Normally I'll keep things more light-hearted, but today I want to share some of the realities I've had to face in my journey. In my last post, I shared about Paul and his thorn. I've been thinking about him and his perspective on life, shaped by suffering from His first blinding encounter with Christ. I hope I don't ever have to face all he faced, but knowing what he went through helps me as I look at some of my own hardships.
Without sounding negative, I just want to be honest about where I've been since I turned forty. On my fortieth birthday (I'm now 46), I made an intercontinental call and talked with a nanny who was caring for Samantha. What an awesome experience that was. Then a month later, I held her in my arms. She was so resistant to so many things I tried to do for her as a mom because of her sensory processing problems, her developmental delays, and her strong will. I just wanted to love her and parent her well, but things were and are still very hard at times. From what I've heard, some of her struggles are normal, and some are a little more challenging than other adoptive families' experiences. I also know there are lots of birth kids that face similar challenges. One friend I've known for years had similar difficulties with her son, and now he's doing very well, so that's an encouragement to me. I've never doubted Samantha belonged in our family but it's been more draining on me than I ever expected.
Along with that, I've had some major hormonal changes the past couple years that have required medical attention, and since emotional PMS has always affected me, I've also struggled to keep my emotions in check. Enough said about that.
When Ethan got sick last year, I was really worried about him prior to diagnosis, then afterward there was still a lot of worry about his health but along with that such a feeling of loss. Knowing his life was on hold, my mother's heart was just crushed. Our firstborn had almost made it to being fully independent, and then it all changed. So much good came out of it though. Ethan and I and Dave were able to connect in ways that I will treasure forever, and I'm thankful at least for that part, that our relationship became so much stronger.
Is this all leading somewhere? Yes. Back to this long journey and how I'm gaining more and more of Paul's perspective through it. We've had a rough year, especially in April and then again in June with Ethan's health crises. I was starting to experience some more extreme anxiety through those times. Then when my own health took a nosedive, I went through another period of major anxiety. There was a point when I thought MS was a possibility, but even though that was frightening, some of the other things I got tested for could have been even more serious. I had swelling in my ankle and had an ultrasound and an ex-ray to see if there was a bigger problem there. The spine MRI could have shown a tumor. The EMG could have shown evidence of ALS (Lou Gehrig's). It was overwhelming to think about with all the other things leading up to it. It was especially overwhelming not to be able to fulfill my role and identity, in caring for my family.
This is getting long so let me just close by saying I'm doing okay. It's been rough, but with the help of family, friends, caring doctors, calming medications, negative test results, and God's faithfulness each and every day I've come to say along with Paul what can happen to me apart from God's love? As long as I know He's the one running my life, I don't need to fear the future.