I had the opportunity to attend a conference last weekend. It was 3 very full days of workshops and lectures. I heard some wonderful speakers and took a lot in. Yet the one thing that left a lasting impression on me, stood out over all the professional speakers, was a conversation I had with a beautiful 17 year old girl.
We just finished dinner, and were waiting for our last speaker to take the stage. A young girl came over and quietly sat down at the table next to me. We sat there for a few minutes in silence when I said Hi. She looked up and smiled and we started to talk. We made small talk for a few minutes then things got a little deeper. She started to share with me her excitement in the fact that she would be leaving for college in 2 weeks, a day she never thought would happen. She proceeded to share very openly what it has been like to live with severe depression and anxiety for the past 6 years. She was very thankful that in the last year it seemed to have lifted significantly. She said , I do still have some bad days, yet now, they don't defeat me like they used to. I am able to get through them knowing they won't last. She said the hardest part has been the fact that no one, neither family nor friends was able to truly understand what she was feeling in those deepest depressing times. She felt very alone yet knew God was and continues to be with her. She holds tight to his promises in the hard days. The next words took me by surprise. With such joy and peace she said " I know what it is like to feel alone, believing that no one understands. If I can help just one other person in the midst of my struggle to know they are not alone, I believe my purpose for going through all this will be fulfilled!" My eyes filled with tears. I realized what a beautiful gift she has to give to others, the gift of truly understanding what they might be going through.
"In our suffering we often ask the question Why? Why, because it is not suffering that destroys a person, it is suffering without a purpose ." Job; The wisdom of the Cross. Christopher Ash
There are many reasons why God might allow trials and suffering in our life . I do know one reason is that suffering prepares us to be able to come along side others who are struggling. It brings us to a place of deep compassion, and mercy which allows us to say with complete honesty, " I get it, I understand!" Sometimes that is all they need to know, they are not alone and that someone truly understands. God has purpose in our trials. Once in a while he lets us SEE that purpose. That girl at such a young age has suffered much. Although still struggling, she is seeking to minister to others. Offering them the gift that was given to her. The gift of hope, and joy she has found through Christ! The gift of understanding. What an encouragement she was to me!
Friday, July 17, 2015
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what Ryan can and can’t do. In fact I try very hard not to think about it. Once in a while though, it sneaks up out of the blue and hits me. It takes me by surprise ,then grief overcomes me. Last night was one of those times. I was sitting on the couch, minding my own business when my neighbors’ son pulled up into their driveway. I looked out the window and saw that he had a few friends with him. They piled out and started chasing each other around. He looked so tall, so strong, and it hit me, reality. He is the same age of Ryan. Their birthdays are only a few days apart. They are both 17, soon to be seniors in high school. I sat and watch him for a few minutes, and then sorrow filled my heart. That is what my son should be doing! That is what he would be doing if it wasn’t for the Duchennes. Reality.
It is times like those that bring to light the reality of what Ryan has lost. At this point, the list for what he cannot do has far exceeded what he can do. It is getting harder and harder for him to have any sense of independence. Today I was watching Ryan as he drove his chair into his room. He reach down to the stand alone air-conditioner, turned it on, then a few minutes later he went back and turned the temperature down. I got to thinking, he does this quite frequently throughout the day. I wanted to cry as I thought about it, watching him do this simple task seemed to bring him so much joy. An air-conditioner? YES! Why? Well, Ryan can control it. He can turn it on and off, he doesn’t have to wait or ask for help, this is one thing he can do, independently! It may seem like a little thing, it isn’t driving a car like my neighbors son, but it IS something Ryan CAN do and I WILL take it, as small as it might seem, and celebrate it!
Sometimes it is a little thing that can bring a wave of grief, and sometimes it can bring about a moment of joy. For today I am choosing to see the joy in a little thing that to most probably seems minuet, but to us we will celebrate it as a small victory of independence for Ryan!