I’ve decided our family balance is more like a see-saw. The objective is to keep moving, brace the crash and try not to bruise anything.
We are a bit out of sync right now. It is the only weekday without appointments, when Jonathan is free to play and be on his own schedule. Today his celebration of a friend’s birthday was interrupted twice so that William could have an evaluation and take a nap. William’s health concerns take precedence and Jonathan’s needs fall to the back burner. This is common in families with medical needs or other considerations. We say it makes them resilient, compassionate, and mature. It also leads to guilt, meltdowns, and resentment. Today it led to cookies. Jonathan looked at me today and said, “I know. Wait.” He promptly built a pillow fort and crushed it.
I am fighting the desire to grow weary in doing good, my friends. Trying to do all this in a new place with new people is difficult. A new friend told me how impatient I am in seeing progress with the boys. She’s right– despite amazing progress in two months, when they are constantly measured against an arbitrary standard they, and I, can’t keep up with. It’s my responsibility to move them forward, but eventually you drown the horse that you are trying to make drink.
Every time I wait in an office or at a therapy, my head fills with, “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.”
Today was William’s seventh evaluation in 30 days. SEVENTH. My boys have developed several new skills in two months, in spite of a move and 46 appointments in 75 days. They are doing better than me, I assure you. Sometimes smiling and saying, “We basically lost a year of development in our family, but we’ll get there in time” feels like a promise that will never be reached. If there’s anything I have learned, it is that God keeps his promises, even if they don’t look like I expected.
“Be Still and Wait on the Lord.” I’m not sure if there is a more comforting or painful instruction for my heart right now. Stillness is not something a house of toddler boys does well. I feel like we must do everything with greater effort to catch up to a useless and unattainable standard.
“Am I a good mom?” isn’t as important as “Am I a Godly mom?” God’s standard is different. I used to have a to-do list of the therapy exercises on the white board. Now I have a list that says, “Hugs. Encourage. Praise. Write down the victories. Tell them about Jesus. Show them faith in action. Pray.” Whether my sons talk, read, or do grade level math on time isn’t as important as whether they serve the Lord with an upright heart.
In Genesis, Joseph explained the meaning of dreams for two fellow prisoners. When the Pharaoh’s cup-bearer was released, Joseph asked him to remember him. No doubt he thought he would escape his unjust sentence. Instead, he sat in prison for years until the Pharaoh’s dreams needed interpreting. YEARS. An innocent man worked hard and was given esteem in prison and yet remained there for years. I imagine the bitterness and frustrations crept up often.
Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth… these women were given sons on divine timing after years of barrenness. The new generation of Israelites waited 40 years to enter the Promised Land. King David was chased for years by raging Saul, alienated from his family and land. Jesus knew in advance how he would be crucified. The waiting, even when we know what is coming, is hard because it requires faith. The waiting is the hardest part because doubt creeps in. We wonder if clinging to hope is foolish. We know it doesn’t “always just work out”.
Behind me, my son is watching the story of Moses. The announcer begins by saying the years of plenty Joseph prepared for were enough to get the years of famine, leading into when God brings the Israelites out from Egypt. I am certainly in a year of famine and God’s provision but I am certain a bumper crop is coming. I believe it. I know God is faithful because I have evidence written all over my life. Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming soon.” That was 2,000 years ago. In the scheme of eternity, it is nothing at all.
Sometimes waiting is the hardest part.Sometimes it is treasuring this moment and not measuring how long it took to reach it. Sometimes it is clinging to faith. Sometimes it is keeping the toilets clean.
The scriptures say to run the race set before us. They mention staying on the path and running with diligence, not how fast. It never says to be first, the fastest or the happiest to arrive. The last shall be first in God’s Kingdom. Keep running. I’m cheering you on and running with you– it’s better than waiting.