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.
My Dearest Friend,
The pain we feel as mothers for our children is the worst pain in the entire world, isn’t it? It is unspeakable…the only way to describe it is the big tears that fall down our cheeks in the silence of the night. I cry with you tonight! I have two words for you that I think we crave to hear in these moments of life: I understand.
I have looked at my own children in their struggles and lots in life, and there were days that I thought the pain would swallow me whole. I, too, felt the need to protect them and defend them to people…one has battled depression before the age of 10, rarely smiled for 2 years…my other can barely read and write at the age of 8 due to one of the most severe cases of dyslexia our doctor has seen. Please let me share with you the biggest lesson I have learned over many sleepless nights of conversations with God.
What we deem in our humanly wisdom as a “burden” or a “curse” for our children…God has actually given to them as a gift. That’s right…I will retype it because it is startling–GOD HAS GIVEN TO THEM AS A GIFT. Hard to understand, right? Me too. Until God whispered in my heart that He comforts us, and our children so that we can learn to comfort others that are far from Hm in the same way to bring glory to Him. Our children, that society may deem as “different” have a GOD-GIVEN chance to shine the light to someone that others may not be able to reach and influence.
Now is the time, dearest, to look into the eyes of your sweet child and begin to fill her with the excitement that God CHOSE her for this very special gift! (If it turns out to be something other than a case of anxiety, or terrible 2, 3 and 4…as one of mine had as well!) Breathe into her the grace of God that she is so appropriately named after! God is beginning good works in her (Phil 1:6 “being CONFIDENT of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.) This is not her life doomed to misery…it is bound for ministry!
Be CONFIDENT in the path that God has created for your Gracie. He is not going to leave her, or forsake her….or you as her mother and HIS child. God has seen what beautiful, faithful God-fearing parents she has…and has knitted a strength in her soul to live the life that is waiting before her. How blessed is this child! She has an opportunity to experience God in an amazing way if you continue to instill this confidence in her now (hello, deut 6:7! “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”)
I know that 2 Cor 12:7-10 (with my insertions) completely confirms that Grace’s experiences with Christ will be profound. “… there was given (Grace) a thorn in (her) flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me (as her mother). Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from (her). But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you (and sweet little Grace), for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, SO THAT CHRIST’S POWER MAY REST ON (Grace). ”
One more piece of encouragement and word of power for you. On the days that you feel the stormy waters are going to drown and swallow you (and there will be those days!) Remember Peter in Matthew 14 “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Remember to keep your eyes and confidence in Christ, dear friend, and you and your family will continue walk in the midst of this storm.
I cannot wait to hug you and Grace…not out of pity or sorrow…but out of celebration that I can walk on this journey with you as a sister in Christ… if it tourettes…if it anxiety…if it is simply a season…THIS will not crush you, dear friend…God is near to you (Psalm 34:18). And you have so many that are cheering for you in a spirit of exhortation and confidence in God’s plans for your life and Gracie’s.
Love, love, love you.
Girl I keep re-reading this and just soaking it in and processing my way through it. Thank you SO much. It is perspective altering truth you have shared with me and I keep coming back to it. I was telling Ang today – and it’s true – that talking and writing this out and sharing with you guys is making my head hurt less and my heart feel hope. Your responses are so wise and so kind and so from the Lord for my heart and my head. THANK YOU.
Jen I so enjoy reading the honesty in your blog posts. I wish I could buy you a cup of coffee and just be there for you. I’m praying (sincerely) for you and the rest of the family.
Emi – thank you for commenting. I would LOVE that too! I have missed you. Thank you for your prayers. I can honestly say that writing this and knowing people who love us are praying has helped my hurt already. It means the world to me that you read my blog and that you lift us to the Father. I love you sweet friend!
I love reading your blog and I cherish your honesty. I never comment cause I think I can’t write anything else that would add value to your wonderful, witty and insightful blogs. But, know this, I am praying for you as a friend, as a sister in Christ and as a fellow mom. There is nothing that hasn’t sifted thru the hands of our Father and I am praying for complete peace in your thoughts, rest for your body, ease of worry and anxiety and joy in your daily routine. We cling to His feet when we are broken, we sit in His lap when we are hurting and He carries us on His shoulders when we are weary. No judgments, no advice, no opinions. Just a promise of intentional prayer.
I’m so glad you commented Sadler. I like that feet, lap, shoulders picture. That feels like my life these days. Came upstairs after some not fun hours and saw your comment. Thank you for your encouragement and your prayers. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.
Love you girl! It is so fun being mom friends with you. (I also loved your status this week – it is rare to find someone wanting to be found faithful like Job. I respect that heart.) Hang in there – I was NOT a fun pregnant person. Get sleep! 🙂
I saw this a few weeks ago on the Today Show & thought of this when I read your blog. Saving Sammy, the bog who caught OCD. Excerpt from website…When my middle son was twelve, he was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and then Tourette Syndrome. Confined to our home by the horror of his illness, a lifelong placement seemed his likely fate — until I learned that a strep infection might be the cause (a disorder known as PANDAS). Most doctors said I was wrong; but I was right, and two doctors helped me cure him. He is now fully recovered.
that is an interesting idea and actually that is the course our doctor is now taking. they want to rule out an infection in her throat, on her chords, or in her esophagus before we go down any other roads. So thank you for the link. It kind of confirms to me what we are all thinking right now. Sick toddlers are GRUMPY toddlers anyway, so that is what made us start down that road because she is just so often out of sorts whereas she wasn’t just a few months ago. So thank you for commenting. When we go to the ENT specialist I will discuss with him.
I go to Keystone church, I do not know you but I very much cherish your honesty. Just this year we were told that our son has PDD (a umbrella over autisum & aspergers). You’re words of when you sit & look at her while she’s sleeping or doing things & you have the feeling that you feel like your letting her down, brought me to tears. I too do this. I beat myself up for a while with what did I do wrong, what could I have done better. But that song we sing at Keystone “Mighty To Save” really helped me. I know you don’t want to heard all this but I thank you for writting, & know that I now pray for your little girl!
Hi Crystal, thank you for sharing about your son and thank you for praying. It is amazing how many precious moms have gone through things like what we are going through and have reached out to me. Thank you. I pray for you and your sweet son as well. Don’t they just hold our hearts in the palm of their precious little hands? Amazing. I looked up the lyrics to Mighty to Save and I love that. Such comfort for us who are so weak to know He is so mighty and willing to step into our world and rescue us. Did you have the chance to read the comment Heather D’Amico left me above – it was also such comfort to me. She has a great perspective on looking at our kids that I’d never considered in that way. I hope we get to meet for real at Keystone sometime. Thank you again for posting.