"God will not give you more than you can handle."
"God won't give you more than you can bear."
"God never puts on us more than we can stand."
Wanna bet?! If we could ask Job in the Bible if God will allow more into your life than you can stand, what would he say? My family will testify that we have been through more than we can handle on our own strength.
This cliche creates all sorts of problems for us in the church. It is unbiblical, impractical, and deadly to our relationship with God. This is why...
Macayla's First Christmas
This is our first Christmas with the twins and as I thought of that, I simultaneously realized this is our third Christmas without Macayla. It brought back memories that make me smile and tear up at the same time. Just as we are walking through old memories as we create new ones with our son and twins.
This made me go back and look at our Old Blog we started in the summer of 2006. It seems like forever ago and just like yesterday. In 2008, I also started a parallel blog called Uncommon Needs to talk shop about devices, meds, equipment, etc. for special needs. Time flies!
There are many families that need prayer right now as well as a helping hand. I hope to give both. There are families who are missing loved ones, and this may be their first Christmas without them. For me, the holidays weren't as hard as I expected the first year, but the second year was tougher. But grief doesn't care if it is Christmas or some random Tuesday; it comes when it comes.
Children are God's gift to us and we should cherish them. They only live with us for the first quarter of their lives (if they live 80 years). So time flies and we need to enjoy these moments while we have them, never taking them for granted. Celebrating our loved ones more than the stuff makes the memories last. Celebrating the One for which Christmas was named more than the stuff transforms our holiday back into a holy day.
A young guy we know, named Hunter, has gone Home this week after his battle with Battens disease. He was nine years old like Macayla. When we lose a child or witness the loss of a child, it brings up many questions and feelings. It is so hard to understand, but there is more to the story.
Be sure of one thing, God did not create Battens disease! Battens disease is a mutation, which means it is a deviation from what was intended, from what was created. Battens disease, along with every other way to die came from one decision. The Bible gives us a picture of God creating everything, weaving together different parts of creation, and once it was all finished, God looked at all He made and said it was “very good.” That means perfect. That means no Battens disease, no death. Humans were part of that creation and in order for creation to be “very good” humans had to be able to experience God’s love. In oder for humans to truly experience God’s love, they had to be able to choose it. If love can’t be chosen, it is not truly love. But with choice comes the real possibility that selfishness, not love, will be chosen.
Along the New River in North Carolina, there is 160 acres of beautiful land where families with special needs can go for a rare blessing. Freedom.
We have been blessed as a special-needs family to go to this place called Camp New Hope. We experienced freedom from doctor’s visits, housework, cell phones ringing continuously, and freedom from the weight of our daily grind. Going on vacation with a medically fragile child can be not only a logistical challenge, but an emotional challenge as well.
Had a vivid dream this morning. Went to pick up Macayla from a home she was staying in. The dream never explained why she was in this home and not in ours, but we had not seen her in a long time and there she was. She was sitting in a recliner with the TV going and a nurse sitting next to her. When I walked into the room, I called her name and that wonderful smile came over her face! I was so excited that I literally fell over the recliner trying to get to her! She laughed even though she could not see me. She wiggled in her seat like she used to and got excited. I was able to stroke her hair and give her kisses. I made the noises she liked to hear and the smiles kept coming.
The the cruel reality set in. I looked up at Jennifer and said, “We need to get her home. Why hasn’t she been at home?” The dream started to fall apart as I realized Macayla died over a year ago. The dreamscape disintegrated, revealing my bedroom. I woke up empty.
But there is something better than a dream in our future. In fact, it is more real than anything here and now. We will see our girl again. She will do more than wiggle and squirm in a recliner. She will have full sight, the fullest sight possible. She will run and dance! I have all faith in what Christ has promised. There is a reunion coming, but waiting for it is tough.
As is often the case with grief, it is quite sneaky and can be the unexpected and unwelcome visitor. While getting something out of the cupboard, I caught a glimpse of the mortar and pedestal we used to crush Macayla’s meds. Later in the day, I saw a black Dodge hightop conversion van in front of Lowe’s and wished I was still driving ours, because it would mean Macayla was still with us. Then we had pasta for dinner and all I could think about is Macayla’s love for noodles. They were just memories, but for some reason these were not the kind that bring sweet sentiment. They brought fresh pain.