Is There Hope in the Dark?

Hey beautiful friends, we’re about to dig into a new book study. To prepare your heart, I’ll share a bit of the devotional you can take part in too. It can be found on the YouVersion app. Craig writes:

“I wrote this book and Bible Plan for the many people who are struggling to believe that God cares about them, especially when they find themselves in the middle of a crisis. When you’re stumbling through a valley, it’s difficult to see the light. You want to believe, but you’re having a hard time reconciling the hope-filled message of the Christian faith with what you’re seeing around you.

More than 2,600 years ago, Habakkuk asked many of the same questions people all over the world are still asking today. And in his grace, God relieved some of Habakkuk’s anguish, even as he left other questions unanswered. But on the other side of his doubts, Habakkuk grew into a person with a richer faith, a faith that may not have developed as fully had he not struggled through his doubts.”

Hope in the Dark

There is a secret side of special parenting that not everyone sees. And it just so happens to be the really hard days in the middle of a season jam-packed with miracles. I mean, really, why would we share what’s not going well when so much is?

(Raises hand.)

To stay sane.

Hey friends, if you’re new here what I write about varies from week to week. Sometimes it’s lifestyle and wellness, sometimes special parenting, sometimes really real life with chronic fatigue syndrome and lots of big battles.

This week, I want to dig back into the special parenting path.

It was Wednesday morning. And day two of zero focus. With Wild climbing walls and talking about things that don’t even exist, I found my thoughts as scattered as hers.

I felt like I was in a pressure cooker as I contemplated how to best support a child – who doesn’t know what she needs some days – while desperately wanting our sweet son to arrive at school on time… or his version of on time (with enough minutes to run around before the bell).

Trapped in thought, still, even with Eastern and Western tools, our Wild has been secretly struggling. It’s in the open now. And we can decide our next steps.

But I thought we were okay.

Another week of roller coaster emotions led me to ponder if I was praising her enough in the storm. Which reminded me of a season (a short and long year) when I wondered if I praised our son enough, too…

The storms can blind us.

When Mild was three, we had a tough season. Literally, every chance he got to pinch me or Bliss, he would. He particularly loved to sneak up when I was sitting down to nurse her. There’s something about having to be on guard while feeding your child, oh, that isn’t particularly relaxing.

I’m not sure who gave us the idea that year, but we started a recognition notebook. I listed everything wonderful he did for weeks on end. I read it to him each night. Often his behavior didn’t change, but my heart did.

Day two of zero focus reminded me of his year three (the only year he’s ever been not-so-Mild!). And after an awful morning, I wasn’t sure if Bliss needed a praise-book, or if I did.

Bliss Feeding Ducks
A flashback to our Bliss at three. Oh, how I thought I would know how to handle this age after our sweet Mild turned wild for a year. But nothing can prepare you for life with a child who has challenges with her mental and behavioral health. Cheers to the differently wired, sweet girl. You’ve been inspiring me since birth!

Many of us question who am I after hard moments, hours, or days. It took me a while to drop this act of self-sabotage, let it be known! But I don’t question my worth when things get hard and my response isn’t perfect. I’m human and I am loved as I am by a God who “gets” me. All of me. I no longer shame myself for getting frustrated. Instead, I ask my child and my God for forgiveness, and then change my walk.

And this is why we are digging into Hope in the Dark, now.

Quite simply, it’s because even though I have joy, I also have wildness. I need reminders of who God is and who He says I am – whether or not I begin praise-books for myself and my sweet girl.

The book Hope in the Dark was tucked up on a shelf the moment that I thought life with SSRI’s on board (for Wild’s Harm OCD) would be more simple. I have now come to realize life is almost never simple. It’s always joyful. But rarely simple. So, the book is back in my hands and I’m working on sharing time with like hearts (perhaps your heart). Hearts that are in dark spaces – and hearts teetering on the edge.

It’s so easy to get lost here, precious friends.

It’s been the longest ride with our Warrior girl. And mornings like that morning alternately remind me of how far we’ve come, and yet also, make me greedy for more. So much more. I don’t love that she struggles. But I love that because of the life we’ve chosen – because we are intentional with our time; with our feelings; with our lifestyle; with our praise; with our Faith; and with our love – there is so much room to continue growing together.

On this note, I wish you the most beautiful day today. Stop drowning in the feelings that you could process. Say I’m sorry to the person you’ve hurt. Praise yourself or the one you love. Start over moment by moment, not day by day. Friend, we can do hard things, with Jesus.

And P.S. if anger, frustration, or dis-ease is rising up – check yourself before you wreck yourself. Your Heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to listen to whatever it is that’s on your heart. And He loves you as you are, where you are.

xox J.

Published by Jennifer Magnano

Inspired by a woman's transition into and transformation in motherhood, Jennifer is passionate about acceptance, inclusion, growth, and inter-generational mental health. Over the last decade, she has encouraged masses of mothers around the world through her writing, yoga instruction, and as an Ayurvedic postpartum doula. As a candid storyteller, Jennifer's muse is "shared-experience" with mothers and families who face diverse life challenges. She is a melanoma survivor, a chronic disease "thriver" and special needs parent. Residing in Arizona with her husband Scott, they raise two miracle kids, a future therapy dog named Mya, all the edible plants, and hundreds of worms on a perfectly imperfect, tiny piece of desert land.

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