Still you

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During Hope’s swimming lesson each week, I take Rhema to the “Family Swim” side of the pool and we play there until Hope is finished. 

Last week it worked out that Brandon was able to stay home with Rhema, while I took Hope to her lesson.

We drove to the Y. We walked through the parking lot. We went into the girls locker room and put on her bathing suit. I sat on the bleachers and smiled and chatted with other moms while she had her lesson. I read a few pages on my Kindle. After her lesson, she changed in the dressing room. We walked out to the car and drove home.

It was so simple.

I wasn’t on high-alert like a Secret Service agent, scanning our surroundings for potential problems. I didn’t worry for a second about my offspring pooping in the water. I didn’t spend any time strategizing how to transition from the pool to the locker room.

Without autism, it was all so amazingly easy.

The week prior Rhema had a potty accident in the shower in the locker room. “Potty accident” is putting it mildly. The brown stuff was sliding out of her suit and down her legs. Wanting to hide (and spare the employee who would have to sanitize the place) I found myself grabbing scoops of poop with soggy toilet paper from the shower floor and running it to a toilet. While my Rhema stood there silent, frozen, helpless in a locker room packed with kids and mothers coming in from swimming lessons.

Even now I feel like I’m betraying her for writing it out loud.

But I also need to be ok with saying this is hard; and sometimes “normal” looks and seems so… not hard. I know they are just feelings – the wistful longing, the guilt, even the envy.  Feelings I can lay at the feet of Jesus and say I don’t know what to do with these!

I know God will whisper to my heart once again:

I have blessed you and entrusted you with a very precious, very special one. And you get to spend your life pouring yourself out for her. It’s not easy or glamorous or even acknowledged, but when you serve her – when you get up with her in the middle of the night, when you clean her poop, when you drive her to speech therapy every Saturday, when you go to great lengths to keep her safe and help her grow – you serve me! So do it in gladness and patience, and I will be your help.

Many years ago the Chaplain at our church wanted to express his love and appreciation to all of us, so he said, ‘If they lined up all the congregations and stretched them across the sky…’  He paused for effect, ‘I’d. still. pick. you.!’ It was heartfelt. But it came out sounding rather corny and like a backhanded compliment. B and I still laugh about it to this day.

As I tuck my darling into bed at night, I pray again she knows how she has made me a mother blessed beyond measure, how I treasure her, how she and Hope are my best.  

I’ve started telling her every night as she closes her eyes,

“Rhema, if they lined up alllllllllllll the boys and girls in the world and stretched them wide across the heavens, I’d. still. pick. you.”

A million times over.

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15 thoughts on “Still you

  1. Oh my goodness. I felt this exact way on Sunday during service. My daughter always has a really hard time with all the stimulation from church, the music, the clapping, the volume, the amount of people, ect…. She is constantly seeking physical input and as of late she has added to her consistent tongue suck that she does and likes to press her tongue to our clothes or her own. I had little wet spots all over my skirt and I know without a doubt the judgemental ones behind *which every church has* were thinking their own thoughts about the weird habits of that cute little girl, why would her mom let her do such a thing….why is she squeezing her head and body like that (well she likes it….so I do it) she seeks it so I do it. Anything to keep her calm and quiet for the 2 hour service right? I found myself overwhelmed by the “needs” that our children carry, that is not their choice, it was God’s choice. I cried. Thank goodness its ok to cry in church right? It can be disguised easily lol. I found myself longing to be that mom who just didn’t have to think about the “extra” tasks, and then my girl kissed me. So BIG HUGS to you. Enjoy the simple moments, the breaks, the easy times. Its ok to enjoy those times. So happy to have discovered your blog. Its such a blessing to me!

  2. This is so beautiful. Rejecting those feelings of envy is a hard choice…it truly is “not fair,” in some ways. Yet thank God for those moments of revelation, those eyes to see the eternal perspective.

  3. The fact that you do so much to make lives normal for both of your girls even though it would be so much easier to stay at home, shows the depths of your love for them and the depths of God’s love and help for you.

    Praying that God continues to provide that help, that you continue to accept it and that you continue to find praise in the poop!

  4. I believe, with all my heart, that Rhema knows how much you love her. Truly. Why else would God entrust her to you? You speak my heart, Jeneil.

  5. I’m so thankful that you have God’s perfect Help. But I wish I lived near you so I could offer my (most certainly IMperfect) help, too. I stand in awe of all of that you do and the *way* that you do it. Sweet and loving mother that you are, I hope you take time out to nurture yourself, as well.

  6. How many times and ways can I say you amaze me? I’ve been having a really tough couple of weeks on a few different levels. Work, kids, husband, you name it. I have about 5 drafts that I can’t finish b/c they’re all just one big pity party and I don’t have the heart to publish them. Thanks for writing this and putting it out for me to read. It helps … so much.

  7. You are living your mother’s love most beautifully. Your line about “pouring” into your daughter’s life is a phrase I’ve been using lately as we started homeschooling this year. It’s been difficult, but it’s been very right. I see it as a privilege, to be able to make a solid investment into their hearts at a deeper level. As I lay my weary head to rest this night, I’ll say a special prayer for you and the girls and for a steady supply of everything Jesus to live it out, sister. I’ve said it before; it’s worth repeating. You’re my hero!

    Shalom. ~elaine

  8. So perfect. Isn’t it amazing to have a God who does want to hear everything you have to say, every not so pretty emotion, every not so lovely wish…better than a hallelujah…your words, while painful and scary perhaps, bring such glory to Him. Keep it up, mama.

  9. You speak my heart. I was up at 2:30 this morning with my wide-awake girl. I was cleaning poop out of the pool this afternoon. Thank you for reminding me that He will always be my help.

  10. As an aide, this post rings true for me. I love the kid that I work with but I definitely lust after non “high alert” days.

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