Manna Strength

Part 1 of a series on adoption and special needs

On Tuesday mornings I have been gathering with women from my church in a beautiful home. We drink coffee and listen to the modern day Christian-Greats preach through the Word. An anonymous friend covered the childcare expenses for the whole term so that my children could play joyfully while I grew in the Word. At the end of our time, we pray for one another despite the decades that separate us.

In the last few weeks we have talked about Shabbat rest and the gathering of manna by the Israelites in the desert. It is incredible to think about how God provided for His people even in the midst of desert sand, burning sun and parched ground. But what strikes me even more is the fact that the Israelites were not allowed to gather more then they they needed. Those who gathered more then what was necessary for their household that day, woke up to find that the manna had decayed. It was simply useless, unable to be eaten.

In my journey to make sense of my daughters special needs, I keep thinking I will get to this place where I am done grieving. Where I have the strength and energy and fortitude to wrap my arms around her and say “yes, together we can take on the world.” But listening to the stories that don’t make sense or sitting with her through impossible homework packets that we have been doing all year, still feels so hard. My heart has hardened to her foot stompings and screamings and eye rollings. Understanding her diagnosis hasn’t brought forth compassion and I tread wearily from doctors appointment to therapy session, not seeing any progress.

Perhaps this place of strength and energy and fortitude however, is not fair to desire. Perhaps such a place doesn’t even exist and God is just asking me to have enough strength and energy and fortitude for today. Perhaps the manna blessing of old, bestowed daily to the Israelites, is simply a bestowing of daily grace upon his children today. Grace for the moment- the kind words she speaks to a sibling. Grace for the hour- marveling at her energy. Grace for the afternoon- watching her make a new friend at the park. Grace for the day- blowing her kisses, and knowing with a smile that she will always ask for just one more before I leave her room at night.

Not enough for the week, or the month, or the year. But grace for the day, heavenly sustenance from God that promises my soul the strength I need for the long stretch of twenty-four hours before me.

David Vosburg