Right now, Texas is frozen solid under ice. Not the fun, fluffy snow that we could use to make a baby snow man. Just ice, brought to us by “thunder sleet,” whatever in the apocalypse that is! We’re all stuck inside our homes like characters in a snow globe. Trapped, just waiting for our freedom to thaw. And we have parents handling these conditions on all ends of the spectrum. Some loving it! – can’t get enough of the movie days cuddled up on the couch with cocoa and popcorn. Then, we have some folks who are willing to sled their children on a trash can lid to the first school that will take them. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum (within the same hour). We’re currently entering day four of having no nursing care for Hayden and having all six kids on our own while Ryan attempts working from home. Think “Covid quarantine”….but colder. And with less nursing care.
Over here, we know a lot about being frozen and stuck, though. What we’re experiencing in our weather, is a wonderful analogy to how we are experiencing life. Frozen in time. Hayden is fifteen now, and what a year to be alive. Remember being fifteen? The anticipation of getting your license and buying a car. Staying on top of the latest fashion trends like it was your full time job. The constant worry and anxiety that your crush [of the week] would never realize you were alive and you just knew you would end up alone forever, surrounded by cats. Was there much else to fifteen??
Now, as a mom of a fifteen year old, I get to see all of that happening. To Hayden’s peers. His former public school classmates (we didn’t begin homeschooling until 4th grade) are still in our community. I see them in person and on social media. Their moms are my friends. I get to watch them getting their drivers’ licenses, going to dances, winning sports’ tournaments, getting their first jobs. And each time, it’s gut wrenching to me. I want to be happy for them (and I am!!) and be proud of their maturity and the life they’re building, but it feels like a knife is being stabbed into the depths of my soul and then twisted a full 360 degrees. On repeat. I want to only feel happy for them, though. Instead, it’s a bittersweet happiness, to feel happy for someone else while feeling broken and hurt over your own child who will never thaw from the time he’s frozen in. Right now, it’s high school hurts, but one day these same kids will go to college, get married, start families of their own. But we’ll still be here, in our snow globe of limitations.
I once watched a high school student at my kids’ school walk to their car, keys in hand and I thought to myself, “Look at him! No one is helping him or telling him what to do. This is incredible!” And the reason it was remarkable to me, was because earlier, the same morning, my sophomore had come out of his room wearing only his back brace and pants, but was feeling cold. And I had to coach him through what to do if you’re cold. That you should go pick out a shirt and put it on rather than sit and shiver in the living room. Something so logical even my kindergartner does it on the daily. But I have to walk my high schooler through this task. Yet, here was his peer, about to operate a motor vehicle! – and his mother wasn’t with him, or near him, or coaching him. He didn’t need a checkoff list or verbal cues or reminders. He just took his keys, remembered where he parked, started it up and drove away. And there I sat, in the parking lot, frozen in my own wave of grief, sobbing. I used to think that keeping my disabled son alive was the hardest thing we would have to endure. But now I know there are hard things to endure, even in times of health.
But you know what? God is already thawed out on the other side of this storm. And not only is He in this with us, He is also before it. He stands outside of time. He’s promised to never leave me or forsake me either. So when it feels all the kids born from 2006-2007 have forsaken Hayden; God hasn’t. And it’s my job as the mom, to remind him [and myself] of that.
Some might look at our situation, or at God, and wonder why I would trust in a God who would drop such a burdensome storm on me. He must be evil or maniacal to allow such suffering to happen to His people. Why bother worshipping a God like that? And to that person, I would answer: I don’t know. It makes no sense, does it? To be in love with and trust completely the God who has power and authority over the cattle on a thousand hills. Who tells the ocean waves where to stop. Who created amazing constellations you can go look at tonight in the winter sky. But maybe it’s because of all those things that I can trust in Him. It’s all His creation and He’s orchestrating all of this. Surely those facts alone make Him worth learning more about. And when you do, and you come to realize He sent His son, Jesus, to cross spiritual realms to enter earth as a human and offer Himself as our rescue, maybe then you come to appreciate this unique, wild, upside down kingdom. A kingdom in which the mourning for what my son will miss on earth, though valid, is nothing compared to the joy to come in heaven when he will be restored for all of eternity.