Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Plans of God

Many of you have been kind to email and ask why I have been absent from the blog-o-sphere. Let's just say that studying for the LSAT and getting into law school takes way more time than I had imagined. Thankfully, the task is behind me now, and I begin classes on February 15th.

On the day Hope was born, I was miraculously re-born. Blinders dropped from my eyes, dull senses became razor sharp, and coping mechanisms morphed into warrior mentality. With a chip firmly resting upon my shoulder, a little girl sporting an extra-chromosome poured into and occupied the whole of my heart. And for her every weakness, I became strong. By the time Charlie entered my life three years later, I was not surprised to reach out my hand and find a brand new chip was growing on my other shoulder.

Stories of special needs children being abused at school routinely find a way to my email box. One child regularly zipped in a gym bag while at school, others locked in closets or strapped down to chairs, and still others bruised by those who are supposed to protect them. As I would read the reports, my soul would ache for someone, anyone, to come along to do something. And then one day my voice changed from "one of our disabled families should become an attorney to fight for these children" to "why don't I become an attorney and fight for our disabled children?" It was as if that thought had been present in my mind forever, as much a part of my life as sweet tea and buttered cornbread.

In retrospect, that thought was most likely born on September 14, 2005, the day I was given my first glance at Hopey's face. God must have felt a tinge of pain for me that day as He carefully planted that thought in my mind and considered the path I was to travel. Both Hope and I hung desperately onto life through delivery to be met with a cold introduction to one another before Hope was whisked away to NICU in a matter of mere seconds....I wasn't even allowed to touch her. "This is your daughter. I am taking her to NICU now." Still flat on my back being sewed up from a cruel C-section, I could only see two pitch black eyes staring back at me through a swaddling blanket. The moment our eyes locked, in that split second, I believe God brought the thought he had planted to life.

To say the steps have been difficult would be a laughable understatement. Through the flood of post-partum depression abandoning me with panic attacks and shaking my body randomly throughout the day and night for the first eighteen months of Hope's life....through three open heart surgeries mowing a scarred path down Hope's chest and leaving behind a defective heart prompting the ever-present possibility of an early good-bye to a baby girl I adore....through the daily struggle to communicate with two little ones who lack a voice but have so much they want to say....through the four eyes with impaired vision who trust me to see for them and keep them from falling down....through becoming aware of Charlie's moderate hearing loss and figuring out new ways to manage his inability to walk....through never feeling like I'm doing enough but failing to muster energy to do more....through sensory integration challenges that sometimes hurl Hopey onto the floor into a fetal position causing tears to pop from her face and screams of terror to escape from her mouth while those same challenges prevent Charlie from swallowing any food that has not been pureed....through all of this and so much more.....I find myself inexplicably loving with an insane love driven by an unseen force that has linked me cohesively to two little people who count on me to meet their every single need. The weight of it all. The joy of it all. Only God could write a story that makes absolutely no sense at all but fits perfectly.

The Creator of the Universe, as corny as it might sound to some, chose Hope, Charlie, and me for this task. Hope and Charlie have submitted to God's plan beautifully. But to get me here, the Almighty had to rattle me, frazzle me, and crush me. My "routine" looks somewhat like a see-saw: Somedays I bask in His glory....other days I wrap an imaginary curtain around me to close Him out completely. There are moments when I am so enraptured by my love for God that my hands spontaneously raise at the same time my knees are hitting the floor in cries and songs of praise....but there are other very real occasions when I raise my fist to Him in hate. All of this raw emotion, tangled in abandoned adoration for two who are weak and considered "less than" by most of the population of earth, God has used to fuel me and change me.

He has scripted the plot and the finale, given me the role I am to play, and continues to sprinkle me with signs of His presence every now and then to keep me focused and on cue. I have chosen to accept the call to go to law school, and now I wait to see how His plan unfolds. One thing is certain; the life of a follower is never dull!

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord...." Jeremiah 29:11