Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I'm Dying Here!

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]

If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [[a]to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
~ John 12:24-26, AMP ~

Any time a family expands through the joy of parenthood, the focus changes.  We gladly go from personal aspirations or dreaming as a couple to giving our all for the benefit of another little human being.

In families where a child has some sort of diagnosis, that self-denial and other-focus grows exponentially -- sometimes to a point we hate.

Keeping it real and raw here, I openly confess, there are too many times when I HATE my life...

  • I hate that I have had to watch my son suffer for over 15 years with thousands of IV needle pokes, procedures, surgeries, and hospitalizations.
  • I hate that my youngest daughter is so lonely and hungry for friends her own age, but rarely finds peers that include, love, and accept her in spite of her high energy and social awkwardness.
  • I hate that my eldest daughter, so poised and diligent, with her entire future ahead of her, is so full of pain at the end of some days that she chooses retreating to her room over socializing with friends.
  • I hate that my car virtually knows how to drive to the children's hospital by itself.
  • I hate that we've been robbed of vacations that others take for granted because of the disproportionate part of our budget spent on medical bills.
  • I hate hemophilia, arthritis, Asperger's, ADHD, asthma, severe allergies, and anxiety.
  • I hate that my heart starts racing involuntarily any time the school phone number comes up on Caller ID.
  • I hate that no one seems to care about us.  We live in isolation, rarely invited anywhere.
As much as I hate my life in these awful, painful ways, I have a hope inside of me that burns beyond my emotions.

If ever there were the opportunity to be in the School of Dying-to-Self, special needs parenthood is it!  Countless times throughout any given day, I come to the crossroads of choosing my own gratification over what God is calling me to do.  Sure, I would rather be sleeping, but God is calling me to watch and pray in the wee hours with a perseverating, dysregulated child who needs her mom.  Yes, I would much rather be with a group of girlfriends on some sort of a fun adventure, but God is calling me to be a support to my son and a light to others around me amidst the misery of hematology clinic.  

I carry that perspective throughout life, obediently serving others just like me.  It would be so easy to focus on no one other than myself and my own family, but God has blessed me to be a blessing.  He fills my life with experiences to be poured out for the benefit of other parents who are struggling on this same path.  He grants me perseverance so I can encourage others to persevere.  He equips me with a crazy sense of gallows humor to bring the relief of laughter amidst all the tears.  He teaches me advocacy and a thousand other undesired skills, so I can be a resource to others who are scared and confused, in need of a calm, strong fearlessness.

Over the past fifteen-plus years, my expectations and personal dreams for my own life in this world have painfully faded.  I have learned too often on this journey that my plans don't always mesh with God's.  Even so, I know that I lay them down for a glory and joy that surpasses anything I could hope for in this world.  I have a lot to look forward to!

PRAY:  Jehovah Rapha, bind up the painful wounds in our hearts left by broken dreams and self-denial.  Help us to remember that denying ourselves for Your sake and the sake of our children leads to more than we could ever ask, think, or imagine.

  1. John 12:26 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.


  1. Thank you so much for opening your heart, Barb! I know this is only the tip of a very painful mountain climb! My granddaughter and I were just discussing loneliness particularly at church this AM. With tears she talked about how her whole family doesn't feel like they really belong in their home church. This should NEVER be! It should NEVER be that the Dittrich's or any other family (without or with special needs issues) should have to feel alone particularly in their home church! God must weep over the way His children act toward each other! O God, open all our hearts to follow You well! It's such a disconnect to be snobby, superior acting, and exclusive when our God is the opposite. He embraces the messy sinner, sent His Son to rescue us so we could come into His holy presence, and includes us in His forever family with all the benefits of sons and daughters! As I read your post, I thought: God made us for relationship with Him and each other (Genesis creation mandate), so when we don't embrace each other on a MUCH deeper level than toleration we fail to fulfill the purpose for which we were created! Love you, sweet friend!

    1. Thanks, Ann. I don't think it's a matter of the church as much as it is people who just walk out of your life because your circumstances are too messy or complicated for them. That is one of the unfortunate side-effects for most parents raising complex kids.

  2. Prayers for friends and hope to embrace you and your family.

    1. Thanks for your kindness, Lorna. We are blessed with a boundless hope!

  3. "If ever there were the opportunity to be in the School of Dying-to-Self, special needs parenthood is it!"

    So much truth in this statement! The support you offer helps those of us who walk the same path step up to the call that special needs parenting offers. You bless so many and your work to the glory of God is a bright light in a dark world. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Amy. Glad you grasped the TRUTH in that statement! Praying others do as well.

      More of You, Jesus, and less of icky me!

  4. God bless you, Barb. Thank you for all the many ways you draw from your experience to reach out to help and offer hope to others.