I try to be strong....I really do. I have so many medical responsibilities with Chunks-a-lot that it takes a huge effort on my part to stay on top of everything. I can't fall behind in my duties with her, the needs are too important. Her emotional needs are equally demanding. She likes to be carried around, on my left hip, cradled softly against her fluffy blanket that goes everywhere she goes. Even when we're at home, she insists on being held, and rounding out at a nice 25 lbs. or so, lugging her around can be physically exhausting. And then there's Talks-a-lot. He is just one of those kids that needs a lot of quality time, one-on-one attention, and he needs my constant conversation. The two of them put together is a full day.
I have always prided myself in "handling" it all, and with a smile on my face at that. But lately I have started feeling the cracks in my painted smile. Things have slowed down a lot lately, life has been pretty normal and sometimes pretty quiet. There's no more constant lab work, blood transfusions, endless inpatient days at the hospital, no, we're just here.....finally back at home. And as life has slowed down, I have had to come face to face with a lot of issues that I have. Being in control is one of them. Somewhere deep down inside I think that if I balance everything beautifully and stay on top of every little whim of life, I will win some sort of prize. Wrong. I only end up losing.
This past week has been so hard for me. Nothing has really changed in my life, Chunks is still doing great and Talks-a-lot is thriving in school and at home, but something still seems amiss. And it's me, I am fighting myself. I can see the danger ahead of me, the darkness that lurks and waits for me as I refuse to seek help from my Savior. See, because I think I have to do this alone, I have to be strong for my children, I have to be the voice of opinion with my husband, and on and on it goes. But it's not me who makes me strong, it's Him. This is why I have started seeing cracks forming in my life, because I can only go for so long without Him and then I will break.
I heard this song the other day by Casting Crowns called, "A Stained-Glass Masquerade". It's about people being fake and hiding behind their smiles when they're really struggling on the inside; and I am disappointed to see myself following this trend. I guess I had myself fooled, I really thought I had it all together. I thought that if I smiled enough, was happy enough, was strong enough, I could simply get through this. But here's the thing, I can't. I am not strong enough to endure this, not for the long haul; maybe for a time, but not forever. Christ desperately wants us to surrender to Him, to walk with Him daily, to cast all our burdens on Him, and yet I still try to carry my own load. I know He is allowing me to break, simply to gain my vulnerability and my submission to Him. And as many times as I have learned this lesson, I constantly have to be taught again. It's like I start wandering away and, like a Shepard with His sheep, He herds me back. I am realizing that strength isn't always defined by our ability to win as much as it is our ability to surrender.
I would be lying if I said that any of this was easy, it's not. The trials we have been through lately have been intense and it feels as though all of Satan's evil army is reigning down on us as a family. But God has allowed it and it's certainly gotten my attention. But the only victory I will find will be through my complete surrender to Jesus Christ. I guess it's like that song says, "It's time to close the curtain on my stained-glass masquerade."