A Lesson in Humility and Gideon’s Decline

Today I took Gideon to Children’s for his annual ophthalmology check-up. There were no handicap parking spots, but I wasn’t surprised. An open handicap spot there is harder to come by than a Hatchimal at Christmas.  So I improvised. I found a parking spot near a grassy area and let the ramp down. Clearly I didn’t look closely enough at the “grass” and the ramp ended up in some mud.

Before we even left for this appointment, the morning had been hectic. Plus Josiah was up three times last night so, needless to say, this little inconvenience of mud was the final straw. Cussing under my breath, I got Gideon down the ramp, through the mud and into the building. As I was having a mini pity party for myself on the way up, I ran into all kinds of families who were much worse off than we are.

The appointment went well and we headed out of Children’s. I was already feeling a bit guilty for how childish my attitude was when I noticed all those handicap spots were starting to clear out. When I got to my van (one row back from the handicap spots), I watched as those families were loading up their kiddos. And guess what I witnessed? Only one of out five of the people I watched getting into their vehicles had a wheelchair ramp… and that one vehicle had to be 15 years old. The other four families were lifting their children into their cars and vans and then breaking down their children’s chairs lifting those in the back of their vehicles. Talk about a punch in the gut for me… I remember those days.

Those closest to me know that I make it super easy for the Lord to teach me humility. Here I am whining about some mud on my ramp and I know for a fact these people would give anything for a vehicle with a ramp like mine. Mud would have been the least of their worries! Now don’t get me wrong, I think we need to cut ourselves some slack once in a while when we’re having a bad day. There’s grace for that. But in light of watching these other families today, this was not a bad day for me. Today I got a lesson in humility.

My problem is that I often get caught up in believing the lie that this life is about me- my wants, my needs, my schedule, my day, etc.  And the truth is, it’s not about me. It never has been. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever met are so much worse off, but they’ve got this humility thing figured out. Their lives model Philippians 2:3-4 which says, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 

One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”  That’s hard for this caregiver. You see as a caregiver, I always think that because I’m taking care of another individual 24/7 that I am thinking of myself less. But if I’m honest, I get frustrated with Gideon if he takes too long to eat or if I have to change his diaper more than once in 30 minutes. Why? Because it’s an inconvenience to….wait for it….ME!

I don’t like it when life interrupts my expectations of how the day/week/month/year was supposed go. Again, it all comes back to me.

Before I shut this rambling post down, I should probably go ahead and admit that my bad attitude didn’t start today. I’ve struggled to live out my “life with a happy heart” motto, since this past June. The truth is, Gideon is declining physically. We’ve noticed he’s been losing skills that he had been steadily gaining from ages 3 to 4. He no longer sits up on his own nor does he pull to stand on the couch. I could go on, but you get the idea. Gideon’s condition is such that we were expecting this.

However, what has not declined is his health. Our joke is that Gideon is the healthiest, terminal kid you’ll ever meet. He was hospitalized once in 2014 (because his platelets were so low they thought he had cancer) and he’s been to the ER twice in his whole life for dehydration. THAT’s pretty amazing for a kid with a Peroxisomal Disorder. So while his loss of skills is a sad and ugly part of PBD, we are hopeful that we are not near the end of his life because all of his blood work and other tests look good for a kid like G.

So all that said, I don’t want to wallow in self pity over stupid crap like not finding a handicap parking spot, or letting my “fancy” ramp down in some mud. These are not the moments that warrant a pity party. There are bigger issues to face. There are other people out there who are struggling with more than we could ever imagine. And those people need encouragement and hope for their future.

Looking back over this day, I missed three obvious opportunities to be light in someone else’s day. All because I chose to give into the selfishness of my circumstances.  Thankfully tomorrow’s a new day.

Lord help me to choose joy in spite of my circumstances.

I have so much to be joyful for.


8 thoughts on “A Lesson in Humility and Gideon’s Decline

  1. Oh Samantha, how I loved this post!! My absolute favourite line was “Those closest to me know that I make it super easy for the Lord to teach me humility.” I don’t think I have ever heard myself articulated in a sentence so beautifully haha!

    I lost my sight going on 10 years ago, and how I, in my weakness, have wrestled the Lord about that. I am embarrassed to acknowledge I am only now….10 years blind and at 40 years of age learning how to properly use a white cane haha. We have 10 children ranging in age from 25 to 7 (some biological and some adopted) and it has been hard raising them blind….. really hard. And while your sitution is somewhat reversed from mine I can so empathasise with you on some level. But the Lord is our portion, and we know and trust that all things work together for good.

    Our family pray for you and your family and little Gideon, and will continue to do so. The Lord in His good providence has entrusted him to no more worthy family than you guys – and I speak from experience knowing that He will equip you day by day. You guys are amazing, and while you may have missed 3 opportunities to be the light in others’ lives today – you have been a light in mine today, and for that, I thank you most sincerely.

    Much love from our clan in Australia

    1. Maree, thank you so much for commenting. I’m BEYOND blessed by your story and your encouragement today!! I can’t even fathom raising 10 kids, much less doing it blind. But you’re right, the Lord is our portion and he is always working this together for our good, even though sometimes it feels like chaos.

      Adoption is so beautiful and with everything you’re overcoming, I think your story needs to be written into a book!! I’d be first in line to buy it!! If you don’t mind me asking, what is the cause of your vision loss? Thanks again for sharing your life with me! We very much appreciate your encouragement and prayers! <3 <3

  2. As I read your post this came to my mind: “He has the whole world in his hand.” You and your family are my heroes. I remember when John Mark was small and how much I admired Kay and Steve. I thought then and still think today, It takes special people to raise special children. You are one of God’s special people. I admire you very much and pray for your family daily. My dad always loved Uncle Preston and Aunt Mary and all the kids. We had some wonderful times together. Love ❤️ you all.

    1. Thanks Barbara!! Very much appreciate your kind words. Would have loved to have known Preston and Mary. I heart they were saints. 😉 Love you guys!!

  3. Oh you are such an inspiration ! I love how you handle everything so well ! You are hope and I love how you are thinking of others before self. Whether you see it or not, you are making such a difference in G’s life and those around you … G’s laugher just brightens up my day no matter what mood I am in .
    Thank you so much Sam…

    1. Thanks Jodina!! I so appreciate your kind words. It brings joy to my heart to know that so many people are positively influenced by his life. Means a lot. <3

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