10.13.2011

Timelines

She's on her own timeline.
It's something I've been reminding myself repeatedly lately.
It's my new mantra.

With the birth of each of my children, some well meaning person in the medical field has handed a page like this to me.
They clearly don't know my obsessive tendencies.
They don't realize I will put it on the fridge and highlight (for Will's) or check off Ellie's every single accomplishment.
They don't realize that I will use it as a measuring stick for my mothering abilities.
That I will gauge success based on this single sheet of paper.

It's actually been months since I looked at Ellie's.  I knew it was there, hanging on the door to the fridge in our laundry room.  But, I've ignored it.
Because she had dropped so far behind in several categories that it was easier to ignore the chart.
I wasn't ignoring the delays.  She is in lots of therapies and her therapists and doctors all reassure me that we are intervening, she is making progress.
It's just not on the same timeline as her peers-
the babies this chart is written for.
So I've ignored it.

Until last night when I spotted it and pulled it down to take a look.  
I began checking off some things.
I noticed that yes, we have some significant delays in some categories. 
But.
In others, she is right on target or slightly advanced.
I suppose that because a lot of her "free play" is spent sitting, she has developed slightly more advanced skills in things like stacking or turning book pages.
I was going to throw out the chart. 
Until I noticed that not every single category was delayed and maybe this was good to keep (in a more out of the way location) to remind me every now and then of just how far she has come.   Not to compare her to other babies - but to reinforce to me that it is her own timeline.  So I fought the urge to burn it &  put it away in her baby book - I want to remember what she did accomplish.  I just need to stop using it to compare or to measure success.  And I don't want it hanging over my head - with those delays glaring at me.  She's on her own timeline.

 In Bible Study Fellowship, we are studying Acts.
This week, I noticed two things about God's timeline.
(For starters, it is not my timeline.  Rarely does He operate on my timeline.)
1.  There was a man who was crippled.  He sat outside the temple gate and was given the gift of physical healing by the apostles as a "sign and wonder" to give glory and witness to God.  His story is described in Acts 3:1-2.
Here's the interesting part for me.
He was over forty years old. Which means that he had likely been at that very gate during Jesus' ministry.
Jesus performed acts of physical healing.
Yet.
Jesus had chosen not to heal this man, most likely.
I'm guessing it is because Jesus knew there was purpose in this man's differences.  
Jesus knew God would get glory for this man's story ...
and He was operating on a different timeline.
The healing would come - just on a different timeline.

Wow.
That hit home for me.
Not because I am praying for some sort of physical healing for my children.  I believe my children are whole as they are.  Yes, they are different and they have challenges... but they are precious and fearfully and wonderfully made and they are perfect for our family.  I love their handprints and their footprints and their bodies.  What I believe is that God is more interested in the conditions of our hearts than He is in the conditions of our bodies.  
And several years ago, I was strongly convicted that while God most certainly can "heal" them physically, He is getting perhaps more glory from allowing us to live this story as they are.  I realized that if He did a sudden miracle and provided Will with, say, hands & feet, while He would get glory for that & we would tell the story.... at some point  we would stop talking.  At what point would we just accept that he has hands and feet as "normal?"  At some point, I think I wouldn't tell total strangers.  It wouldn't just come up because a stranger wouldn't be able to tell by looking at him that a miracle had occurred.
As it is now, it's an almost daily conversation for me with a stranger.  And my children are miracles.  The fact that he runs - is a miracle - and people witness that every single day.  The fact that Ellie is alive - miracle.  The fact that she has such great function or contentment despite all she has been through - miracle.  The fact that Will's speech is so good - miracle.   The fact that he laughs - miracle.

And I am constantly having conversations with strangers - because they see these children with differences and they ask questions or make comments and I have the opportunity to share of the grace of a God who lets me parent them and who has made them so precious and perfect and Who does miracles every day with them.  And when they don't ask but simply stare - they see God's miracles in a boy who runs or a girl who smiles and cheers.  And they hopefully see God's joy as we get joy from parenting them.
I believe He is operating on His own timeline in our lives - He is hopefully getting the glory for the story we have been given and He is not finished yet with our children or our family.
It doesn't take a "physical healing" in the sense or the timing we are expecting in order for a miracle to occur.  And sometimes, there is purpose in the waiting - there's a greater plan at stake.

2.  Paul, after his conversion on the road to Damascus, did not return to Jerusalem immediately.  (Acts 9 & Galatians 1) In fact, he spent three years in Arabia.  This was probably not in his original timeline.
But, it was God's.  God had him waiting in Arabia for three years preparing for his ministry that would radically change the world.
So often, I want change and I want it now.
I want to see results now.  
I desperately want to see results from Ellie's therapies.  I want to know the outcome of all we are doing.  Will she walk?  When will she walk?  How much assistance will she need and for how long?  I sense her frustration as her brain is at a nearly 14 month old stage but her body is not there yet - not anywhere close, really... and she is frustrated.  And I hurt for her.  Especially lately.
But I can't force results.  I can't force change.  I am in a waiting place.  For awhile.  
The good thing is, I have a precious girl in my arms (a lot - she is a mama's girl!) to wait with me.
And I'm learning a lot about being content.  And waiting.

And somehow, when I think about timelines and God's timeline and when I see in His word how His timing had purpose  - it helps put my concerns back into perspective.

Are you in a waiting place?  Do you feel stuck in a timeline that is not your own?  Did you have expectations for how life should look at this point that are not being met?
How is God using this time for you?  Do you ever get glimpses of purpose in His timing?


1 thoughts:

Mike and Christie said...

Oh my have I ever been stuck in timelines! When Tim was a baby and not sitting at a year, it frustrated me. I so wanted him to sit. He didn't sit until after he was 2.
In fact, he was walking, holding on to walls, before he could sit. :/

With our newest daughter, you cannot see her disability because it is related to trauma and emotional. She has been emotionally damaged and intellectually damaged due to FAE/ and outright abuse and neglect. I so want her to be 11 in many areas and she isn't. She is more like 3 or 4.
I sin, by worrying about her future, yet GOD already knew that when he brought her to us! So why am I worried about something I have no control over? It is that need to know thing that GOD is sill trying to rid me of. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...