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My Take on ‘God Only Gives You’…’ as a Mom of a Medically Fragile Child


People often say “God only gives you what you can handle” when they don’t know what else to say. As a mom of a complex child, this phrase has been uttered to me many times with a gentle smile. At first you want to believe that God hand-picked you for a rewarding task. God believes in me more than he believes in you, which must be the case since you don’t have a medically fragile child. You were not chosen to live this life. This life of inescapable worry, beeping machines and constant therapy. Tears in the car after an appointment, sobbing until snot runs down your face in the shower after a bad day.

In the beginning when it seemed like we were drowning in appointments and uncovering new “gifts” our son’s diagnosis handed us each day, I kept thinking, just exactly who does God think I am? He must not really think Johnny’s mom can “handle” this kind of stuff because they haven’t been given what we have.

There were days I wanted to shake my fist and yell, “Are you done yet?!” One thing after another. Really, God? Are you done? I’m not standing here indestructible wearing a cape; I am standing here with shaking knees swimming in uncertainty.

Then something happens. You can handle it. You do handle it. You wake up. You show up. You go to appointment after appointment and run in the longest marathon of your life. You incorporate therapy into everyday play. You adapt your house to where your child has an environment where they will thrive. You find joy. Expectations are thrown out the window, and celebrations happen daily.

Now don’t get me wrong, we aren’t all smiles at our house; there are still plenty of tears and occasional urges to kick the door. But more than anything, we are thankful. We are the lucky ones.

Today we are handling it, whether I believe God gave it to us on purpose or not. Today. Tomorrow. We will wake up and show up. We will do what we have to do, shaking knees and all. Our grief may be greater, but so are our joys. The other day, I almost couldn’t contain my tears when my son’s physical therapist said he purposefully reached his hand into a jar to grab out a toy. I simply can’t explain the feeling of pride and joy. Imagine crying simply because your child has the ability to hold an object. Sounds so simple, but for him, it’s not. Our son has altered our perspective. He is making us into a better family.

I don’t know if God really only gives you things He knows you can handle. I don’t know if He has a measuring tape and hands out challenge after challenge based on your measurement of strength. I don’t know if He saw something in us. I don’t know if that phrase is true, but I do know that when our son looks at us, he sees our strength. He sees that we will never give up. He sees the love in our eyes. He knows. Whether God chose us or not, our son knows.

Follow this journey on Team Christopher S.

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