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It's not why am I MAD?

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:1-3

“I don’t understand why I keep having to say the same things over and over again, and nothing changes,” I ranted to my husband.

The constant repetition was driving me mad that day, and I mean MAD. I know it’s not her fault. It takes infinitely greater concentration and effort on her part to correct challenging behaviors and practice self-control. And, it takes infinitely more patience on my own to bear it, sometimes through gritted teeth, frustration, and tears.

I remember holding my daughter for the first time, just barely over one pound at birth, praying to God that she would just live. She was a fighter and overcame every odd and near-death encounter. Her name means “life downflowing,” and it wasn’t by accident. She wasn’t an accident. The intricate design of her mind, body and soul were not an accident. So, when the special-needs diagnosis came, it felt like relief knowing I could keep her in my arms. She made it.

Years later now, I found myself venting to my husband about the challenges of the daily hurdles of actually parenting our special-needs child -- when I had an epiphany. Is this how God sees me? Is this how He treats me as His daughter? Surely, I make the same mistakes over and over again. I have to confess the same sins every time I make them and seek forgiveness time and again. And, God forgives me every single time. He doesn’t punish me in anger, but embraces me and my mess and points me to the cross to remind me that my debt is paid and that I am a new creation.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself of who she is and who I am. Most of my frustrations were not even a sin-issue on her part—it is how she is wired and I can not “fix” it, nor should I. We’re talking about my own pride and anger here, and I reminded myself of the little I can control and just how much I need to release in His name. I allowed the pressure to make her perform to standards and expectations just melt away. She does not have to meet any of those—her gifts are entirely unique to her, and she does not have to offer the world what everyone else does. Yet, she has so much more to give that no one else does.

There are times when God allows me to see the fruit of the labor required to shoulder my girl’s burdens; the patient repetition produces self-control, not just for her, but for me. Certain behaviors can be sandpaper against my skin sometimes, but over time and through much love, I find that she is smoothing my rough edges and showing me how surrendering to God is a daily, repetitive act and the only balm to my frustration. Bearing her with love results in peace for all of us, and my grip on worldly expectations is released, bit by bit, day by day.

I can do no more and no less, but God can shoulder this all. I release my sweet daughter, and even my own human imperfection for the perfect trade of His peace and provision.

Your fellow Able Mom,

Karen Herzog

“Loving Father, You’ve entrusted these precious children to our care knowing that we are not perfect. You’ve formed and fashioned us all in a way that brings glory to Your beauty, as we are all made in your image. Let us always see our children through the lens of eternity, shepherding our children to have a heart that loves You and seeks You. Help us to shoulder their burdens and exemplify the daily surrender of our own selfish desires and goals at the foot of Your cross, and simply allow LOVE and LIFE to move through us in a reciprocal flow. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Connect with Karen:

FB: @Karen Herzog (but with all the privacy settings)

IG: @kayherzfam (also with all the privacy settings ;)

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