My husband and I have a running joke. Every time we say something with absolute certainty, the other will say, “Um, yeah, just like cars are made for four, right?”
Because we are those people. Those obnoxious, know-it-all, self-assured people who told everyone, “Yep, two kids for us and we’re done. One kid, one parent.The world is designed for families of four. Just look at cars–perfect example!”
That was right before we found out we were having our third.
Making us a family of five.
We purchased a minivan.
Believe me, I’ve said lots of words I’ve had to eat. Some were typical of my age and stage in life and are, therefore, eye-roll worthy:
- I’ll NEVER take MY baby to a restaurant
- MY child will NEVER throw a fit
Others were a little harder to swallow because humble pie was served right along with them:
- I’ll NEVER get a speeding ticket
- I’ll NEVER be a teacher
- I’ll NEVER go back to school
The policeman didn’t care that I was a great driver every other day of the week – that day I was jamming down and going 57 in a 35 zone.
After floundering in the wrong major for too long, I rushed into a surefire path towards graduation. So what if it meant graduating with a degree in education (bleck!). The letters I really wanted were MRS, and a little degree wasn’t getting in my way.
Once I got out of college, I was so done! But not according to my school district. Disgustingly enough, they were devoted to excellence in teaching! Every teacher had to get a masters degree. Back to school I went.
Hence the humble pie – I knew better than to speed, that blatantly, anyway. And I actually loved teaching. And I adored going back to school. I lapped up learning like it was liquid chocolate. Or, maybe like a big ole slice of chocolate humble pie.
I am learning not to make grand, bold statements. Especially when I don’t know what I’m talking about (like, future events). I’m trying to tone it down. But my personality is absolute. I know my mind. I know what I want – and don’t want.
I knew, without a doubt, that I never, ever, would be a special needs mom.
End of story. Turn out the lights. Everyone go home.
I didn’t want to be a special needs mom. I knew it was beyond my capabilities. That role was tailor-made for someone a lot braver, smarter, and deeper than me. I was certain God knew it. I knew, down to my bones, that He had no confidence in me. I’d never done anything to give Him or anyone else the impression I could do such a big job.
Yet…during my first pregnancy I had dreams. In my dreams, the baby within me had special needs.
For months, I rode the waves of panic, prayer, hope, caution, then finally, peace. Peace? Maybe I should say uneasy peace. It was the result of my reasoning: God would give me what He thought I could handle, which was probably not much.
Sure enough, when Kristen was born, she was perfect. I celebrated God’s no-confidence vote in me. That was a-ok.
Six months later, Kristen had her first seizure, and she was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis. We were given a list of life-altering symptoms including seizures, noncancerous tumors within vital organs, skin lesions, behavior problems, and mental retardation.
HOLD ON–what happened to God not giving me more than I can handle? I can’t do this!
I never wanted to be a special needs mother. I don’t have the right stuff.
But you know what? I didn’t have the right stuff, and I still don’t. I never will. But Jesus does–that’s all that matters!
II Corinthians 12:9 says, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
How good Jesus has been to fill my weakness with His power these thirty-one years. He has made my weak will strong; my weak resolve firm. He has created new eyes to see beyond the surface, a new heart to embrace the sweet life I never would have chosen.
I never thought I would love being a special needs mom. But I do. I love being Kristen’s mom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sometimes our nevers deserve eye rolls. Sometimes our nevers are served with humble pie. But always, our nevers need Jesus.
Linking up today with Suzie Eller’s LivefreeThursdays.