Have you ever asked a question and regretted it the moment you received the answer? That would be a big fat yes for me.
A Starting Point
While standing on God’s goodness, and praying for direction, I’ve been digging through my accumulated resources. After three years as an active member of the traumatic brain injury community, my stack of information is immense. Some of it relevant and helpful, most of it not. But it’s a starting point as I consider next steps towards Ian’s future.
My first phone call was to Darcy, a friendly voice at QLI, a step down facility where Ian lived his last month of rehab before returning to Albuquerque. Darcy remembered Ian and in less than a minute I attempted to catch her up on the past three years. He walks with a brace, limited use of his right hand, peripheral blindness, unable to problem solve or read well and no short term memory. But…he’s adapted and adjusted to all of that, I explained. It’s his stunted maturity that remains his biggest hurdle. I wondered what options existed for brain injured adults who are eighty percent independent. She marveled at Ian’s “wellness” and after some checking would call back.
My Fervent Prayer
I’ve prayed consistently and expectantly for both my kids since they were young. Lord, enable them to look beyond themselves with a heart to make their world a better place. And recently, I’ve observed a pinprick of breakthrough for Ian. Admittedly, because of significant regression from his accident, my dream for adult readiness has been deflated. Even though he’s 24, I lack confidence that this glimpse of change is real and significant. Self-protection kicks in warning me to not get my hopes up until I can be sure, until I see more evidence. And somehow praise seems risky. Forgive me Lord.
And then, I did it. Greedy for reassurance, I asked the regretted question. “When maturity is impacted by a traumatic brain injury, is that something that eventually comes back? “No, not typically,” Darcy said in her annoyingly cheerful tone.
With one harmless question, I dug myself a deep dark hole of disappointment. In that instant her words penetrated the layers of protection that took years to erect. Right, I thought to myself. Stupid question. I was foolish to get my hopes up in the first place.
Where Dreams go to Die
Have you ever stood on a precipice while holding on to a thread of impractical hope? You remind yourself that miracles still happen and God is faithful. But as you look out onto your bleak situation, you just can’t help it, your hope dims. This is the valley where dreams go to die.
Ever since I hung up the phone with Darcy, it is as if the Holy Spirit has been nagging me. Pointed questions have revealed where I’ve gone astray.
- Since when has Ian’s journey been typical?
- Have you forgotten the Lord’s faithfulness and past miracles?
- Does your hope hang in the balance based upon what you can know and see?
Evidence from Scripture
Remember the familiar story of David and Goliath? We learn from the text that David, while just a boy, guarded his dad’s sheep and had to fight off bears and lions. Turns out, those challenging skirmishes were preparing him for the battle of his life. A warrior was needed to fight the giant Goliath, and David volunteered.
Every small battle in the valley had equipped David. Over time, he had become a courageous young man who could raise his hand and say, “send me.”
The Hopeless Fight
Then, David did exactly what he had practiced and was familiar to him. He grabbed a few stones from the stream and placed them in his shepherd’s bag. In spite of how outrageous things seemed, he didn’t despair. Even though the wide-eyed Philistines thought it was a hopeless fight, David, trusted the Lord and confidently took on Goliath.
And we know how this preposterous story ends. Against all odds, Goliath falls, David wins and God got all the glory.
1 Samuel 17:47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s…”
YOUR battle is the Lord’s as well. It may look hopeless. In my case, maturity for someone with a severe brain injury is “untypical.” But… I sense the Lord encouraging me to keep hoping, no matter how impractical. And whatever I do, He warns, “don’t trust your sight or understanding.”
In the end, isn’t that what faith is? Believing the Lord for a future we CANNOT see?
Hebrews 11:1 NIV. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. …
Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Reassured that I am adequately equipped, I’m back at doing what I know. I keep grabbing those stones and taking one more step. My hope has been restored. Now, when I look into the uncertain future, it’s hazy, but I can picture it. The giant falls and God gets all the glory.
Lord, could it be?
Out of respect for my handsome ginger I won’t share details except to say, Ian has recently exhibited a self awareness that I’ve never seen before; a hint of maturity. I’m shocked and delighted to hear him express a desire to become a better person. Lord, could it be?
Faithful You have been. Faithful You will be.
As for me, I will always have hope;… (Psalm 71:4), Debbie Hucke
I started following your blog with the Easter devotions. I look forward to every Wednesday when I get your email! Your words are so honest and so true. Thank you for your weekly encouragements!
Nancy, I’m delighted you have stuck with me. Bless you. Debbie
I have had a personal closeness with a number of young adults who didn’t come close to beginning to mature until well into their late twenties and they seemingly had everything going for them. Any sign of maturing in a 24 year young man is cause for celebration! Thank you for this very thoughtful devotion that encourages those of us who find ourselves deep into hopelessness. God is still on his throne and he loves us beyond measure.
Amen Terri. Even applies to our divided hopeless political landscape. God is still on the throne. Amen.
Anne kole says
Debbie, there is always hope. It is planted deep within us by the Lord who loves us. I have been praying for an unbeliever for years who is 100 years old. By my reckoning, it is hopeless. But maybe he’s been allowed to live a century because of God’s mercy…more time to repent. I won’t give up hope for him as long as he’s alive.
Continue to place your hope for Ian in the God who loves you and Ian. I am praying for Ian as well. Love to you and your family.
Thank you Anne. I love your devotion for your century friend. Bless you.
I see this every day as I battle stage 4 cancer and now kidney issues. I sing that song about David a lot. ” The battle is not mine, but it’s Gods”, I use it for myself, but not my grandchildren that are dependent on Mike and I. My hope for them fades as I see them struggle to motivate themselves enough to help us or at least work. Thank you for showing me that it applies to myself as well as others.
Prayers for you courageous Gerrie! Keep singing! Keep hoping. Keep praying.
Lynne Baehr says
Debbie, I look forward to reading your messages. You have such a beautiful and honest way of expressing yourself. You are an inspiration to us. Please continue to have hope and think positively. There are a lot of prayers going your way.
Indeed! That is a bonus when you live life out loud. I so appreciate your prayers
-Toni Hulce says
Debbie you are amazing! Your Faith is beyond measure. Thank you for sharing so many personal examples to illustrate God’s love for us.
God bless you and your wonderful family.
My faith is mustard seed. I just recognize lots of opportunities to use it. Good to hear from you lady.
I pray for you and your family often Debbie. Thank you for as you say, “living out loud”. The realities of faith and hope in Jesus, His grace and mercy have been made more evident to me through your writing this morning. I appreciate your faith fullness! 🙏
Thank you Sharon, What a bonus to solicit your prayers. But thank you for your kindness. My ministry has helped me to stay connected.
Emmy Browning says
Another wonderful message. Praying for you and Ian. Everyday may bring something new.
Thank you kind friend. What a bonus to have your prayers. Debbie