On Wednesday evening we chatted with Nana. Ruth and Hannah told her about the visit to the family that they would be staying with while Brendon is in Australia. Nana had asked (as many others might wonder) why I can't just have them all at home for that week. I had a week with him away when Asher was just a baby (May 2013). And I suppose it is in some ways a hard thing to be humble enough to say "it would be too hard for me".
On the other side of it though - if I tried to just "cope" on my own, I would be denying how much amazing help Brendon is to me every day. The extra burden that Asher's epilepsy has added to our lives is no small thing. It has been good for me to acknowledge this over the last months (and perhaps over the last year and a half). To acknowledge how hard it is and how much strain it puts on me physically.
When Brendon gets home from work, he takes over the responsibility of watching Asher. I not only get a break from that responsibility, I also get to have the freedom to get a lot of other things done (like cooking and cleaning). He also gets home early enough on a Tuesday and Thursday so that I can leave the younger children with him while I take the older girls to Ballet and Brownies. Those times of being away from home and having a full break from the constant watching, are times that I have realized are really needed for my health - and are not just treats. On Tuesday I get my shopping done (and I realized on Monday how relaxed that is without 5 children accompanying me) and on Thursdays I get to just sit and read, pray and relax.
There are a few articles that really helped me put words to my experience and so I thought I would link them here to keep a record of them and to share them with you.
The first one is about Hypervigilance: why moms are so tired. Hyper-vigilance takes it's toll on any mother of young children. With a child like Asher though, who needs to be watched even more carefully - the drain is just so much more than normal. This article explained it so well and helped me to almost say "oh - no wonder I feel drained".
And at the bottom of that article I spotted one called "Why your husband isn't doing you a favor by watching the kids". The title caught me by surprise and tempted me to read. ;-) It put into written word what Brendon has been trying to tell me for so long. There have been so many times that I feel bad that he "takes over" with things when he gets home. He always tells me that it is not because I am failing, but because he is also a parent in this home, and he is also responsible to raise these children. I am not forcing him to do these things, but rather he is taking the responsibility of being a father very seriously and very practically. And so for this I am very thankful.
As a Christian, there is also another very important thing to be noted. A number of months ago a friend posted a link that also made a few people take note. The heading is Yes, God will give you more than you can handle. Many people will say things like "you won't be given more than you can handle". This is however not a promise of scripture. This is the promise: "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape" (1 Cor 10:13).
When it comes to trials however, we are regularly given the promise that "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." and this is why Paul could then say, "For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:9,10). Paul also says in 2 Corinthians 1:8 that their trials were so overwhelming that they despaired even of life. "In order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." (vs 9)
God has allowed me to learn these lessons over the last few months. I have (and am) learning to acknowledge my weakness. And to accept it. It is when I know that I am weak, and that I cannot cope on my own, that I can lean on Him, and He can be my strength. He has been my rock and my fortress and all the other wonderful promises that He has given me from His Word.
One of the ways God has provided for me in my weakness, is through Brendon, my wonderful husband. And so I will praise and thank God for that. God has also provided wonderful friends who are willing to come along side and help where they can, and in doing this they "put flesh and bone on the person of Jesus" (as the article above said). Again, I thank and praise the Lord for this.
Another one of the ways the Lord has provided for me over the last couple of months is through the Champion Centre. This is an Early Intervention Centre that Asher has been registered with to help us with her speech delay. The therapists as well as the social worker have been a real blessing to me. Not only in their very practical help and encouragement with Asher, but on a personal level for me as well. They work with mothers of children with special needs all the time, and so have been a part of the process of me accepting that life is just that much harder with Asher's epilepsy. And perhaps even more so this year with learning that it is something she will not grow out of (as we had previously hoped). I thank the Lord for them and see them as a blessing to me from Him as well.
(Note: If you feel led to help support the Champion Centre - they are greatly in need of financial assistance. You can see how to support them through the link above.)
So when, as on Wednesday evening, I am tempted to feel like a "failure" because I cannot cope on my own - I will remind myself of all these truths. I will continue to trust that God has a good and perfect plan through all of this, and that He will work it all out for our good (Romans 8:28).