As (foster) mama of six little people and sometimes more, my day is full of lifting.
Time and time again, I lift little bodies, bringing them close for comfort, play, safety, and nurture.
The heaviest of my physical lifting is woven into the care of my oldest children who use wheelchairs, require total care, and are becoming less little every day.
All day long, I lift them in and out of wheelchairs, in and out of carseats, into bed, out of bed, onto and off of the floor, into and out of the bathtub…the list goes on and on.
More times than I can count, I take a deep breath and gather my strength before filling my arms with their precious bodies.
In addition to lifting their bodies, I hoist their equipment.
I heave their wheelchairs into and out of the back of our big van.
I lift positioning seats, walkers, and medical equipment. The fronts of my legs are never without multiple bruises and I’ve twisted a joint or pulled a muscle more than once.
It is hard work—really hard work.
It is the most consistent and heaviest physical lifting I’ve done in my twenty-six years of life.
Observers around me often feel led to offer their opinion in regard to the physical aspect of my children’s care:
“Oh, you really need to get a wheelchair accessible van!” (I always want to ask if they are offering to pay for that…)
“Don’t you think you are too tiny to be lifting him/her?”
“You know they aren’t getting any smaller right?”
“I hope you know you are going to ruin your back.”
While I understand the concern, there is so much more to this heavy lifting than the simplicity of my body working to lift theirs.
In additional to the physical weight of my children’s care, daily, I lift the weight of making sure their hearts and souls are held close and cared for just as well as their bodies.
I worry about, pray over, and fight for their futures. I make endless phone calls, stand against negative people and doctors, research like crazy, and advocate like the mama grizzly God has created me to be.
I carry so much more than that which I lift physically. Of course I become tired.
Somedays, I do wonder what the future holds. Yes, there are days when I feel like I simply can’t do it. But more than anything, I have grown stronger than ever before.
Not only have my muscles grown stronger as I have cared for my children, but my love for them has grown exponentially more.
More than causing me to feel overwhelmed or exhausted, each lift fills my heart with gratitude that I am the one given the honor of caring for such priceless gems.
Each time I hold them close, whether for a hug, diaper change, or positioning transfer, I gaze into the most beautiful faces and feel the beating of a warrior’s heart beside my own.
When I am weary of fighting for the world to view my children with their full worth, their simplistic trust brings bravery rushing back to my mama bear roar.
Each time my muscles clench, straining to find the strength for one more lift on the hard days, the strength of these brave souls infuses into my own.
My strength is theirs and theirs is mine.
But the truth is that my strength has never been my own, nor will it ever be.
I depend on the strength of a mighty God who equips me to care for the children He has given me.
I also depend on their strength—the strength of children the world is quick to label as weak and cast aside—because tucked inside their hearts is strength greater than the largest army, given to them by a God who created them with world-changing purpose.
I carry an enormous amount of weight physically and mentally every day.
But each lift, each push, each roar is not done alone and is not done in vain.
How immensely blessed I am to be the heavy lifter for souls so precious and so much stronger than I can begin to comprehend.