by Ashley Tomlin Glader
Many people throughout my life have said to me at one time or another, “You are so strong.”
Thank you. Honestly, to the friends and strangers who have said that I am strong, thank you.
I know you mean it as a genuine compliment.
However, I know myself.
I know I don’t possess a strength any greater than your own.
You see a composed woman who tells her tragic story to the media. You don’t see the woman who just days before sobbed so violently in her shower she thought she might throw up.
You see the woman handing out NICU baskets with a compassionate smile at the same hospital her baby almost died at. You don’t see the way her muscles ache and anxiety pumps through her veins as the trauma revisits her every time she goes back there.
You see the happy family posing for a picture. You don’t see the knife lodged in her heart because that family picture will never be complete.
I still struggle with fear and anxiety on the regular.
I struggle with the balance between trying to control circumstances to assure nothing terrible happens to living with a “Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be” attitude.
If you see any strength in me, it’s from the hope I have in Jesus for the future. The Bible says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
For me, the hope of the Lord is my strength.
Without the hope of heaven, I know I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. God didn’t give me a supernatural strength to deal with the blows and trauma we were dealt throughout Joshua’s life and death.
There were times I prayed for peace and instead was left feeling like I might pass out from the fear.
Someone once told me that God must have known they couldn’t handle a child with special needs; therefore, that’s why they had healthy children.
No. Just no.
Most people, except for those amazing parents who choose to be a parent of a child with special needs through adoption, most don’t have any idea what they are getting into.
We don’t have any extra strength or some trait you don’t possess.
I guess what I’m saying is – I’m just like you.
And if you see any strength, any resilience, any hope or joy, I have to give the credit to God.
Without Him, I can honestly say, I don’t know where I’d be.
I’m not strong, but He is.