Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Counting victories rather than fears!

Today marks the one week mark. One week since I began sharing from emails that once upon a time I sent my dear dear friend. Emails I typed as I navigated the new world of motherhood -- times three. Emails I typed as I learned to navigate the world of orthotics, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches. One week. I'm so glad you are still here.

October 18, 1999 -- "I just got the written reports from the recent doctor visits for the boys. They are so hard to read. I just feel weary to my bones. But I love my children and Satan can only make me sad when they are napping or in bed for the night because in their PRESENCE I can only stand in awe of God's greatness, and give HIM thanks.

When babies are born prematurely doctors tend to delay any sort of prognosis for development.  That was true for my boys. When Claire started crawling before Benjamin was even rolling over, I began to question our pediatrician. She assured me all was well. She assured me the boys would eventually catch up. I desperately wanted to believe her. 

But days before the triplets turned one, we had an appointment with a developmental pediatrician. He was harsh with his delivery, "Of course your boys have Cerebral Palsy. What did you think I would tell you today?"

Our phone rang off the hook for the next couple of days. Family and loved ones wanted to comfort us. I found myself repeating myself over and over -- "Benjamin and Mason are the same amazing boys today that they were yesterday. And my job is the same job as it was yesterday -- to love them and cheer them to reach the potential God has given them."

Looking back on those days, I know that my loved ones gave me a gift. In repeating myself, my goal, my mission became as clear as day. I was not sharing empty words -- what I told our dear ones was the absolute truth: a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy changed nothing about the amazing gifts that my boys were (and are) to me, to my husband and frankly, to the world.

But I would be lying if I tried to convince you that the diagnosis had no impact -- of course it did. Because while it didn't change anything about what brilliant gifts these children are, it changed everything about the trajectory our lives would take. And reading the diagnoses, and the prognoses in black and white was hard. Even today, 15 years after I wrote the email above, I still hate to have to focus on the problems that face my boys due to their CP.

And the hard black and white words on the pages of those reports fueled all my fears. And though my days were busy and jam-packed with the care and joy of being young mama, the nights were a playground where Satan threw those fears right into my face; where he whispered them in my ears; where he twisted the words and my emotions into a veritable arsenal of bullets and took shot after shot at me. And that master of darkness would have crushed me except that:

"...God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

These words became the cloak I would wrap around my shoulders. They became the cloak I would crawl under in the dark. God did not make me afraid. God gives me power. God gives me love. And oh please God, give me a sound mind -- not a mind exhausted from counting fears but a mind victorious in your promises!

Today my boys are seniors in high school. They will take the SAT on Saturday and have started applying to colleges. I am here, cheering them to reach their full potential (of course on some days they might consider it nagging.); I am here believing that their future is bright. I am not naive, mind you, I know there will be hurdles to jump and obstacles to overcome but I am confident about where they get their power.

See, I am kept awake more often these days counting their options for the future rather than counting fears and thanking God that I get to be in the front row of their cheering section!

Carol - The Blessings Counter


Rachel HagEstad said...

Hi Carol, You don't know me yet, but we are about to brush shoulders as your husband has scheduled my son for hip surgery in January. Of course in my quest to find out everything I could about "Dr. Shrader", I came across your blog. I can't tell you how much comfort it is to know that he is a part of a family of faith and has already walked a similar path. Because, frankly, I'm already 3.5 years into this, and I'm still scared of the unknown. So I don't believe finding your blog right now is just a coincidence. I drink in your words as if they were written just for me. Thank you for writing.