Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a (really) good day


"For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Back in November I shared about the struggles my youngest daughter is going through. Today was a good day. A really good day. God gave us a HUGE win.

Today I took Sara for her quarterly neurological evaluation. We do therapy with her every day at home to help her brain to heal. It was a rare day in that the two of us were able to go off alone while Geoff worked from home and supervised Chelsea & Liam's homeschool.

Our appointment went well. Sara is working hard and moving forward in her healing. I was able to learn new insights into her behaviors and struggles, as well as glean some new ideas on how to help her continue to heal and blossom into the little girl God created her to be. It's been a long, slow process. But little-by-little, day-by-day, we are seeing progress.

On the way home, I decided to surprise Sara with a special congratulatory lunch for all of her hard work. (And to stretch out our time alone together just a tad bit longer. It's amazing how much her behavior improves when she's 1:1 with Geoff or myself.)

After our drinks arrived, Sara looked me right in the eye and said, "Thank you for being my Mommy."

I hadn't realized how very much I needed to hear those six little words until that moment. Sara has been through so much in her short life. Just a few months ago, she decided to name the different "mommies" she has had while getting ready for bed. After she named me, she blithely asked, "Do you think I'll have a fifth mommy?"

Ouch. (On so many levels.)

Today, however, her words were sincere and so heartfelt. Her words brought a smile to my face and explosions of sheer joy in my heart.

We finished our lunch and then ran a few errands together. I heard many more "thank-yous" for the special time we were having together and again after we got back home. Aside from our lunch, we didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but given my prior batting average, it was one of the best days we've shared since August.

One of our stops was to the library. As soon as we got out of the car, Sara pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt. As I took her hand, she asked me if I could please pick her up. When I asked her why (she's not so tiny anymore!) she said she wanted to share her hood with me so I didn't get wet in the rain. (Smile.)

After picking out a nice stack of new books for Sara to read (she has a voracious appetite when it comes to the written word,) we headed back to the car. It was dark and the rain was pouring down even harder. As we hustled back to the car to get out of the rain, (the shared sweatshirt hood idea didn't work out so well) we passed another mother and daughter.

The little girl was at least a few years older than Sara and was using arm crutches to walk. It wasn't the crutches that caught my eye. It was how slow and difficult each and every step was for her. A quick glance back at her progress confirmed that she was only moving forward about an inch at a time. At best.

Meanwhile, the mom followed closely behind her, gently guiding her, ever-so-patiently. In the dark night with rain plastering both of them. I'm not sure that either one of them noticed the rain as their efforts required their calm, undivided attention.

A lump formed in my throat as I marvelled at their tenacity. And patience.

I felt both inspired and convicted. Sad to say, I'm honestly not sure if I would have the same patience that mom had. Even if it was daylight on a dry day.

I don't know their story or what led them up to that point. Regardless of the details, their every-day-life situation challenged me deeply.

My Sweet Sara, while not limited in her physical capabilities, is very much restricted in her daily life. I'm not able to do the "normal" activities with her that most moms of 6 year-olds can enjoy. Sara has a very thin threshold when it comes to sights, sounds and activity. Her senses quickly become overwhelmed and her stress level sky rockets. The trauma she has survived has left her hyper-alert. She needs very tight boundaries and parenting techniques specially geared towards children healing from RAD.

In the time that Sara has been a part of our family, we have worked in many different ways to help her heal and grow. We have experienced progress - but the process has been slow. Snail slow. You know, the kind of progress that even if you are staring at it with great attention, you still can't see any change or movement? That's where we've been. For quite some time now.

As I reflect back on the mom and daughter in the rain, my still-being-refined-flesh cries out to my loving Savior.

"Lord, please help me to be more patient. Help me to die to myself. I don't want to try to rush or push Sara. Sometimes I'm so tempted to just pick her up and move her to where I want her to be. I know I can't. But the impatience screams at my every day. Please forgive me and help me to learn from the example I saw tonight. I can't do it on my own. I know that. I've tried. Too often. But with You, I can do all things. Thank You for Your love and grace. And forgiveness. In Jesus' name, Amen."

The photo above is a coffee cup that Chelsea painted last month. (I love her creativity!) I'm so glad that I took a photo of her work while it was still in-process. Such a good reminder that God's not finished with me yet. Nor is He finished with Sara.

May God open our eyes to the work He is doing not only in ourselves, but in those around us. And may we always rely on His patience and grace when the progress seems impossible to see.

Keep pressing into Him and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With grace,