Today at church the pastor spoke about how we need to trust God in trying times and know that he will either sustain us or deliver us in times of sorrow, fear, or uncertainty. And that we should thank him in times of joy and excitement. He spoke about how God will either sustain us or deliver us through challenging times. When things are good we thank God for what we have. But when we're struggling our instinct is to wonder where He is and why he has forsaken us.
All I could think of was Lauren's hospitalization and how utterly terrifying it was to hand her over for surgery. There were times I thought we would never get through it and I worried every single day that I would never get to hold Lauren again.
I recently answered a question a blog about what is the best gift your child has given you. It really made me think a lot about my family and how terrifying, joyful and enriching it is to be a mother.
Ryan gave me the best gift of all, I think. Ryan gave me the gift of motherhood. He made me grow up, learn to truly put somebody else first and most of all how to love unconditionally. When I look at Ryan and think about how absolutely perfect he is my heart almost aches. Moms (and dads), I'm sure you know the feeling I'm talking about. The feeling where the love you have for your child is so strong it's almost tangible. Without Ryan I wouldn't have that. His birthday is such an awesome day for me because even one day before we had him I had no idea how much our lives would change and how much my heart would grow. Now that he's getting older and really showing us his personality I can't help but be in awe of the fact that Greg and I made him. He is such a miracle!
Lauren has given me the gifts of faith, community and overwhelming hope. When I was pregnant with Lauren we were so worried about what our futures would hold. I was terrified that life would never be the same and that we would never adjust to being not only a new family of four but a family with a child with special needs. When we found out about Lauren having Down syndrome and needing open heart surgery I was crushed. I worried about her heart every single day of my pregnancy and the increased risk of stillbirth was constantly on my mind. I knew in my heart that I had to have faith that God would both sustain us and deliver us or I'd never make it. So I closed my eyes, plugged my nose and jumped into a lake of faith without even checking how deep the water was. There were certainly times where I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water and I might drown at any moment but either I held onto God or He held on to me or maybe a little bit of both.
I am so incredibly thankful for every single nurse, doctor and social worker who made sure that not only Lauren, but we as a family were cared for during her hospitalization. I can't even explain how greatful we are for all of the meals that were brought to our home and to the hospital by people who knew we needed help and we needed to feel surrounded by people who cared about us. Our families who watched Ryan so I could stay at the hospital almost 24/7 and then brought Ryan to visit us every day. My MOPS table made an awesome care package for us, people sent outfits, toys for Ryan, flowers for Lauren's hospital room and Visa giftcards. Do you now that every single Sunday at church somebody tells us that they read my blog and have been praying for us. Do you know how that feels? It's truly indescribable. I know that no matter what the future brings we are not alone. Our community rallied around us and made sure we were taken care of. I hope we can repay that favor someday.
And now life is...normal. To be honest, it feels a little like the calm before the storm and I just know something crazy will happen soon. There are days I still feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water, I think that's pretty common for families with small kids, right? I can't be alone! Somedays I feel a million times older than my 26 years. But our family is strong enough to get through anything life throws at us and I try to be thankful every single day for the blessings we have.