Now there’s a good, solid word for you……stability. I believe that all of us crave stability even in the midst of changes in our lives. Some changes are exciting……new friendships, marriage, a new job, a new house, new baby. Yet even in the midst of these positive changes, we desire an inner stability….a steadiness in our lives at the core of our being. If we find ourselves facing unhappy changes, then our inner stability can be threatened and we can become very unbalanced.
I remember losing my balance a couple years ago on our stairs in the middle of the night as I let our dog out to go potty. I hung on for dear life as I rocketed down the stairs after losing my balance. Our thick wooden door at the foot of the stairs was my stopping point, my shoulder slamming into it full force. That instability resulted in major shoulder surgery with months of recovery and rehab, and still today I have a shoulder that will never be the same again.
I know a lot of people facing instability in their personal lives today…..we all do. I just heard last night about a dear 33 year old mother of four that I know who had a major stroke on Saturday. I’ve had several conversations in this past week with parents who are terribly hurt and worried about wayward children. We and our other neighbors are helping our little elderly neighbor, Nora, move to assisted living after losing her husband to cancer in May. A year ago she never dreamed any of this would be happening. Actually, none of us knows what a day will hold for us when we climb out of bed in the morning, do we?
These kinds of instability, and so many others, can rock our world. We can be shaken to the very inner parts of ourselves. But I also know that even when we are surrounded by so much instability, we can…..deep, deep in our souls…..have a constancy that never changes and is never shaken. Of course, I’m referring to our relationship with God. When you have a personal relationship with the One Who is always constant, then you know that you can lean on him when life becomes unbalanced, for He never shifts or changes.
The first part of Isaiah 33:6 jumped out at me this morning: “He shall be the stability of your times.” I know this chapter is talking about the future, but I also know that we can apply this truth to our lives as believers right now, today, because it’s a truth about God that never changes. What are your times? What are my times? What times are we each living in at this point in our lives? Whatever it is….wherever we are…..if we know the Lord, He will be the stability of our times.
And I think of our Aaron, who in so many ways forces Gary and I to fall back onto the stability of God. Aaron’s Epilepsy and autism are issues that we deal with every day of our lives…..and just when we think we’re somewhat coasting along in our version of normalcy with Aaron, something changes. It could be a behavior or a health issue, but change is fairly certain to be constant with Aaron….if that makes sense.
Gary and I were slapped in the face with this reality on Saturday night. Aaron had one seizure during the night before, which is not at all unusual. He has had seizures in his sleep for years after enduring all sorts of other seizures, day or night, during his young years and into puberty. We have grown accustomed to rarely ever seeing a seizure when Aaron is awake…..except for one at the theater with his group in September and one at the YMCA a few weeks ago…..and then again Saturday night.
Gary and I were watching the World Series, and Aaron was sitting in Gary’s desk chair talking to us. I looked down at my notebook on my lap, and in two seconds Gary called my name. I looked up to see Aaron having a seizure, out of the blue and totally unexpected. Gary was able to keep him from falling out of the chair, and when it was over and Aaron was a little lucid, we eased him onto the floor.
Aaron was conscious but he wasn’t with us. His eyes were wide, his arms and hands kept lifting up awkwardly as if he was reaching for something, and he couldn’t speak. He tried to speak, but all he could manage was a smile. That was pretty heartbreaking. Finally he was able to muster one word, with effort. You can guess what it was. “Mom?” he said. I had to smile to keep from crying. Aaron must say “Mom” at least a hundred times a day…..or so it seems…..so it was fitting that this was the first word he was able to say.
We kept him with us while we watched the game. I tickled his back, which he loves, while he recovered. Soon he was talking again about aliens and wanting to go to his room to watch his alien movie, which we reluctantly let him do. It’s just that we have this fear now…..that started a few weeks ago…..as we see him edging back into sudden daytime seizures while he’s up and around.
On the next day, Sunday, we let him sleep. He woke up too late for Gary and me to go to church, but we wouldn’t have left him alone anyway at that point. We later took him with us to Sam’s, which he loved, and on the way home I told him that I would fix the Lasagna that he had been wanting. That made him very happy. I invited Nora over for lunch and to watch some football, not knowing if Aaron would be nice to her this time or not…..but he was perfectly nice and funny…..and we had a wonderful afternoon. Of course, we had to endure watching some of Aaron’s Mountain Monster show that he was watching before we could change the channel to football.
For the rest of the afternoon, after Aaron had gone back up to his room, he kept bounding down the stairs and coming into the family room to ask Nora some important questions. Questions like: Would you eat an alien egg? Did you know that those aliens have concentradik (concentrated) acid in their blood? Why is there a Queen alien? Have you seen aliens hang from the ceiling? Would you watch the movie, Alien?
With each question, Aaron would bend over and rub his hands together with delight…..and Nora would laugh and laugh. He didn’t really care about the answers to his questions. He just wanted to talk and to share his alien discoveries and to be the center of things…..which he is without even trying.
Later, he and I played Skip-Bo. You would never have known he had such a strong and unexpected seizure the night before. Life with Aaron has returned to normal. Just now he came downstairs carrying a little dirty carrot from the bucket of garden produce that I haven’t yet washed. He was so excited to hold that carrot and to ask questions about the carrot….and to let Jackson sniff it, of course. Typical Aaron.
We have the continuity…..the stability…..of who Aaron is mixed in now with that cloud of fear concerning his unexpected seizure activity. Instability is at the back of our minds. I know that’s to be expected because we love Aaron and we are concerned for him. But I’m so thankful that we can lean on God when we feel ourselves getting unbalanced with worry, and know that He is “the stability of our times.” None of these developments surprise Him. He is here with us and here with Aaron.
We all learn the deepest lessons in the hard times. We test the solidness of God when the ground upon which we stand is uneven and giving way beneath us. Whatever you’re going through, I hope that you have experienced the stability of God in the center of your pain. He is there for you, constant and sure. I pray that I remember this truth in whatever lies ahead as well.