This journey is so hard. It so very painful at times. It is full of compromise but also defending your turf. It is about learning how to let others help you but also standing your ground to help yourself and the ones you love. It is about learning how to shift into first or second gear, when you are used to running in 4th or 5th.
When people say God doesn't give you more than you can handle, I'm not convinced that is the truth. I'm beginning to think He gives us way more than we can handle on purpose. He does it so we will learn just how dependent we must be on His love and grace; His provision and protection for true fulfillment. If we had all we could handle all the time, we wouldn't need Him.
It is situations like the one we are enduring (because that is just what we are doing most of the time, despite our sunny dispositions), that crystallize who we are and what we are made of. That sounds very noble, but it really has a whole host of indignities as part of it. There isn't much about Cancer or any serious illness that is dignified.
The dignity comes from how you handle what is going on around you, being done to you and what is happening inside you.
Not surprisingly, The Lord is using my family, specifically Natalie and Sophia, to speak to me regarding having more dignity through this process.
Natalie reminds me so much of young Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 - being called by God but not yet trained to hear His voice. And in a lot of ways, I resemble Eli - not to interested at the moment in helping her work through problems, because I have enough to do on my own. A lot of times, I just want it to go away.
Every January, Natalie hits an emotional growth spurt. I remember that it started at 4, or that was when I noticed it. Something about the first of the year brings her challenges in maturity. And this is no different. Right now, she is having issues focusing on her friends when she should be focused on the teacher. I know she is not alone in her class or age and when it first started happening, my first inclination was to be very exasperated - I mean, haven't we already been through this?? Hasn't she learned??
Her struggle mirrors my own. Haven't I yet learned to lean fully into The Lord? But so much of this feels like I have to be on the defensive. And nevermind trying to let people help and serve me.
I see The Lord has big plans for Natalie - indeed for all of us. On her own yesterday, she asked my mother-in-law to "practice" how she should respond in the situations getting her into trouble. She wanted to apply what she knows in real life. In child psychology circles, this is called role-playing. It was so simple, so beautiful a way to help her - I have to believe that was The Holy Spirit moving.
1 Samuel 3 clearly shows The Lord loves to move through children. He uses the weak to shame the strong. In fact, as a parent, I am beginning to think it is His favorite way to work on His older children (otherwise known as grown-ups).
Her idea of role-playing so impressed me, I realized there are things I need to practice as well. I must learn how to let go some of my "Mama Bear" attitude, I have always been prideful - and even when I'm using the "me first" attitude to get something done for Sophia - I alienate the very people sent to help us.
I also MUST practice the humility I so crave. My in-laws are here to help us through these weeks of radiation but it is very difficult going from doing everything yourself to being meek enough to turn some of that over. Or let some of it go altogether.
All of this is so much easier said than done. Jesus has a word for it - sanctification. He says it in His long prayer for believers past, present and future - John 17:19. Paul also mentions this spiritual process in 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
One of the fallacies of the Christian walk is that we have to be perfect - now. That is clearly not what Scripture and everyday experience say. Yes, we make an impact now - but our true vocational calling is in eternity - and it is where we will live it to the fullest. But The Lord doesn't EXPECT us to get it right on Earth. This is just a trial run.
He expects us to be changed, but we won't be PERFECT until He makes us so in His presence.
It gives me comfort that future archetypal prophet Samuel had to figure out it was The Lord calling him. It strengthens me that Natalie has a heart to want to improve - to let go of behavior that holds her back. It encourages me that Sophia can do so well when she has napalm and microwaves running through her little body.
If they can do it, so can I. After all, practice makes perfect.