A little over three years ago, Ben’s seizures started escalating. “A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that usually affects how a person feels or acts for a short time” (epilepsy.com). Ben began having seizures monthly, then weekly, eventually ending up where he would experience multiple seizures each day.
Ben spent several years experimenting with new medication, side effects, and an ever increasing battery of hospitalizations and medical tests. I felt like I was measuring my weeks in doctors’ appointments and lab tests, continually relying on a handful of friends and babysitters to watch my three children.
One day I was talking with a friend whose husband was also struggling with serious illness. We started discussing all of the ways that we have “cut corners” as moms because our energies are so focused on our husbands.
“If life were different, we would …”
- watch less TV.
- eat less fast food.
- have playdates at our house more often.
- supervise our kids’ homework more closely.
- have family devotions every day … or at least every week!
The list went on and on as we each talked about what it would look like in our homes if we were the Perfect Moms. We commiserated and laughed together, sharing an understanding that many women might not otherwise have.
Looking back, I think we missed the point. The truth is, we are the perfect moms for our children. We are parenting in the best possible way for the children that God has given us. Ben’s disability affects our entire family. The corners we cut and the accommodations we make are not God’s second best for us. These adjustments actually help our family not only to survive but to thrive. Eating fast food after a long day of dealing with unexpected seizures or watching TV together because Daddy and Mommy are too tired to play a game … these activities are not necessarily sin, or even second best. They are what our family needs to do to lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and to run with endurance the race that is set before us.
God has given our children a front row seat to His sanctification process in our lives. He graciously allows our children to watch us trust Him in the midst of difficulty and pain. In many ways, our children are learning about God much like Job: I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. If our challenges bring us closer to God, then we are truly the perfect moms for our children.