Sunday, May 24, 2009

Consider the Lilies

I'm not going to mince words. I am discouraged. I am beyond discouraged. You may wonder why I haven't updated for awhile--it's been so hard to even think about putting into words how hard this all can be. I am usually a very optimistic person. I don't like to focus on how stinkin' hard it is sometimes to parent a special needs child. I am good at feeling pure, unconditional love and finding the joy in each moment. Not now. How is that for being real? (:

The last couple of months have overall NOT been good for Elli. It seemed to start when she went off track from her preschool program. She was a fussy, ornery mess for a week. We decided she must be missing school, and we couldn't wait until she went back on track. Though it's only 2 hours a day, I think she really needs the structure and attention she gets there. It's such a fabulous classroom. Well, school started back up, but after only going a few days, Elli got what I thought was just a bad cold. We kept her home (so much for being excited for school) and it seemed she was getting better until one awful night, where she screamed pretty much the entire night. By four or five in the morning I had lost patience and left her crying so I could get some sleep. Jeremy ended up getting up with her and gave her a blessing, after which she finally fell asleep. When I went to get her out of bed the next morning at 9 am, I noticed there was dried blood around her ear, and blood coming out of her nose. YIKES. I felt awful, thinking of the pain she must have been in. When I took her to the pediatrician, he couldn't even tell if her eardrum was ruptured because he couldn't see back that far through all the infection in her ear. Poor girl.

I thought that surely things would get better after being on meds, but for the most part, it hasn't. She definitely FEELS better, I can tell that. But she has almost completely stopped talking, and instead does this yelling, grunting thing about every five seconds. My ears have had enough. It's driving me crazy. You might be wondering if her ear is still bothering her... I really don't think so, but I will take her in tomorrow for a follow-up. She's hearing fine, as evidenced by her bolting out of her chair the second she hears a word that has anything to do with sugar. That's our Elli.

I think, rather, that Elli is in one of her "slumps." Her life has seemed to have a pattern since she joined our family two years ago. She will progress, then regress. She will learn something new, then it will just disappear for months. I was so hoping that we were done with this pattern, but that doesn't seem the case. This time seems even more pronounced, because she was doing so well. Now, our cheerful, talkative Elli has turned into a uncooperative, grunting (and that word doesn't do it justice) demanding little girl. I was doing ok with that until the last couple of days (admittedly, there have been some happy times with her interspersed with the trials). However, today I had just had it. After trying repeatedly (I'm talking for the thousandth time) to get her to say a word, any word, only to have her scream in my tired ears again, I felt like there was just no hope. No hope.

Interestingly enough, I came onto her website for the first time in weeks and was lifted just a little (I mean the tiniest bit) when I saw that my last post was titled "Hope." Surely if I had felt it then, I could feel it again. Right? I was so yearning for something to hold onto.

Anyway, today I went to church late (following Elli dumping a leftover bowl of cereal/milk all over her dress, being changed, then spitting out a mouthful of chewed up food on her new outift) and was not in the right spirit, if you know what I mean. The first speaker was very good, but I will admit, I listened cynically as she talked about the wonderful role we have as mothers. Then there was a special musical number. A man stood up and sang a beautiful arrangement of "Consider the Lilies." As soon as he began to sing, a peace washed over me. I felt changed. Surely, if the Lord cares about the lilies of the field, he is aware of Elli.

And me.

Because really, I have not been the most loving mother toward her lately, and I needed to know that He was aware of that and still loved me.

There is a verse in the song that is as follows:

"Consider the sweet tender children who must suffer on this earth.
The pains of all of them he carried from the day of his birth.
He clothes the lilies of the field. He feeds the lambs of his fold
and He will heal those who trust Him and make their hearts as gold."

As that verse was sung, I reached down and kissed Elli on the head and felt that love for her that I have been longing to feel, but that has been smothered due to frustration and discouragement. And for a moment, I again had hope.

I am therefore finally taking the time to write again-- to remind myself of that brief moment where I felt the love the Savior has for my sweet Elli. It was almost forgotten as I came home to more grunts and screams and defiance. In fact, I took off by myself to the cemetery to put flowers on Jake and Emmy's graves-- I couldn't handle taking Elli with me--and once again, was not feeling very loving toward her. I turned the radio on in the car to hear, you guessed it, "Consider the Lilies."

Deep, deep down I know that this will all be ok in the end, but right now I am CLINGING to the words of this song, just desperately trying to hope.

P.S. I couldn't get the song on my playlist, but I've added it to the sidebar if you would like to hear it.


  1. Sweet Christianne:

    How my heart aches for you now. As I read these words, I desperately wish to encourage you, but it is so hard to hear 'hope', when one feels so defeated and sad. I know. I have been there. So I will remind you of something not so pretty, but something that is so real.

    We have an enemy, who hates those who love and serve the Lord. He despises you, sweetie. Really, really.

    He sees your loving heart for your children and seeks to discourage it. He sees your zeal for the Lord and seeks to crush it. He sees your aspirations for Elli and seeks to steal them. He watches you go out on a limb, again and again, with each child, each loss, each bump in the road and he would like nothing more than for you to flippin' give up.

    The good news is that God will not allow you to be ultimately defeated. He will simply not allow it. He will woo you and lure you back to Himself, speaking words of love, encouragement and wisdom to you. He will be patient with you. He will not lose sight of you and your dream (which, of course, are really His). He will restore all that is taken from you by the enemy. He will renew His Spirit within you.

    It is His good pleasure to do this for you, Christianne. He *lives* to redeem: situations, souls and spirits.

    In the place where you are weakest, He can and does shine. Even in this. He shines in you, Christianne.

    Much affection and prayer come your way from Iowa tonight. May joy cometh in the morning...

  2. Prayers for you, all I can offer, and the best I can offer.

  3. Sweet Christianne,

    I am so glad you posted this so we know how to help! Even though we are so far away in Tennessee we know what we can pray for and be more specific. Your post always touch the hearts of so many-your trials always strengthen all including myself. You always have a way of bringing out the good in each situation. I love that. .
    I do wish I was close by so I could give you a hug and to watch her for a couple of days so you could have a break! Love you-hang in the light will come!

  4. We have a sovereign God and He is so faithful. Praying that He will continue to give you HOPE and breakthrough after breakthrough.
    You are never alone.
    Love in Him Who is more than Able,

  5. Hey Lady - I don't have words - there really aren't any, all we can do is offer out care and support from here. We will keep you, Elli, and the rest of your family near to our hearts and always in our prayers! Blessings and love to all you guys - aus and co.

  6. A comment you made to me one night years ago that literally saved my life: Weak things will be made strong. Your hard times will be your strongest assets. Perspective. Thank you for being in tune and finding me there in Ferron. You have no idea what you've done for me and for my family. You are strong. The Lord is with you. We are praying for you.

  7. Christi,
    You have just described my last few weeks. It seems like I feel that I have accepted even the hard things and everything is going well and then Megan starts into her hard phase. She has been screaming and running in circles again and I am honestly just dreading the summer--which is coming up fast. I just have to pray that Heavenly Father will keep sustaining me because I absolutely know that is the ONLY way I have made it this far and I know He will do the same for you.


  8. I was afraid that might be why you weren't posting. Thanks for the words of hope and encouragement you shared even in your moment of frustration. I love you!

  9. Christianne, it takes a lot of courage to just say it how it is...thanks for being real and open. Every ounce of me is thinking of you right now! I love you. Keep the faith, the alternative is dismal! Love you, H