Last week John & I had a meeting for Zoe’s re-evaluation IFSP for early intervention. The way it works is that first we meet with our service coordinator, then we meet with the whole team of therapists to evaluate her progress over the past six months & set new goals for the next six months. They have recently implemented a new “family plan” to help incorporate the family unit as a whole, and so we had to complete one of their family assessments.
The whole assessment took forever and was quite strange to say the least, but we are thankful for all of the services Zoe receives and so we cooperate with whatever they need. One of the questions our service coordinator asked us was “When you lie awake at night, what are things you worry about?” Ok, weird question for any sort of assessment in my opinion unless it’s for a mental health eval, but whatever, I digress. Of course, I don’t really lie awake at night thinking about anything, because I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow 😉
Next question went something like this–“What is something in your past you would change, or that you regret?” At this point, I am thinking what kind of assessment is this? Weird. But whatever, we hide nothing in our family and obviously have made our journey available in many public ways, so I figured sure, I’ll share.
So I told him–I have no regrets. I would change nothing.
As crazy as it sounds, it is the truth. So many times I hear (and used to say these same things myself!) other people make statements such as “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I’ve heard many people pray for God to put a “hedge of protection” around them. I’ve decided I don’t really believe in all this. What do I need God to protect me from? Illness? Injury? Bad things? Why? To make my life safe, and happy, and secure? That’s not His goal!
I have learned (& am still learning!) that spiritual growth comes in journeying through the hard times. Not avoiding them. The times in my life I have grown the most and felt God near more than ever have been during my darkest times. Those times when I sought answers, peace, guidance, wisdom. Not when things were easy, or fun, or when I had that false sense of security and control we love to have. Yes, they were horribly awful, scary, unknown times. But do I regret them, or would I change them? No. They have made me who I am.
Today makes 12 years since I lost my dad. I was 18 and a college freshman, just out of the shower in my dorm when someone came to get me, break the news, and take me home. When I am back in eastern Kentucky and drive past that college where I spent my freshman year, I remember it just like yesterday. It was devastating, and yet I remember so clearly the peace I felt during that time. Little did I know that years later God would help mend our family by gifting us with an amazing step-dad. Would I change the past? No. HIS wisdom is sovereign and HIS plan is perfect. Not mine. Am I happy about the fact I lost my dad so early? No, of course not. But to change that means I would not have the family I have now, and that is not what the Lord intended for us.
Probably my darkest days came in learning Zoe would have spina bifida. Yes, to lose a family member unexpectedly is difficult, but when something happens with your own child it is a pain you never forget. Looking back, I have no idea (well, I DO know, it’s still unreal) how I made it through her pregnancy, at least those first few months after her diagnosis. So many unknowns. I remember yet again feeling at peace with our circumstances, with so many things falling into place, seeing the Lord’s hand at work in our family, and all along I gained a new perspective I never imagined I would have. Never did I think I could say the words–“I wouldn’t even change spina bifida if I could,” but it is what I told our service coordinator last week. To not have spina bifida in our lives means we wouldn’t have Zoe, and she is perfect as she is. There is no mistake. I have actually heard it said that kids with congenital birth defects and other disorders are that way because of sin. Well, that is not how we believe. God did not punish our family by adding spina bifida to it–no, He GIFTED our family with so much. Perspective, strength, and we are a closer-knit family for it.
I believe the words of this scripture are still true…
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of
God might be displayed in him. …” -John 9:1-3
I also believe these words, although so often it seems we forget that “more than we could ask or imagine,” isn’t always the easy road, the safe road, or the acceptable road in our society…
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work
within us…” -Ephesians 3:20
I’m sure our poor service coordinator didn’t realize what he was getting himself into when he asked me what my regrets in life were, or what I would change. Because I sure could talk about this all day 😉 God has blessed my family beyond what we could’ve ever imagined. We may take the scenic route sometimes, and sometimes I may forget He is still around, still working, or sometimes I might even get mad that we can’t always have safe, happy, secure lives while we are here, but that’s just because I lose my perspective.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who
comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive
from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” –
2 Corinthians 1:3-5