broken-flower

This week my heart had a small version of what many of you experience on a much larger scale. I carted my adorable (there is a consensus on that), squirmy thirteen-month-old daughter into the eye doctor. She’s had a slightly “lazy eye” for awhile, but it’s gotten worse in the last month as she’s sought to focus at close range. She crawled around as we waited (and waited) for the doctor, alternating between the carpet and admittedly large amounts of hand sanitizer, making friends with strangers and clapping for herself when she did something well. I love this age.

But here’s the news: My little girl needs glasses, and likely won’t outgrow them until she’s a teenager (when the other gene from my pool, nearsightedness, will kick in). The doc told me this in between her big hugs and the arching of her back, begging me to put her down. I drove home feeling embarrassed of the grief my heart felt as she babbled from her car seat. I was actually thinking of the news that some of the other moms I blog with had heard about their children. (Not that sitting next to the guy with his leg cut off makes your severed finger hurt less … but this is more like a paper cut.)

As a friend had suggested for days like this, I decided to start with thankfulness. She’s healthy, bright-eyed, and otherwise completely normal! Thank You for letting us catch it early and avoid surgeries. Thank You for doctors and for correction …

And then something I learned from fellow MomBlogger Barbara Rainey settled into my thoughts, “Suffering at any level can shape our children’s character.”

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Hardship is inevitable. Will I help it shape their hearts or harden them? I don’t need to seek out suffering, but I don’t need to shield them from it or pray it away.

Though I can’t fathom all God’s purposes, I know His goodness. I started to pray through this. Lord, what character might You have in mind—in both of us?

Personally, I’m thinking that sometimes babies with glasses are treated with extra compassion, and since she won’t remember a time not wearing her specs, it may develop compassion in her and maybe even limit some vanity! (Although as we tried them on, she’s still pretty cute. We will have to wait a year or two until her noggin’s big enough to fit in my favorite, the little tortoiseshell ones. Getting them to stay on is the first big trick.)

One friend of mine is praying similar prayers for her daughter with kidney refluxthat her daughter would have extraordinary compassion and endurance and humility from the procedures and embarrassment she’s endured. Another friend of mine has children with positively shining joy and faith after God’s given cochlear implants despite being born nearly deaf. God’s provision is literally imbedded in their ears (and p.s. the video of their son’s face when he heard clearly for the first time was nothing short of priceless). Yet another friend’s son witnessed some verbal abuse that left him feeling threatened and terribly frightened. She used this to explain forgiveness, love, and God’s care for him in an unforgettable way. What Satan or others intend for harm, God unquestionably intends for good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Genesis 50:20

Even more so, I found Tracey’s blog about the Chapmans anchoring my perspective. More and more I find myself praying, “Lord, you are good, and your mercies endure forever!” as a reiteration of my faith that He is great and He is good. I’m saying, I trust You.

I’m sure that as you read this, most of you have children suffering in one way or anothereven if it’s just through discipline you know they need! May His goodness and shepherding of your children again and again prove trustworthy and full of love.

{Editor’s Note: This article was first posted on MomLife Today in September of 2008, and was edited and updated on April 15, 2019.}