I’ve been having way too many pity parties lately. The one thought I continuously hear in my head is, “Why do I have to always suck it up and put a smile on my face when on the inside I am screaming WHY ME, WHY HER, WHY US? Why do our lives have to be such hard work all the time?”
People sometimes say, “I don’t know how your family does it?” And lately I have been thinking, neither do I.Katie has grown 5 inches and gained about 10 pounds over the past few years and it is taking a toll on her. She isn’t able to walk as well and that takes a toll on us. That time I always thought was in the future is in the present, it is a physical challenge to care for Katie.
She is also entering middle school next year, need I say more? I am an emotional basket case! There is no way my precious little girl is that old. I know that is a united feeling among mommies of 5th graders across the world, but it is intensified in a parent of a child with special needs. Their impairments are magnified among their typical middle school peers. In the world of special needs, children growing older is difficult. So I ask, “How God, How are we supposed to do this? She is only getting bigger and we are only getting older!”
And the answer came to me in prayer so very clearly, “When you take time to listen to Me and follow My will, I give you that amazing superhuman ability.” And He does! It is not me that “does it”, it is only God. Whenever I listen to God and allow Him to lead my inner voice these thoughts fade and I am able to “just do it”. And at those times the smile on my face is a reflection of the smile on my heart.
“Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” John
The fruit is patient endurance. I can look back on my life and clearly recognize when I am listening to God and when I am listening to myself. When I allow my own inner thoughts to take over, they are just pitiful, filled with negativity, moaning and groaning. But when I allow God to talk, it is only beauty and peace.
“You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
So if I follow God’s will and stick to the vine why do bad things happen? He said if I remain in him I can ask for whatever I want…right? I think it has to do with that word “pruning”. Over the past week I have witnessed several sad tragedies, a precious neighbor died way too young, my best friend lost her daddy after 12 agonizing days and two relatives are nearing the end of this life on earth with a lot of pain and suffering. It is so difficult to understand why these bad things happen to people who serve the Lord. When we prune a plant we are cutting away its branches. Ouch! God is constantly pruning us, allowing us to endure pain to bring us closer to Him.
Lexi, my 6 year old, made a profound statement when I told her I was going to spend time with my friend who was sad because her daddy was sick…Lexi said, “Why is Aunt Ju Ju sad? Her daddy is about to go live in heaven, that is happy.” It was one of those beautiful moments of clarity. We don’t serve God to have an easy life on earth, we serve Him for the beautiful reward in heaven.
In this above verse when He says, “…ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” I don’t think He means ask for Katie to be cured and it will instantly be done. I think He wants me to ask for His will to be done and He will give me the strength to bear the difficult times. That strength truly is a divine intervention. Alone I am nothing, alone I feel sorry for myself, but when I get out of the way and allow God to work in me He does it all for me and my pity party is replaced with a celebration of love for Katie.