Yesterday was my 25th birthday. As I reminisce about the first quarter of my life I have a lot of mixed emotions. Including: Wow, my life is already 1/4 over! That’s scary. I’m still young and have so much more life to live. How exciting! I still have more kids, grandkids, and new adventures to look forward to. I have new skills to learn. More fighting and making up. More tears and laughs. I’m just getting started! Next week I start ocean based swim lessons that my husband bought me for my birthday. After that I’ll learn to surf and start saving for a kayak. I’m excited for all the new things that are to come. My son also turned 10 months old yesterday and is finally starting to make small improvements developmentally. I’m so excited to (hopefully) see him sit up, crawl, walk and actually play with toys this year. So, since I took the day off of writing for my birthday, I will combine yesterday’s prompt, control, with today’s since they fit so well together anyways.
Twenty-four was a good, but extremely challenging year. I had my first baby, a son named Jonah. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life so far, it’s that I love control. We all do, don’t we? We have a plan for our lives and we want to control every person, place and thing to meet our goals in our timeframe. If there is one thing I’ve been reminded of the most this year, it is that I have no control- NONE!
I had a rock solid birth plan for labor and delivery. How much of it went my way? None of it. I wasn’t able to go unmedicated and because he wasn’t breathing when he was born, my husband didn’t get to cut the cord and I didn’t get to have skin-to-skin time right away. We couldn’t even hold him for the first 3 days because of a cooling treatment he was on. That made bonding very difficult in the beginning. Not my plan.
I had high expectations for my baby genius’ growth. I had it in my mind that he would be a perfect sleeper and ahead of schedule developmentally, sitting up on his own by 4 months and walking by 9. How many of my expectations were met? None. He is 10 months old and still at a 3 month level with the exception of rolling over and trying to sit up. Definitely not what I expected.
I have had lots of plans over the years. I was going to be an actress. I was going to be an influencer in an advertising firm. I was going to get in shape. I was going to be a normal, happy mom. My son was going to take a long nap. I was going to shower today. How many of my plans came to pass? None. How much control do I have? None.
How much of this would I change if given the chance? NONE of it!
Okay, I would be tempted to change my son’s conditions, but honestly, he has such a special, unique story now and God is going to use his life story as an amazing show of His power, provision and sufficiency. There are lessons I’ve learned by having a special needs son that I would not have been able to learn any other way. I have realized how weak I am. I have a lot more work to do on my patience and temper regulation than I thought. I will never be able to control my dog’s obsession with eating paper products. I am out of control of my postpartum emotions. There is nothing I can do to change my baby’s brain injury. I cannot make his brain grow. I cannot make him track objects with his eyes. I cannot make his reflux go away. I have no idea what his cerebral palsy diagnosis means for him in the future. I’m fumbling around to cling on to any shred of control that I can, even if it’s just which day of the week the laundry gets washed. But I can’t even control that. It gets forgotten and left to wrinkle in the dryer for days.
The only thing I can control is how much I am willing to let go and surrender to God’s control. I have none, but he has it all! God can teach me patience. God can balance my hormones. God can provide the money we need for bills. And he has done all of these things! God can help little J’s brain rewire itself. He could heal it of all damage completely if he saw fit. But, since that is not likely his plan, I have to do my best to trust him each uncertain step of the way. Like a wise parent who can see the car coming down the road that the child is too distracted by the turtle in the road to see, God can see what is coming my way even when I’m all caught up with the way-too-short nap that J took or with all the dirty bottles or with what the heck my dog is eating now. I’m learning to trust God, even when his plans seem so crazy to me.
I often wish I had more control, but thank you God for knowing better than me! I love our life and our family and I wouldn’t have the things I do if things had gone my way. I am learning that I have no control and I’m so much happier because of it. I have gained so much more life, so much more joy by letting go and allowing God to reveal his perfect plans to me in his perfect timing. Little by little, I am gaining life by losing it.
Today, I will try to let go of anxiety over how much J eats. Tomorrow I will try something else. What is one thing you can let go of trying to control today?
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” Luke 17:33 NLT