The hopeless feeling started at the same place it always starts. You would think that I would see it coming, but it always seems to blind side me. Hopeless feelings always latch on to me like a parasite after the girls have had an evaluation. After each evaluation we receive a letter in the mail that is really hard to open. Sometimes the letter will sit on the table for a week before I even open it. I have never read anything in one of the evaluation letters that has surprised me, but seeing it all on paper is just difficult.
As I entered the doctor’s office to hear the results of our very last evaluation, I thought I would handle it well. I really liked the doctor and I knew that I would be given a lot of ideas on how to help our girls. The doctor focused on our daughter’s abilities rather than on her disabilities. Everything seemed really positive and I was feeling really good about things. And then the doctor spoke one sentence over my child’s future that sent me into despair. All I could think about was that one sentence. I couldn’t sleep because of that one sentence. My hope had vanished because of that one sentence.
The week that followed was horrible. The only thought that kept running through my mind was that I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. Why my girls? Why do they have to struggle so much? Why me? Why was I chosen to be a mom to girls with special needs? It’s just not fair.
On Sunday morning, I began preparing to go to church. I didn’t feel like getting ready and I certainly didn’t feel like making the hour-long drive to church. But I did it anyway. As we entered the church I began to play the game that I play so well. Someone would say “Hi…..how are you?” I would smile and say “Fine….how are you?” And then the next person would come along and we’d do the same routine again. But I was not fine. I was a complete mess.
As I took my seat a friend came to give me a hug. She’s one of those friends that you just don’t play the “Hi….how are you?….I’m fine…how are you?” game with. She asked how I was and I told her it had been a difficult week and I was feeling sorry for myself and thinking “why me?”
She began to tell me a story that was exactly what I needed to hear. A few years ago, her son was killed in an automobile accident. As she was going through the grieving process, she questioned God and asked Him “Why me?” She said that she heard Him say “Why not you?” This past August she was on the mission field in Kenya, Africa. God opened a door for her to share her story with a grieving family who had just lost their six-year-old son. She spoke at the funeral and she shared how the love and faithfulness of God carried her through her own experience of losing her son. God had placed her in Kenya on the very day that a grieving family needed to hear her story. I’m sure that God was proud of His daughter because she had turned her “Why me?” into “Why not me?” and allowed Him to use her pain to reach another family who was in pain.
My friend’s words echo in my head. Why not me? “Why me?” focuses only on me. When I start thinking “Why not me?” the focus is on something bigger than me. Why have I been given this life? What can I do at this moment in my life that will make a difference in someone else’s life? Who can I encourage today? I know that I will still have hard days. But if I choose to turn my “Why me?” into “Why not me?” I believe that my life will suddenly have new meaning and purpose.
I don’t know what the future holds for our girls, but I believe that it will be much better than that one sentence that tried to steal all of my hope. Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Yes, the Lord has a future and a hope for our girls. I believe that He will do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).