Last night I stood in the nursery as Ashley Kate played and Allison sat close by reading a book. The following conversation began.
"Mom, does God give you what you ask for if you prayed?"
"Well, Allie, He's not a genie and doesn't promise to grant us 3 wishes." I thought she might giggle at that statement, but her heart was much heavier then I had suspected. When I didn't hear her giggle I turned around and asked her,
"Why do you ask that?"
"Tell me what you are praying about and maybe I can help you understand."
"It doesn't matter. I'm not going to get it and He didn't answer my prayer. Why does He answer some people and not others?"
This conversation was quickly becoming difficult for me because I didn't know the right answers to her questions and I have often wondered the same things myself.
"Allie, its not that He answers some people and not other people. He might just answer us with a "no" instead of a "yes" because He knows whats best for us even when we don't. What are you praying about?"
"I've just been praying for a long time that He would let Ashley walk or even talk to us while she is 3 and she's not going to be 3 much longer so He's not going to answer me."
I had no wisdom to share. No real answers myself. Just a HUGE ache in my heart for the disappointment I saw on her face and the disappointment I personally held in my own heart over the same issues.
"Allie, I don't know all the answers, but God does. I don't know why He is doing what He is, but I know that He is doing what is right for us because I trust Him. He promises us that if we love Him with our whole hearts and ask things according to His will that He will give them to us. The key is "according to His will." It might not be His will for Ash to ever walk or even talk."
"I'm not going to get what I want because I didn't ask it the right way. I didn't know you had to ask according to His will. So its not going to happen."
Her heart was clearly disappointed and I'm not sure I helped. The only thing I am sure of is that Blake and Allison both struggle with Ashley Kate's disabilities and they hold onto such hope that its going to be different for her someday.
Blake discovered the new "handicapped" parking decal in the car yesterday. It caused him to become very upset. "Why do we have that? Can you put it away please? I don't want to see that. Its not fair". I tried to explain that the reason we got it was to make things easier for Ashley when we were at the hospitals or doctors appointments or her school. I tried to tell him how hard it is to get her and her chair unloaded and situated in the rain and that we would only use those spaces when it benefited Ash.
"Thats fine mom, but I don't want to see that and I don't want it on our car. There is nothing wrong with her."
With the search for a new home that has hallways wide enough, spaces enough to make more accessible, and rooms for therapy and classes we have had a lot of explaining to do. Getting Blake and Allison to accept where we are with Ash and that we aren't giving up hope of things changing has been difficult. I love that they look at her with blinders on. When they hold her or play with her or rock her to sleep they only see "her". They love her so deeply that it protects them from seeing that she is different. I know they know she is, but they pretend that she's not and thats ok with me if thats what they need to do.
Both of the children have a "best friend" if you want to call it that. Two friends who have spent more time with Ashley Kate and in our home then all the rest of their friends. I love to have them with us. They too see Ashley with the same blinders. They sit and study signs with her and learn to communicate with her. They play and interact with her. They are comfortable in our home and with our baby. It makes me giggle to look in the rear view mirror and see two 13 year old boys tending to the needs of our 3 year old and doing their best to figure out what signs to use to help her. My heart is grateful. So very grateful for these kiddos who embrace our life when they are with us and make it easier for Blake and Allie to do the same.
What I'm learning is that this is a process. I have good days and bad. Dave does too. Moments when we long for change for our Ashley. Blake and Allison are not any different. Learning to accept what is to be and what is not to be hasn't been easy. My hope is that somehow we find peace when our hearts need it, understand that it is alright to allow the tears to fall when we need to, and keep giving Ash all that she needs to succeed in this life. We love her more than words can express. She fills our home with such joy.
I encouraged Allie not to give up. I want her to keep praying for Ash and for the desires of her heart. I shared with her that we all pray the very same things for Ashley Kate and that we won't stop. Perhaps someday we might see that the Father has indeed said "yes" in one of these areas. I would love nothing more than to see our little one "walking and leaping and praising God" just at the lame man who was healed did. What a day that would be!