I am asked this question a lot.
“How do you do it?”
What they mean is: How do I live with the knowledge that my daughter could have a seizure at any time? How can I let her out of my sight? How can I stand the helplessness of a seizure? How do I handle the stress of epilepsy, of possible brain surgery?
How do I answer that question?
Perhaps I should ask the mother whose newborn son is in Hershey Medical Center, recovering from one surgery and facing another one this week. He was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome. How does she do it?
Perhaps I should ask the great-grandmother who lives with muscle and joint pain every day. Her quality of life has deteriorated, and she is ready to go Home. How does she do it?
What about the foster mother who poured her heart into two small boys for six months, only to return them to their parents the week of Christmas? How does she do it?
And then there is the mother of newborn twins and a very busy thirteen-month-old son. How will she do it? (I won’t ask her; I doubt she knows.)
What about you? How do you do it? How do you handle the pain, the frustration, the problems in your life?
I cannot imagine being any of the women I mentioned above. I cannot imagine being you. Despite facing something that people consider hard, I have no idea how other women do it.
Because I have been given grace according to my need—epilepsy grace, if you will—and that grace is not sufficient to handle other people’s problems. It is for me alone.
We all struggle, we all hurt, we all cry. No other person can carry our burdens for us or fight our battles. I alone know what it’s like to live inside my skin and bleed this pain, and you alone in yours.
We are all given grace, if we go to the Father, according to our needs. It’s why we can’t comprehend how someone can endure trauma and pain—our grace is not theirs.
It’s also why we dare not compare our pain and our situations. Because His grace is poured out in proportion to our needs, epilepsy is as manageable to me as the stomach virus is for someone else.
Yes, I just said that, and I meant it, although I should clarify: Hardships and pain are manageable only when we allow Him to manage us. And being manageable doesn’t make hardship easy. Pain still hurts, despite the grace. Grace is not a wall to protect us; it is a salve to heal us.
How do I do it?
Some days, I don’t.
The days I do, it is because His grace has bound up the brokenness and soothed the jagged edges.
My Father does it.
That’s the real answer, and the only one that counts.
I hope that’s the way you do it, too.