Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Does God Care?

"Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
Psalms 55:22 (TLB) 

I knew it was coming. It’s been in the back of my mind for the past year. I’ve tried to avoid, ignore, distract myself but there was no way around. Once again I find myself smack dab in the middle of it. My old pal (not)…. GRIEF.

As a young boy and now a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Ryan’s school years were often difficult. Although a struggle, he managed to keep up academically. It was the physical, emotional and social aspects that were his hardest battles. He started displaying anxiety near the end of his elementary years and began having full blown panic attacks in junior high. By the start of high school, we withdrew him feeling homeschooling would be best for the remainder of his education. 
It was not your typical home-schooling. A tutor came to our home. Ryan kept up pretty well until this, his final year of school. His tutor moved and Ryan struggled with the change.  So we chose to do this last year on our own, in our own way. Doing so meant he would complete his education, but in a non-typical fashion.  Ryan understood that he would not graduate with his class. We talked about it and he was okay with his decision. He knew he would not “walk” with his class. There would be no pomp and circumstance. 

On the other hand, I struggled as I knew this day would come. It is hard for me to see all the postings and pictures of friend’s children at their graduations. I am happy for them. I can and will celebrate those moments with them yet deep down inside, it pokes at my grieving heart. 

It was Ryan’s choice. I knew I had to respect that choice. Now he is struggling too. Not because of his choice but watching his friends celebrate these events and moving on. He said,” Mom I am happy for them but my life is so different. They are talking about moving out, going to college. It is hard, I know I will never be able to be on my own.”

Trust me, we have heard all the, “You can do anything you put your mind to” speeches but the reality is he can’t and he knows that. These types of life events bring that reality to the front. You see things the way they are “supposed” to be, yet have to accept that is not our reality.

We both have to grief the loss… again.  

There are no short cuts. Each grieving moment is as painful as the last one even when you know it is coming. I cannot protect Ryan or myself from it. As much as I want to run and hide, it eventually bubbles up. We will get through it, with some tearful days. Just as we have numerous times over the past few years. No matter how many time I experience it, it does not speed up the process. We still have to walk through it.

 I am thankful God understands our sorrows and Grief as he watched his own son fulfill his destiny:
We despised him and rejected him-a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. (Isaiah 53:3, TLB)

As we process and deal with this grief we are also choosing to see things from a different perspective. Setting aside the “normal”, we are still celebrating this milestone of Ryan’s life.

The one word I could chose to describe Ryan’s life is … Endurance; The ability to do something difficult for a long time; the ability to deal with pain that continues for a long time, the quality of continuing for a long time.

Ryan endured. He endured years of watching his friends get bigger, stronger as he became weaker. He endured teachers that didn’t want to understand, IEP meetings, promises made that were never kept. He endured going from being able to walk, to needing a wheelchair. Endured having friends pull away then reject him. He endured panic of such things as there being a fire while he was on the second floor of the school, and the fear of not being able to get out. He endured disappointments, changes, challenges and pain. Most importantly, in enduring HE FINISHED WELL!

So even in the midst of our grief, we are choosing to celebrate Ryan’s unique successes. He (and our family) have learned lessons one can only learn in the school of life. Ones that often take people years to understand. 

We know that God really does care. So much so that he says in Psalms 55:22, "Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." (TLB) 

Perhaps Francis H. Havergal summed it up best: “To thee I bring my care, the care I cannot flee. Thou wilt not only share, but bear it all for me. O Loving Savior, now to thee, I bring the load that wearies me.”

Grief is a lonely and personal thing. Feeling so alone, yet I know I am not. Thankful that God is in it with me.  He understands, and I don’t have to hide these feelings from him or pretend everything is okay.  He can handle, " the load that wearies me".

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for always being with us, even in the midst of grief and sorrow. I know I can go to you, and trust you with these feelings. I know you understand the pain. Thank you for the promise that you will carry our burdens if we would give them to you. Help us to see the joy in the sorrow.

In Jesus Name,



  1. Donna, Thank you so much for sharing this. Grief does keep coming back at different times doesn't it? CONGRATULATIONS to RYAN on his graduation!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Congrats to Ryan. What a huge accomplishment. What an example of endurance.

    1. thank you. I am thankful that God does allow us to be able to "see" things the way he does! Sometimes our kids successes aren't what the world sees but they are still success and should be celebrated!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations to Ryan. May God bless you all.

    1. Thank you, Ryan has endured and has succeeded! Praising God for these moments in our kids lives!

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