The tension in my neck felt like a vice had been attached across my shoulders. After umpteen hours of research, calling medical offices, and chasing lab results, I reached my limit of special-needs mom stress. Acting as (a diligent, and yes, sometimes obsessive) case manager, nurse, researcher, decision-maker and counselor all in the same day (or hour) can become overwhelming. I knew I reached that point last week when I yelled at the cat (poor old guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time).
The truth is that I find it hard to wait patiently for answers. I dislike ambiguity regarding the well-being of my children, and working to figure things out is in my nature. This can be a good thing, but there comes a point where work has diminishing returns and mainly brings about a state of physical or mental exhaustion with little progress toward the goal. I am the poster child for this scenario.
I finally had sense enough to pull myself away from computer research and took a warm bath. As the buoyancy of the water supported the tight muscles in my neck, I again asked God to forgive me for trying to solve my child’s medical problems with supermom skills that are often not super at all.
This intensely active problem solving and subsequent repentance is not new for me. The first time I walked the supermom wanna-be path was when my husband and I were seeking a diagnosis for our two-year- old who had autism. That was 20 years ago. This time it’s on behalf of our 22-year-old who has undiagnosed medical problems. Clearly, I’m not as far along in my spiritual development as I could be. I regret how often I may have drowned out God’s voice with my intense efforts to learn and seek expert opinion.
And yet, my failures help me realize the need to stop—to pray—and to listen. And God has not failed me over these past 20 years.
Does this mean I get everything I want? No. Does it mean that God has immediately answered “yes” to every prayer. No—not by a long shot. What it means is that God has always provided strength and enough provision over time to keep my hope alive and to sustain me and my children.
So here are the questions I must ask myself:
- Why do I act as if I alone must secure resources for my daughter? Do I believe God will not work His will for my daughter without my help?
- Do I believe that God is so skimpy with His power and provision that I must micromanage my daughter’s care?
- When will I know that my due diligence in advocating and researching is enough—and that it’s time to let go of fear and to trust?
Thankfully, a friend (who read Luke 12:27) reminded me that wild flowers in the fields do not toil for their survival, yet our Heavenly Father sustains them. He dresses them more elegantly than the most powerful Kings in the world. The flowers simply bask in the sun (or tolerate the rain) as he provides for their needs and dresses them in an extravagant way. To think that God might do this for us and our children is extraordinary!
As we make decisions for our children, it’s not always easy to discern our role in the process and to be sure of our choices. However, it is clear that we have stepped over the line when we feel worry or overwhelming burden over anything (Phillipians 4:6-7).
For me, it’s time to intensely seek God (not answers) through a quiet and attentive spirit and to watch in awe and thanksgiving as He directs my path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Lord, help me silence my inner Supermom so I can hear your voice.
Dr. Karen Crum brings hope and practical support to parents through her blog and award-winning book, Persevering Parent: Finding Strength to Raise Your Child with Social, Emotional or Behavioral Challenges. Order Karen's book on Amazon or visit her blog via www.PerseveringParent.com.