I feel quite certain that God gave me my three darlings to continuously school me on life, on grace, and on myself. Today was yet another lesson for me… You see, I so often get caught up in this journey we’re on with Harper and lose sight of a lot of other things- like how it isn’t just me on this journey with her, but also my other daughters. I forget sometimes that they’re constantly observing and learning and living this crazy life just as much as I am. And today, my middle girl reminded me of that.
It’s been a crazy couple of days. Harper had physical therapy yesterday, and all was well until she suddenly walked away from her therapist, sat down on a bench, and started seizing. It was completely unexpected and caught us all off guard, but she regained control on her own and picked right up where she left off. However, she was all out of sorts all afternoon and evening, and it wasn’t the easiest day at our house.
Today was her occupational therapy evaluation, which again went well but it was deemed that she should commence weekly services there as well. She worked hard, but was over it by the end of the session, and was a total bear from that point on as we tried to run a few errands before going home. In the car, the outbursts began- lots of yelling and screaming and kicking, and Maddie’s patience was wearing thin with her little sister. There’s only so much torture a seven year old can take without snapping, and as we got closer to home, she had had enough.
“Mommy! She’s always so mean! Make her stop being mean all the time!”
I hesitated in my response. Yes, at that moment, Harper was being mean. And I am a firm believer in disciplining children for meanness. I am that mom that is always saying (in a voice used especially for those with selective hearing), “Quit being ugly!” However, it was near nap time, she had been stretched emotionally in therapy, she’d been drug around on errands in the miserable summer heat, and a combination of seizure activity and anti-seizure medications make for nasty mood swings. So I attempted to explain to the frustrated big sister that Harper had been through a lot that day and that her brain works differently than ours at times, but that just like all of my girls, God made her special.
And with that, I felt pretty good about my answer- for all of about two seconds. Because then Maddie’s brow furrowed and she blurted out, “Well, why couldn’t God make her special and nice?!”
I had no answer. Because although it sounded pretty funny, it pained me a bit. It’s a big question, a question that’s rolled around in my own mind from time to time. I know God could completely heal my daughter, but for reasons I may never fully understand, He hasn’t. He saved her life, no doubt, and for that I am eternally grateful, and He’s brought her farther than we could have dreamed three years ago. But she still has all of these things, these stumbling blocks, these hurdles to jump over. And while I can see God at work, I can’t fully explain the why’s.
Which always brings me back to the reminder that while I don’t know why, I do know Who. And I know He’s with us, I know He is good, and I know His plans are ultimately for good. I know this in my heart, I embrace it in my soul, and I repeat it in my mind on those hard days… But I don’t know how to explain that to a seven year old girl who knows God loves her and her sister, but doesn’t understand why her sister has to hurt and fight so hard and struggle so much (and why she has to be so cranky and hard to deal with so often!).
So, for today, I told her the truth… that I can’t explain how God works, that I don’t know all the answers, and that I, too, sometimes wonder why… But that God doesn’t call us to know everything. Instead He asks us to trust Him with everything. And for today, that was answer enough for her.
And tonight, my prayer is that it can be answer enough for me, as well. Because ultimately this life isn’t about me, or any of my daughters, but about Him, His plans, and bringing glory to His name.