Strength beyond Our Own

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“There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin. Then there are days when I feel I’m letting go and soaring on the wind. Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain how to survive. I get on my knees, I get on my knees. There I am before the love that changes me. See I don’t know how, but there’s power, when I’m on my knees.” ~ Jaci Velasquez song, On My Knees

Do you ever feel like you can’t go on? You can’t move from the spot you are stuck on. Today I reflect on the almost year journey my friends have made with their young daughter. Born exactly one month before my own daughter, I am emotionally caught in their struggle of pain and heartache.

Have you ever gotten everything you ever wished for? I feel very humbled when I look at all the gifts God has given me and then see very deserving people who aren’t as blessed, or find that things don’t come as easily to them as it does for others. I once heard someone say if God doesn’t heal you, he doesn’t love you. What a load of hooey!!

I went to a small Christian college where everyone knew everyone else. We were a close knit community for 4 years and there are friendships I will cherish for the rest of my life. I remember sitting at my friend’s baby shower with a large group of girls from college, and hearing their stories on getting pregnant, losing babies, trying to get pregnant and all I could think was how blessed I was to be sitting there 6 months pregnant.

There were 4 of us pregnant that day with our first. The stories I heard from 2 of them were of heartache and loss. One had lost twins and was now expecting a little girl the following month. All is well and in fact she just gave birth to her second child this month. The other, who we were celebrating had used IVF to conceive and while they were successful their first try, it was not a story I could relate to. I remember telling my husband before we ever married I could not do fertility treatments. I knew I couldn’t handle the emotions and possible heartache.

I never thought I would conceive so easily. The first month we really started trying we were successful. I had multiple health issues that could have been a problem, but were not. I had an easy pregnancy and never really felt a single contraction. Apparently I was in labor for 6 hours before an emergency c-section, which was easy too. I healed remarkably well and was ready to get out of bed the following day.

But here I find myself looking at a life that was long-awaited, long-expected and celebrated. My friends finally had their little bundle of joy, conceived by IVF and theirs to have and hold and spoil. Seven months later they began a journey that has yet to end. Tumors were discovered in their baby’s chest area and were removed. Their worst fears were realized when she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. She would be facing a future of tumors and surgeries. In the last year my friends have had to wean their baby from drugs, due to hospital stays with lots of medication.

I can say having been raised in a home where my parents were foster parents we had drug affected babies and it’s not easy.

They have experienced the Pediatric ICU first hand and learn to suction and change their daughter’s trach. They are learning sign language so they can communicate with their daughter a little easier and they have maintained their love of God and know He is in control. They don’t blame God, and even though my friend gets down on how her life has changed, she is strong beyond her means and still continues to love, as best as she can, those in her life.

The other day I saw a Facebook post she was tagged in where she had gifted a friend with a 2nd trimester pregnancy cravings goodie bag. She still had time to think of others and give back, even though she barely has enough time to sleep between breathing treatments and doctor appointments.

She misses the life she had, where she was the extrovert, happy teacher who sang and worshipped with her church family. Now she fears her daughter will get sick if surrounded by large crowds. She feels she has become a recluse and I pray for her often. I could not imagine having the year she has had and still come out of it with a sense of humor and resolve. She is resolved she will not be who she was, but one thing she does know: she is her daughter’s mother and her best advocate. I look forward to her posts about how life is going for them at home and how she makes light of some difficult situations.

Have you found yourself surrounded by mountains too big to overcome? It can seem impossible in the midst of your struggles but knowing God’s love is big enough to reach in and lift you up can help get you through your days. I often find myself singing the lyrics above. Even when there are days I feel I want to give up, I know my God loves me and he gives me strength and power when I can’t do it on my own.Image

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