Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm not strong.

Since Ella’s birth, one of the most difficult things for me to hear are the praises and compliments on what good parents Joe and I are. I know it sounds weird. Everyone wants to be a good parent, right? Of course they do, and Joe and I want to be good parents. But whenever anyone comments on how strong we are, or how wonderful we are to take such good care of Ella, I get really uncomfortable and honestly, a bit annoyed. I’m speaking mainly for myself, although I’m sure Joe would say the same thing.

Several weeks ago I came across this quote and it summed up everything I have thought since the day Ella was born and people started talking about our strength.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

When people tell us how “amazing” we are and say that they just couldn’t handle what we go through, I usually ask one question. “If tomorrow the doctor called you and said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you, but your baby has cancer.’ What would you do?” They usually shrug and say that they don’t know. I’ll tell you what you would do…you’d start fighting. And you’d wake up every morning and put one foot in front of the other, and you’d spend your day fighting. And before bed each night you’d get down on your knees and pray for a miracle and for the strength to wake up the next morning to continue the fight.

Here’s the reality, we aren’t strong. We’re not any stronger than anyone reading this blog. We have just been put in a situation where we have to be strong. We didn’t have a choice. God didn’t come to us before we got pregnant and say, “Hey, I know you and Joe are busy people, but I wondered if it would be ok with you if I gave you a daughter with a very rare skin disease. It’s going to be a lot of work and it’s going to put you both through struggles like you never imagined, so I just wanted to run it by you before this baby is born. Are you ok with that?” No one sees our life behind closed doors. You don't see the tears of defeat when we've had a terrible bandage change or Ella screamed through her entire bath because the water stings so bad. You don't hear the sobs of sorrow when all you want is for your kid to get better, but instead it seems as though she's getting worse. You aren't there when I look at Joe and say, "I need a break" and I escape to the mall for a couple of hours. If others see any strength in us, it’s only because Christ has provided the strength. Without our Heavenly Father carrying us through the past 3 years, we wouldn’t have made it…and that’s the truth.


Ben and Lola said...

As I read your post, couldn't help but be reminded of the lyrics to "The Warrior is a Child". The quote about strength was quite profound.

Anonymous said...

It is in our weakness that He makes us strong. It is very evident to all who read this blog that you and Joe place your faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for your witness to His strength in your home.
As a parent, I can tell you I would fight like you. But I also know that I'd be a big cry baby every time I had to hurt my baby by helping her.

No matter how you see it, you and Joe are amazing to all of us and give us such hope in your courage be the kind of parents Ella needed. To say your strength comes from God gives others the hope that they too could rely on Him. It is obvious through all difficulties of bringing up Ella your family abounds in joy.

So thank you,
*For showing us what a bright little girl she is and how she sings like her mother.
*For sharing pictures of your precious Ella. (My favorite is when she sings herself to sleep in the dark.)
*For making my day when you post on Mondays.
*For sharing your joys, heartaches, and accomplishments.
You are all truly a blessing.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91 1-2

I pray for the three of you all the time.

Anonymous said...

Through His strength, we can face any trial, obstacle, or hurdle. He gives us courage to face hardships that we never imagined. I wonder where I'd be without Him? He is good all the time, all the time He is good!

We love you and your family. Thank you for your raw honesty and openness.

Becky said...

You may not feel extra strong but God has equipped you with just the right strengths and talents and personalities to be the best parents to Ella!! He gave you exactly what He knew you'd need one day! I think you are amazing parents and friends and I'm honored to know you!!

Kristy said...

Beautiful Post Katie. Thanks for being so honest. I thank God every day for His strength. You are shining His light beautifully through your amazing family.