I can do hard things.

Today marks two years since Poppy got her cast off. As I looked back at photos this morning, it almost felt like watching someone else’s life. I can’t believe we did that.

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the brace that she wore from 3 weeks old- surgery at 3 months

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surgery day

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cast #1

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cast #2

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cast #3 she can finally bend her legs!

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cast cooler for the horribly hot days and skin irritations

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cast removal

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1st real bath in over 100 days!

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post-cast brace that she wore for over 2 years (not the few months they anticipated)

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Island-themed “cast-away” party to celebrate getting it off and having her first swim!

I have done plenty of hard things, but the “our baby is in a spica cast” season was particularly hard. Sleep deprived and overwhelmed with small kids and a new baby that had no normal days, I felt like I was constantly on the edge.

What these pictures don’t show are the tears and the anger and the sleepless nights. The back pain from carrying her everywhere in that heavy cast, constantly worrying about her comfort, feeling like we couldn’t do it another day, and the urine burns that we found when the cast came off.

I learned a lot during those months- like how to line the sharp edges with moleskin, how to handle diaper blowouts on a whole new level and how to take a baby places that can’t bend and won’t fit in any standard car seat, stroller or high chair.

But the biggest lesson I learned is that I can do hard things. That God’s strength is perfected in my weakness and that He has given me everything I need, I just have to dig deep and use it.

For some people, resilience comes more naturally than for others, I get that. I have one very determined child and another who wants everything to come easy. But we all need to be able to do hard things, life can be hard. Resilience is a quality that will dictate the dreams we pursue, the culture of our marriage, the lessons we are modeling for our kids and the overall trajectory of contentment in our lives. If we haven’t cultivated much of it, we best get on that.

My friend told me a story the other day about a student in her first-grade class who (when faced with any challenging work) puts her head on her desk, says, “this is too hard” and then gives up. She actually has the knowledge and the skills required for the work and is capable of it, but something in her wants to bail when things get hard.

Thankfully her teacher (my friend) is fabulous. She listens and helps and ultimately taught this student to say to herself, “my name is ….and I can do hard things.” These days you can hear her across the room pushing through hard tasks and telling herself that she can do hard things. That script is being re-written and I believe it will change countless things for that 6-year-old.

My teacher friend is saying the same thing to herself, and I am saying it to myself. We all need to be reminded that we are resilient and that we have a creator that knows our hearts and wants to give us the strength to overcome. He wants us to find the golden threads He is weaving into us.

I am not an advocate for pretending hard things are not hard. I believe in admitting when we are struggling, no matter how silly we think it sounds or how horrific it truly is. Voicing what feels hard can relieve some of its power over us. It allows us to get support, lean into the strength that is made perfect in our weakness and frankly, just tell the truth and not be alone in it. But then what? We have to forge a way through. And the first step is believing there is a way through.

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4 thoughts on “I can do hard things.

  1. She was the happiest baby thru all of this. I think maybe her disposition helped a little to plunge forward.
    Love you guys.

  2. This must have been so gut wrenchingly difficult as a parent. It’s so amazing that Poppy is smiling in most of the pictures. Love the lessons God taught you through this and that you’re willing to use those lessons to teach me and others. Thank you for using your gift of writing to God’s glory.

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