I felt so overwhelmed when Ben was first diagnosed with Down syndrome. I missed the joy of having a newborn baby and focused on what I didn't like about my life. There I was navigating through what had just happened... all alone. Micah was gone, my friends were distant and I was angry at God. For months, I threw myself a huge pity party.
I'd love to tell you that I had an epiphany one day and everything just fell into place, but that's just not true. Having now processed two diagnosis', I know that each pit of mud is totally different. As much as we would like for there to be a magic button that makes it all okay, there's just not. Mourning comes in waves, heartache creeps in - even still.
I remind myself constantly that life is as easy or as complicated as you make it. People tell me all the time that they couldn't live my life. That they somehow expect me to curl up and let life pass me by because clearly having a child with Down syndrome and one with Cystic Fibrosis is just too much. Everytime someone says that to me, I think back to when each of my kids were first diagnosed. Why? Because I thought the same thing. I told God many times that this was just too much. That I couldn't do it. I even asked Him what in the world He was thinking - giving me, of all people, these cards to play.
"Don't make it complicated," He would gently remind me. "You are not alone." The way I see it, life is simple. True, I had to crawl out of the mud to see it that way, but it's simple. Jesus loves me. He proved that love long ago by dying in my place, freely and easily forgiving me, and walking this life with me - mourning when I mourn and rejoicing when I rejoice.
My only job?
Love people with that same love. People including my children. People including those who think differently than I do. People including those who may never love me back. My only job is to love those people well enough so they see Jesus. I'm not good at it. As human beings, our innate desire is to do the exact opposite. Which is why we need... Jesus. His everlasting, powerful love is the only way we can succeed in fulfilling our one and only job.
I'm certainly no expert, but I'm learning everyday. Ben teaches me the simplicity of those things with the beautiful way he sees right past differences and imperfections and just loves people because they're people.
Life can be messy, unpredictable and hard.
But it can also be simple and lovely.
God is good. People are worth loving just because they're people.
Don't make it complicated.
P.S. I had the opportunity to speak at a women's retreat last month (part of the reason for my blog hiatus lately). If you're interested in hearing some of my story out loud, you can listen to it by clicking HERE. I am still so humbled by that experience and thankful for the love and support that Fellowship Bible Church gave us while we were in east Texas. Sometimes I miss Mayberry and people like those at FBC are a big reason why.