When I reflect on my life, just short two and a half years ago, I can’t help but yearn and ache for what once was. We were in a peaceful time of life. Phillip and my marriage was more stable and loving than it had ever been. Deep, rich commitment filled our days and unity of mind and spirit led our home. Though Phillip wasn’t always happy with his job, he was gainfully employed in a job market that was less than good. We were grateful and saw the Lord’s protection and provisions in our life. At the same time, Faith launched into middle school with strength and confidence. She was surrounded by friends who loved and supported her. She blossomed before my eyes into a confident, young lady who discovered new gifts and talents almost weekly. Though James was dealing with many of the issues that come with his complex disabilities, he was stable. The prayer I prayed so many years ago, after he was diagnosed with autism, “Lord, please just let him be joyful” seemed to be answered. He often went to bed with a smile and twinkle in his eye. I too was joyful. I had moved from working with preschool children to working at Faith’s middle school in the significant supports needs (profoundly disabled children) area. I loved the students! They challenged me, made me laugh and cry, taught me many, many things. I had found my passion, my calling, my joy! My heart was full and I felt as though the Lord had brought my family into a spacious place where life wasn’t perfect but it did indeed have peace.
Then, it all fell apart.
Of course, any who have read this blog are aware I was overdosed by my nurse and subsequently have been working to recover and also redefine my life with a brain injury. The highs and lows of my journey has been chronicled throughout this blog. It has been difficult and trying for sure. That isn’t all that has happen though. My family has been hit on every side and the peacefulness we enjoyed just a few years ago has seemingly gone away.
My precious Faith has experienced a great deal of fall out due to the loss of stability my brain injury has brought to our home. The giggle that once came so easily has been replaced by pessimism. Her delight in all the world has to offer has been replaced by skeptism, depression, insecurity and hopelessness. Due to all she is going through, many of Faith’s friendships have become more distant. While she still has amazing friends, it is more difficult for her connect with them because they are often more interested in boys and fashion than they are hearing her heartache. Indeed, Faith’s struggle runs far deeper than just friends. Where she once believed God was faithful, she now questions whether he even cares.
Over the past 2 1/2 years James has transformed from a little boy to a young man who is growing and changing daily. We were always aware that puberty could be difficult, but we never dreamed of the magnitude of the struggles he is currently having. He has major mood swings from being euphoric to horribly depressed. There are days when he screams endlessly and tumbles into a pit of darkness so dark it feels as though nothing can possibly reach him. One of his doctors said, “He is truly tormented.” The words cut my heart but though I wanted to protest, I couldn’t. My precious son is indeed tormented at the depths of his soul. Though we have prayed, sought counsel of many kinds and used medications to balance the chemicals in his brain, as of now, relief has not been found for my precious, precious boy.
Recently, the situation with Phillip’s job has also taken a turn we hoped it never would. For many complex reasons, Phillip resigned his position and is currently unemployed. Though those close to the situation have affirmed his decision, this was incredibly difficult for Phillip. The strongest man I know, the one who has loved me through my darkest days is now walking through his. Whispers of being a failure (not true) and rumblings of inadequacy fill his mind and emotions.
Of course, the never ending ups and down with my brain injury continue too. A couple of months ago, a neuropsychologist who evaluated me recommended a medication Aricept. Aricept is an Alzheimer’s disease medication that has been proven to help some people with brain injuries like mine. Within a week or so of being on the Aricept, I noticed significant improvement. I was encouraged. I was hopeful. I was grateful. However, as my cognition improved, my blood pressure slowly ticked up as well. Last week, the choice was made for me to go off the Aricept hoping my blood pressure will return to normal. Though I hoped it would different, just after a few days off the medication, my mind is slowing and the brain fog I hate so much is building again. Crushing. Disappointing. I feel as though I am losing all I gained.
Right now, my whole family is hurting. Our circumstances are overwhelming, discouraging and painful. We are weary. We cry out for relief. Tears flow, confusion overwhelms, peace eludes and the enemy torments that our God has abandoned us and all hope is gone. We stumble, we falter, we question and we weep. And yet, I know God understands and accepts us right where we are. Because of this, we do not need to perform or pretend that we understand. Nor do we need to act strong when in reality we are so very weak. We need not do anything but fall into the loving, grace-filled arms of Jesus. In doing so, I know we will find His rest and peace.
Tonight I sign off with a promise of Jesus that sustains me. May we all learn how to find rest in the King of kings.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”