There is No Quota.

You know how we all believe things that are irrational? C'mon, don't lie. You know what I am talking about. We all have things that are completely unreasonable, perhaps unbiblical, that we still believe. Maybe these aren't things that we believe consciously or intellectually, but based on the way we live our lives, they are deeply held beliefs that we have yet to uproot.

Maybe  I  you have some sort of lucky rain boots you insist on wearing when you speak publicly. Or maybe you are paranoid that if you playfully try out somebody's crutches, then you will end up needing crutches for realz, because you "jinxed" yourself.  (Dan Mann)  (You know who you are.) Or maybe you are one of the dozen people who, in a haze of disillusionment, suffer from the hopeful belief that this will be the year that the Buffalo Bills  stop being terrible at football  go all the way. Don't be too embarrassed, we all believe in something that is absurd.

Wanna know mine?

I recently discovered that I believe in what I have named The Law of the Quota. And here is how it all went down...

I grew up with some baggage - losses and pains and wounds that I wouldn't wish on anyone  except for maybe the person who invented those hotel curtains that block out every shred of light except that last sliver right at the center where the two curtains meet. Really? You couldn't take it a quarter inch further?  So, clearly, I have problems. But for the most part, I am functioning, by the grace of God, and I mean that literally... it is by His miraculous grace alone that I can even complete a sentence, let alone be a wife and a mom and a  terribly inconsistent  wildly hilarious blogger. So fast forward to January of 2013, when we brought home our son, Jay. He had a long and challenging road of health struggles that we did not see coming. Simultaneously, I sort of lost my best friend. Then, my husband, sort of lost his job. Then we spent the better part of the next year learning how to navigate his hearing loss, learning sign language, doing speech therapy and physical therapy, and a million other specialists for Jay, all while job hunting and in the midst of terribly expensive legal hiccups while finalizing the adoption (during a time, remember, when we had zero income) and learning how to navigate an open-adoption for the first time, and just so much weeping and gnashing of teeth. It has been a hard couple of years. It feels like at every turn, there has been a new challenge.

In the midst of all of this, our son Harper continued to display more and more signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder. We were a touch overwhelmed and did our best with all the needs piled on top of needs that we were facing, but each time we felt we were getting steady on our feet, life would cobra kai us right in the throat. And mama just can't take it any more.

But, remember that part about how there is always more? Yep. More happened.

We discovered a large lump on the back of Jay's neck. The one lump was the size of a grape, and doctor's discovered an additional chain of nodes coming down his neck and along his collar bone, as well as "numerous solid masses" in an ultrasound.

There is no quota. 

You can keep having things. Things can keep happening and there is no Law of the Quota that says that one family will max out, and only have to endure so much in a single year, or even in a lifetime. There is no tragedy vaccine.

You can just keep. on. having. things. happen. And I hate it and I want that law to be a real thing.

I haven't been able to sit down and write about all this with Jay because I also discovered another fake thing I believe is that if I talk about or pray about my worst nightmare coming to pass, that I am somehow giving God permission to take my baby away from me. I discovered that I am afraid to pray during a tragedy because I am afraid that any expression of faith makes me a willing accomplice if everything goes terribly wrong. And I am not willing, I am unwilling and I will go down kicking and screaming. So, I keep this (illusion of) control, and I refuse to speak to God for fear that He will mistake my desperate plea to Him as an expression of FAITH, and therefore a green light to take everything I love away from me as a test to see if that faith cannot be shaken. I don't want to pray for His will to be done, because I want MY will to be done. I don't want God up there thinking "okay, you prayed to me, now you better be ready to accept whatever it is that I see fit to dish out."

Wow. What kind of heinous misinterpretation of the scripture is that!?

Jay has a surgical biopsy scheduled for April 14th, but we have seen a significant improvement in the swelling of that lymph node as well as reduced swelling in the other nodes, and we are hoping to hold off on having surgery/putting him under anesthesia unless it is absolutely necessary. At this point, the doctors (and we) are cautiously optimistic that these are reactive lymph nodes, rather than the nightmare scenarios that I still lack the faith to say out loud.

Here is the truth. There is no Law of the Quota. To believe that I have exceeded the hardship limit is silly, and entitled, and offensive to those who have endured so much more hardship than I have. It is an affront to the mom who does not get to hold off on the decision to have her child's lymph node biopsied, because it is an emergency surgery with no sign of improvement. It is an affront to the man who lost his job when my husband did, and still hasn't found one. It is like spitting in the face of Christ, who carried his cross on this Good Friday so that we might lay down our sins and pleas and our nightmare scenarios because He has each of them covered in his blood and in his love and in his grace.

There is no quota. There is not a limit on how much we might suffer, but there is also no limit to how much that Jesus has already suffered by choice, in our place, for our sins. I am learning to pray that his will be done, and I am learning to make a plea to him in faith and not in an attempt to control a God who cannot be bound by my fears nor my folly. I am learning to ignore the ignorant and unbiblical fortune cookie theology that says God won't give me anything that I cannot handle. I am learning to be content knowing that He has allowed more than I can handle, that I might learn to remain on my knees, relying on him. There is no quota, no limit, to what we might endure on this side of heaven. But even if our lives take a beating as bad as the one the Buffalo Bills will undoubtedly continue to take until the end times, we can know that God is still faithful, even when our bodies are sick or broken, or in the unspeakable event that our baby's bodies are sick or broken.

Easter is a time to reflect on the miracle of Christ's resurrection. Some of you think that believing in THAT is the absurd thing. And it is pretty crazy, I'm not gonna lie. But, I can promise you this, when I stare down the road ahead - a lawless wild west of limitless loss and tragedy... I will take a crazy, counter-cultural faith in His limitless love every. single. time. The alternatives simply hold no hope.

God will either give us what we ask for in prayer or give us what we would have asked for if we knew everything he knows. - Tim Keller