Anyone who follows this blog or the others I have done knows that my house is filled with medical diagnoses that shape how we go about life. Most life altering has been Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Type One Diabetes, Celiac Disease (a gluten intolerance), and Sensory Processing Disorder. Throw in a additional terms for various other issues (IBS, Failure to Thrive, and the like) and it seems like A LOT to be gathered all under one roof.
Recently I was called for jury duty, and made it to the final round of interviews. The prosecuting attorney said, "How in the world do you deal with all of this?" My answer was fluid, the way words come when they are not of myself, "I know where strength is to be found."
Though I am often overwhelmed, I've learned to step back, breathe, and release. There is a lot of prayer that goes on when one or the other (or all) of the issues are inflamed at once. And so on the days when there are struggles, I cry out, I fight hard, I press in to the One who is abundant strength-- and I do much work to stay connected. And so there is a level of intimate presence to be found when I walk through the catastrophic. When my precious son is having diabetes complications and we are rushing to the hospital, or when my husband is having a PTSD "incident", or when my youngest son is bouncing off the wall with sensory issues... In those times my natural impulse is to RUN to the one in whom I find comfort and profound holiness and HELP. In crisis, I draw near, am filled, and cling to one who sustains.
But life- even my life- is not always in chaos. There are quieter days, praise God, for--let's be honest--I desperately need them. Yet in the mundane, it is somehow harder to "connect", to be immersed in the beauty of His presence. And discouragement creeps in when I try to "recreate an experience", as Amanda Pavlik addresses here. I found this nook on the web during one of those quieter days, and can say a resounding Yes!! And though I've learned that gratitude for This Moment sets me free to experience His goodness on days when the greatest stress touching my life is the carpool lane at the elementary school, I often need the reminder found here of what it means to look for His gifts in every day experiences. (You can read about my own process of moving away from un-grateful living here.) Still, those quiet moments are not quite flood I sometimes wish for.
Like Paul, I would stay up on the mountain with the transfigured Jesus and revel in his presence if I could. Yet there are needs to be met, meds to dispense, gluten free meals to be made. I know I am called to this life of loving my special needs family. I know my journey is to learn how to care for them-- and myself-- in the way that works best for us, even if it looks different from "everyone else". My mission field is my family, my calling is to be wife and mother and honorary nurse and the hands and feet of Jesus in the natural world. So I can't live there, on the mountain top.
Yet still I carry a longing to taste His presence. Even in the day to day, I want to find Him in every moment. Do I ask too much? Or could it be that I need to stop trying so hard and just enjoy? Perhaps life does not always have to be profound. Perhaps my soul can be filled by simplicity, too.
And so I bake bread and listen to my children laughing and sorting through Legos and I wonder if I can learn to connect with Jesus in the moment, even when life is not falling apart.
I refocus, setting my heart on walking in the light, being filled, giving thanks, and living with the awareness that He is here, every moment-- and that, perhaps, this thirst can be quenched by simply journeying along the path set before me with an open heart.