Can I confide in you precious people about some things in our world? I have tried to deal with this by myself this past few weeks (not very well) and beginning Sunday I just started spewing – too much bottled up I guess. It feels better to share this burden though – so I thought I’d take it a bit further and post this here.
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
This is where I am… and I’ll be honest. I am struggling. Our oldest daughter, Grace, has been doing some strange things lately. She is the sweetest little person and is normally a very easy, joyful child. But the past couple of months she has begun to do a strange repetitive behavior – she makes this odd sound almost all day everyday. It is like a sharp inhaled breath – like someone seeing something shocking. We just thought that was a strange thing she picked up, and only worried when she did it while eating (it causes her to choke sometimes). After trying to get her to stop, which only made it worse, we decided to ignore it and let it go away. But then she began to be shy around people, fearful, fussy, sad. She began to wake up crying. Her teachers noticed. My parents noticed. People began to ask us questions. Her pediatrician heard her do it at one of Bekah’s appointments and asked if Tourettes ran in our family. I told him no and that I wasn’t prepared to even have that discussion – that is was a phase and that I’d come back if it continued a few months.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
At first I honestly didn’t take any of it seriously. I just thought it was a fun noise. But as the behaviors seemed to link up and as the weeks turned into a month – I began to feel this small fearful sensation in the back of my mind. I left it there, afraid to tell anyone or give it legitimacy, and I think the fear began to grow and take root. You see – I am truthfully battling stress about other things in our life. Justin, despite so much attempt, still has not found a fulltime job. This economy is just wretched. Our finances are tight, and our goal of being debt free seems to be sprinting away from us in the other direction. My job is overwhelming these days, too much work and not enough time to do it, and with Grace struggling I can’t seem to conjure up the desire to work – all I want to do is stay home and focus on her, giving her all my love and attention. And because of Justin’s job search – we are bouncing around church to church in a time where we badly NEED a church family and want to commit to one. I am stressed. I am TIRED. I mentally have to release these burdens and worries to the Lord, where they belong, all day everyday. I know I am not “myself” either – despite my best efforts. So this is what Grace’s mommy is going through. I began to wonder if she was feeling my stress and if this behavior was somehow linked to that. I kept trying to trust. To rest. To act like I wasn’t overwhelmed. I read about people in much more difficult situations than ours who seem to have less struggle with hope and fear than I do and I feel great shame. So all of this is going on in my head, but I am faking it for my daughter’s sake, hoping she would see me acting normally and would herself return to “normal” behavior. The thought that my inability to trust was hurting my daughter was crushing me.
She began to act out a little more – not wanting to be close to us sometimes, having periods where we could not get her to stop crying. Her teachers began to tell me when she had “happy Gracie” days instead of just reporting on the abnormal ones. Some days she holds her ears in fear when we go outside or when we turn on the TV. A few times a day she is simply inconsolable. I cannot get her to stop crying. We continue to discipline her for fits but I wonder if something is wrong and causing this behavior. I began to get more worried. I began to shield her from people – not wanting her to be judged and not wanting people to comment. I would look at her when she was sleeping or when she was so upset or even when she was acting “normally” and I would tear up. I hurt for her – I can’t stand to see her hurting. I prayed constantly. My mind would jump to worry and I would tell myself 150 times every day that Jesus is Lord over my daughter and that He is in control and that she is in His hands.
We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ 2 Cor 10:5
We still don’t know what this is. We took her back to the Pediatrician today and they watched her for a bit longer and are referring us to an ENT specialist to rule out physical factors before we go down other roads. It just seems to be getting worse and the “wait and see” approach doesn’t feel wise anymore. But we still don’t know – this could be a reaction to our stress. This could be physical. This could be neurological. This could be a silly phase that goes away tomorrow. We just don’t know. All we know is that something is wrong and she is hurting.
Carry each other’s burdens. Galatians 6:2
I honestly don’t want to tell you guys this. Although I know I need prayer, although I want my daughter to get prayer, I don’t want people thinking she’s strange and I don’t want to reveal this to anyone. I don’t want questions – I don’t even honestly want helpful solutions at this point. I really don’t. We live with her and we have tried it all. So it is scary to write this. I shake when I tell people. But I know the value of confession, even of weakness, and I know that I am WEAK right now. I live on the verge of tears. I live struggling to concentrate on the world around me because I am battling fear and worry in my mind. And if posting this can help, I want to do that. I need that help.
But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Cor 9:27
Here’s my problem… what I KNOW versus how I feel. And I am exhausted trying to bring my mind and my feelings into submission.
I know these verses are true. I have to tell myself them all day everyday because I know I am living in my mind like they aren’t true.
I know Jesus loves us and has a plan. I feel betrayed and alone.
I know my daughter is in His hands and I know He trusted me with her. I feel like I’m letting her down and not strong enough to parent her properly.
I know Justin’s job is around the corner, I believe in His talent and I believe God is working this out for good. I feel like I can’t wait another day.
I know the Lord is our Provider and that He will take care of us. I feel sick when I check our accounts (very convicting when I realize how little trust I have in this area).
I know this season will pass. I feel like this season is redefining the rest of our life and erasing our goals.
I know that fear and worry is a sin. I have a headache everyday from pushing this stuff back in my mind and thinking too much and being on the verge of tears.
I know that He is a God who renews us and gives us strength. I feel utterly exhausted. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to talk to people. I do still want to worship (why Keystone is such a balm to my heart), but other than that I am like a cave person.
I know that EVEN if every worst case scenario I could possibly imagine did come true, our God is in control and He’ll never give me more than I could handle. I feel weak and desperately want Him to rescue my baby girl, my husband, and me.
Anyway – that is where we are. And I’ve been here for WEEKS, which is why I’m writing this. I want free of this feeling. I don’t know if this is normal behavior for someone in our shoes, or if I am behaving like a godless heathen. I feel like I am a godless heathen. I feel like I’m totally failing this test. I just hurt and feel weak and alone. So I thought I’d reach out and share and ask you guys to pray for me in this place.
I think about a friend of mine that has gone through an unimaginable trial – is still in the middle of it. Her trials have made her strong and beautiful – a living light. Maybe that is the purpose in this -and if so, I am in. But what I don’t want to do is fail at the trials. I don’t want to be crushed under them and not let myself see the victory that is mine. I don’t want to crush my daughter in my weakness. I want her to see the goodness of God and grow up in a joy filled home.
Love you all.
To follow up, the Lord has brought comfort. Things haven’t changed – but some wonderful people contacted me with perfect encouragement that spoke peace to my heart. So thank you (you know who you are). We can feel your prayers. Please keep them up and we’ll update as we get news.