry, sadness, disappointment. However, those moments do not override our day-to-day lives and they do not color our days as morbid. The only thing I can compare it to is forgiveness. Whatever way someone has wronged you, it is difficult to move beyond that circumstance and continue to fully live until you have forgiven them. I view this in a similar light; forgiving the situation and accepting that it is what we are facing, we are able to move on. It prevents us from being trapped in the “whys” and “how comes”, which are defeating places to live in.
Fourth–and most critically–is understanding and trusting that God has a plan and then BEING OK with that. The “being ok” part is the kicker. I have mentioned before that God loves Reece more than we do, but really accepting His love for Reece and resting in that is so important. In casual conversation the term “child of God” is used often. I hadn’t really considered it deeply before; I took it at face value. But when you think of God as the Ultimate Parent and that we as earthly parents are caretakers for our kids that really starts to sink in–our kids are HIS KIDS. Taking it one step further, we go on date nights, leave our kids with a babysitter knowing that we trust that person, but they do not love our child the way that we as parents do. We expect a good report at the end of the evening and when all is said and done, we come home, pay the sitter, and go on with life. If we knew that our sitter spent their time not focused on our kids and their immediate needs, but rather contemplating what our kids would be doing in the next days, weeks, or months, we would definitely not be pleased with how things went. We would question how well they cared for our kids and their best interests, knowing that we as parents will have that covered. If a babysitter or daycare provider tried to tell me they know more about the best interest of my child, I would be appalled. Now I consider that this is what God is doing with any parent here on earth. We will have this report we will have to give and He will either be satisfied with how things went or think we could have done better…much better in some cases. So in terms of God, how can I really question His decisions about my kids, especially when their future lies in His hands and not my own. I may not understand all that is happening now, but I can still parent my kids in a way that pleases God. One day this will all be revealed and no matter what life plan Reece has, I will have to answer to the actions I took on earth in regard to my parenting. I am pretty certain that questioning God is a colossal waste of time and a better use of said time would be to focus on what He has tasked us to do as earthly parents of His children. When I get to heaven one day and as He looks at my life, I don’t want Him to be disappointed in how much time I wasted worrying about the future. I want Him to turn to the parenting part of my “report card” and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” It’s not so easy to re-program my brain to think this way, but I am convinced that this what I need to do for my life as a wife and mother, and to carry out the work He has tasked me to do.
I know we will struggle in the days to come and for a long time after. I know I will have to re-read this post to remind myself of these things. And just because I think them doesn’t mean I always do them. I’m glad that I can at least write this all out so that I have a baseline for where my thoughts were at before the transplant. When we are walking through the thick mud of life, I can look back and remember these things He brought to light and hopefully be reminded of the many things He does promise to do, regardless of life circumstances.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58