"...at the origin of every human being there is not something haphazard or chance, but a loving plan of God." ~ Pope Benedict XVI
There are seasons for everything in life. The seasons of motherhood change as my children grow and mature. The seasons in my marriage change right along side it. Some seasons are harder than others filled with strife and storms but everything works together for the glory of the Father. I cling to this knowledge a daily basis.
Things in my house have been hard in recent weeks. Miss Courtney's seizures have been difficult and pretty persistent in disrupting my girls life and her Mama's sleep. I know that this too shall pass although I am not really sure when or how long it will take. I stopped asking those questions long ago. I just know that when these storms come it's a time to hunker down with my daughter, pray more and love deeper as God once more reveals that only He knows the plan for us and all He asks is our trust in it.
Most of the time I am a pretty cheerful person. I love to laugh and it is a rare occasion that I am not smiling. Even in the midst of these challenges God has always brought joy and laughter to lighten things up a bit. This time though is a wee bit different. I have struggled to find the joy amidst the stress.
Last night I was pondering this and I realized that I am in a different season of my womanhood as well. It's not just Miss Courtney that's older, I am now 44 and in the midst of menopause. This changes how I react to things, how I deal with the high level of stress and lack of sleep and finding the joy is proving more difficult.
When I sharedOUR STORY, I was blown away by your kindness and words of encouragement. This journey has not been an easy one BUT we are not alone in it. There are so many other families out there struggling with raising special needs children, trying to keep themselves sane and their families together all while seeking joy and contentment in daily life.
So what's a girl to do when the joy is missing and daily life is challenging? I need a new plan. What can I do to bring balance back into the force?
Yes, that could be the issue. Right now most of my prayer time sounds more like a five year old begging for a new this or that. Please God just let her sleep for two more hours. Please God no more seizures tonight. Please God let the VNS adjustment work. etc. etc. etc. I do need to take more dedicated time and just praise Him for everything right and good. Then I need to praise Him for everything that is hard and challenging because He needs me to do it for some reason. He needs Courtney to go through this for some reason. I know it in my head...it's the heart that's hurting. I need to remember in the darkest moment that He has redeemed it all. Every single time I praise, I feel all the dread lift from my shoulders and a little sunshine peek into the heart...so praise we shall...
Normally I would say yes. It has always brought me great pleasure and I will admit that the kitchen is my "zen" spot in the house. But I am now in a season of life that if I ate everything I baked, I would be a Two Ton Tessie and that my friends is not only unattractive but bad for my health and well being. I can still bake but there must be an exit strategy for those goodies to leave the house quickly to find a loving home that is not my hips! I can hear my hubby now "Honey the guys in the office love..." Hmmm...OK, maybe we will spend a little time creating in the kitchen...
I have long had a love/hate relationship with exercise. I would much rather hike a mountain that listen to Jillian yell at me during the 30 Day Dread...I mean Shread. Of course there is Miss Courtney to think of so hiking really doesn't happen when you have someone in a wheelchair. Exercise is necessary for sure, especially if I ever hope to give up my dependance on elastic waist pants, but for today...I am not really feeling it. Then again, maybe a walk with my daughter soaking in the rare sunshine for January, allowing ourselves a moment to just be. OK...add that to the list...
I suppose it's always good to write things out. I would like to give myself a new mandate though. I really don't need to drag the rest of Facebook down with me when I am going through a hard time. Holy smokes. I read my last ten updates and apparently I am clinically depressed and someone is dying! At least that's what I sound like. Life is really NOT that bad. I am just a tired middle aged menopausal woman who has a nineteen year old disabled daughter who is going through a difficult time. OK, that doesn't sound good either but whatever I am too tired to erase it. However, I love when people share quotes and funny things their kids say that make me laugh. That will be my challenge...be lighter, find the humor (even if it's Gallows humor) and share some inspiration. It will help me and others...this I can do...
AHH HAH!! Shazam!!
Huston we have found the answer! Sleep! I need sleep!! I am not twenty-two pulling an all-nighter studying for exams. I am not a new Mama nursing and nourishing a wee one. According to my middle-aged menopausal manual I need eight to nine hours a night. LOL! I don't think that has happened since I became a parent, let alone since seizures entered our world. So this will be the hardest part of the plan. Sleep. But I can do it! I will rise to the occasion of no caffeine after 4 p.m, no eating/snaking after 7 p.m, allowing time for reading before bed to relax the mind and body preparing for rest and finally making sure the CPAP machine is ready to great me at 10 p.m.
Ah that sounds lovely doesn't it. Asleep by 10. This way if Miss Courtney decides that 2 a.m. is a great time to dance than I have had a few hours of solid sleep instead of just a nap. That makes me smile already.
So this year, no resolutions about weight loss or life goals. This year for me it's about beginning to embrace this season of life. To be content right where I am. To laugh more every day. To love more and really savor my family while we are all together in one house because that will not always be. To praise and pray my way through the day even if it involves a little wallowing, to search for that light that is always there. It's time to take better care of this temple God gave me to carry me through the journey He set forth. Time for sleep, rest and proper nourishment when needed.
It's time to say goodbye to elastic waists and embrace a fitted blouse always knowing that on really challenging days, the yoga pants await with open arms to warmly greet me, and there are extra marshmallows in the cupboard for the hot chocolate that will sooth my weary soul.
So, I am breathing deeply (as the banana bread bakes), walking slowly (feeling my Vitamin D deficiency drift away), embracing the pain and praising HIM for it (Sara Groves is blasting in the background), and I will love this girl who helps me understand what LOVE is all about.