Monday, July 27, 2015

Nothing worth it was ever easy.

It's 2:37 am. I'm bombarded in the silence of the night all of the emotions I try to keep locked away in the day. I can hear the cautious suck of my four month old on a late night bottle, who I just pulled from his bed as his faint, tired cries began. He's wearing batman pajamas, the same ones Parker wore at his age, when times were a little simpler, and he has somehow wiggled out just his toes  from the mess of buttons, making it difficult for me to put them back in easily. I just recently mustered the courage to start letting him sleep his crib but somehow, the stillness of the night and my thoughts leave me with less than enough to put him back. It's times like these that God forces me to come face to face with my state of mind and where I stand with Him. I'd rather pretend, though. During the day, when needed, I can pull the emotional shades of my heart and focus on really anything but the things I need to. I obsess over trivial things so that I don't have to focus on the things I'm truly afraid of. And there are many, many days that those shades can remain open because I'm feeling positive, thankful, and trusting of God. The days when I'm "on that mountaintop," as my Dad always says. But, in the midst of it all, those days when the shades are closed can do so much damage that it washes away all the hard work on those good days. And, I have to clean up the mess and start again. This summer has been the hardest yet most beautiful of my life. My precious friend passed away, leaving her two sweet boys without a momma and her family with a broken heart. Learning and still coming to terms with how different our life is with sweet baby brother and leaning how to alter our marriage and our relationship with Parker to fit this new normal. All the while, being overcome by such a deeper love. You think from this emotional marathon I've been on that I would have lost all this baby weight by now. :) Dream on, Brooke. 

The last several nights I've had the most vivid dreams. I've always been a dreamer and many times, they are off the wall craziness where I'm having to kick off snakes in a cave like an Indiana Jones movie I watched as a kid. Or, those back to school jitters that Warren loves to tell everyone about where I'm teaching math in my sleep or telling imaginary kids they need to pay attention. All dreams I've literally had recently if you can truly get a handle on my nerdiness. But, then, there's those dreams that bring to light all the emotions I'm constantly pulling the shades on and I know they are a true testament to my frailty and fear and all the ways I don't allow myself to trust God. Two nights ago, I dreamt that a horrible tornado came where I had to terrifyingly grab my children to safety until it passed. When it did, I came outside to immediately find my husband, knowing that would be the first thing he'd do was look for us after it was over. In the dream, I kept looking and looking but couldn't find him. I'd even find myself pulled from the dream in my subconscious only to try to go back in so that I could try to find him again. In the dream, I was hysterical not being able to find him but I never could and I knew that something terrible had happened. Then, there was last nights dream where I had to take Parker to the hospital because something was wrong with his skin. In the dream, the doctor told me he wouldn't make it because his skin had that flesh eating bacteria and it had done too much damage. I know, yall. Intense is an understatement. 

Really, these dreams are actual representations of my fear of losing control of the things in my life that I love the most. The fact that Warren is such a rock for my soul that it scares me to imagine my life without him. The fact that I can protect my children from many dangers of this world but that, there are truly, many things that I just can't protect them from. Many things since Cash feel much more vulnerable. I always knew things could happen, things I couldn't help or control. But, now, all those things are constantly in the forefront of my mind day in and day out and it is so hard for me to trust God. It feels almost impossible at times. As I look at my littlest love tonight. Feel his steady breath in his sleep, watch his perfect lips twitch, and feel his exposed toes wiggle, I'm fearing the future. I'm fearing the real threat that this precious soul could have to battle leukemia someday. After all the miracles God has brought in his short life, as far as He has taken our family, and It's still like I have to fight a battle to force myself to trust Him. In the stillness of the night, in the back of my heart, I can hear the Lord whisper, "Do you believe that I love him?" I'm having to fight the tears because, even though I can't seem to trust Him, even though I ignorantly doubt His love for me, I know with all my heart that he loves Cash. And then, He does it again. Playing games with my heart because I'm so ridiculously stubborn that we can never do it the easy way. "If you know I love him, I will take care of him. And if I love Cash, I must love you too."
Though it's unsettling for me to make myself trust God, to unwillingly relinquish that desire to control and keep tight the most important people in my life, I have to. I don't want to but the weight of trying to keep my life steady on my own is suffocating. Because I'm just too weak, too weary to carry all this much longer. 

God put it on my heart at the beginning of this journey with our tiny son to be breathtakingly honest with the world. Especially regarding my constantly changing relationship with Him because He desires our honesty in such a deeper way than I've ever realized. That's the only real way He can heal us is if we honestly open ourselves to Him. It hurts sometimes, many times, and one of the hardest things I do in my life on a daily basis. But, at the end of this, I know, without a single doubt that my relationship with God will be as real to me as this baby I'm holding. And it'll be big. The getting there is the hard part. But it's worth it. Nothing worth it was ever easy. 

I promise I'm not always this incredibly intense, although my Hubby might disagree. :) But I only write when God calls and many times, it's when I'm having to learn something. I can only hope this journey can touch one person and bring just one person to the realness of Jesus. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"This is my fight song"

This new song by Rachel Platten speaks to my soul. I feel like if I had a song playing through my life this would be it.

"This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me"

I could seriously fist pump through that song all day. 

Life has been good for my family and my boys. Cash is doing incredible and Parker is constantly exploring and asking "why?" Sometimes the questions drive me insane..other days, I find myself inspired by his wonder. 

If there is one thing this new part of my life has taught me, it is the celebration of the "moments." Those tiny fragments of time that normally pass us by without notice yet hold so much beauty and purpose. And though this new appreciation is mostly beautiful, I find myself having to be reminded to have grace for others. Since I want you to see the honest parts of me, both good and bad, I'll be real. I find myself struggling frequently with having grace for others in my heart. When that momma is complaining on social media that her child has a runny nose or when someone rants and raves publicly because someone said something that offended them or some type of service provider didn't treat them quite like they thought they should be treated. God has to remind me, "Have grace, Brooke."  Those insignificant things that would have normally had me frustrated and overwhelmed are now so so small. Praise God for that part.

The other day, I was picking up some pictures from Walgreens and as I was gathering my boys and heading from the photo center to check out, the associate assisting me peeked in at Cash, lightly squeezing his toes.. And she noticed something that I've been fearful of. Very sincerely, she asked, "does she have a touch of Down syndrome?" Hesitantly, I said, "He does have Down syndrome." I was fearful for a moment of what words would come next. Would she mention that "downs kids" (please never use the word "downs" as the primary adjective to describe my child like "downs baby." My grace may not shine through) are always so happy or something else that would cut the still healing wound of my son's diagnosis. No. Instead, with a smile, she said "My niece had Down syndrome. She just passed away last year. I miss her." "How old was she?" I asked. "Eighteen."

I'm not entirely sure how you can have "a touch of Down syndrome." Maybe some people just get it in their big toe, what do I know? :) But, what mattered in that simple exchange was not her wording, but her sincerity. It was God's small way of showing me the grace I've been struggling to give to others. That same day, I had anther woman, who genuinely meant it as a sweet gesture, claim that God only gives babies with Down syndrome to those who can handle it. "Special babies for special people." I cannot tell you how many times we have heard that same thing over the last three months. What about the 90% of babies with Down syndrome who are aborted while still in the womb because they don't want their child to "suffer?" Did He make a mistake with those families when He chose them? No. I've become broken hearted at the thought that millions of people miss the opportunity to see this face, full of wonder and eagerness to grow and learn. They are the ones who are "suffering."

Does it look like this sweet child is "suffering?" There are moments when I still feel consumed by fear for Cash's future. Truth is, well all suffer at time In this world. It is full of sin, hate, and Godlessness. But there are a million more moments spent in joy, where I am overwhelmed at how Parker loves that sweet little boy and how much he has transformed my heart. I choose those moments. I may never know or understand why God chose our son and family to deal with this hurtle. I do know now, that in every way, even when moments are overwhelming and breathtakingly uncertain, I am changed and blessed by his precious life. Parker will be a better man because of Cash, we will be a stronger family, and so many of you will be changed by his ability to see joy in the darkness. 

Thank God for Down syndrome. For the opportunity to learn to truly fight. For allowing me to be one of the few who gets the opportunity to be changed so deeply that it requires me to question all that I was and all the insignificant things I cared about before.  God used 47 chromosomes to help me take back my life.

"This is my fight song. Take back my life song."