Today, I got really, really mad. But before I get into why I was mad, let me explain the situation.
I called to get my schedule for the week from the head manager, and what he gave me means I am set up for 15 hours for the entire week. Wanting not to automatically assumed the worst, I asked how long new employees have to be on part-time hours (knowing full well that 15 hours isn't even considered part-time). He then told me that the hours I have aren't because I'm new, "they're based on performance." I asked, if my performance was/is the problem, how I could improve. He completely evaded the question and told me to just see how this week goes and then hung up before I could say anything else.
Never mind the fact that he told me he was going to take me off night shift and two of the three shifts I have this week are night shift, I laid there on my bed completely stunned that my performance is a problem. I work as hard as I can the entire time that I am there. I never complain about being in pain. If a manager critiques something, I immediately go back and fix it and don't talk back. I'm respectful to managers. I'm kind to customers. And since I didn't know or understand what the problem was, my manager wouldn't even tell me what I was doing that was wrong or how I could improve.
My mom wasn't home at the time, so in the silence of my room, I cried.
I cried for the feeling that I was being punished for physical disabilities I'd been upfront about that are out of my control.
I cried for the people at my job who weren't even trying to understand.
I cried for the knowledge that there are things my body will never be able to do correctly.
I cried for all the effort I put into making up for what my body can't do.
I cried for how much I hate feeling different.
I cried for the fact that no matter how patient, kind, supportive, and loving my friends are, no one really knows what it's like to be me.
Basically, I was having a good, old-fashioned pity party. Until the beauty came.
Through those tears, I felt the Lord whisper to me two simple words, I understand. And I realized how foolish I was being. I had forgotten one of the biggest truths that I have learned since I became a Christian, one of the hardest for me to learn: I am never alone. No matter what blow I am dealt, no matter what feelings I feel trapped inside me, no matter what pain I feel - physical or otherwise, there is always a Father in Heaven who feels and grieves every bit of it with me. He watched His own son be put through a torturous death; He knows the agony that physical pain can bring better than anyone else. And I know that as I laid here on my bed earlier tonight crying, He was laying with me. I'm sure of it.
When the tears stopped (and then resurfaced and stopped again when my mom got home and I told her what had happened), I remembered words that Taylor told me quite some time ago. I don't even remember when it was, maybe sometime last year, or the exact words he said, but the basic gist of it was, "Mal, the things you can do with your mind and your words more than make up for the things your body can't do. This is your gift." In the moment, they just felt like a sweet compliment from a dear friend, but now I realize just what a gift from the Lord it was.
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:13-16 ESV
God knows me. He knows me. None of the issues I have faced in my nearly 21 years of life have been a surprise to Him. He knew every little detail that my life story would hold before my mom and dad even dreamed of having a third child. He knew doctors would think I'd be born with Down Syndrome when my mom was still pregnant with me. He knew each surgery I would face. He knew the pain I would live with on a daily basis through high school and college. He knew all of the challenges that I would face, and yet He chose to bring me into existence, anyway.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
He created me in this body, with this life, because He knew the plan He had for me. He knew that His plan could and would surpass any diagnosis or disability. He knew that my life had a purpose, and that that purpose would hold true when the world tried to write me off. He knew that my life was not an accident.
It is those truths that I hold on to tonight, long after the tears ceased and the heartache vanished. God has proven time and time again that He gave me this life and this story for a very specific purpose, and He has gifted me with the tools necessary to tell people about His grace and goodness. That grace is sufficient to pull me through when the world tells me that I'm not enough, that my best isn't good enough. The Creator is the one I put my trust in. He has carried me through extreme difficulty when I didn't even know He was there. I have every reason to trust Him, and no reason not to.
So tonight, I choose to focus on my identity in Him, and the knowledge that He is always enough when I am not, that the body I was given is nothing but a tool to live out the story He wrote long ago for me. I choose to believe that if I had a healthier body, I wouldn't have had some (or any) of the God-breathed moments that I have been blessed to experience and write about. I choose to trust that He will make the plans He had when He created me come to fruition, no matter what obstacle is put in my way.
Despite everything, I choose to trust that my life as it is right now is not an accident. He has a plan; that much I know.