Tuesday, April 6, 2010

my heart is full and my words are weak.

As some of you know, AnnMarie, (and for the few of my readers who don't know my family well, AnnMarie is my special needs sister,) has been having some real issues lately. Things that have never been a problem before, like drinking her water, the ceiling fan being on, swinging, and going to bed have suddenly become huge deals, and she loses control very quickly. (I don't know how to describe it well, so that'll have to do.)

She did much better today and tonight, thanks, I am sure, to the multitude of prayers that are being raised on our behalf by our dear friends and family.

But two nights ago, when it came time for bed, she really lost it. And I tried to deal with it. By deal with it, I mean that I tried to fix it. How hard could it really be? She's been going to bed by herself without a murmur for the past ten years or more, so this new, I-don't-intend-to-get-in-that-bed-by-myself thing is surely overcomeable. (No, that isn't a word. Yes, I still used it.)

So I began.

This was my intention: to get her into bed, turn off the light, walk out, shut the door, and her stay put. Like always. I was fairly confident that with a heck of a lot of stubbornness on my part, it would work.

Thirty minutes and countless cycles of putting her in bed, her getting up immediately, crying loudly, me soothing, putting her back in bed, her getting up, and on and on, I ended up lying down beside her. She stopped crying. (And I'm using crying here because I can't think of a better word. It's more like yelling-while-sobbing.) After several minutes, she fell asleep and I quietly eased up, walked to the door, opened it a crack, at which point she woke up and began to cry loudly again. Back in bed. Repeat the whole thing ten minutes later. Then again. And again.

By this time, I had been crying for a long time too, my face a puffy mass of scratchy heat, held against the pillow so she wouldn't hear me and get roused up.

And as I lay there, rebelling against the situation with every bone in my body, a conversation began in my mind. It sounds cliche' to say God was speaking to me, but I don't know any other way to put it. I want to share it with you, because I saw Christ's mercy and love, always present but not always acknowledged, so clearly in the "conversation" and the evening that followed.

"Surrender."


Me: "Okay, okay, of course I surrender. I can't do anything else."

"No, surrender all the way. Not just with words."


Me: "But I really don't like this. This messes with so many things I've held as my right. (MY evenings, MY comfort zone, etc.) And who knows where it'll end? What will she do next? How can we do this? I know You're with us, but I don't feel it."

"Trust Me."

Me: "I am trusting. It's just that I want to fix this. I want it to end. I'm praying, and I haven't gotten an answer."

"You're only praying for what you want to happen."


Me: "Yeah, I guess, but what I'm praying is best... really, it is! It's the easiest way for everyone."

"Surrender."

Me, thinking in my heart: "Surrender is hard. Surrender means giving up any control you think you have. Gladly. Trustingly. I don't think I can do it."

And that was the end... sort of. I managed to get out of the room without AnnMarie waking up, and I went and sobbed in Mama's arms for what seemed like a long time.

A little later, I picked up one of my Amy Carmichael books, Thou Givest, They Gather, which I've been meaning to read but never made time.

I opened it up randomly, and the first place it opened to was this chapter:

"Think It Not Strange" - 1Peter 4:12

Amy went on to talk about this quote,
"All that grieves is but for a moment,
All that pleases is but for a moment,
Only the Eternal is important."

She said, "A trial comes. It will pass. In a few days, or months, or years, we shall have forgotten it. The way we meet that trial- our inner attitude towards it - belongs to the things that are eternal. It will matter ten thousand years hence whether we conquered or were conquered by that temptation to impatience or faithlessness or worry which came when the trial rushed upon us. ... There is a verse in the bible: 'He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.' Let us ask that this word may never be true of us."

There were so many good things in this chapter that were directly applying to my heart's rebellion at this small trial of right now, and I was overcome with the love of my kind Heavenly Father, Who had orchestrated for that book to be in the right spot at the right time and to open at the right place. Everything in the chapter was such a sweet promise, a tangible reality, that He was caring and would care for me, for Mama, for AnnMarie, and I was ashamed beyond telling that I had doubted Him.

Does that mean I'll never doubt again?

Of course I will doubt again... and again, and again.

But my hope and trust have a sure foundation, one which will never fail, and these past few days I have been allowed to test that foundation and have found it not lacking. Sufficient. Enough. Good.

And I'm so grateful.



Please, continue to pray for AnnMarie - not only for her behavior problems, but for her heart. She can't understand things the way we can, but I want her to know the love of Jesus, and I believe that He can take away the stony heart of an autistic girl with a genetic disorder and replace it with a heart of flesh just as easily as He can for a "normal" girl.

5 comments:

Jean Marie said...

Thank you for sharing about this, Betsy....I will be praying for you and Mama and AnnMarie....it must be SO hard and hurtful sometimes.

Christ is sufficient...He giveth sufficient grace....in the mornings are mercies anew....in the evenings, times of quiet peace in reflecting on the goodness of the Lord.

Your heart ... dear....is lovely ... Jesus lives there.

With love,
Tacy

Amy said...

It is so hard to listen. To be still. To keep a quiet heart. But when I am silent, this is when He speaks to me the most.

This is an amazing post, Katie. I'll be thinking of you.

Courtney said...

Christ is enough. Lean on HIM. He will give you strength.

I'm praying for you and for AnnMarie.

I love you.

Amongchosen said...

This is the BEST post!

Some of our hardest lessons are the most treasured & painful. I'm so glad you are on our Father's Potter's wheel. Sometimes it hurts when He pulls out the trash in our clay, but the results beautiful. It is beautiful to see Him lead you & comfort you.
I wonder if the Lord is dealing with Anne Marie? Can you tell?

Hobbit on the Journey said...

"A trial comes. It will pass. In a few days, or months, or years, we shall have forgotten it. The way we meet that trial - our inner attitude towards it - belongs to the things that are eternal. It will matter ten thousand years hence whether we conquered or were conquered by that temptation to impatience or faithlessness or worry which came when the trial rushed upon us."

I needed that. Thanks for sharing. I am confident that the Lord will use this and all other trials for His glory and the good of His people. Praying for all of you.