The final scene in the movie Schindler’s List is one I will never forget. The war has come to an end, the factory workers are finally free, and Oskar Schindler is preparing to leave. Instead of feeling happy, he is troubled with guilt. In spite of all he has achieved he realizes that maybe he could have done even more. (It’s such a moving scene. To view, click here.)
Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.
Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Schindler: If I’d made more money… I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I’d just…
Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Schindler: I didn’t do enough!
Stern: You did so much.
Even though only two lives are involved – that of my darling girls – sometimes I feel like Schindler.
For Rhema, I sometimes worry that even with all of the hard work we’ve done: the treatments, therapies and interventions, the meetings, the fundraisers, the prayers – that somehow we’re still not doing enough. I recently read an article in the New York Times in which an autism mother says, “If not for speech therapy five or more days a week for six years he would not have the limited language skills he now has, which enable him to speak in short sentences, make his needs known…” And my initial thought was Oh no. Maybe Rhema’s not getting enough speech therapy. Maybe that’s why she’s not talking! (Later on when I thought about it, I remembered that she actually gets speech therapy six days a week. So chill, girl).
A mom of a teenaged boy at Rhema’s school told me she feels free from the guilt imposed by Bettelheim’s ridiculous “refrigerator mother” theory, but there’s still this incredible pressure on mothers to save our children. (She cited a certain US magazine cover from October 2008.) She said that if the child does not make huge gains, there’s this notion that the mother didn’t do enough.
If you’re like me, time and money (as in ‘We’ve run out of time in the day’ and ‘We’ve run out of money’) eventually stop you from doing every therapy out there, but you still wonder if XYZ therapy or JKLMONOP therapy might help your child. At the end of every successful IEP meeting I walk out full of anticipation, yet always hoping, wondering in the back of mind if it’s enough.
For me, it all has to come down to trust. Do I really trust God with my child? Can I do my best and trust him to do the rest, to “fulfill His purpose for her” (Ps. 138:8). Can I trade in the blame, guilt and self-doubt for the promises: “But my God shall supply all my needs.” (Phil 4.19), “lt is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8), “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6)
I know for certain that the interventions in which we have invested for Rhema are beneficial and important. We will continue. But I’m learning not to be driven by guilt or fear to just do more. My friend Carrie is such a good example for me. She gives her daughter her best, she gets her daughter what she needs, and she does it all without getting wrapped around the axle. She relies on God in gracious simplicity, knowing it’s not in her power but in His strength.
Is not God enough for thy need, or is His all-sufficiency too narrow for thy wants? Is His heart faint? Is His arm weary? If so, seek another God; but if He be infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true, and all-wise, why gaddest thou abroad so much to seek another confidence? Why dost thou rake the earth to find another foundation, when this is strong enough to bear all the weight which thou canst ever build thereon? Wait thou only upon God, and let thine expectation be from Him. —Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening
Will all we do for our kids ever be enough? Maybe not.
But guess what? God motions me to lean in for a whisper.
Because she’s mine.
I will take care of her.”