Faith · Family

And this too shall pass



When Rachel was about three months old, she stopped growing. She didn’t gain weight. She didn’t get longer. She couldn’t hold her head up. She still enjoyed being swaddled. Houston, we had a problem.

Suddenly, my thoughts and my time were consumed with doctor’s appointments and medical tests and amped-up feeding schedules. There was an early intervention counselor, a physical therapist, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a developmental specialist, a gastroenterologist, our beloved family doctor, a pediatrician. Rachel and I became regulars at the hospital lab – having blood drawn, dropping off various samples of bodily fluids, all the poking and prodding and crying. There were scopings and biopsies. Late at night, I would type all her symptoms into search engines and scan parenting message boards for any clues about what might be wrong with my baby.

I asked every single person we knew to pray for Rachel to grow, to pray for the doctors to get answers. In lengthy prayers, I explained to God why He should heal my teensy baby girl. Every couple of days, I emailed the very patient gastroenterologist with helpful suggestions of what could be wrong, based on my extensive research on the Internet at 2:00 in the morning. I mean, yeah, he’d gone to a hundred years of medical school, but I had read 400 entries on a BabyCenter message board in the wee hours of the morning. Bless him. He replied to each and every email with kindness and long-suffering. Not once did he remind me that I had exactly zero medical knowledge and only two semesters of science since the end of my sophomore year of high school. He knew that I was a young momma scared to death and I was grasping at any answers I could possibly find.

For months, Rachel’s growth and development were my full-time job. And after all the tests and proddings and still no answers, she just started growing. And the hours of physical therapy started paying off. And little by little, our worries and fears receded, and Rachel became a healthy, normal little toddler.

The days of worry and fear passed.


Time went by and Rachel became a stuttering four year old. She sniffed and blinked and made throat-clearing noises. We thought she had bad allergies and started her on Zyrtec. When she was excited or nervous, she twirled in circles. Eventually, the speech therapist, the family doctor, and I added up all the clues, and Rachel had an appointment with a pediatric neurologist. She was soon diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. And straight away, I was immersed in researching Tourette Syndrome and tics and neurology. I probably memorized the entire Tourette Syndrome Association website. My brain was obsessed with learning about TS and educating others. I even created a little trifold brochure to give to any adults who worked with Rachel at church or MOPS or Bible study or school.

For a while, as we adjusted, Tourette Syndrome was at the forefront of my mind. Eventually, though, TS became just another thread in the tapestry of our family.

The days of worry and fear passed.



The same was true when Caleb was struggling to learn to read. So much of my time and energy was consumed with researching learning differences and strategies for teaching reading. I read books and blogs and magazine articles. I called or emailed friends and family members who had children who struggled in school. I picked the brains of all my teacher friends. Helping Caleb learn to read became my full-time job. I learned how best to teach him, then I brought him home for a year of intense, one-on-one instruction. In my free time, I read education information as if I were cramming for a college exam.

Eventually, reading clicked in Caleb’s brain. He progressed by leaps and bounds. And my mental and emotional energy wasn’t channeled quite so fiercely into Caleb’s education.

The days of worry and fear passed.

Throughout the years, I have realized there is always something, some concern that takes up space in my mind and heart. Another scrawny baby who can’t get past the 10th percentile on the growth charts. A son with a speech impediment and paralyzing shyness. A crazy autoimmune disease that threatens my husband’s life. And smack in the middle of it, it feels like  the stress and the fear will last forever.

But every single time, the intense fear and worry fade — maybe not completely away, but they at least fade into the background. Rachel outgrew her developmental delays, and Caleb mastered reading. Those concerns simply disappeared. Tourette Syndrome and heart disease and diabetes don’t ever go away. Those issues have simply meshed into the fabric of our family life. The initial concentrated, consuming angst and anxiety diminished.

You may be starting out this new year right in the middle of a huge thing. Apprehension and and uneasiness, maybe even true despair, are overwhelming you. Let me encourage you. If my past experience is any indication, the days of intense worry and fear will pass. Your problems may not disappear; and if they do, new ones are sure to rise up to take their place. That seems to be the way life goes. Ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. That seems to be the rhythm of life.

For now, hang on to hope. This profound intensity will not last forever. Given time, this giant thing that seems to be taking up too much space in your mind and heart will finish exploding or imploding and the dust will settle. And this too shall pass.

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