I made the sandy shore the sea’s limit, which by eternal decree it may not overstep. Jeremiah 5:22(b)
Everyone has their limits. A line in the sand when our patience fails, our smiles fade into tears and our boiling point is turned to high. For each human being, it is different. Some things that bother you may not bother me. I find many of these “little” things to be nuisances. I may be different in that way. I believe trauma survivors are wired for high pain thresholds- both physical and mental. There is something inside of us that just can’t seem to feel a high dose of pain meds or a tragic event in the same way others experience it. Layer that with those of us that work in the criminal justice system who see tragedy and death on a regular basis. The limit of our pain threshold gets moved another several notches.
But even then, we hurt. And I find that when we hurt, the pain is deeper and wider, since the threshold is higher. We scream, why God? Why do you make me suffer like this? But suffering builds virtue. And suffering leads us back to God, if we let it.
I talk about my experience with my youngest daughter Meadow so much because it is the suffering that did me in. If you would have told me that I was suffering from some real physical ailment, I would have believed you.
The pain of our children very tangibly becomes our own
I tell her story, different parts of her story, to share the lessons I learned along the way. And for those who have a sick child, a special needs child, hope is scarce.
This part of the story happened during a ride back from an OT (occupational therapists office) about an hour away from us. I drove to see her after receiving a referral for her services. She was the best, I was told, in evaluating the condition that Meadow had. And so I saw the possibility of a cure, and was willing to drive anywhere or spend anything for it.
She spent over an hour with me. There were a million questions and answers. I had been through this so many times before. She wanted me to bring Meadow up to begin therapy. I looked at her intently
I don’t know what to do anymore
Than I lost it
All of this, several years of watching my child suffer, doctors, blood tests, breakdowns, culminated in a mess of myself on the floor. I hadn’t lost it until then. But the pain threshold had been crossed. Meadow was not getting any better, she was getting worse.
Every fear crossed my mind. She was slipping away. The beautiful, perfectly healthy little girl I once knew had become a shell of herself, a dysfunctional monster. I was screaming in a crowded room but nobody could hear me. Nobody could help me. This is the first person that did.
And maybe that’s what triggered the reaction. That she agreed with my diagnosis. That she was going to help me. Maybe it was her kind face. Or maybe it was seeing the patients in the waiting room, all of whom were children with special needs and varying disabilities.
I thanked her, walked out the door and ventured home.
The sobbing turned violent and I could not see outside my window.
It was daytime. The sun was out.
I sobbed an ugly orchestra of cries but no words. I was done. And then it came. That cry to God.
Before it happened, I remembered that scene in the movie Breakthrough after the child had drowned. His mother was by his side and the doctors said that there was nothing more that they could do. And then from the deepest part of her being, Chrissy Metz character, screamed this prayer:
Send your Holy Spirit to save my son!
Her son’s pulse returned and the room is silent.
So I screamed too, at the top of my lungs, and in my own words, the scariest, most insane prayer I have ever prayed.
God I am done!!!!!!!! I am done with this!!!!!!!! I cannot take it one more minute. Send your Holy Spirit down right now and take away my pain so I can help my daughter. Do it or kill me.
That prayer came from somewhere other worldly. But in that exact moment as in the movie, God took away my pain. I stopped crying. The wounds inside my soul closed. I saw the sun. And an immense joy parted the sea of tears on my face. I could not contain the roar of laughter that escaped my mouth.
Meadow started to get better after that. And like the woman we read about in today’s reading who touched Jesus’ cloak and her twelve years of hemorrhaging stopped, so to did the hemorrhaging of my pain. God gave me the strength to lead Meadow where she needed to go.
And then He turned around and cured her Himself
There is a lot in that, so sit with it.
I am at my limit today. Send down your Holy Spirit in this moment and let my life return to me. You set the limits Lord as the shoreline to the sea. I am done, revive your servant.
In Jesus Name,