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I had this idea of the perfect life. I wanted to marry my high school sweetheart, have lots of babies and I just assumed I would breeze through life without a scratch. I would be the quintessential housewife and mother; complete with homemade apron, heels and a white picket fence. Life was guaranteed to be good.
When Micah left for Afghanistan in 2010, part of my heart and part of that perfect picket fence tucked itself away in his big, green suitcase. Because I was newly pregnant, there was a lot I was naïve about when it came to his new job in the sandbox. “Sure, we were at war, but contractors don’t leave base. They’re going to be as safe as they are in the states. This is guaranteed to be good.”
Micah came home eight months later to welcome his son into the world. I had a wonderful pregnancy and even though my belly grew without my husband there to measure it, modern technology provided a way for us to feel otherwise. The day Benjamin was born didn’t go as beautifully or uneventful as I had hoped, but I trusted my doctor. All five pounds, eleven ounces of Mr. Ben arrived safe and sound. Now three, Ben is nothing but joyful. He has bright eyes, an infectious laugh and makes friends everywhere we go. He loves barking like a dog, reading books and playing at the park.
I guess I could also tell you that he doesn’t say very many words, he didn’t walk until he was two and he will be starting school in April where he will join some very special kids.
Benjamin was diagnosed with Down syndrome the day after he was born. Part of my heart and part of my fence broke that night. As a mom, you want to believe your children are perfect. It’s hard to hear that they will be different than everybody else and I grieved that loss appropriately.
Nearly two years later, after my naïve thoughts of, “They’re going to be as safe as they are in the states” literally blew up one morning, Micah finally came home for good. Part of my heart and part of my fence was buried below a mountain of moving boxes as we huddled together with my in laws until it became clear where we were supposed to be. We came back to Texas kicking and screaming and settled into another new normal.
Nine months later, we welcomed Alexis into our broken, but still breathing family; six pounds, eleven ounces of perfection. Miss Alexis has curls that we can’t explain, Daddy’s blue eyes and she only giggles for her big brother.
I guess I could also tell you that she takes medicine before every bottle and we spend about an hour of our day snuggled up with a nebulizer and rhino mask. I could tell you that her life expectancy is about my age (27) and that she will never be able to meet friends like her for fear that they will catch germs that can only be passed to those who have the same disease.
Lexi’s Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis knocked down what was left of my perfect picket fence. I’ve spent many nights questioning God in this. I’ve spent many hours feeling like someone has beat me up. I’ve literally begged God for peace and rest. I’ve been angry. I’ve said things to God that I probably shouldn’t have. I’ve learned a lot.
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The most valuable lesson I’ve learned over the last few years is this: God doesn’t change. He is a strong, good God and He has a plan even if I don’t see it. I’ve learned He’s okay with my tears, my anger, my selfish ideas and the things that come into my mind and come out of my mouth when all of those things collide.
I was never guaranteed perfection. I was, however, guaranteed a Carpenter to help pick up the pieces of my fence. We have slowly gathered the rusty nails and we’ve taken up stock in duct tape, but I’m proud of the fence we’ve got now. Sure, it’s not as pretty or as white as it was supposed to be. Some parts are covered in gun powder, other parts are splattered with finger paint and you ‘d probably get a splinter if you touched it, but it’s there, it’s standing and it’s ours.
My faith is the easiest part of my life. In the moments when I have nothing else to believe; in the moments when I cannot see past the sandbox, the therapies, the medicine or the differences; on the days I want to throw in the towel and tell God He picked the wrong girl, I rest in the truth that God is a good God, and that this life is not a punishment, but blessing, a privilege and the perfect way to encourage others.
Life isn’t always easy, but God is always good.
When God Changes Your Plans
Amber Webb is a wife, mother and blogger who enjoys taking care of her family and meeting new people. She grew up on the east coast of Florida and has a degree in Child Development from LeTourneau University. She and Micah are high school sweethearts and have been married seven years. Her heart belongs to Jesus and she has a sweet tooth the size of Wisconsin. Connect with her at http://amber-webb.blogspot.com/.