The doctor eliminated the "scary stuff" today. I found myself saying that and then kind of laughing to myself. If only! If only!
Wilder's been having some knee pain lately and they don't know why. We found ourselves today at Children's in NOLA with a pediatric ortho doctor and no answers about what it might be but big answers about what it isn't. There was much praying over this child today. And I am thankful and relieved.
As we're driving home in that NOLA traffic I thought how easy it would be for our car to be crushed in an instant. I am not by nature a paranoid person. (I do see danger ahead often for Wilder because the kid just knows how to make things happen. Like he will scale your bookshelf and rappel down the other side.) But, the truth is that there is no eliminating the scary stuff. Ever. It's part of this whole package of life.
People often call these sorts of things tests of faith. I don't know that I like that term. In our case today it's more like a little pop quiz when compared with the massive end of year finals I've seen many friends experience as of late. But, let's take away that test analogy. It just isn't fair.
People say God tests our faith. I'm not getting into a theological discussion on the truth of that. I just feel more certainly that he's stretching our faith. I've recently started a Beth Moore Bible Study where she says she's asked God to stretch her faith (my you are a brave soul, Mrs. Moore!). I've been pretty stretchy as of late without any asking.
It's that whole bending without breaking thing. And that's what children do. They bend and stretch our faith and our hope and our love. They push our abilities to be more, care more, try harder. Sleep less. Love more.
I truly felt a sense of peace when we headed to NOLA, when we sat in the waiting room after the exam waiting on the doctor's thoughts. (I mean it was like an hour and a half. But, who was counting?) I don't know that God gave me that sense of peace for me, myself and I alone by any stretch. I think He poured it out for the momma. For the person who needed to laugh and smile and not send out those scary I'm losing it vibes little people pick up so very quickly.
The troubles of this world are more than a series of tests. Tests are passed or failed. Tests are taken and a chapter closed. Life doesn't work that way. Parenthood doesn't work that way. Sometimes we break instead of bend. Sometimes we fall on our faces. But, it doesn't mean we've failed. It's called being a human. A person with a heart that sometimes shatters.
Today I'm feeling so very thankful for a good report. And, yet, women dear to me have faced lately some of the toughest reports of their lives. People like to say things like "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." And it's just not true.
He promises to be there. He promises to give you what you need right in the middle of the mess. On days like today (and really every day of parenthood) we can only do about half of that. I can promise Wilder to be there. No matter what. And to try to give him every last thing he needs. But, there will always been trials and troubles and tests and broken hearts and times we fall and even times we fail. I can only promise to stretch and bend and then if I break to pick back up the pieces.
And we can promise to be real humans with hearts that break and faith that pushes the limits beyond our vision and truth that's sometimes ugly and tough. We can promise to work every day at that balance in parenthood of being both authentic and strong. Some days being real means being weak. But, on every day we can promise to show up. Whether with nerves of steel or a handful of ashes, we can show up with open arms and hands willing to work until they bleed. And then go a little further than that. We can never eliminate the scary. But, we can and should be there when it shows up and show our children that life isn't about hiding from the tough. It's about facing it with faith.