Monday, March 15, 2010

Momma Bear, Father God

"A mother bear with cubs is at their most aggressive state... Mother bears are dedicated to their cubs, yet stern so they learn to survive out on their own when they are old enough. "

How does the Momma Bear protect her young from empathy? How does she protect her young from the pain she feels herself? The frustration of the unpredictability of MS? The physical pain as well as the depression and anxiety?

Last night Julia was asking me what the weather would be like today so she could have her clothes ready to go in the morning. I simply said T-shirt and jeans should work. I was in the middle of putting fresh sheets on my bed and I was limping around with leg pain. She knew I was not feeling well, but I was trying to keep up a front, at least until she got upstairs. She saw right though me. I turned back to put the blanket on the bed and she fell into tears. After a few minutes she was able to tell me that she hated it when I did not feel well. I could see the worry in her eyes. We have slowly started to see her understand exactly what MS means to our family. I told her that it was ok to be upset and it was ok to cry, but that we needed to let go of these worries and not let them consume us. We needed to realize there would be good days and bad days. I told her I was not a quitter and that this was not going to get the best of me. We came up with a solution to her worries. She was to go upstairs and write down all the feelings she was having and then to take a deep breath with each one. When she released that breath she was to release that worry. I told her to picture blowing that worry right out of her body.

I though this was going to be successful, until a little while later when James went upstairs to tuck them in. I asked him to take a couple extra minutes with her and see if she would open up. The tears and sobs came pouring out...he was able to calm her after a while, but my heart was broken. One of my most favorite things about Julia is her ability to empathize with people. She has had this quality all her life and I find it so admirable. But with that quality can come the weight of the world on her shoulders.

How do I teach my child empathy as well as the ability to let go? How do I teach her not to feel what I am feeling? How do I give her these tools when I feel so ill-equipped to handle it all myself? Where do I put these feelings of pain, anxiety, & disappointment? Do I just keep putting on that smiley face and charge forward? These are the things that rattle in my brain at 3:30 am...trying to fix the my world in the darkness. No sleep makes for a vulnerable Momma Bear.

My friend Lori gave me a book called "Streams in the Desert" (such a great devotional as my Auntie Jo also gave me this same book a few years ago) and today's reading is from Isaiah. "Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob...I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp with many teeth" Isaiah 41:14-15 Now just reading this on the surface I thought what the heck does that mean? The devotional goes on to say that God can take a worm (a delicate and easily bruised creature) and make it into a threshing tool that can cut through rock and not be broken. He can take an individual who has the weakness of a worm and with His Spirit endow that person with strength enough to make a profound mark on history. It goes on to say that a "worm" should take heart as God can makes us stronger than our circumstances and turn each situation to our good.

This seems especially fitting today. My heart hurts for my sweet Julia. My body hurts me. My mind is not where is should be. Therefore, I hand it all willingly over to the only One who can take it from me and I try to let it go.


  1. Beautiful...I've got a huge lump in my throat. Julia is a little girl with an old soul. Firstborns are such serious little girls. I know you don't want to burden her but I think she may feel better if you "allow" yourself to lean on her just a little...I think she can bear some of your weight. You'll know how much she can shoulder. Trust your instincts as her mother bear.

  2. Oh Jo, it's so hard with the little ones. We need to let them feel what they feel even though it hurts us so much. i know Julia is a strong girl and she will be an amazing woman, partly because of this experience. Let her know it's OK to feel what she feels. And let yourself show your feelings too, maybe that would help her understand that though we may hurt both physically and mentally it does not make us any weaker.