The Boy Who Loved The Girl With The Headache
Ambria's story is not over. We still have lots to accomplish to achieve her victory over this condition that has temporarily taken over her life. It is hard. Life is hard. Being a mom is really hard. But I know beyond any doubt that my Heavenly Father loves me. And that He loves my daughter more perfectly than I can even begin to imagine.
Through all of this, I've never doubted that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing. There is a purpose, maybe many purposes for this trial. I want to end this series of posts by sharing things that I have learned over the course of this past year.
I have learned not to judge. I try hard not to worry about what other people think of me. It is a weakness that I haven't overcome yet. So this experience has been quite humbling for me. I've often wondered how our situation appears to others. Ambria misses so much school and church because of pain. Mornings are her enemy. No matter how early she tries to get to sleep - she is unable to, and if she gets up early in the morning, she cannot function through the pain. However if she sleeps until late in the morning, by early afternoon, although still hurting, she can often make it to school for the last couple classes of the day. Sometimes she even feels pretty decent by late afternoon and evening. It is these times that most people see her. She tries hard to be her normal, smiling self when she's around people, and I wonder if others realize that this is just a small sliver of her life, and that for the other majority of her time, she is curled up in pain or sleeping. I wonder if people at the school question the fact that she misses so much school, but then comes in after school for her student council meetings. Or if people wonder why, if she's in so much pain, she participated in the school musical, and how she managed to do it. (At the time of auditions, she was still doing well from her summer of rest. As rehearsals commenced she got worse and worse, and it was a tremendous and painful struggle for her to continue on. But she was determined to fulfill her commitment, and to participate in her last ever school musical as she is leaving the school next year). I wonder if people realize why, even though she misses days of school because she can't physically make the car ride and sit in class and work, I still allow Justin to come over to keep her company or help her with homework. If she enjoyed skipping school, I wouldn't allow it. But she HATES missing, and being left out of everything her classmates are doing. And I want to help her to feel less lonely in any way I can. So if that means letting her favorite person come over and keep her company after another lonely day of missing school, then so be it. I already mentioned how I wonder what people think of the two of them spending so much time together in general.
I wonder if the drivers that honk at me, yell at me and sometimes flip me off, knew how much pain every speed bump, train track, driveway dip, and pothole caused my sweet daughter, would they still be so angry with me for how I have to slow WAY down to go over or through, or avoid each one of those things as I drive? Would they be more understanding of how I have to start slowing down long before I reach the stop sign, because braking kills her head, and I have to ease into it as slowly as possible? And how when I accelerate, I have to also ease into it so slowly and gently because the pressure of acceleration also causes intense pain? Would they have any sympathy for the fact that when I am driving her, I am a bundle of tension, my stomach tied up in knots as I try to watch the road from all angles, afraid that I'm going to miss something that will cause my daughter great pain?
I've had to accept that I have no control over what others think. I know that only I see the whole picture and I'm making the decisions that I feel are right for my daughter, and my family. On that same note, I have learned that I also don't know the whole picture of other people's situations, and it isn't for me to decide if they are or aren't handling things they way I think they should. I've always "known" this principle of course - but this experience has really helped me see that first hand.
I have learned to pray. Of course I have prayed my whole life. Sometimes more faithfully and earnestly than others. But I've always prayed, and always believed in the power of prayer. However it wasn't until this experience that I truly learned what it means to "cry unto Him in mighty prayer and supplication," as Enos did. Over these past months I have spent more time on my knees than I think EVER before in my life. And I have learned to do more than just thank Heavenly Father for my blessings, and ask for the blessings I desire. I have learned to truly pour out my heart to Him. To share with him my heartache, my sorrow, my fears. I have learned to let Him comfort me in the darkness of night when everyone is asleep and I'm alone with my broken heart. I have felt the reassurance of His perfect love for me, and for Ambria. I have learned to listen carefully for answers and promptings as we've had so many suggestions for different treatment options, medications, or programs that we should try. I have developed a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father as I have turned to Him in prayer more frequently and more earnestly than ever before. For this I am truly grateful.
I have learned to let the Atonement heal my heart and my spirit. Never at any time, even when I was losing my dad, have I needed to feel the healing power of the Atonement in my life more than I do now. To have the reassurance that my Savior knows my sorrow and heartache. That he can truly be my source of comfort, as He has experienced all of it himself. I've learned to turn my burdens over to Him as I kneel in prayer, or when I'm feeling my weakest, and ready to break. There is nothing that has helped me more than this knowledge, and the ability to lean on Him and feel His love and compassion encompass me. I know He will make everything right.
I have learned patience. Okay, I'm still working on this one - but it's coming along. During the early weeks of Ambria's condition she was given a priesthood blessing. In that blessing she was told that this condition was temporary. I wanted to know what "temporary" meant!! A month? 6 months? A year? I want to know so badly when this will finally be over. But I am learning to have trust in the Lord's timing. To stay faithful, and keep doing everything I can, and let the Lord do the rest in his own perfect time.
I've been taught my whole life that we are given trials for our good. Our "refiner's fires" to help strengthen and perfect us. I've never doubted it. But going through this has been tiring. And I have grown weary at times of "being refined." But I was recently in a church meeting where a quote from President Uchtdorf was read. I don't even remember the quote. What I do remember are the thoughts and reassurances and words that came into my mind. They touched me so deeply that I wrote them down in my planner.
In that moment I felt the Spirit remind me, and reassure me that I have a divine destiny. As does my daughter and the rest of my family. We are meant to become so much more than we currently are. And that it is ONLY through adversity that we are able to become who we are meant to be. There is no other way. And God loves each of us so much, that he allows us to go through these trials, even if it hurts Him to watch. Even if he'd like to take away our pain. Because He knows who we are meant to become, and He wants us to reach that eternal potential. Having that confirmation lifted my spirits tremendously, and when I feel about to break again, I reflect back upon that experience, and am reassured again of my Heavenly Father's love, and my faith in His perfect plan is restored.
Thank you to all for your kind comments, your compassion and your love and prayers. They truly have lifted and sustained us.