A few hours ago I looked at the calendar and said, “It’s Tuesday? How could it only be Tuesday?” We’ve had one of those weeks, where minutes feel like hours and days feel like weeks. And…IT’S STILL ONLY TUESDAY?!? Sigh… On Sunday, we were a little out of sorts. James, my special needs son, was especially restless, so my husband decided to take him to one of his favorite places Sky Zone; a trampoline park extraordinaire. From dodge ball, to slam dunking, it has about everything James needs to work extra energy from his system. About an hour into his time though, James heard a horrible snap and pain shot dramatically up and down his leg.
As we drove to the hospital we all knew his leg was fractured. The question was, how bad was it.
Once at the hospital, James was given strong pain medication, and soon he was flying higher than a kite. Instead of slipping into a sort of happy bliss, he became agitated and angry. I don’t blame him though. The pain of his fractured leg combined with his fears of having to be in a cast and on crutches was enough to trigger behaviors many would find unacceptable. However, when you step back and consider some of his hidden disabilities – high functioning autism combined with rapid cycling often mixed state bipolar disorder, his mood decline makes even more sense. At least it does to me.
Understanding however, doesn’t always make managing James easy. His moods were swinging from angry and aggressive to sad and depressed with a whole lot of fear mixed in between. Keeping up with his moods was almost impossible and guessing what he wanted or needed was nearly beyond me. At one point, I bent over to give him a comforting hug, but instead of being comforted, he pulled away and loudly shouted, “Get away from me you little, scruffy, nerd herder.” As you can imagine every room around us became very, very quiet after that one.
What exactly is a little scruffy nerd herder?? Anyone??
After several hours we were able to head home. Though we all hoped for sleep, the night was even more trying than the ER. A cycle of restlessness, anger, feeling caged up and wanting to rip his splint off went around and around and around until morning. I know James barely slept – maybe an hour. I might have snuck in 2.
The following day, exhausted, we headed to the orthopedic surgeons office and found out James needs to be in a full leg cast from his hip to his ankle for several weeks. I’m sure all parents of boys, whether you kiddo is special needs or not, can understand the trepidation I feel walking into the next several weeks. I now have a teenage boy who is literally unable to burn off physical energy. GULP.
Does anyone have Xanax to share with me?? Kidding of course.
All joking aside, we’ve had a few other things not go the way we would choose this week. I’ll only share one.
My husband Phillip has been out of work for a while now. We’ve been through this before and it’s never easy. Still, he tirelessly works to find a new job everyday. Like all job searches though, promising leads have dissolved and the disappointments have piled up. Despite this, Phillip and I awakened today with greater hope than normal. After all, he had made it through 4 rounds of interviews and was only hearing incredibly positive feedback. Was this the job? Had the tide finally turned? At 1:30pm, the sad news came that he didn’t get the job. Big sigh. It was a hard hit. So many people have lived this scenario and I’m sure they would heartily confirm this; It is so much harder when you are so close to landing a new job because you’ve allowed yourself to begin to dream again. When that job doesn’t come through… well… I think Proverbs 13:12, say it best,
12 Hope deferred makes the heart-sick…”
Undoubtedly, we haven’t had a great couple of days and when the news came that Phillip was not chosen for the job we felt very heartsick. It was sad, perplexing and just a drag. A. Total. Drag. We are still feeling the heaviness and disappointment tonight. However, I’ve learned that the ups and downs of daily life does not have to define the core health and stability of my inner hope, peace or joy. Circumstances are just that. They ebb and flow – sometimes they bring wonderful delight and other times they bring heart ache and suffering.
I believe the second half of Proverbs 13:12 has great wisdom and holds a powerful key to being free even when circumstances aren’t what we would choose.
“But a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
The question to ask yourself is, what is the real desire of you heart? On a very deep level I want to have my son free of bipolar disorder and anorexia. I desire for my husband to be gainfully employed without stress until he is ready to retire. I wish for my daughter to get accepted into her dream college and no matter what the cost, she could go. I desire for all of my physical struggles, that linger after my brain injury, to fade away so I could finally be free from the damage caused 5 years ago. I desire for my families Tuesdays to be filled with happiness, hope and joy instead of broken legs, anger and name calling (think nerd herder).
Yes indeed on one very personal and valid level I deeply desire for all of those things to happen. But I believe Proverbs 13:12 is referring to different area of desire. The area of desiring God with all your heart.
I’m learning to press in and desire to grown in areas of Godly compassion, mercy. I’m learning to desire new understanding of what it means to walk humbly with God — no matter the circumstances. I’m learning to desire His will and His way more than my own. And, as these desires of my heart are being shaped and changed, I am discovering a joy and peace (tree of life) that sustains me even when life falls apart all around.
By no means am I perfect on this journey. Ask my family – they will gladly confirm that to you. This is not about perfection though. This is about learning to embrace the road the Lord has placed you on, no matter the circumstance. It is about learning to desire His plan because you know He loves you and His plans are good. It is about allowing your character to be shaped through the good and bad. It is about a deeper relationship with him.
So the next time you’re having a Tuesday like we did today or a couple of days in a row where everything seems to unravel, pause for a moment ask the Lord to help you to desire his plans more than your own. Ask him to help you to desire compassion and mercy and to also to show you how to walk humbly with him. Your circumstances may not change at all, but I’m pretty sure, over time, you will experience a quiet steady joy in the very depths of your heart.
When the greatest desires of your heart are aligned with the desires of King of kings, no matter the circumstances, you will find enduring peace.
Now it’s time for this … little scruffy nerd herder… to head to bed. ;0)