The most challenging part of parenting I have encountered so far is watching my children experience pain whether it is emotional or physical. When Moses was six weeks old, we learned that he had Craniosynostosis. His skull had fused while in utero which meant ultimately he would have a disfigured head and it would put pressure on his little developing brain. The solution was major surgery which would include cranial reconstructive surgery. The cranial reconstructive surgery would involve removing pieces of his skull and reshaping them as well as cutting little holes all over his scull to allow the brain to grow. Even though, the surgery sounded scary and painful, we knew it was what was best for Moses and never hesitated in our decision.
At eight months Moses underwent this incredibly painful surgery for an opportunity to have a better standard of life. The alternative was a shortened life-span, cranial-pressure that could cause severe headaches, blindness, and developmental delays. The surgery was a gift for Moses but it didn’t come without challenge. It required him to be brave and go through a painful recovery.
Moses’ surgery went perfect but it was painful for Tom and I to watch Moses’ recovery, he didn’t understand why his head hurt, why his eyes were swollen shut and why he was in a hospital bed hooked up to several different things. However, the surgery was a necessary pain so that he could have the abilities he has now. Craniosynostosis is part of his story.
We have used this part of Moses’ story to show him how brave he was and how his future was greatly impacted for the better through that surgery. The scar across his head acts as a reminder of how amazing it is that his life trajectory changed that day. Moses is incredibly smart, he excels in math, is inventive and has a long life ahead of him. We will forever be grateful for that surgery.
Teaching our kids that sometimes pain is necessary for growth, necessary for much-needed change and apart of life has been so important to us. There are painful times in life where we question the why behind what we go through. I often-times wonder if God is like Tom and me looking at our eight-month-old Moses who had no understanding of why we were allowing the doctors to cause him pain, he was unable to see affect it would have on his future. We didn’t enjoy watching our son go through the pain, it was heartbreaking but it was essential because we wanted the best for his future. We wanted Moses to become the Moses he was created to be. We allowed Moses to go through the pain of his surgery to avoid future pain that would have been more devastating.
We don’t always understand why God allows us to go through pain but we also do not have the big picture. Craniosynostosis wasn’t a punishment for Moses, neither was his surgery. However, he has greatly benefited from what caused him pain. He knows he is courageous and can do hard things. We learn through our experiences, what is inside of us. There are some really incredible strengths in us that we may not know exist until we are in a place where we have to use them.
We have incredible opportunities as parents to teach our children that life is not without pain and it most definitely isn’t always easy but they are brave and resilient. They can not only can get through painful times but they can actually come out of them stronger and grow in empathy and love. Sometimes there pain is essential to avoid future pain.
God doesn’t enjoy or relish in us being in pain. However, God has an incredible way of taking truly painful parts of our story and pulling out the good, even if that good seems so small. Whatever difficult and painful thing you are going through right now has the potential to bring out some incredible treasures within you that you didn’t know existed. It doesn’t minimize your pain and suffering but it gives bravery and courage to your story.
Just like Moses’ scar across his head, we have scars that tell a part of our story. What parts of your story can you now look back on and say I am____ (fill in the blank) and I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t have gone through that experience? Or, where can you say, I wouldn’t be who I am today without that part of my story? I most certainly can say that about many experiences. You may not be able to see any good that has come from your pain and that is ok. You may even want to scream at me while reading this, I’ve also been there. My hope for you is that one day, you will see the incredible strength and courage you have to get through it.