Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Valley of Baca

I recently found myself crying on my dining room floor, hands lifted in praise, declaring my God to be good. {Because He is.}

There was no worship music playing in the background.

My Bible was not open nearby.

No one had called to encourage me.

I hadn't won the lottery.

The thing on the table that had started the cascade was my five year old's spelling list. He had completed it at a friend's house the day before. Pausing to finally look at his work I was delighted to see huge improvement in his penmanship.

The air caught in my chest, then escaped in a sob. One minute I was bringing order to my home, the next I was gasping.

I've been doing that a lot lately.

The reason my son aced his spelling at a friend's house is because I was at therapy with his brother. His brother's future is what dropped me.  The sudden realization that I will not be smiling happily at the same list in a few years was sad and strong. In the wave of grief I determined to bless the name of God.

I knelt on my kid-stained dining room floor and said what I knew to be true. "Father, you gave me this child. You knit him together in my womb. You made him exactly as he is. You gave him to me to love and raise. Please help me. He is beautiful. You are beautiful. You give. You give. You give. You are worthy of praise. Amen."

Then I stood up, wiped my eyes, and kept cleaning. Peaceful, joyful. Mildly irritated at the never ending collection of stuff.

I had two tear-free weeks.

This morning I cried twice.

As I was smearing moisturizer on my son I pondered how God uses children to grow us up. The pondering was not unusual; I host a variety of general musings in my head on a regular basis. But then my breathing became jagged and my eyes spilled over as I reasoned, "How selfish I must have been, that You gave me such a child." Guilt and inadequacy competed for center attention in my emotions. I felt sorry for my son, not for me.

He is not a punishment.
I feel like I am.

Later, as I left a meeting with my church to get better care in place for my son, I called my husband. Our oldest is at work with him today. They put me on speaker phone, so I ended up spending much more time with my child than my man. I explained what a buddy would do and be during Sunday School. My first born said, "I'll be his buddy!" I simply overflowed into flooding eyes again. My oldest already is a phenomenal buddy. Patient, kind, sharing his plethora of words with the brother who has so few. A better brother could not have been made for my son.

The tears catch me off guard. I don't know if they'll ever stop. I am thankful they are not wasted. They are doing something. Psalm 84 says this in verses 5-7:

Happy are the people whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a source of springwater;
even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength;
each appears before God in Zion.

The Valley of Baca can also be translated the Valley of Tears. Somehow, my tears are being used to create some spring water, some blessings. My pain is not only seen, it is also purposeful. 

Besides that, this is not the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There is much sunshine here. Though there is a hardness to my circumstances right now, there is a rich, abiding beauty in my life. The pervasive undercurrent in my heart is peace and joy. I am content. I still struggle some days to grasp the real-ness of my reality. I still don't fully understand that I have a child with a disability. I do know  that I am wildly in love with my son. I understand how blessed I am to be parenting alongside my man. I trust God when He says my passage through this valley is a good thing.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

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