As I read a bedtime story to my son tonight, I couldn’t keep back the tears. “Mama, what if I were a slimy smelly sea creature with seaweed hanging from my body?” asks the boy in the book. And his mama assures him she would love him for exactly who he was, slimy, smelly seaweed and all. “I love you, my wonderful child,” she says.
A couple months ago I was thinking about love. How do we use love to help those around us truly fly, to be a part of God’s story the way He intends? As I was spending time just listening, God spoke this into my heart. “Love is… NOT holding someone to the impossible (and quite fake) standard of perfection that the world holds them to, while simultaneously championing them to be the very best version of themselves. In this you give that individual a chance to live authentically in who I (God) have created them to be.” I’ll be honest, at first I thought he was directing this to my heart because of how I needed to respond differently to my husband. And truthfully, I did need to hear it for that purpose but over the last few weeks and frankly, the last few days, this has taken on a whole new meaning for me and I believe God gave this to me so I could hold on to it now when I’ve felt the most broken than I’ve ever felt before.
A year ago I remember thinking I would surely break… snap at any moment. Danny and I were living in high alert mode as our son Titus had begun having seizures and wasn’t responding well to medication. Our youngest, Ely began having what the medical world called “ALTE’s”, apparent life threatening episodes. Ely would have such a forceful spit up that it would clog his nose and throat leaving him unable to breath or clear out on his own. Danny and I, countless times, suctioned him out, adrenaline pumping, working as fast as we could to save him from aspiration and ultimately, our worst fear… him dying.
Leading up to this most recent week, as we’ve faced health challenge after heath challenge, there was always something we could do to help our children. Ely had a 2 and 1/2 hour stomach surgery and has not had another dangerous episode again since. He was failure to thrive and had a feeding tube put in. He’s now gaining and actually finding himself the on the growth chart. We’ve faithfully given Titus every medication the drs prescribed to successfully control his asthma and allergies and have diligently searched for answers to his seizures and what we could do, radical or traditional, to help him. We sought out every therapy and assessment we were told or felt he needed and diligently got him on an IEP, all with promises that this was just a difficult season and we would see improvement with time.
Our search for answers ended this week, Tuesday at 11:45 am to be exact. And we are left with the ability to do only one thing… Love. Titus was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called late infantile NCL. It is progressive and fatal with no cure. This disease will take our sweet boy away before he can experience being a teenager.
There isn’t anything we can do to reverse the bad genes, to heal him. Appointment after appointment this week confirmed the diagnosis. And I’m left feeling desperate, helpless, sad… so so sad. And I find myself saying to Titus over and over again, “I love you.”
And God has been speaking to me in my deep brokenness of an even deeper love. A love that enables Titus to be all that he was meant to be despite the obvious imperfections we see in this world. And I want to champion that. I want to love my son like that.
This week I’ve become broken. More broken than I knew I could be. So broken that I can’t fix it and I’m overcome by it.
But… out of the broken comes love. An authentic, new eye-opening kind of love.
Oh how I love and am loved.
Thanks for listening… And keep praying.
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